Avalanche Skills Training (AST Courses)

Avalanche Skills Training Level 1:

Our Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 course (AST 1) provides an entry-level decision-making framework for recreational skiers and snowboarders in winter backcountry avalanche terrain. This comprehensive 2.5 day program is a blend of practical field days with indoor theory and review based on curriculum as established by the Canadian Avalanche Centre.

Cost: $239 CDN plus tax.

Avalanche Skills Training Level II:

The “Avalanche Skills Training Level II course” is designed for the serious and experienced winter backcountry user. This course expands on the theories and principles established at the AST 1 level course or those who already have a solid understanding of snow avalanche principles. The program incorporates extensive practical field sessions in real avalanche terrain implementing a systematic approach for assessing and evaluating the potential avalanche hazard.

Cost: $599 CDN plus tax.

Book Your AST Course

Whistler Blackcomb Reservation Centre

Toll-Free within North America: 1-800-766-0449
Toll-Free within the United Kingdom: 0800-587-1743
Toll-Free within Australia: 0011-800-44-22-1122
All other International Guests: 604-967-8950

AST Course Dates

AST Level 1 Dates

November 2013 22-24,
29-Dec 1
 December 2013 6-8,
 January 2014 3-5,
Jan 31-Feb 2
 February 2014 7-9,
28-Mar 2
 March 2014 7-9,

AST Level 2 Dates

January 2014 11-12/18-19
February 2014 8-9/15-16
March 2014 8-9/15-16

Other Resources

Canadian Avalanche Centre

AST Course Information

Recommended Ski Snowboard Ability

This course is suitable for intermediate skiers and boarders confident in handling varying snow conditions, such as ice, powder, crust and slush.

Recommended Reading

Supplied to Student:
Avaluator v2.0  (CAC)
Backcountry Avalanche Awareness, 8th Edition, Bruce Jamieson  (CAC)

Recommended that student purchase:
Backcountry Whistler – John Baldwin (2013-4 ed. preferred)


Supplied to student:
Avaluator v2.0  (CAC)
Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain – Bruce Tremper (Armchair Books or CAC)
Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain – Pascal Haegli, et all  (CAC)

Recommended that student purchase:
Backcountry Whistler – John Baldwin (2013-4 ed. preferred)

Equipment Requirements

This list is intended as a general guideline.

  • Touring skis or split board, with climbing skins.
  • Ski poles (required for both skier or boarders).
  • It is recommended that boarders use collapsible poles
  • Ski boots (ideally touring) or snowboard boots.
  • Back pack (25-35 litre)
  • Avalanche Transceiver
  • Avalanche shovel
  • Avalanche probe
  • Waterproof breathable shell jacket (w/hood) and pants
  • Warm non-cotton under-layers
  • Synthetic or down parka (ideally w/hood)
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen/lip protection
  • Lunch and water (at least 1 litre)
  • Camera
  • Headlamp
  • “Rite in the rain” waterproof notebook an pencil

It is important to bring a note book and pen to the evening indoor session.

If you have your own shovel, probe and transceiver they need to be in good working order. Your transceiver must have fresh batteries and have been maintained to the manufacturers recommendations.

If you bring your own touring skis or snowboard and skins check in advance to be sure they are in proper working order. If you are renting equipment be sure to leave ample time to fit and pickup the necessary gear.

Remember that when we go out for the day we stay out for the day.

Rental Equipment

Packages of skis, touring bindings, skins, pack, transceiver, probe and shovel are available to rent from Essentially Blackcomb for $63/day plus tax. Contact Extremely Canadian to arrange your rental.

Another option for backcountry gear rental is Excess Backcountry.