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Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 General Public

ast-general

Summary

  • Cost:
  • $175

Location: Canmore   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Average   Ability: Introductory   Prerequisites: None  

This introductory avalanche course is designed for snowshoers, cross-country skiers and hikers of all ages who want to learn about avalanche rescue and safe travel in the backcountry. We believe that the avalanche safety instructional needs differ among varying activities.

Make a Booking

Dates to be posted in October.

Course Information

This introductory avalanche course is designed for snowshoers, cross-country skiers and hikers of all ages who want to learn about avalanche rescue and safe travel in the backcountry. We believe that the avalanche safety instructional needs differ among varying activities.

Our two day industry-leading AST 1 course is an introduction to avalanche rescue skills and the principles of safe travel in the backcountry. After a day of class and a day in the field you will learn what gear you need and how to use it, how to read the terrain and conditions, and how to rescue a buried companion.

Designed by IFMGA/ACMG certified Mountain Guides/CAA Level II Professionals, our Avalanche Training is well regarded as the industry’s premier AST 1 course.

Course includes:

  • 2 day AST 1 Course with certified instructors
  • AST 1 Certificate
  • CAC Backcountry Avalanche Awareness Book
  • CAC Avaluator 2 booklet and Avaluator 2 Slope Assessment Field Card
  • Companion Rescue Field Card
  • 30 minute Pre-Course Interactive Lesson and Video
  • Indoor day comfortable conference room
  • High End Power Point
  • Interactive modules
  • Animated slides
  • Video
  • Live online feeds
  • World Wide Web Resources
  • High resolution pictures
  • Student Handouts
  • Life-time free access to our online Avalanche Trip Planning Resource & Updates
  • Trip Planner Template
  • Use of Snow Study Kit with Thermometer, Crystal Screen and Loupe
  • Cool Stickers!

All students additionally receive life-time free access to our online Avalanche Trip Planning Resource & Updates

Don’t take an AST 1 course with a group of skiers when you can go at your own pace and focus on your own needs with our industry-leading course AST 1 General Public.

This course complies with the Canadian Avalanche Association and after successful completion you will be awarded a certificate.

Why choose Mountain Skills Academy for AST 1?

  • Tailor-made course: Unlike many operations, we choose to run a separate AST 1 course for hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers. We recognise that different groups enjoy the backcountry in diverse ways and therefore believe we can provide more relevant and enjoyable training by tailoring our courses specifically to the needs of a single group.
  • Professionalism: All our instructors are avalanche experts and are certified with either CAA Operations and/or are ACMG/IFMGA ski or mountain guides.
  • Low student to guide ratios: Our student to guide ratio is 8:1 – this ensures maximum safety and learning.
  • Comfort: The classroom day is taught in a comfortable conference room with all amenities.
  • Exceptional content: Our course structure and materials are state of the art, designed to be readily understood, interactive, informative and interesting.
  • Terrain: On the field day we choose a destination best suited to the current avalanche conditions and snow quality. We are not confined to just one place.

Those intending to backcountry ski or snowboard please refer to the AST1 Skiers and Riders course

Day 1 – Classroom Session

  • *Meet at prearranged classroom location
  • Course Start: 0900
  • Meet and greet, sign waivers, course briefing, equipment check

Part I: Introductions

  • Lesson 1

Part II: Avalanche Phenomenon Power Point

  • Lessons 2 – 95
  • Lunch break at around noon

Part III: Avalanche Travel Equipment & Companion Rescue Clinic

  • Lessons 96 – 100

Part IV: Avalanche Bulletin/Avaluator 2 & Pre-Trip Planning Session

  • Lessons 101 – 105
  • End of day: 16:30
  • Debrief. Homework, Handouts & Resources List

Day 2 – Field Session

  • *Meet at pre-arranged location.
  • 08:00
  • Guides meeting. Discuss current conditions, weather, gear check. Course briefing.
  • Head to field sessions location
  • Field Sessions 1 – 6
  • Lunch break at around noon
  • End of day: 16:30 Course Debrief. Certificates. Discuss next steps.

