AST-1 (Mt Seymour)

AST-1 is essential if you ski or snowboard beyond the ski area boundaries, or in the backcountry! Our AST-1 course is conducted over two full days of avalanche safety instruction, combining engaging classroom sessions held at our classroom in North Vancouver, along with practical field-based learning in a backcountry environment. This combo allows us to deliver a solid Avalanche Safety Training course, with our AST-1 exceeding the minimum requirements set by the CAA for AST-1 courses.

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Canada West Mountain School is an Authorized AST Provider

If the date you choose is unavailable, please contact our office for wait-list options
Private dates can also be arranged.
Pre Requisites:
Basic/Intermediate skiing or snowboarding experience. Touring equipment or snowshoes/snowboard combo required. No previous avalanche training required.
Avi Kit (2 day)
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  • Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST-1): $235. + GST
    Included in all Canada West Mountain School AST-1 courses:
    2 days AST-1 course instruction
    AST-1 Certificate
    Avalanche Manual "Backcountry Avalanche Awareness"
    Avaluator V.2 Manual and decision making card
    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
    $25. (optional, Avi gear can be supplied by student)
    CWMS Rentals Include: Transceiver, G3 Shovel and G3 Probe for both days of course

    NOTE on weather and snow conditions:
    If the snow conditions on Mount Seymour are not suitable for delivering the field session, the practical portion on Day-2 of the course will be held on Whistler/Blackcomb. In this event a Lift Pass will be required for backcountry access behind Whistler/Blackcomb. This can be provided at our special discount rate of $50, available to AST-1 Seymour students only (normally $58). This pass is not required if you already have a ski pass for Whistler/Blackcomb.

  • The morning of Day-1 is spent learning and reviewing essential Avalanche Safety theory, with a practical field session in the afternoon covering Avalanche Rescue and Snowpack analysis skills. Day-2 is a full day of "hands-on" practical learning in the field working on snowpack, terrain, travel and rescue skills.
  • The first day of our AST-1 is split between classroom theory sessions and outdoor practical field sessions. This day is held at our classroom in North Vancouver.
    Canada West Mountain School main office & classroom
    240-400 Brooksbank Ave, North Vancouver (1 block up from MEC)

    View Canada West Mountain School on Google Maps

    You will receive final meeting and location details for the class at the time of registration, though typically this class will start at 0815 on Day of the course dates.

    The field session on Day-2 is held in the backcountry behind Mount Seymour. Occasionally, alternate locations may be used such as Whistler/Blackcomb, Diamond Head near Squamish, or the Coquihalla Pass near Hope. The Day-2 field session logistics and details will be discussed during the Day-1 class session.

    In the event that snowpack and/or weather conditions are such that we cannot conduct a good quality field session on day 2 of your course on Mt Seymour or any other location, the Day-2 field session will be held at Whistler/Blackcomb in the backcountry. This will require a lift access pass on Whistler/Blackcomb that is $56 + GST and 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.

  • IMPORTANT - the specific meeting locations 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. On day-1, the first session will start at our Classroom located at #240-400 Brooksbank Ave, North Vancouver (1 block up from MEC) at 0800, unless other arrangements are made at the time of registration. You will receive instructions for the specific meeting points for the first day of your course. The first day of the course includes both indoor and outdoor sessions. The Day-1 class session will finish by 4 pm.

    The Day-2 field session logistics will be arranged during the first day, but please plan on a 7:45 am start time and a finish time of 5 pm.

    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.

    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 format includes 7 hours of theory and 10 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 30 years and are based on the nationally-recognized AST-1 curriculum developed by Avalanche Canada.
    Theory topics include:

    avalanche hazard recognition
    avalanche terminology
    avalanche mechanics
    mountain weather
    snowpack structure
    basic terrain evaluation
    equipment requirements

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

    Your field days are spent in the backcountry 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 fundamentals

    The final wrap up sessions are an important aspect of Canada West Mountain School programs, as this allows students an opportunity to "put all the pieces together" in a classroom session 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!

  • Gear List - Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Course Gear List

    You will require an Avalanche Safety kit (avalanche transceiver (beacon), collapsible avalanche shovel, and a probe). In addition, everyone needs to be fully prepared for a day out in winter conditions. Canada West Mountain School has Avalanche Safety Kits available for rent, please book this at time of registration as they are often booked out by the time the course runs.

    Proper backcountry touring skis and climbing skins are required for the field session on Day-2 only; or, snowboard and snowshoe combo; or, a split-board and climbing skins.

    Important note for Day-1 of your course:
    During the afternoon field session on Day-1 you will require footwear and clothing that is appropriate for walking and standing in snow and wet conditions as you will be outside in any/all conditions for up to 2-3 hours

    Save $50 on an Avalanche Transceiver!
    When you register for any scheduled AST-1 or AST-2 course, and purchase an optional Barryvox ELEMENT Avalanche transceiver, you will receive a $50 discount off the combined price. Just click to add the optional ELEMENT Beacon when you are selecting your course.