Industry leading avalanche skills training course with an additional field day of skill practice and refinement.

BOOK NOW Starting from: $299.00 /per person Book Now

BOOK NOW Starting from: $299.00 /per person

Book Now


Spend three days with our professional guides developing fundamental travel, rescue, and risk management skills. MSAA works closely with Avalanche Canada to develop, refine, and deliver the best and most current avalanche training available.

Book online or contact our office to ask any questions: 1-604-938-9242 or info@mountainskillsacademy.com


AST1+ was developed by MSAA’s ACMG Mountain Guides/IMFGA and CAA Level 2 professionals with a core tenet in mind: perfect practice makes perfect. We start with the standard AST curriculum including a classroom day of theory and discussion about snow, terrain, weather, rescue, and risk management. Where AST1+ diverges is with two full days of learning, practicing, and honing skills in the field with the expert guidance of an MSAA team member. Students have the chance to look at more terrain with their guide, to get expert tips on travel and route selection, and to develop the muscle memory for fast, safe, and effective companion rescue.

Choose learning in person for an unparalleled atmosphere of discussion, collaborative thinking, and team building, or take advantage of MSAA’s online option and to meet with your guide and classmates over two evenings.

Field days: Spend two days in the Whistler Blackcomb backcountry learning how to evaluate terrain, select travel routes, make decisions based on conditions and observations, perform snow stability assessments, and how to rescue companions during an emergency. The “plus” day provides time to hone new skills, and to take full advantage of our guides’ wealth of knowledge and experience!

Course includes:

  • 1.5 - 2hr pre-course using an online interactive learning platform
  • Backcountry avalanche awareness book
  • Avaluator booklet and avaluator slope assessment field card
  • Canadian avalanche association mandatory student fee
  • Companion rescue field card
  • Use of snow study kit with thermometer, crystal screen and loupe
  • Avalanche skills training level 1 certificate (upon successful completion)

Snowboarders: For this course we require that all snowboarders use a splitboard. We do not allow people to use snowshoes for this course.

Lift Ticket *field days only: If you do NOT currently possess a valid Whistler Blackcomb lift ticket (Seasons Pass, Spirit Pass, Edge Card, Epic Pass, etc.), you may buy a Lift Ticket through our office at checkout.

**All Courses subject to a minimum number of participants. 48 hour notice will be given if the minimum number has not been reached.

Classroom Portion: In-Person: 9:00am - 5:00pm Online: 6pm - 9pm (over two evenings)

Everyone will sign waivers and the guide will review the AST Pre-Test before starting on the course theory. The day will include a short morning and afternoon break as well as a lunch break. The day will end with a debrief along with homework, some handouts and a resources list.

COVID-19: Our classroom location allows all students to maintain the required 2m physical distancing guidelines. The establishtment performs it's own cleaning before and after every meeting room use, and our instructors will also wipe down all tables during every break. We also require all students to wear a mask when inside the classroom as an extra precaution.

Parking: Please note that the nearest parking for this course is located at the Whistler Day Lots

Field Days: 8:30am - 4:30pm

The guide will lead a short briefing (discussing current conditions and weather) and have everyone perform a gear check. From there you will head up the mountain to apply the skills you learned during the classroom. Each day will end at approximately 4:30pm with a quick debrief and discussion of what steps you can take after your AST1+.

MSAA Loyalty Program: Following the AST-1 Course all students will be added to the MSAA loyalty program. All students will receive a 10% discount on any future course with MSAA. Following the AST-1 Course we reccomend all students take the AST-2 course within the next 1-2 seasons. For more information contact our office.


If you require rentals we have teamed up with local rental companies to provide discounted rentals. Visit our rental page HERE for more information!


  • Pen
  • Paper/notebook
  • Lunch, snacks & water
  • Face mask
  • Laptop (optional)

  • Field Days: Dress appropriately for the conditions.


    • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
    • Down or synthetic insulated jacket
    • Mid layer fleece top
    • Insulating top and bottom under layers and socks
    • Warm hat/toque and balaclava
    • 2 pairs of gloves
    • Sunglasses and sunscreen


    • Lift Pass
    • Backpack-25-35 Litres
    • Alpine touring skis/splitboard, skins, bindings, and boots
    • Avalanche Safety Kit (transceiver, shovel, probe)
    • Helmet
    • Poles
    • First Aid Kit with blister kit
    • Rite in the Rain notebook and pencil (optional)
    • Map, compass, GPS (optional)
    • Lunch, snacks, and water
    • Snowpack: Crystals & Layers
    • Terrain
    • Environmental Factors in Avalanche Formation Terrain
    • Avalanche Hazard Mitigation
    • Avalanche Danger Resources
    • Human Factors
    • Equipment and Companion Rescue Technique Familiarization
    • Pre-Trip Planning & Avalanche Bulletin/Avaluator
    • Decision Making Competence
    Field Days:
    • Trailhead Procedures
    • Companion Rescue
    • Avalanche Terrain Travel
    • Snowpack and/or Avalanche Observations
    • Snowpack Tests
    • Avalanche Terrain Descent

    Click HERE for the full curriculum

    Plus Day:
    • Hazard identification accuracy; rating / type / layer / location / trigger / mitigation
    In Field Terrain Selection & Track Setting Performance:
    • Safe, efficient, conservative approach, quality ski terrain identification, best; snow, aspects, elevation, incline, terrain type (anchors, trees or open, supported/unsupported) to ski/ride
    • Snowpack Problems & Hazard Identification/Investigation/Mitigation Performance
    • Downhill ski/riding Performance
    • Human factors

    The important details:

    Season: Nov – Apr

    Duration: 3 Days (8:30am – 4:30pm)

    Location: Whistler

    Max Ratio: 8 Clients to 1 Guide

    Prerequisites: Good Fitness & Intermediate-Advanced Skier

    Price: Weekend: $339 Midweek: $299 | $1899/private (up to 8ppl)


    We run classroom-based & online courses all season long!

    Book Now

    Request Alternative Dates:

    Have a date in mind that is not available to book? Request an alternative date and if we have more than 3 participants interested we will open the date. 



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