Classroom Day: Just bring yourself, lunch, pens and paper. A Laptop is Optional.

Clothing

Field Day: Dress appropriately for the conditions.

  • Down or synthetic “puffy” insulated jacket
  • Insulating top and bottom under layers and socks
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Warm hat and balaclava
  • 2 pairs of gloves, mittens (optional)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.

Equipment

  • Backpack-25-35 Litres
  • Snowshoes and boots or cross-country skis and boots
  • Poles
  • Write in the rain book and mechanical pencil (optional)
  • First Aid Kit with blister kit
  • Map, compass, GPS (all optional)
  • Feel free to bring your own Avalanche Safety Kit if you have it
  • *Lunch, snacks, and water
  • *Thermos (optional)

If you wish to purchase your own Avalanche Safety Kit we can arrange this through our partnership with Backcountry Access for a great price with the purchase of an AST1 course.

Interactive Pre-Course Lesson & Video- 30 min*

*A link to our 30 minute Pre-Course Lessons and video will be provided in your logistics package after course registration.

The Indoor course

  • Part I: Introductions & Pre-Course Quiz
  • Part II: Avalanche Phenomenon Power Point
  • Part III: Avalanche Travel Equipment & Companion Rescue Clinic
  • Part IV: Avalanche Bulletin/Avaluator 2 & Pre-Trip Planning Session

Part I: Introductions & Pre-Course Quiz

  • Lesson 1: Pre-course quiz

Part II: Avalanche Phenomenon Power Point

  • Lessons 2-20: Snowpack: Crystals & Layers
  • Snow Crystal types
  • Weak layers
  • Interactive Animation: Snow crystal metamorphosis/re-crystallization/Temperature Gradient
  • Persistent weak layers
  • Lessons 21-42: Terrain:
  • Avalanche Phenomenon
  • Avalanche Terrain: Slope Incline, Anchor Density, Terrain Shape
  • Avalanche Path & Slope Recognition
  • Start Zones
  • Alpine, Treeline & Below Treeline Terrain
  • Avalanche Types
  • Avalanche Triggers
  • Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale
  • Lessons 43-64: Environmental Factors in Avalanche Formation Terrain
  • Slope Aspects: North, South, East, West
  • Elevations: Alpine, Treeline, Below Treeline
  • Load on a slope
  • Sun & Solar Radiation
  • Temperature
  • Wind
  • Snowpack Variability
  • Lessons 65-83: Avalanche Hazard Mitigation
  • Safe Terrain Selection
  • Snowpack Tests
  • Strategic Approach
  • Lessons 84-92: Avalanche Danger Resources
  • Avalanche Danger Scale
  • Avalanche Bulletin
  • Weather Resources
  • Conditions Resources
  • Other important resources
  • Lessons 93 – 95: Human Factors
  • Human Factors
  • Case Study

Part III: Avalanche Travel Equipment & Companion Rescue Clinic

  • Lesson 96-100: Equipment and Companion Rescue Technique Familiarization
  • Transceivers: Use and Demo
  • Companion Rescue Training: Using our new proprietary CTM (Configurable Training Mat)
  • Avalanche Probe
  • Avalanche Shovel
  • Avalanche Air Bag and Backcountry Ski/Freeride backpack

Part IV: Avalanche Bulletin/Avaluator 2 & Pre-Trip Planning Session

  • Lesson 100-104: Pre-Trip Planning
  • CAC Avaluator Trip Planner
  • Trip Planner Form
  • Proprietary Online Trip Planner Tool & Resources
  • Next Days Plan
  • Lesson 105: Decision Making Competence

