Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 General Public: BC
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Whistler / Squamish Guides

Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 General Public

Avalanche Skills Training AST-1 Skiers/Riders Western Canada

Summary

  • Cost:
  • $225

Location: Whistler/Blackcomb   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Good   Ability: Introductory   Prerequisites: None   Course Code: AST1GPWhisSqu

This introductory avalanche course is designed for snowshoers, cross-country skiers and hikers (excellent for ice climbers as well) of all ages who want to develop the skills for safe travel in backcountry terrain where avalanche hazard exists.

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The following dates are available for this course.

We will post up more public dates if there is demand, so please let us know what dates work better for you.

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Course Information

If you are a skier or snowboarder, you might like to consider our Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 for Skiers & Riders course, also based in Whistler.

This introductory avalanche course is designed for snowshoers, crosscountry skiers and hikers (excellent for ice climbers as well) of all ages who want to develop the skills for safe travel in backcountry terrain where avalanche hazard exists. We believe that avalanche safety instructional needs differ amongst varying backcountry activities such as snowshoeing compared to ski touring and thus have developed activity specific courses.

Our two day industry-leading AST 1 course is provides avalanche skills training which includes avalanche phenomenon, trip planning, the principles of safe travel in the backcountry avalanche rescue and much more (refer to the Curriculum Tab).

Designed by IFMGA/ACMG certified Mountain Guides/CAA Level II Professionals, our Avalanche Training is well regarded as the industry’s premier AST 1 course.We have specifically designed this course to meet the needs of snowshoers, cross country skiers, ice climbers and  backcountry skiiers (those just developing basic ski skills). If you have already developed competent beginner ski skills than we highly recommend the AST 1 Skier & Riders course.

We are the inventors of the AST 1 General Public course. We utilize the Avalanche Canada curriculum as well as add our own proprietary addtional curriculum and methodology. Our indoor course features a high-end interactive multi-mediapresentation, while our field session uses the latest methodology, techniques and avalanche equipment. We have modern snowshoes, backcountry ski and split boarding equipment for rent.

Course includes:

  • 2 day AST 1 Course with certified instructors
  • AST 1 Certificate
  • CAC Backcountry Avalanche Awareness Book
  • CAC Avaluator 2 booklet and Avaluator 2 Slope Assessment Field Card
  • Companion Rescue Field Card
  • 30 minute Pre-Course Interactive Lesson and Video
  • Indoor day comfortable conference room
  • High End Power Point
  • Interactive modules
  • Animated slides
  • Video
  • Live online feeds
  • World Wide Web Resources
  • High resolution pictures and terrain shots
  • Student Handouts
  • Trip Planner Template

This course complies with  Avalanche Canada’s AST 1 course curriculum guidelines and after successful completion you will be awarded an official AST 1 certificate of completion.

Please note that the course price includes a mandatory Avalanche Canada student fee of $6.25. For ease of payment processing, this fee is included in overall course cost.

Why choose Whistler Alpine Guides for AST 1?

Tailor-made course: Unlike many operations, we choose to run a separate AST 1 course for hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers. We recognise that different groups enjoy the backcountry in diverse ways and therefore believe we can provide more relevant and enjoyable training by tailoring our courses specifically to the needs of a single group.

Professionalism: All our instructors are avalanche experts and are certified with either CAA Operations and/or are ACMG/IFMGA ski or mountain guides.

Low student to guide ratios: Our student to guide ratio is 8:1 – this ensures maximum safety and learning.

Comfort: The classroom day is taught in a comfortable conference room with all amenities.

Exceptional content: Our course structure and materials are state of the art, designed to be readily understood, interactive, informative and interesting.

Terrain: On the field day we choose a destination best suited to the current avalanche conditions and snow quality. We are not confined to just one place.
Those intending to backcountry ski or snowboard please refer to the AST 1 Skiers & Riders Course.

