The Avalanche Safety Training 1 (AST1) course introduces you to the fundamentals critical to safe backcountry travel. This includes pre-trip planning, backcountry equipment, snowpack and avalanche hazard assessment, terrain selection and companion rescue skills. Day 1 is a theory day that introduces you to these concepts, while Day 2 takes you into the Whistler backcountry to practice the skills.
Our Level 1 Avalanche Skills Training Course is designed by IMFGA/ACMG certified Mountain Guides and CAA Operations Level II Professionals. This AST1 course is tailored for skiers and snowboarders who plan to venture into the backcountry to learn about hazards and how to manage them. It is important for participants to have intermediate (blue level) ski or snowboarding skills in various conditions and be in reasonable physical shape. Our student to guide ratio is 8:1 as this ensures maximum safety and learning. Know before you go!
*All Courses subject to a minimum number of participants. 48 hour notice will be given if minimum number has not been reached.
Day 1 – Meet at a pre-arranged location where we will cover theory in the classroom all day.
Day 2 – Meet at the Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre (#7 – 4433 Sundial Place, Whistler)
Head up the mountain to apply the skills you learned on Day 1.
We will end the day with a quick debrief.
Clothing – Dress appropriately for the conditions
Transportation: Ensure you have reliable transportation to and from meeting locations.
Lift Tickets: Lift tickets are not included but can be purchased through MSAA.
Accommodation: Not included in course price.
Food: For field day, pack plenty of fluids, high energy food, and snacks. A thermos with a hot drink is also a great idea.
We strongly recommend you purchase insurance for Trip Cancellation, Emergency Evacuation and Adventure Sports Coverage (some backcountry adventures are excluded from coverage).
Emergency Evacuation and Medical Insurance
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 your provincial health plan (except ambulance/air ambulance transport). We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance.
Emergency evacuation insurance is 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.
Learn about training courses at the academy:
Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com who can be reached via the following:
All prices are quoted in Canadian dollars and are exclusive of a 5% tax (GST). Prices are subject to change. Guide gratuities are not included in fees.
Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA. We also accept bank e-transfers and cash.
• For 1-2 day adventures/courses booking must be paid in full.
• For longer adventures/courses a deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking.
• The remaining balance is due 30 days before the start date.
• Bookings made less than 30 days before adventure/course must be paid in full.
Next day bookings are taken up until 5pm the day before any tour or course. *Subject to guide availability
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.
Applicable to all tours and courses*: 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. We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability. *Does not apply to first aid courses.
Late Arrival Policy
Guests arriving more than 15 minutes late for an activity forfeit 100% of the tour price. Tours leave promptly; it is recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to sort out gear and sign waivers.
Adventures Cancellation Policy
Half Day and Full Day Tours
**On all multi day trips pre-arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).
1-2 Day Courses
3+ Day Courses
**If you are able to find someone else to take your place on a course, please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.
Minors (under the age of 19) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where a parent or legal guardian is not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well, they must sign a waiver and have a parent 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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