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

BOOK NOW Starting from: $299.00 /per person

Book Now


Your backcountry education starts with our professional guides and two days of 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


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!

This introductory avalanche skills course is specifically designed for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, hikers and ice climbers. If you venture into terrain where avalanche risk may be present, this course is for you.

Field Day: Please note that the field day for this course will be hosted in the Squamish backcountry. This location has been chosen due to it's easy access using our paid shuttle service. More information in the itinerary tab.

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)

**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-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

Day 2 (Squamish, Diamond Head): 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 4:30pm with a quick debrief and discussion of what steps you can take after your AST1.

Escape Route Logo

A shuttle service from Escape Route Squamish to Elfin Lakes is provided by Approach Angle shuttle for an additional $60.00 return per person.

We recommend everyone without the appropriate vehicle and snowchains to book the shuttle service. This can be applied at the checkout.

The day will end at approximately 4:30pm with a quick debrief and discussion of next steps.


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)

  • Pen (due to COVID-19, we will not be providing pens)
  • Paper/notebook
  • Lunch, snacks & water
  • Laptop (optional)

  • 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


    • Snowshoes & Poles
    • Backpack-25-35 Litres
    • Avalanche Safety Kit (transceiver, shovel, probe)
    • Poles
    • First Aid Kit with blister kit
    • write in the Rain notebook and pencil (optional)
    • Map, compass, GPS (optional)
    • Lunch, snacks, and water
    Day 1 (Classroom):
    • 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
    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)

    Location: Classroom, Whistler. Field Day, Squamish.

    Max Ratio: 8 Clients to 1 Guide

    Prerequisites: Average Fitness 


    Price: Weekend: $339 Midweek: $299 | $1399/private (up to 8ppl)

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