Day 1

Classroom Session

  • *Meet at prearranged classroom location
  • Course Start: 0900
  • Meet and greet, sign waivers, course briefing, equipment check
  • Pre-Course Lesson & Video

Part I: Introductions & Pre-Course Quiz

  • Lesson 1

Part II: Avalanche Phenomenon Power Point

  • Lessons 2 – 95
  • Lunch break at around noon

Part III: Avalanche Travel Equipment & Companion Rescue Clinic

  • Lessons 96 – 100

Part IV: Avalanche Bulletin/Avaluator 2 & Pre-Trip Planning Session

  • Lessons 101 – 105
    End of day: 16:30

Debrief. Homework, Handouts & Resources List

Day 2

Field Session

  • *Meet at pre-arranged location.
  • 08:00
  • Guides meeting. Discuss current conditions, weather, gear check. Course briefing.
  • Head to field sessions location
  • Field Sessions 1 – 6
  • Lunch break at around noon
  • End of day: 16:30 Course Debrief. Certificates. Discuss next steps.

We are happy to help source any gear you need for your course

Avalanche Safety Kit is not included (transceiver, shovel, probe) however we offer avalanche package rentals for only $15 per day

If you wish to purchase your own Avalanche Safety Kit we can arrange this through our partnership with Backcountry Access for a great price with the purchase of an AST 1 course.

Snowshoes are also available for rental.

Reservations are required for all rental gear and equipment.

Classroom Day: Just bring yourself, lunch, pens and paper. Laptop is optional.

Clothing

  • Field Day: Dress appropriately for the conditions.
  • Down or synthetic “puffy” insulated jacket
  • Insulating top and bottom under layers and socks
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Warm hat and balaclava
  • 2 pairs of gloves, mittens (optional)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.

Equipment

  • Backpack-25-35 Litres
  • Snowshoes or Cross Country skis
  • Poles
  • Helmet
  • Write in the rain book and mechanical pencil (optional)
  • First Aid Kit with blister kit
  • Map, compass, GPS (all optional)
  • Feel free to bring your own Avalanche Safety Kit if you have it

*Lunch, snacks, and water
*Thermos (optional)

If you wish to purchase your own Avalanche Safety Kit we can arrange this through our partnership with Backcountry Access for $340 with the purchase of an AST 1 course.

1 Interactive Pre-Course Lesson & Video- 30 min*

*A link to our 30 minute Pre-Course Lessons and video will be provided in your logistics package after course registration.

 

2 The Indoor course

  • Part I: Introductions & Pre-Course Quiz
  • Part II: Avalanche Phenomenon Power Point
  • Part III: Avalanche Travel Equipment & Companion Rescue Clinic
  • Part IV: Avalanche Bulletin/Avaluator 2 & Pre-Trip Planning Session

Part I: Introductions & Pre-Course Quiz

  • Lesson 1: Pre-course quiz

Part II: Avalanche Phenomenon Power Point

  • Lessons 2-20: Snowpack: Crystals & Layers
  • Snow Crystal types
  • Weak layers
  • Interactive Animation: Snow crystal metamorphosis/re-crystallization/Temperature Gradient
  • Persistent weak layers
  • Lessons 21-42: Terrain:
  • Avalanche Phenomenon
  • Avalanche Terrain: Slope Incline, Anchor Density, Terrain Shape
  • Avalanche Path & Slope Recognition
  • Start Zones
  • Alpine, Treeline & Below Treeline Terrain
  • Avalanche Types
  • Avalanche Triggers
  • Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale
  • Lessons 43-64: Environmental Factors in Avalanche Formation Terrain
  • Slope Aspects: North, South, East, West
  • Elevations: Alpine, Treeline, Below Treeline
  • Load on a slope
  • Sun & Solar Radiation
  • Temperature
  • Wind
  • Snowpack Variability
  • Lessons  65-83: Avalanche Hazard Mitigation
  • Safe Terrain Selection
  • Snowpack Tests
  • Strategic Approach
  • Lessons 84-92: Avalanche Danger Resources
  • Avalanche Danger Scale
  • Avalanche Bulletin
  • Weather Resources
  • Conditions Resources
  • Other important resources
  • Lessons 93 – 95: Human Factors
  • Human Factors
  • Case Study

