AST 1 Winter 2016/17

Dates & Price

  • Adventure Dates: Dec. 10 + 11, 2016 (FULL) and Jan.21 + 22, 2017 (FULL)
  • Adventure Rates: $205 + tax
The AST 1 course is part of the ACC's annual Powder Program which is sponsored by our partner Smartwool. Smartwool's support allows us to keep costs of our Powder Program camps and courses low as well as provide Smartwool product to all of the program's participants. We thank them for their support.

Play Safe, Stay Safe. A 2-Day AST 1 Course – Canada’s First Step in Recreational Avalanche Training

Watch our for cornice failure

Watch out for cornice failure

Winter backcountry travel is exploding in popularity. People are skiing and riding steeper lines, climbing more waterfall ice and enjoying what the winter mountain environment has to offer. Proper education is key to safety in this type of environment. This 2-day course introduces the basics of avalanche science, and gives students a framework from which to make decisions in the field, all with the goal of coming home safe at the end of their winter excursions.

Offering 2 AST Level 1 courses this year we use standardized curriculum, outlined by the Canadian Avalanche Centre as a baseline, and expand on it to create a program that caters to the current trends in winter recreation in avalanche terrain. We have a heavier focus on free-ride skiing & split-boarding in avalanche terrain as well as waterfall ice climbing and alpinism and the unique hazards that are associated with each sport.

The AST 1 is a certification course. All our students receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

As this course is offered out of the ACC Clubhouse in Canmore, we welcome all participants to stay with us and enjoy the remote atmosphere that surrounds us. Located on a high bench overlooking the Three Sisters, Ha Ling and Mount Rundle, you can call and reserve your room today at 1(403)678-3200.

Course Agenda

  • P1010641

    Snow profile discussion – Click to Enlarge

    Day 1 – Meet at 8:30am in the Heritage Room in the ACC’s Canmore Clubhouse

    • Introductions, course goals, agenda, waivers
    • Understanding avalanches: formation and characteristics
    • Avalanche terrain recognition
    • Introduction to the ATES (Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale)
    • Changes in the mountain snowpack, snow metamorphism
    • Lunch break from 12:00-1:00pm
    • Assessing and reducing risk
    • Accessing public avalanche bulletins
    • Using the AVALATOR
    • Safe travel choices and proper route planning
    • Companion rescue techniques
    • Discuss program for Day 2 in the field
    • 4:30pm school’s out
  • P1080875

    Rutschblock test – Click to Enlarge

    Day 2 – Location and start time TBD at end of Day 1

    • Re-group at the parking area, sign-out gear
    • Field observations
    • Companion rescue techniques and practice
    • Managing risk in avalanche terrain
    • Route selection, track setting and terrain related hazard
    • Snow profiles and stability tests
    • Companion rescue scenario
    • 4:30pm Course debrief, presentation of certificates

Gear, Food, Lodging

Included:

  • ACMG professional guiding throughout the camp
  • CanAv-sanctioned course materials
  • Completion certification at the end of the course

    Pam Paylor - Making the step

    Photo by Pam Paylor – Making the step

Participants must provide:

  • Transportation to and from the field location on Day 2 – participants will be expected to use their own vehicles and carpool
  • Accommodation is not included. Accommodation is available at the ACC’s Canmore Clubhouse ($30/night).
  • All meals for the course
  • National Parks vehicle pass
  • Personal gear (please bring your own avalanche beacon, probe, shovel, snowshoes, ski touring or splitboard set up, packed lunch, warm clothes and notebook and pencil)


Level of Difficulty


The Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 Course will provide an entry-level decision-making framework that is based on the most advanced knowledge available. It is suitable for use by people with basic training and little experience.

From past Camp participants

Photo by Jen Olson

Photo by Jen Olson – Rogers Pass

“The guide was an excellent teacher and his very practical transitions from theory into the field were very much appreciated.”

– Past AST 1 course participant

“An over-all excellent learning experience”

-Past AST 1 course participant

“The guides instruction brought everything together into a package that will give me much needed confidence in the backcountry.”

-Past AST 1 course participant

“The guide did an excellent job ensuring each person was getting as much out of it as they needed/wanted to. He kept the environment open for comments and was not afraid to challenge your thinking.”

-Past AST 1 course participant

“A highlight was making group decisions and having group discussions in absolutely live scenarios.”

-Past AST 1 course participant

More Powder Program camps and courses - Presented by Smartwool

Winter in Canada’s mountains means powder skiing and the ACC knows the terrain. Whether you’re looking to get skills and get up to speed, or looking for the trip of a lifetime, you’ll find it here. Join us!

Powder Program Adventures

  • Rogers Pass Powder Camp (Jan 28-Feb 1, 2017). An awesome ski camp deep in Rogers Pass, based in the Wheeler and Asulkan Huts. For experienced skiers. 5 days, $1,450.
  • Fairy Meadow Powder Week (April 1-8, 2017). A fly-in, fully-guided week in Selkirk powder paradise. Our most advanced powder camp. 8 days, $2,550.

Powder Program Skills Courses

Smartwool supports the ACC’s Powder Program and we thank them for their assistance.

AST 1 Staff