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

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Dates:

2021/2022 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:
Advanced skiing or snowboarding ability, with backcountry touring 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 (1-day)
$62.00
  • 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 all field days of the AST-2 course

      Whistler/Blackcomb lift access
      Lift access for Whistler/Blackcomb is required for 2 (or possibly more) days and is not included in the course fee. Students can use their own season pass or any other lift passes they have. If students do not have a lift pass already, Canada West Mountain School can supply a Backcountry Pass, just select the add Lift Access option when booking.

      If any location changes occur during the course, you can obtain a Backcountry Pass from your instructor at that time; or, we will issue a refund for any passes that are purchased but unused.

    • 2021/2022 Dates for AST-2 (4 consecutive days)
    • December 17-20, 2021
    • January 21-24, 2022
    • February 4-7, 2022
    • February 25-28, 2022

    Please note that the first day of the AST-2 Advanced Avalanche course includes a classroom theory session. Due to Covid 19, some class theory sessions may be delivered through our Virtual Classroom; online; or, in advance using other remote-learning options. All outdoor field activities will be conducted in accordance with Canada West Mountain School Covid-19 Protocols - CWMS Covid-19 Protocols

  • 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 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 first day of the course is conducted as a combination of in-person class theory and outdoor practical field sessions. This session is held at one of our training locations in North Vancouver and does not include an on-snow session.

    The following 3 days are held at a variety of backcountry locations to experience different snowpacks and conditions. Each field session will be preceded by a morning theory session and an afternoon follow-up class session. Final locations will be decided the week prior to the course dates and will be based on current snow, weather, and road conditions.

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

    • Develop a systematic approach towards evaluating snow stability and hazard which includes the 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
    • To refine, through practice and application, the best strategies for route finding and terrain analysis for safe backcountry travel
    • 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

  • On Day-1 the class session will start at 9:00, delivered at one of our training Classrooms in North or West Vancouver. Full details will be made available along with pre-course assignments and study materials.

    At these class sessions 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.

  • 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 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 first day of the AST-2 course includes all the theory, held during an in-person class. This Day-1 class session will be conducted in an interactive and engaging manner and will allow students to prepare for the 3 days of practical, backcountry field sessions.

    The following 3 days are held at a variety of locations to experience different snowpacks and conditions. Each field session will be preceded by 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 the 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 snow 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-burial 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 the 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 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, a split-board and climbing skins.

    Snowshoe-specific AST-2 courses are offered on a Custom basis, please contact our office for more information if you are interested in attending our AST-2 course on Snowshoes.

  • 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?