Travel safely

Avalanche Skills Training

AST-1 Course

Introducing an effective framework for riding safely in Avalanche Terrain

An Avalanche Canada Approved Course

Our AST 1 courses for the 2020/21 season will be run over two evening sessions (ONLINE from 6pm – 9pm) and a full field day .  The theory sessions are set up within the framework of Avalanche Canada with a focus on getting people as familiar with the field day content and concepts as possible.

The field day is an introduction to being in the backcountry, again, within the scope of the Avalanche Canada AST 1 program our certified instructors will start to introduce the concepts of using terrain to minimize hazard, basic snow stability tests, travel tips and more.

Given that many of our students are on ski touring or splitboard gear for the first time, we tie in a syllabus around using touring gear effectively.  We do this in a way that compliments the avalanche safety content.  We feel this provides a well rounded syllabus, with a good number of tangible take aways in both safety and technique.

We have been offering this course in partnership with SplitboardHQ since 2014.

Our AST 1 programs are suitable for snowboarders on splitboards (discount rentals available) and skiers on touring setups.

At the end of the course you will be awarded an Avalanche Canada AST 1 certification.

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Classroom Session Day 1

Our first classroom session introduces the concepts of snow metamorphosis and avalanche terrain.

Classroom Session Day 2

Our second classroom session discusses resources for decision making in avalanche terrain. We will cover online resources for avalanche and weather conditions; discuss a tool for making avalanche decisions during the trip planning phase as well as in the field (“The Avaluator”); and review the steps involved in emergency response and companion rescue.

Field Session Day 3

This is a full day in avalanche terrain. We go over safe travel techniques, identification of avalanche terrain, introduce students to snowpack observation skills, and hone our emergency response and companion rescue skills using realistic scenarios.

Classroom Sessions online

For the 2020/21 season the classroom sessions will be online. Not only is this format covid-friendly, it’s also convenient. We’re dividing it up into two 3-hour sessions.

Field Sessions

Field sessions will be outside as always. Details of meeting time and place will be confirmed in the week prior to the course.

AST Course Equipment List

Touring gear

  • Alpine Touring skis (lightweight tech bindings recommended) & alpine touring boots OR splitboard & boots
  • Ski poles (with regular powder baskets). Splitboarders (optional): Compact / 3-part break-down poles that you can stash in your backpack for the ride down are best.
  • Climbing skins
  • Avalanche transceiver (Digital, with extra batteries)
  • Lightweight snow shovel
  • Avalanche probe
  • Backpack, 30 – 40 liters max, with outside straps to attach skis.
  • Repair kit / spare parts for your bindings (optional)

Clothing

  • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore Tex or similar)
  • Wind and waterproof over pants (Gore Tex or similar with integrated gaiters)
  • Down or synthetic insulated jacket (hood is optional)
  • Fleece jacket
  • Medium weight fleece shirt or vest
  • Synthetic or wool underwear, top and bottoms
  • 2 Pairs of gloves (lightweight and heavier weight)
  • Scarf, neck gaiter or bandanna
  • Socks: thicker outer (wool) and thinner liners
  • Wool or fleece hat, covering the ears
  • Sun hat, preferably with wide rim

course equipment

  • Write-in-the-rain book (or other waterproof note paper, for taking notes)
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Avaluator 2 cards
  • Optional: snow saw

Sundry items

  • Sun Glasses (with very good UV protection, extra pair is a good idea)
  • Sun screen and lip protection
  • Goggles
  • A 1 liter Water bottle, preferably insulated (bladders/bags not recommended due to freezing temperatures)
  • Headlamp with spare batteries
  • Small Blister kit
  • Lunch & snacks
  • Personal items (Prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, prescription glasses etc.)
  • Pocket knife or Leatherman tool
  • Zip-lock bag for wallet and other documents to keep them dry (recommended)
  • Camera, batteries (optional)
  • Skin wax (a small amount)

Emergency Plan and Equipment (carried by the guide)

  • There is no cell coverage; you do not need to bring your personal cell or smartphone
  • Emergency plan
  • SPOT emergency locating device
  • Satellite phone or VHF radio
  • Complete first-aid kit
  • Repair kit
  • Evacuation gear for injured people
  • Avalanche rescue gear
  • All maps of the area
  • GPS, compass and altimeter
Print it

Our standard booking conditions apply. Please through our Payment and Booking Conditions info page carefully.

SKILL LEVEL: Introduction

PRE-REQUISITES: None

PRICE: $239.00 + gst

DURATION: Online 2 x evenings (6pm – 9pm) + 1 Full Field Day

AGES: 16 + years

INSTRUCTOR : STUDENT RATIO: 1 : 8 (max)

INCLUDED: Guiding & instruction, group gear

NOT INCLUDED: Transportation, personal equipment, gratuities.

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