AST-1 Classic (Seymour)

Over 30 years of the best avalanche safety instruction on the North Shore Mountains! Our Classic AST-1 Seymour course is conducted over two full days combining engaging classroom sessions held through our Virtual Classroom, along with practical field-based learning in the backcountry mountains of Mount Seymour Provincial Park. This combo allows us to deliver a solid Avalanche Skills Training course, with our AST-1 exceeding the minimum requirements set by Avalanche Canada for AST-1 courses.

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$275.00

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Canada West Mountain School is an Authorized AST Provider

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Dates:
2020/21 Season dates
AST-1 Classic Seymour course offered every weekend from Nov-Apr, plus mid-week over Christmas Holiday period. If the date you choose is unavailable, please contact our office for wait-list options
Private dates can also be arranged.
Ratio:
1:8
Pre Requisites:
Basic/Intermediate skiing or snowboarding experience. Touring equipment or snowshoes required. No previous avalanche training required.
Options:
Avi Kit (2 day)
$35.00
Category:
  • Vancouver & Seymour AST-1 Classic Course: $275. + GST
    Included in all Canada West Mountain School AST-1 Classic Seymour courses:

    • 2 days of instruction split between theory and practical sessions, including 1 full day of on-snow training in the backcountry
    • AST-1 Certificate issued by Avalanche Canada
    • Avalanche Manual "Backcountry Avalanche Awareness"
    • Avaluator V.2 Manual and decision making card
    • Course student handouts and reference materials
    • Access to our "On-Course" Avalanche Safety Gear rentals
    • Use of Snow Science kit (thermometer, screen, loupe, etc)
    • Ongoing free consultation services from Canada West Mountain School
    • 50% off future Avalanche Refresher courses with Canada West Mountain School

    Exclusive On-Course Avalanche Safety Equipment rentals:
    Transceiver, Shovel and Probe rentals are available through Canada West for $35. The Canada West "On-Course" Avi Kit rentals will be supplied directly to you on your course - skip the hassle of going to another shop to pick up or drop off rentals before the course! Rentals must be booked at time of AST Course Registration, add "Avi Kit" when registering. CWMS On-Course Avi Kit Rentals include Mammut Barryvox Transceiver, G3 Shovel and G3 Probe for both days of your course.

    NOTE on weather and snow conditions:
    If the snow conditions on Mount Seymour are not suitable for delivering a quality field session, the practical field session will be held on Whistler/Blackcomb. In this event a Lift Pass will be required for Whistler/Blackcomb and is an additional fee that is not included in the course cost. An additional pass is not required if you already have a ski pass for Whistler/Blackcomb.

    CANCELLATIONS and TRANSFERS
    Please click here for our Refund Policy

  • Canada West Mountain School has been offering avalanche skills training courses since 1982 - our 2020-21 season AST-1 Classic is built on more than 35 years of experience conducting Avalanche Skills safety training to the highest standard possible.

    The AST-1 Classic course focuses on teaching practical methods of understanding, recognizing and avoiding avalanche hazards, including terrain evaluation, effective decision making, group management, safe route finding, snowpack structure, weather, and avalanche rescue techniques.

    The AST-1 format includes:
    • 7 hours of theory provided through the Canada West Virtual Classroom
    • 8 hours of practical on-snow fieldwork in a backcountry location

    2 Manuals are included in the course (Backcountry Avalanche Awareness and the Avaluator V.2) and form an integral part of the learning. Our AST-1 course content and materials have been developed and refined over the past 35 years and are based on the nationally-recognized AST-1 curriculum developed by Avalanche Canada.

    Theory topics include:
    • avalanche hazard recognition
    • avalanche terminology
    • decision making and human factors
    • avalanche mechanics
    • mountain weather
    • snowpack structure
    • basic terrain evaluation
    • equipment requirements
    • introduction to Avalanche Companion Rescue

    The initial theory session also will prepare you for the practical field sessions so that your time in the field is used most efficiently.

    Skills and topics covered on the Day-2 practical field session include:
    • terrain evaluation
    • mountain hazard assessment
    • group management
    • effective decision making in Avalanche Terrain
    • safe route finding techniques
    • snowpack analysis
    • snow testing techniques
    • transceiver searches
    • rescue fundamentals

    At the end of the course, our Instructors conduct a "wrap up" session that we feel is a critical aspect of all Canada West Mountain School AST programs, as this allows students an opportunity to "put all the pieces together" before heading out on your own. During this session, you are encouraged to discuss with your instructor the content that has been covered, and to have the instructor assess your level of knowledge - we would prefer that you know your abilities now, rather than finding out the hard way, later!

  • The practical on-snow field session for the AST-1 course will be held in the backcountry behind Mount Seymour, unless otherwise noted. Occasionally, alternate locations may be used such as Whistler/Blackcomb. The field session logistics and details will be discussed during the class theory sessions.

