We know that you want to get the most out of your Canada West Mountain School program, so please take a moment to review this checklist in order to help you prepare
FAQ – Click here for Q&A about Avalanche courses.
Read the Pre-course package that you receive:
- double check that you are registered in the correct program and dates
- make sure you know when and where the meeting place is for the start
- take note of any special instructions
Complete all the Online lessons in the Virtual Classroom:
- You should receive a link to the CWMS Virtual Classroom approx 2-3 weeks before the course dates
- if you have not received the link to the online course material, contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org
- allow time to compete all the online materials in the Virtual Calssroom
Ensure you have all the correct gear:
- read over the enclosed Gear List (See below)
- if you require rental gear, contact the rental agency well in advance to ensure availability
- allow time to try out newly purchased gear
- avoid arriving with gear that is new and untried
Read Manual(s) in advance if included in your program:
- if your package includes manuals, please take the time to read them before the course
Please read and fill in all forms in advance:
- Waivers need to be read, signed and witnessed
- CWMS uses 2 different Waivers for AST courses – 1 is for Canada West Mountain School, Inc (CWMS) and one is for the Canadian Avalanche Center (CAC). Both need to be read and brought to the first session.
- complete the Medical Info Sheet
- if you are under 19 years old, you will need to get a parent/guardian to sign your Waivers
If you provide your own transceiver (or a rental):
- familiarize yourself with the basic functions
- read all manuals and view any video/online material supplied by manufacturer/rental agency
- ensure that fresh batteries are installed prior to the program
Other pre-trip considerations:
- Notify someone about where you are going, and when you are returning
- Make sure that the vehicle you are driving is prepared for winter road conditions
- Be prepared for any conditions and expect to have a great time!
Should you have any questions at all, please contact us directly.
All our courses have different locations, please confirm the meeting place for your course.
Equipment list for Avalanche Safety Weekend
To download a printer friendly .PDF file of the equipment list, click Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Course Gear List
Minimum required gear for a comfortable day trip in the winter:
- Footwear suitable for walking and standing in deep snow required for first day on AST-1 courses (Whistler, Seymour and on Snowshoe courses)
- Touring skis; split snowboard; or, snow shoes and snowboard. Alpine Trekker touring inserts for alpine skis are acceptable if you are experienced with them
- Boots – touring boots appropriate to your bindings. Regular alpine boots may be fine as long as they are not a tight fitting race boot
- Climbing skins for skis or split board
- Daypack, approx 30 liters capacity suitable for carrying all required gear. Snowboarders must have a pack that can hold a snowboard for the ascents
- Hard shell outer layer jacket with hood – Gore-Tex
- Outer shell pants or bibs – Gore-Tex style recommended for ventilation while touring
- Personal clothing layers that are adjustable and suitable for all conditions
- Gaiters (unless your ski pants have built-in gaiters or snow-cuffs)
- Gloves plus one pair extra
- Warm parka – down, fleece or pile
- Sweater or vest – wool, fleece or down
- Toque/warm hat – wool or fleece
- Ski goggles
- Misc. personal items (camera, journal, etc.)
- Water bottle/hydration system w/insulation – min. 1 liter
Please go over this list before the course to ensure that you are properly prepared. Contact our office if you have any questions, and we can suggest places for you to purchase or rent equipment if needed.
Keep in mind that you will be spending all of your time outdoors in the snow in cold conditions (-5 to -20), and that the weather can vary from one extreme to the other. It is recommended that you also have a set of spare street clothes for the end of the course after you have left the mountains.
Logistics and transportation
Students are responsible for getting to and from the course areas. Please ensure you leave adequate time to get to from the course location and check current road conditions.IMPORTANT – the specific field locations vary from one course date to another, please ensure you confirm the correct meeting location for your course date!
Students are reminded to plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to the field sessions, to allow for traffic delays, poor road conditions, parking, etc. The field sessions will start promptly at the times indicated – latecomers will risk missing the field sessions as once the group has departed there are no options to join them in the field at a later time.