Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST 1) - Whistler
Avalanche Skills Training 1 is designed by Avalanche Canada to build the core skills necessary for safe backcountry travel. MSAA’s highly experienced guides spend the first day diving into the fundamentals of snow science, terrain assessment, risk management, planning, and dealing with emergencies.
The first day is held indoors in a classroom to facilitate effective theory instruction. The day begins with a discussion of the online pre-course. Throughout the day there are also decision-making exercises and a navigation workshop.
Day two is all about getting on the snow, applying the ideas from day one, refining basic skills, and practicing new ones. Practice safe travel techniques, perform basic snowpack assessment, learn critical companion rescue skills, and change the way you look at terrain!
- 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: To facilitate smooth integration with skiers we require that all snowboarders use a splitboard and not snowshoes. If you plan on only travelling in the backcountry using snowshoes we reccomend our Snowshoe AST-1 Course.
Lift Ticket *Day 2 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.
Day 1: Classroom portion - 9:00am - 5:00pm
Everyone will sign waivers and the guide will review the AST Pre-Course before moving on to theory using decision-making exercises and discussion. The day will include a short morning and afternoon break as well as a lunch break and will end with a debrief along with homework, some handouts and a resources list.
Parking: Please note that the nearest parking for this course is located at the Whistler Day LotsDay 2: Field Day - 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 on Day 1. The day will end at approximately 4:30 pm 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!
Day 1: (Classroom Day)
Day 2: (Field Day): 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)
- First Aid Kit with blister kit
- Rite in the Rain notebook and pencil (optional)
- Map, compass, GPS (optional)
- Lunch, snacks, and water
Day 1 (Classroom):
- Snowpack: crystals & layers
- 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
Day 2 (Outdoor):
- Trailhead procedures
- Companion rescue
- Avalanche terrain travel
- Snowpack and/or avalanche observations
- Snowpack tests
- Avalanche terrain descent
Click HERE for the full curriculum
The important details:
Season: Nov – Apr
Duration: 2 Days (8:30am – 4:30pm)
Max Ratio: 8 Clients to 1 Guide
Prerequisites: Average Fitness & Intermediate Skier
Minimum Age: 16 yrs
Price: Weekend: $339 Midweek: $299 | $1499/private (up to 8ppl)
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.
Foundation Backcountry Clinic
A “fast-track” clinic specifically designed to take one’s introductory skills to the next level!
Avalanche Skills Training 2
Our Avalanche Skills Training Level 2 course teaches managing and mitigating avalanche and mountain hazards.