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 season? 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!
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 the 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; or, snowshoes and appropriate winter boots (for snowshoe-specific courses only).
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 they are properly equipped for the conditions. If in doubt about your gear, please contact us directly to discuss your concerns.
Waiver & Medical Disclosure
- Canada West Mountain School Waiver and Medical disclosure form
Complete the required Waiver and Medical disclosure form in advance of your program. Click on the link and navigate to the specific program and date that you are registered for:
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: