Our unique AST Upgrade provides an opportunity to practice and refine your travel and decision-making skills in bigger alpine terrain than typically found on the AST-1 courses. 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. – terrain evaluation, mountain weather, snowpack observations, and the latest search techniques. Great for everyone who has taken an AST-1 course in the past.
- Avalanche Upgrade Course: $155. + GST
Included in Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Upgrade 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 Upgrade 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 2020/21 or 2021/22 season and you will receive a 100% refund after completing your AST Upgrade.
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!
CANCELLATIONS and TRANSFERS
Please click here for our Refund Policy
- Our unique AST Upgrade provides an opportunity to practice and refine your travel and decision-making skills in bigger alpine terrain than typically found on the AST-1 courses. 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 Upgrade emphasizes the development of travel and skills and decision making in avalanche terrain, to enhance your backcountry avalanche awareness and safety. The Avalanche Upgrade 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 Upgrade 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.
Upgrade 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. The AST Upgrade 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 deatils 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.
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.
- 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 Upgrade course
Do I need to bring special gear?
What happens if the weather is not good?
Where are the Upgrade courses conducted?
Waiver & Medical Disclosure Forms
- Canada West Mountain School and Mt Seymour Resorts Waiver/Medical: Canada West Mountain School Waiver form
Participants in all AST courses with Canada West Mountain School are required to complete the following Waivers, Release of Liability, and Medical disclosure forms:
Avalanche Course Gear List
- Canada West Mountain School Avalanche Course Gear List
Review this list and ensure you are prepared for any winter conditions:
Cancellation & Transfer policy
- Canada West Mountain School Refund/transfer Policy
Review the CWMS cancellation and transfer policy: