Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST 1) Snowshoe - Squamish

Per Person: $279

Private (up to 6 People): $1399

Enjoy your adventures more with this critical safety knowledge.

Location: Squamish

Duration: 2 Days 

Prerequisites: None

Fitness Level: Good 

Well regarded as the Sea to Sky’s leading avalanche skills educator, MSAA is now providing an exceptional Snowshoe Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST 1) courses in Squamish.

This introductory avalanche skills course is designed for snowshoers, hikers, and ice climbers who want to develop the skills for safe travel in backcountry terrain where avalanche hazard exists.

One theory day in the classroom introduces you to the course content and one field day outdoors lets you practice hands-on. All courses are led by experienced, highly trained guides.

Our carefully designed curriculums have been crafted into a number of programs designed to help every level of student reach their full potential. 

Find out more: The Academy



  • Choose the best date for you using the calendar below. Please note: Day 2 will follow on from Day 1.

Dates coming soon…

Private Tour:

Book a Private Course to work around your plans & location preferences.

How to book: Enter the start date of your course then let us know your prefered schedule under billing information at checkout.

Book Now

Private Tour:

Book a Private Course to work around your plans & location preferences.

How to book: Enter the start date of your course then let us know your prefered schedule under billing information at checkout.


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.

Our two-day AST 1 course provides avalanche skills training which includes avalanche phenomenon, trip planning, the principles of safe travel in the backcountry avalanche rescue and much more. This in-depth course meets and surpasses the Canadian Avalanche Centre requirements with additional MSAA curriculum.

Course includes:

  • Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 Certificate (upon successful completion)
  • 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
  • 30-minute Pre-Course Interactive Lesson and Video

**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: Meet the guide at 8:45am at Executive Suites Hotel & Resort, Squamish.

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.

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.

Day 2: Meet at 7:15am at the Escape Route in Squamish.

The guide will lead a short briefing (discussing current conditions and weather) and have everyone perform a gear check.

From there you will take a shuttle up to the Diamond Head/Elfin Lake area to apply the skills you learned on Day 1.

Escape Route Logo A shuttle service from Escape Route Squamish to Elfin Lakes is provided by Approach Angle shuttle for an additional $40.00 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 what steps you can take after your AST1.


Escape Route Logo

If you require rentals we have teamed up with the experts at the Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre. Follow the link HERE to purchase or rent gear for this course!

All Acccess Adventures Logo

Looking to rent a splitboard or Avi Gear? We have teamed up with All Access Adventures to provide rentals directly to your door! Follow the link HERE to purchase or rent gear for this course!

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


    Instructor showing group how to search with a transceiver

    Companion Rescue Skills Clinic

    Review, refresh, and build upon your avalanche safety knowledge.

    Group learning how to use probes in Whistler backcountry

    Avalanche Skills Training 2

    Our Avalanche Skills Training Level 2 course teaches managing and mitigating avalanche and mountain hazards.