AST 2 Winter 2017

Dates & Price

  • Adventure Dates: January 12 - 15, 2017
  • Adventure Rates: $595 + tax
The AST 2 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.

Course is now full, wait list only

Head Further into the Backcountry with Canada’s Intermediate Level Recreational Avalanche Training 2

Photo by Brad Hurkett - All work and no play

Photo by Brad Hurkett – All work and no play

Combining classroom and field sessions, participants should expect to be fully involved in the day to day decision making on this course, with the support and feedback of your guides. Our curriculum is based on nationally standardized material from the Avalanche Canada.

We take it a step further and specifically focus on delivering a program to our students that is relevant to the current trends in free-skiing, split-boarding and technical alpine and ice climbing in avalanche terrain.

Field Days will have a heavy focus on getting students into the lead and making decisions on the move. Your guides will introduce a variety of new snow stability tests, as well as a more advanced set of snowpack analysis skills and their application, not previously introduced on the AST 1 course.

All our students receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.The AST 1 is a prerequisite certification course you are expected to have before attending AST 2.

There is a much larger emphasis on travel in AST 2 than on the AST 1 course. Please come prepared to move, ski and dig all day long. During the snowpit sessions, it’s a good idea to have more clothing than you think you will need, as it can cool down quickly when you are asked to stop and watch us demonstrate a skill or technique in the pits.

Note on Risk

Our goal is to show and teach you what is realistic in terms of travel and decision making while in avalanche terrain given the limitations of the weather, conditions and human factors. It’s important to know that we will be actively operating in avalanche terrain and that involves increased risk.

Course Content and Agenda

  • Day 1 – Classroom day. Participants meet at 8:30am in the Heritage Room at the ACC’s Canmore Clubhouse
      • Review of the basic principles of avalanche phenomena

    Committing to the jump on a Ruschblock Test

    Committing to the jump on a Ruschblock Test

    • Terrain photo study – How to recognize avalanche terrain & choosing routes
    • Accessing public avalanche forecast – Where to find them and their strengths and limitations
    • Snowpack metamorphism – what actually drives change in the snowpack
    • Snowpack layering, crystal shapes, temperature gradients
    • Emergency response review
    • Trip planning considerations
    • Identifying hazards
    • Route plans
    • Emergency contacts
    • Timings & turnaround times
    • Introduce the principles of companion rescue with multiple burials
    • Review of our “Guide’s Pack” & discussion about appropriate gear selection for avalanche terrain
    • Discussion and route planning for the objective for Day 2.
  • Days 2-4 Field Days – Meeting time and objectives TBD
      Each day’s program will start with a review of the trip plan put together by the students on the prior day. We will review proposed plans in light of current conditions and weather forecast. The Guide will ensure that they maximize the students ability to make decisions in the field in more challenging and complex terrain.
      • Review of Transceiver Checks – Range and Transmit Function Checks
      • How to use Avalanche & Weather Forecasts in your decision making

    Photo by Mike Dodge - Overhead Hazard?

    Photo by Mike Dodge – Terrain Trap?

    • Use of the AVALUATOR as a travel tool
    • Hazard Identification and Mitigation
    • Identifying Areas of Increased Hazard
    • Good Travel Habits
    • Group Management & Decision Making
    • Snowpack Observations & Snow Stability Analysis
    • Review the Procedure for a Compression Test
    • Introduce new snow stability tests and discuss when to use them
    • Extended Column Tests
    • Propagation Saw Tests
    • Deep Tap Tests
    • Companion Rescue – Dealing with multiple burial situations


Gear, Food, Lodging


  • ACMG professional guiding throughout the camp
  • CAC Sanctioned course materials
  • Completion certificate at end of course

    Photo by Nathalie Roulin - Failure line

    Photo by Nathalie Roulin – Failure line

Participants must provide:

  • Transportation to and from the field locations – 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

This program is open to all ACC members who are at least an intermediate or type II skier and have an interest in learning about avalanche phenomena in more challenging and complex mountain terrain. To receive the AST 2 Certificate, participants must first take the AST 1 Program. Participants can expect longer and more physical days than on the AST 1 Course.

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

  • Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (Dec 10-11, 2016 and Jan 21-22, 2017) Canada’s first step in recreational avalanche training. 2 days, $205.
  • Learn to Backcountry Ski (Jan 13-15, 2017) For beginners: covers everything from avi gear and hazards to track setting and ski technique. 3 days, $550.

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

AST Level 2 Staff

Correction: Some of our advertisements have mentioned that our AST-2 course is taught by “Instructors from Kananaskis Country Public Safety”. This course will be taught by Matt Mueller and is not affiliated with Kananaskis Country Public Safety.