AST Refresher 2024

Our unique AST Refresher for 2024 provides an opportunity to practice and refine your travel and decision-making skills as well as update your knowledge with about current best practices in avalanche safety and equipment. Whether you take this as a refresher session or as an opportunity to build on your existing skills, this course will also help you keep up with terrain evaluation, mountain weather, snowpack observations, and the latest search techniques. Great for everyone who has taken any AST-1 course in the past!

Register Today


2024 dates below
1-day field sessions available on Mt Seymour. Private Custom courses are also available, please contact Canada West directly.
1:10 (Minimum 3)
Pre Requisites:
Previous avalanche training required (AST-1 or equivalent). Intermediate skiing or snowboarding experience; or, experience snowshoeing for snowshoe-specific courses. Touring skis, split-board, or snowshoes are required.
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

    Did you take your AST-1 with Canada West Mountain School during the previous 2 seasons? If so, this AST Refresher is a FREE bonus day for you! Just book and pay as usual, and submit proof of payment for your AST-1 course from the 2021/22 or 2022/23 season and you will receive a 100% refund after completing your AST Refresher course.

    Avalanche Safety Equipment:
    Transceiver, Shovel, and Probe are required for each person. Rentals are available through Canada West for $25. Rentals must be booked at the 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!

    Please click here for our Refund Policy

  • Our unique AST Refresher provides an opportunity to practice and refine your travel and decision-making skills using a more customized approach to ensure each student can get the most out of their Refresher day. Whether you take this as a refresher session or as an opportunity to build on your existing skills, this course will also help you keep up with new techniques, research, and safety tips.

    The one-day Avalanche Safety Refresher emphasizes the development of travel and skills and decision making in avalanche terrain, to enhance your backcountry avalanche awareness and safety. The Avalanche Refresher sessions focus on developing the foundation skills taught in the AST-1 level courses.

    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 course is held in the backcountry of Mount Seymour Provincial Park unless conditions are not suitable. In the event of poor conditions, Whistler/Blackcomb will be used and details will be sent out in advance of the course date.

    Refresher Sessions held on Weekend dates will meet at the Parkgate Community Centre. Due to severe parking restrictions and increased demand in Mount Seymour Provincial Park, access to Mt Seymour on Weekends is via the Mount Seymour Shuttle as we cannot guarantee that parking on the upper mountain will be available. CWMS students will take the earliest morning Shuttle departing at 7:05 am (alternately, the same shuttle can be boarded at the Rupert Skytrain Station in East Vancouver at 6:40 am)

    All Midweek refresher courses will meet at the Upper P5 Parking lot on Mt Seymour, as the parking restrictions are (currently) not in effect on midweek dates.

    Finalized meeting times and details will be determined 1-2 days in advance of the specific course date and will be sent out by email.

    Google Map link - Parkgate Park Meeting also embedded below. Parking is available in Parkgate Park (see Google Map link), this is about a 5-10 minute walk to the Shuttle Bus pick up location. Free street parking is also available in all areas around the Community Centre. IMPORTANT NOTE: no public parking is allowed in the Community Centre parking lots or the Parkgate Shopping Mall Parking lots.

  • Instructors on our Avalanche courses are trained and certified through the Canadian Avalanche Association (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.

  • Plan on starting your course at 0700 at the pre-arranged meeting location and finishing around 4 pm, though specific course timing may vary and will be finalized 1-2 days in advance of your course dates by email.

    Each day will include a backcountry touring objective suitable to the conditions, weather, and group ability levels. In addition, the day will be structured to also include a combination of practical skill upgrades such as Rescue techniques, snow test procedures, track setting skills, terrain assessment, 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!

  • Avalanche Skills Course Gear List
    Review this list before the course start date - Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Course Gear List. Everyone needs to be fully prepared for any/all winter conditions, the course will be conducted in all weather including low temperatures, high winds, and rain/snow.

    Avalanche Safety Gear and Rentals
    A Transceiver (digital 3-antennae model), Avalanche shovel, and Avalanche probe are required for each person. Please review your transceiver operating instructions before arriving on your course, and double-check battery strength. Everyone should arrive with their transceiver already strapped on (underneath all outer layers of clothing).

    If you require Avalanche Safety Gear, Canada West Mountain School maintains a large rental inventory of avalanche safety equipment exclusively for our students. Our "On-Course" Avi Kit Rentals are only $40 for a 2-day AST course and include a Transceiver, Shovel, and Probe for both days of your course. The Canada West "On-Course" Avi Kit rentals will be supplied directly to you on your course - there are no hassles with going to another shop to pick them up or drop them off! Please book your rentals at the time of AST Course Registration, add "Avi Kit" when registering as they are often booked out by the time the course runs.

    Backcountry Touring Gear
    Proper backcountry touring skis or split-board, with climbing skins and poles are required for all practical on-snow field sessions; or, snowshoes and carrying a snowboard strapped on a pack. For Snowshoers without a snowboard please, join an AST-1 Snowshoe course in order to use snowshoes only.

    Backountry Ski and Split-board rentals
    Mount Seymour Resorts offers backcountry ski and split-board rentals that are available to be picked up by Canada West Mountain School students on the morning of their AST course - Mt Seymour Backcountry Rentals

    Please contact our office in advance if you have any questions or concerns about your gear.

  • Questions about Avalanche Skills Refresher course

    Do I need to bring special gear?

    What happens if the weather is not good?

    Where are the Upgrade courses conducted?

    How long are the days?