The outdoor Course

  • Field Session 1: Trailhead procedures
  • Equipment Check
  • Signal Check
  • Quick Intro to Backcountry Equipment Use
  • Field Session 2: Companion Rescue:
  • Avalanche Incident Scene Assessment
  • Rescue Organization
  • Avalanche Transceiver Coarse Search
  • Avalanche Transceiver Fine Search
  • Pinpointing with Avalanche Probe
  • Conveyor Belt Digging Technique
  • Companion Rescue Practice
  • Companion Rescue Test
  • Field Session 3: Travel in avalanche terrain
  • Situational Awareness
  • Students take turns behind the instructor noting changes in terrain, conditions, weather and avalanche indicators
  • Conservative Terrain Selection & Track setting
  • Consider the current avalanche problems: What, When, Where, What is the trigger, How big
  • Field Session 4: Snowpack and/or avalanche observations
  • Snowpack layers
  • Layers of Concern
  • Using Snow Study Kit
  • Noting Red Flag/Class ‘A’ Indicators
  • Avalanches, Wumphing, Shooting Cracks
  • Field Session 5: Snowpack tests
  • Compression Test, Shovel Sheer Test, Rutschblock, Hand Sheer Test
  • Find the layers of concern, test and discuss the hazard they pose
  • ATES scale (simple, challenging, complex)
  • Slope Assessment; use Avaluator 2 Slope Assessment
  • Avalanche types and sizes Common triggers
  • Field Session 6: Descent in avalanche terrain
  • Mitigation techniques:
  • Avoidance
  • Conservative Approach
  • Re-grouping

Transport to Field Locations

Participants in this course will meet their guide at an agreed time and location, usually a local cafe, in Canmore on the morning of the first day. From there you will be expected to have private transport to get to the course location. If you don’t have private transport we can arrange transport with the guide for $20 per day.

Accommodation in Canmore

Accommodation is not included in the course price however we offer significantly discounted pricing arrangements through a selection of local providers ranging from hostel dorm beds to hotel suites.

If you require accommodation in Canmore for the length of your course please let us know when you register and we can make the arrangements. Often course participants split the cost of a room and are able to enjoy the amenity of a full service hotel at the price of a hostel dorm bed.

Food for Backcountry Field Days

Please make sure you pack plenty of high energy food and snacks as well as fluids to keep you at your best all day long. There are plenty of restaurants and supermarkets in Canmore, and if you completely forget we start the day at a local coffee shop so you’ll be able to grab something for lunch from there. A thermos of tea or coffee is also a great idea.

We're flexible!

Request ALternative Dates

Request Alternative Dates

Have particular dates in mind? Let us know! If we have enough requests we'll add them to this course.

Request ALternative Dates

Request a Private Course

We organise private courses and trips. Click here to start filling out the request form.

Request ALternative Dates

Buddy Up!

Share the cost of the guide! Let us know which activity you would like to do and we'll do our best to find you a buddy.


Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance upon booking and Emergency Evacuation insurance.

Emergency Evacuation and Medical

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by National Health.

We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance. Emergency evacuation insurance is also compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com or call 1800 663 0399

All course prices are quoted in Canadian Dollars and are exclusive of a 5% Federal GST. Prices are subject to change.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept Credit Card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

If conditions force us to cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund.

Cancellation Policy for Via Ferrata, Glacier Walks and Glacier Hikes, Hiking Tours and Backcountry Hiking Day tours
– Within 24 hour cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
– Outside of 24 hours: $25 penalty to reschedule. 30% of booking forfeited upon cancellation.

Cancellation Policy for Avalanche Skills Training 1
– Within 14 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
– Outside of 14 days: $75 penalty to reschedule. 30% of booking forfeited upon cancellation.

Cancellation Policy for all other single day programs
– Within 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
– Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule. 30% of booking forfeited upon cancellation.

Cancellation Policy for multi day programs
– Within 90 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
– Outside of 90 days: $100 penalty to reschedule. 30% of booking forfeited upon cancellation.

We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability.

We strongly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance prior to your booking. Please see the insurance tab for more details. Alternatively if you are able to find someone else to take your place please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.


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