Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST 1) Snowshoe - Whistler
Enjoy your adventures more with this critical safety knowledge.
Learn avalanche skills training and the fundamental skills of winter backcountry travel with the industry-leading expert’s Mountain Skills Academy.
We are a proud ‘Contributor’ to Avalanche Canada and an approved Avalanche Skills Training course provider.
Well regarded as Whistler’s leading avalanche skills educator, MSAA provides an exceptional Snowshoe Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST 1) Course.
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.
Course design and refinement by IMFGA / ACMG Mountain Guides / CAA Operations Level II Professionals of extensive experience. MSAA, the area's longest established provider (since 1991), proudly maintains 5 Star – Trip Advisor, Hall of Fame status for avalanche courses, is a Founding Member and Sponsor of Avalanche Canada. This in-depth course meets and surpasses the Canadian Avalanche Centre requirements with additional MSAA curriculum.
The course begins with an online digital pre-course video and questionnaire. The theory portion of the course is a full day and held in a comfortable classroom. Here we will provide our carefully crafted curriculum with an engaging interactive multimedia presentation.
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.
- 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: 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: Meet at 8:15am at a pre-arranged location. 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.
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
- Snowshoes & Poles
- Backpack-25-35 Litres
- Avalanche Safety Kit (transceiver, shovel, probe)
- 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
- 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
Price: $279/per person | $1399/private (up to 6ppl + 2 additional cost)
Book a Private Course and have a guide to yourself:
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