AST-2 (4-day course)

If you prefer your own trail rather than following tracks, our AST 2 course is the Avalanche training program for you. Taught exclusively by industry experts who are Professional Members of the Canadian Avalanche Association, our AST-2 is designed for skiers and boarders seeking adventures that require travel in Challenging or Complex Terrain. On the Canada West Mountain School AST-2 you will visit multiple different backcountry locations, including Whistler, Blackcomb and the Duffey Lake backcountry region.

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$675.00

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Canada West Mountain School is an Authorized AST Provider

Dates:

2019/20 dates below
This AST-2 is conducted over 4 consecutive days. For the same AST-2 course conducted over 2 weekends, please go to AST-2 (Weekend). Both formats cover the same content and utilize the same field locations.

Ratio:
1:6
Pre Requisites:
Intermediate or stronger skiing or snowboarding experience. Touring equipment or splitboard required. Previous avalanche training (AST-1 or equivalent) required. Minimum age of 16 years.
Options:
Avi Kit (4-day)
$50.00
Lift Access (2-day)
$118.00
Category:
  • Avalanche Skills Training 2 (AST-2): $675. + GST
    Included in Canada West Mountain School AST-2 courses:
    • 4 days of AST-2 course instruction by Professional Members of the CAA
    • AST-2 Certificate at completion of course
    • Avalanche Manual "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain"
    • CAA Rite in the Rain Field Book "Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain"
    • Course student handouts and reference materials
    • 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

      Avalanche Safety Equipment rentals:
      $50. (optional, Avi gear can be supplied by student)
      CWMS Rentals Include: Transceiver, G3 Shovel and G3 Probe for both days of course

      Backcountry lift access fee:
      $70. x 2 - for each day of Lift Access required on Whistler or Blackcomb(not applicable for students with existing lift passes). Backcountry lift access for two field-days on Whistler/Blackcomb is required for all students and is not included in course fee.

      PLEASE NOTE:
      A third day of lift access may be required based on snow and weather conditions affecting other backcountry locations.

  • 2019-20 Dates for AST-2 (4 consecutive days)

    • November 29-December 2, 2019
    • January 3-6, 2020
    • January 31-February 3, 2020
    • March 6-9, 2020

    Please note that the first day of the AST-2 Advanced Avalanche Skills course includes a theory session. Class theory sessions are held in different locations, please confirm the course and class location in advance.

  • The Canada West AST-2 Avalanche Skills course is for skiers and boarders who often find themselves seeking out adventures that require travel in Challenging or Complex Terrain. This course is designed to enable students with a solid understanding of Avalanche Safety principles to build on their existing knowledge.

    The primary focus will be on a developing and implementing a system for assessing and evaluating potential avalanche slopes in the backcountry in regards to the hazard that they present. This is not meant to be a forecasting course, nor a course that dwells on the scientific collection and recording of snowpack and weather observations. Rather, the course will emphasize the practical collection and analysis of relevant data that an average backcountry skier would be able to use as the basis for making their decisions regarding travel in avalanche terrain.

    The instruction is split between classroom Theory sessions and practical Field sessions, which are held at a variety of locations to experience different snowpack's and conditions.
  • The first morning class session will start at 08:15, in a classroom location that will be determined based on each course and current conditions. Class locations will be confirmed in the final week leading up to your course date, please confirm with our office.

    Our North Vancouver Classroom is located at #240-400 Brooksbank Ave, North Vancouver (1 block up from MEC), unless other arrangements are made at the time of registration. For the North Vancouver-based courses, the Day-1 afternoon field sessions are typically held in the backcountry behind Mount Seymour, though this is weather-dependent.

    Whistler-based AST-2 courses will start at the Whistler Village Inn and Suites. Other class locations may be used on day-1, including Squamish.

    At these class session you will also receive instructions for the specific meeting points for the remaining field days of your course, as these locations will be decided based on current snow and weather conditions. Locations will usually include the backcountry regions of Mount Seymour, Whistler, Blackcomb and in the Duffey Lake Road region.

    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 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.

    Canada West Mountain School main office & classroom
    240-400 Brooksbank Ave, North Vancouver (1 block up from MEC)

    View Canada West Mountain School in a larger map.
  • All Instructors on our AST-2 Avalanche courses are Professional Members of the CAA (Canadian Avalanche Association) and hold 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.

  • This course is designed to enable students with a solid understanding of Avalanche Safety principles to build on their existing knowledge.

    The primary focus will be on a developing and implementing a system for assessing and evaluating potential avalanche slopes in the backcountry in regards to the hazard that they present. This is not meant to be a forecasting course, nor a course that dwells on the scientific collection and recording of snowpack and weather observations. Rather, the course will emphasize the practical collection and analysis of relevant data that an average backcountry skier would be able to use as the basis for making their decisions regarding travel in avalanche terrain.

    One 5 hour classroom theory session is held on the first day of the course.The afternoon of Day-1 is a short practical field session. The following 3 days are held at held at a variety of locations to experience different snowpack's and conditions. Each field session will be preceded with a morning theory session and an afternoon follow up class session.

    Learning outcomes for the Canada West Mountain School AST-2 program:

    • Develop a systematic approach towards evaluating snow stability and hazard which includes collection of weather, snowpack and terrain information
    • Be able to recognize safe terrain and routes in avalanche terrain, and know methods of avoiding hazardous regions
    • Understand snow avalanche mechanics, including: correlation of weather to snowpack, layering, effects of temperatures, principles of slab failure, leading causes of instabilities and forces involved in avalanches
    • Learn methods of observing, collecting and recording information in the field through activities such as: hasty-pits; observations of avalanche activity, wind loading, snow distribution and depth; snow testing; weather observations; and, terrain assessment
    • To know how and when to perform a variety of shear tests, such as: pole test, compression test, burp, ski cutting, Rutschblock; and, to know how to relate each test to the overall "big picture"
    • To be able to perform self-rescue procedures and protocols, including multiple transceiver searches

  • Avalanche Skills Course Gear List:
    Please review this gear list in advance of your AST-2 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 all 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 all 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 and and all winter conditions, the course will be conducted in all weather. 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, snowboard and snowshoe combo (with prior arrangements only); or, a split-board and climbing skins.

    Important Gear note for Day-1 of your AST-2 course:
    The schedule for the Day-1 session often includes a focus on theory sessions and you may not be heading into the backcountry on Day-1. However, as a minimum you will require a transceiver, shovel, probe and a small pack, as well as be prepared for being outdoors in any weather conditions for 1-2 hours, including footwear and clothing that is appropriate for walking and standing in snow and wet conditions. Final logistics and details will be determined 2-3 days in advance of the course dates.

  • Questions about Avalanche Skills Training 2 (AST-2) course

    Do I need to bring special gear?

    What happens if the weather is not good?

    Where are the AST-2 courses conducted?

    How long are the days?