    PLEASE NOTE
    In the event that snowpack and/or weather conditions are such that we cannot conduct a good quality field session on the date for your course on Mt Seymour, or any other North Shore location, the on-snow field session will be held at Whistler/Blackcomb in the backcountry. This will require a lift access pass on Whistler/Blackcomb that is not included in the course fee. All other aspects of the course will remain unchanged.

    The decision to move the day-2 field session may not be made until 1-2 days in advance of the course, in order to asses the most current and updated snowpack and weather conditions.

    You will receive a detailed package with instructions on locations, logistics and how to access the course content, as well as date and time blocks that you can schedule yourself into. We are committed to providing the highest degree of online learning experience and flexibility and will have full details on the 2020-21 AST-1 course sessions available by the first week of November.

  • The first half of the AST-1 course covers all the theory required to develop the foundation of Avalanche Safety skills. Our newly developed Canada West Mountain School Virtual Classroom is set up to deliver the content in an engaging and interactive style, and lessons are delivered through a series of Online and Virtual lessons, spread out over a few sessions in advance of the practical field portions.

    You will receive a detailed package with instructions on how to access the course content, as well as date and time blocks that you can schedule yourself into. We are committed to providing the highest degree of online learning experience and flexibility and are will have full details on the 2020-21 Virtual Classroom sessions available by the first week of November.

    The On-Snow field session will start at 08:00, with a morning meeting to discuss weather, snowpack and objectives of the group. This day is a full day of "hands-on" practical learning in the field working on snowpack, terrain, travel and rescue skills. This on-snow practical field day will take place fully in the backcountry regions of Mount Seymour Provincial Park, unless conditions are not suitable. All students must be fully prepared for a full day of backcountry touring on skis, split boards or snowshoes.

    IMPORTANT NOTE ON MEETING LOCATIONS
    The specific meeting locations and logistics details may vary from one course date to another, please ensure you confirm the correct location for your course date!

    Students are responsible for getting to and from the course areas. During the class theory sessions in advance of the field training, you will discuss and plan the logistics for the specific meeting points and times for the Practical Field session of your course, though typically the field session will start with a 7:45 am meeting at the Mount Seymour parking area.

    Students are reminded to plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to the course sessions, to allow for traffic delays, poor road conditions, parking, etc. The Practical 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.

    Class theory sessions provide an overview of the course and cover the following topics:

    • avalanche hazard recognition
    • avalanche terminology
    • avalanche mechanics
    • mountain weather
    • snowpack structure
    • basic terrain evaluation
    • equipment requirements
    • avalanche transceiver use
    • Avalanche Safety Gear use and limitations
    • Companion Rescue overview
    • Weather observations

    You will also review gear and travel techniques during the class sessions, so you will be fully prepared for the full-day Practical Field session in the alpine. This ensures your time in the field is used most efficiently.

    The Practical Field session will be spent in the backcountry regions of Mount Seymour, where you will have maximum time to focus on learning and practicing skills, including:

    • terrain evaluation
    • mountain hazard assessment
    • safe route finding techniques
    • snowpack analysis
    • snow testing techniques
    • transceiver searches
    • rescue review and practice

    The final wrap up is an important aspect of Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Skills Training courses, as this allows students an opportunity to "put all the pieces together" after the field sessions have finished. At the end of your course, you are encouraged to discuss with your instructor the content that has been covered, and to have the instructor assess your level of knowledge - we would prefer that you know your abilities now, rather than find out the hard way, later!

    All our AST-1 courses meet, or exceed, the minimum standard set by Avalanche Canada that requires AST Level 1 courses to have a minimum of 7 hours of classroom instruction plus one full day in the field.

  • Avalanche Skills Course Gear List: Please review this gear list in advance of your AST-1 Classic course to ensure you are properly prepared - Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Course Gear List

    Transceiver, Shovel, Probe and daypack are required for each person for the practical on-snow session
    Canada West Mountain School maintains the largest rental inventory of avalanche safety equipment exclusively for our students. Our On-Course Avi Kit rentals include the Mammut Barryvox Transceiver, G3 Shovel and G3 Probe for the duration of your course.

    Our exclusive On Course Avi Kit rentals will be supplied directly to you on your course - avoid the hassles of going to another shop to pick them up or drop them off! Rentals must be booked at time of AST Course Registration as they are often booked out by the time the course runs - just select "Avi Kit" when registering for each person.

    Additionally, everyone needs to be fully prepared for a day out in winter conditions, the course will be conducted in all weather conditions. Please review the Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Skills Course Gear List well before the course start date.

    Proper backcountry touring skis, bindings and climbing skins are required for the field sessions; or, a split-board and climbing skins; or, snowshoes (Seymour AST-1 course only). Please contact our office in advance if you have any questions or concerns about your gear.

  • Questions about Avalanche Skills 1 (AST-1) course

    Do I need to bring special gear?

    What happens if the weather is not good?

    Where are the Vancouver-Mt Seymour AST-1 courses conducted?

    How long are the days?