The CAA Avalanche Operations Level 2 Program is an advanced program for people who work full time with avalanche safety and control operations. Participants must have at least 100 days of operational field experience making and collecting weather, snowpack, and avalanche activity observations before applying. This requires at least two full time seasons of active operational experience as a team member, ideally working under the mentorship of CAA Professional Members. As a tem member, you are involved with daily operational meetings and participating in operational activities involving anticipating and forecasting avalanche risk.
For each course the Canadian Avalanche Association creates specific course goals and learning objectives. These reflect industry standards and current best practices and are updated accordingly. The Avalanche Operations Level 2 course goals and objectives are displayed in the course DACUMs:
If you are unfamiliar with DACUMs please read the document "Learn what a DACUM is and why it is important".
Applicants must have:
- CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1 certificate or similar training/experience1.
- CAA Introduction to Weather or similar training and experience1&2.
- CAA Avalanche Search & Rescue Response or similar training and experience1&2.
- Thorough working knowledge of the CAA Observation Guidelines & Recording Standards (OGRS 2014).
- More than 100 days of operational field experience3 in weather, snowpack & avalanche occurrence observations & analysis.
- Advanced backcountry skiing, boarding, or snowmobiling skills AND good fitness.
- Participated on at least two operational avalanche rescue scenarios.
- A minimum of two letters of reference from CAA Professional Members4.
- Completed all of the steps outlined on the Level 2 Application Information webpage.
1 If you are missing these prerequisites but believe you have similar training and/or experience, you may apply for prior learning in order to have the prerequisite waived. Please visit the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) application webpage for details.
2 These courses must be completed prior to the Level 2 Module 2. For those who wish to apply to the Avalanche Operations Level 2 program but have yet to take either of these prerequisites, they must submit a Letter of Intent during the online application process indicating that they will provide proof of completion prior to the start of the Module 2.
3 Operational field experience is defined as a team member attending daily operations meetings and participating in operational activities involving the anticipation of and forecasting for avalanche risk management.
4 Students who do not have an affiliation with a CAA Professional Member may provide
references from: their current avalanche industry employer or supervisor, their
mentor, a fellow industry professional, and/or a Level 2 graduate who is
familiar with the candidate’s avalanche resume. Links to reference forms are on the Level 2 Application Information webpage.
Tuition and Funding Opportunities
****The following are 2016-17 tuition prices. Prices are location specific to reflect ACTUAL costs associated with course locations.****
Module 2 (now includes an additional day for the AvSAR practical skills assessment)
Lake Louise: $1,587
Golden: $2,178 (includes helicopter flight)
An additional $100 registration fee for the Module 1 is applied to students with an international mailing address to account for shipping costs of course materials.
The Avalanche Canada Foundation yearly offers scholarships for students.
There is also the Alberta job grant, a Golden Area scholarship, and the ACMG also has funding available for eligible students. Often local organizations have funding as well (e.g search and rescue clubs, employment centres, local industry grants etc.).
Participants’ learning during the Level 2 program will be formally evaluated on Day 1 of the Module 2 and during the Module 3 course. This formal evaluation is a combination of written tests and exercises, field book observations, practical examinations, field discussions, and AM and PM Operational Hazard Analysis. Students must pass the following mandatory elements: AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment, Data Collection/Record Keeping, Snow Profile, and Terrain/Hazard Analysis with an overall mark of 71% or greater. Retests are allowed in specific situations only.
Detailed evaluation criteria will be provided as part of course materials. Students are encouraged to clarify questions with their instructors on course prior to the examinations. Informal personalized feedback will be provided throughout the Module 1 and 2 courses. A passing grade results in the CAA Avalanche Operations Level 2 certificate of completion being granted to the student.
Course Equipment and Materials
Upon registration all students will receive a confirmation e-mail that contains links to the course's logistical information.
In addition, Module 1 students will be mailed a program package1 that includes:
- Level 2 Student Manual & readings;
- Recommended technical references.
1 It is the student's responsibility to contact the CAA office if they have not received this package 1 month prior to course. The package will be mailed to the address you provided during your online registration.
There is no specific equipment list for the Level 2 field courses, Modules 2 and 3. Students should draw on experience and can review the Level 1 Sample Equipment List as a starting point. If you have questions about equipment please approach an instructor in your module 1 course.
Industry Training Program curriculum is delivered every year in countries such as Japan and New Zealand. If you are interested in finding out more about our international outreach projects, please go to the websites listed below or contact the CAA directly.