AST Refresher

Spend a day touring in the backcountry on our early-season 1-day Avalanche Safety Refresher! You will head out on a backcountry tour with an emphasis on development of terrain management skills to enhance your backcountry avalanche awareness and safety. Each Avalanche awareness refresher session covers a variety of topics – terrain evaluation, mountain weather, snowpack observations and the latest search techniques.

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Avalanche Canada Authorised Provider

Canada West Mountain School is an Authorized AST Provider

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2020/21 dates below
1-day field sessions available on Whistler or Seymour. See Date Details for locations. Private Custom courses also available, please contact Canada West directly.
Pre Requisites:
Strong intermediate skiing or snowboarding experience. Touring equipment or split-board required. Previous avalanche training required (AST-1 or similar).
Avi Kit (1-day)
  • Avalanche Refresher Course: $155. + GST
    Included in Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Refresher course:
    • 1 day of Avalanche instruction by our Avalanche Instructors
    • Use of snow science kit supplied by CWMS
    • Access to our Avi Gear rentals delivered to you on the course if needed

    Avalanche Safety Equipment:
    Transceiver, Shovel and Probe are required for each person. Rentals are available through Canada West for $20. Rentals must be booked at time of Registration, add "Avi Kit" when registering. The Canada West Avi Kit rentals will be supplied directly to you at your course - there are no hassles with going to another shop to pick them up or drop them off before the course!

    Lift Access fees:
    Lift-access is required for AST Refresher courses held on Whistler/Blackcomb and is not included in the course fee. Courses held in other backcountry areas (Mount Seymour, Diamond Head, etc.) do not require lift access.

    Did you complete your AST-1 with Canada West Mountain School? If so, you get 50% off this course! Just send us an email (or call us) with your name and when you took your AST-1 and we will send you a discount code.

    Please click here for our Refund Policy

  • The Canada West Mountain School AST Refreshers are held in the backcountry of Mount Seymour, or Whistler/Blackcomb. Dates are specific to the location, as listed below.

    For Mount Seymour dates, if the snow conditions are not suitable for the AST Refresher course, the location will be moved to Whistler/Blackcomb on the same date.

    • November 28 - Whistler
    • December 5 - Whistler
    • December 12 - Mount Seymour
    • December 13 - Whistler
    • December 19 - Mount Seymour
    • December 20 - Whistler
    • December 27 - Whistler
    • January 2 - Mount Seymour
    • January 3 - Whistler
  • These are excellent refresher sessions for keeping up with new techniques, research and safety tips. Our one-day Avalanche Safety Refreshers emphasize development of specific skills to enhance your backcountry avalanche awareness and safety. Each Avalanche awareness refresher session covers a variety of topics - terrain evaluation, mountain weather, snowpack observations and the latest search techniques.

    If you have not taken any avalanche safety training before please review our AST-1 courses at our Avalanche Skills Training Course page.

  • The Avalanche Refresher is typically held in the backcountry behind Blackcomb or Whistler mountains; or, in the backcountry of Mount Seymour Provincial Park (if conditions are not suitable on Mount Seymour, these dates will be conducted on Whistler/Blackcomb as well)

  • 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 Avalanche Refresher is a field-based course with all learning taking place on-snow with the course location decided based on current snow and weather conditions. You will start your course at 0800 at the per-arranged meeting location and finish around 5 pm.

    The day will be structured to cover a combination of practical skill upgrades such as Rescue techniques, snow test procedures, track setting skills, terrain assesment, hazard evaluation and group management tactics.

    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!

  • Here is a link to the Gear List - Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Course Gear List

    You will require an Avalanche Safety kit (avalanche transceiver, or "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. Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Gear rentals are supplied at your course, no hassles with going to another shop to pick them up or drop them off!

    Proper backcountry touring skis and climbing skins are required for the field sessions; or, a split-board and climbing skins.

    Everyone needs to be prepared to spend a full day out in winter alpine conditions. The course will proceed in almost all weather conditions; it is up to each participant to ensure that you are properly equipped for the conditions. If in doubt about your gear, please contact us directly to discuss your concerns.

  • Questions about Avalanche Skills Refresher course

    Do I need to bring special gear?

    What happens if the weather is not good?

    Where are the Refresher courses conducted?

    How long are the days?