Part III: Avalanche Travel Equipment & Companion Rescue Clinic

  • Lesson 96-100: Equipment and Companion Rescue Technique Familiarization
  • Transceivers: Use and Demo
  • Companion Rescue Training: Using our new proprietary CTM (Configurable Training Mat)
  • Avalanche Probe
  • Avalanche Shovel
  • Avalanche Air Bag and Backcountry Ski/Freeride  backpack

Part IV: Avalanche Bulletin/Avaluator 2 & Pre-Trip Planning Session

  • Lesson 100-104: Pre-Trip Planning
  • CAC Avaluator Trip Planner
  • Trip Planner Form
  • Proprietary Online Trip Planner Tool & Resources
  • Next Days Plan
  • Lesson 105: Decision Making Competence

3 The outdoor Course

  • Field Session 1: Trailhead procedures
  • Equipment Check
  • Signal Check
  • Quick Intro to Backcountry Equipment Use
  • Field Session 2: Companion Rescue:
  • Avalanche Incident Scene Assessment
  • Rescue Organization
  • Avalanche Transceiver Coarse Search
  • Avalanche Transceiver Fine Search
  • Pinpointing with Avalanche Probe
  • Conveyor Belt Digging Technique
  • Companion Rescue Practice
  • Companion Rescue Test
  • Field Session 3:  Travel in avalanche terrain
  • Situational Awareness
  • Students take turns behind the instructor noting changes in terrain, conditions, weather and avalanche indicators
  • Conservative Terrain Selection & Track setting
  • Consider the current avalanche problems: What, When, Where, What is the trigger, How big
  •  Field Session 4: Snowpack and/or avalanche observations
  • Snowpack layers
  • Layers of Concern
  • Using Snow Study Kit
  • Noting Red Flag/Class ‘A’ Indicators
  • Avalanches, Wumphing, Shooting Cracks
  • Field Session 5: Snowpack tests
  • Compression Test, Shovel Sheer Test, Rutschblock, Hand Sheer Test
  • Find the layers of concern, test and discuss the hazard they pose
  • ATES scale (simple, challenging, complex)
  • Slope Assessment; use Avaluator 2 Slope Assessment
  • Avalanche types and sizes Common triggers
  • Field Session 6: Descent in avalanche terrain
  • Mitigation techniques: Avoidance, Conservative Approach, Re-grouping

 

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance upon booking and Emergency Evacuation insurance.

Emergency Evacuation and Medical

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by National Health.

We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance. Emergency evacuation insurance is also compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com or call 1800 663 0399

All course prices are quoted in Canadian Dollars and are exclusive of a 5% Federal GST. Prices are subject to change.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept Credit Card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

If conditions force us to cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund.

Cancellation Policy for Via Ferrata, Glacier Walks and Glacier Hikes, Hiking Tours and Backcountry Hiking Day tours
– Within 24 hour cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
– Outside of 24 hours: $25 penalty to reschedule. 30% of booking forfeited upon cancellation.

Cancellation Policy for Avalanche Skills Training 1
– Within 14 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
– Outside of 14 days: $75 penalty to reschedule. 30% of booking forfeited upon cancellation.

Cancellation Policy for all other single day programs
– Within 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
– Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule. 30% of booking forfeited upon cancellation.

Cancellation Policy for multi day programs
– Within 90 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
– Outside of 90 days: $100 penalty to reschedule. 30% of booking forfeited upon cancellation.

We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability.

We strongly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance prior to your booking. Please see the insurance tab for more details. Alternatively if you are able to find someone else to take your place please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.


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