AST-1 PLUS (Squamish)
The original Canada West Mountain School AST-1 PLUS program now delivered in Squamish! Our unique AST-1 PLUS course starts with an evening class session to cover the foundation of Avalanche Safety theory, followed by two field days in a different mountain regions for the most effective use of your time. Our AST-1 PLUS provides you with the most hands-on time of any AST-1 course. If you are looking for a thorough Avalanche Skills Training program, the Canada West AST-1 PLUS is the answer.
- Squamish AST-1 PLUS Course: $325. + GST
(are you a Squamish local? Use coupon code "Squamish50" and save $50!)
Included in all Canada West Mountain School AST-1 PLUS courses:
- 2.5 days AST-1 course instruction:
3-hour evening theory session conducted before field portions
Day-1 practical field session in backcountry near Squamish
Day-2 field session held in Whistler/Blackcomb alpine 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 equipment
- 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.
Lift Access fees: (not applicable for students with existing lift passes)
Lift-access is required on Day-2 on Whistler/Blackcomb. If you do not have a Whistler/Blackcomb pass already, passes are available for purchase at time of booking for $74 +gst, add "Lift Access" when Registering.
NOTE on weather and snow conditions:
If the snow or weather conditions on Day-1 are not suitable for delivering a quality course in the backcountry near Squamish, the course will be held for both days on Whistler/Blackcomb. In this event 2 days of lift access are required for Whistler/Blackcomb.
CANCELLATIONS and TRANSFERS
Please click here for our Cancellation and Transfer Policy
- 2.5 days AST-1 course instruction:
Our Squamish AST-1 PLUS course includes an essential Theory Session held during a Tuesday evening class session, prior to the weekend dates. Please review the course dates below carefully to confirm date and location for the evening session.
2019-2020 Dates for Squamish AST-1 PLUS:
- Nov 23-24 field sessions; Tuesday Nov 19 evening class
- Dec 7-8 field sessions; Tuesday Dec 3 evening class
- Jan 18-19 field sessions; Tuesday Jan 14 evening class
- Feb 7-8 field sessions; Tuesday Feb 3 evening class
The AST-1 PLUS course is conducted in backcountry regions with a variety of un-groomed snow conditions. While previous backcountry experience is not required, students on the Ski/Snowboard AST-1+ must be comfortable skiing/riding on Blue runs in ungroomed conditions. Strong Intermediate skiing/riding skills and above are recommended.
Canada West Mountain School has been offering avalanche skills training courses since 1982 - our 2019/20 season AST-1 PLUS is built on more than 35 years of experience conducting Avalanche Skills safety training to the highest standard possible.
The AST-1 PLUS 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 PLUS format includes:
- 1 evening theory session of 3 hours in advance of the field days
- 1 practical field session on Day-1
- 1 afternoon theory session at the end of Day-1 field session
- 1 practical field session on Day-2 at a separate backcountry region
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.
The first classroom evening session is an engaging session of interactive learning, group sessions and multi-media presentations. Both of the field sessions emphasize "hands-on" practical learning in the field working on snowpack, terrain, travel and rescue skills. With 2 days of field training, ample time is available to practice core skills.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 3-hour evening theory session 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-1 and Day-2 practical field sessions 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!
AST 1+ Skiers/Splitboarders course, Squamish
Classroom Location and date: To be determined, Squamish, BC, 6:30 - 9:30 pm
Field Location: Diamond Head day-1; Whistler/Blackcomb day-2
All AST-1 PLUS courses are held based on current weather and snow conditions. Itineraries and locations for each field day may vary due to changing snow conditions, weather, or avalanche danger levels.>
All Instructors on our Avalanche courses are Active or Professional Members of the CAA (Canadian Avalanche Association) and hold Level I or Level II Professional Certification with the CAA. Additionally, Canada West Mountain School staff are dedicated educators who are experienced in teaching these skills and conducting well run, professional courses.
All CWMS staff also attend regular Industry training and have advanced 1st aid training, and many of the Instructors in our Avalanche Training program are also professional Guides certified through the ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides).
Visit Guides and Instructors Page for complete details and background on each of our Guide Team.
The first evening class session will start at 6:30 pm. At this class session you will also receive instructions for the specific meeting points for the first field day of your course.
There will be a practical field training session on Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, followed by a wrap-up theory session on Saturday afternoon/evening, finishing around 6:30.
The 2nd field session on Sunday will be a full day in the backcountry, ending at around 5:00 pm.
This course focuses on teaching practical methods of understanding, recognizing and avoiding avalanche hazards, including terrain evaluation, snowpack structure, weather, safe route finding and avalanche rescue techniques.
Our 2.5 day format includes 7 hours of theory and 12 hours of practical fieldwork. Manuals are included in the course and form an integral part of the learning. Our AST-1 course content and materials have been developed over the past 35 years and are based on the nationally-recognized AST-1 curriculum developed by Avalanche Canada.
Avalanche Skills Course Gear List: Please review this gear list in advance of your AST-1 Plus course to ensure you are properly prepared - Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Course Gear List
Transceiver, Shovel and Probe are required for each person for both days of the course
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 both days 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 both of the field session on Day-1 and on Day-2 only; or, a split-board and climbing skins.
Review these documents, and bring completed Waiver and Medical Forms to your program:
Canada West Mountain School Medical and Waiver Form - CWMS Medical & Waiver form
Cancellation and Transfer policy - Cancellation and Transfer Policy
Avalanche Course Gear List - Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Course Gear List