Camp Highlights

  • Avalanche course tailored for backcountry skiers and climbers 
  • Custom learning materials developed by our Lead Winter Guide
  • Classroom day in the ACC Clubhouse's beautiful Heritage Room 
  • ACC Clubhouse accommodation available for a small additional fee

Dates & price

    8 course dates

    •  23rd - 24th Nov, 2019
    •  30th Nov - 1st Dec, 2019
    •  21st - 22nd Dec, 2019
    •  4th - 5th Jan, 2020
    •  18th - 19th Jan, 2020
    •  1st - 2nd Feb, 2020
    •  29th Feb - 1st March, 2020
    •  14th -15th March, 2020
    • $245 per person

Learn Backcountry Avalanche Safety Essentials from an Expert

Winter backcountry travel is exploding in popularity. More people than ever before are taking their skiing outside of resort boundaries and climbing waterfall ice. But lacking education and awareness of avalanche hazard can prove fatal for you or for your partners and completing an AST1 course is now considered almost a mandatory requirement before venturing into the backcountry. 

Our 2-day course gives a thorough introduction to avalanche basics and a framework with which to make decisions in the field. We cover the standard curriculum (as outlined by Avalanche Canada) but what you won't get from other providers is the expertise of our on-staff ski guide Doug Latimer. With decades of experience teaching avalanche safety courses and working in avalanche terrain as an ACMG guide, Doug is the perfect man to head up our AST program. And you'll get a copy of his bespoke learning materials (used in the course) in the form of an avalanche e-book as part of your course fee.

On top of this you can look forward to enjoying a classroom day in our Clubhouse's Heritage room with beautiful views over the Bow Valley and a field-day in Kananaskis or Banff National Park. And for those coming from further afield, enjoy our on-site, award-winning Clubhouse accommodation for a modest additional fee. 

Camp Objectives

The ultimate goal of our avalanche training program is for you to come home safe at the end of your future winter excursions. Our AST1 course lays the foundations by focussing on the following topics:
  • Introductory snow science
  • Avalanche formation and release
  • Identifying avalanche terrain
  • Basics of trip planning
  • Optimal use of tools and resources like the avalanche forecasts to mitigate your avalanche risk
  • Use of appropriate travel techniques in avalanche terrain
  • Introduction to companion rescue

  • Unlike some providers, we like to take our AST courses to where conditions offer the best learning experience. As well as the ever-popular Bow Summit, this course could also see you doing your field day in various destinations in Kananaskis. At the end of the course you will receive an Avalanche Canada certificate signed off by your instructor. This is a formal recognition of your training.
    Day by Day Adventure Itinerary 
    •  
    • Day 1
    • Participants meet at 8:30am in the Heritage Room at the ACC’s Canmore Clubhouse. Curriculum topics which will be covered this day include:
    • 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 AVALUATOR
    • Safe travel choices and proper route planning
    • Companion rescue techniques
    • Discuss program for Day 2 in the field
    Our classroom day is limited to 16 people to make for the best possible learning experience!

    Day 2 
    Your field day location will vary depending on conditions but you will typically be either in Kananaskis Country or the Icefields Parkway, making real-life observations and gaining hands-on experience. Curriculum topics which will be covered on this day include:

    • 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
    Our field day will see a maximum participant-to-guide ratio of 8:1 to make for the best possible learning experience!
    Is this Camp For Me?
    Entry Level

    The Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 Course is open to everyone with an interest in learning to be safer in the winter backcountry. Don't own your own ski or avalanche equipment yet? No problem, it's totally okay to take the course with rented snow shoes and beacon/probe/shovel (ACC members get a 10% discount on rentals at Gear Up in Canmore!)

    Food, Accommodation and Guiding

    Food

    Food is not provided as part of the course. Please bring along a packed lunch and some snacks for both days.

    Accommodation

    As this course is offered out of the ACC Clubhouse in Canmore, we invite all out-of-town participants to stay with us. Located on a high bench overlooking the Three Sisters, Ha Ling and Mount Rundle, the ACC Clubhouse hostel is the perfect place to relax while completing your AST1. You can reserve a room for the night between your classroom day and field day upon reservation. Or if you need to stay longer, call our reservations team on 403 678 3200 ext. 300. 

    For full details on the Canmore Clubhouse accommodation click here.

    Guiding

    Our dedicated on-staff ACC guide Doug Latimer oversees our AST programs. Doug has almost 20 years of experience in teaching AST and other winter instructional courses, as well as in developing course materials and ski guiding. We are extremely excited to have him on board for a second season after rave reviews in 2018/19.

    We want to provide the best possible learning experience and give you maximum opportunity to ask questions. So for our field day on Day 2, we bring in an extra guide/instructor where necessary to keep participant-to-guide ratios below a maximum of 8:1.  

    • The course overall is set up in a fantastic way and includes all essential knowledge and basic skills that every person who is heading out into the mountains should learn. The content of the course and the manner of our instructors to present the information is remarkable. Great course and great guides! Thank you so much!
    • Thoroughly enjoyed it and was so impressed with Doug's leadership and direction! Especially blown away by the e-book with embedded videos he used to instruct the course.
    - 2018/19 AST Course Participants -

    Popular AST 1 Locations

    more information

      Email us
       403 678 3200 ext. 213

      Gear list

    Organizing Fantastic ACC Adventures For Over 100 Years

    • Local Knowledge - based out of Canmore, AB, we know the Rockies region and the best local caterers, guides and porters
    • Dedicated resources - full-time office staff, ACMG guides and group equipment on-hand to ensure your trip runs smoothly
    • Not-for-profit - any money we make on camps and courses is reinvested into providing services for our members and the mountain community

    Cancellation policy and travel Insurance

    Please be sure to review our cancellation policy before registering for ACC Adventures:
     
    Cancellation Policy
    We sell Tugo® Travel Insurance suitable for both ACC Adventures and personal trips

    Travel Insurance


    Included WITH YOUR CAMP FEE

    • 2 days instruction by ACMG certified ski guides
    • Audio-visual avalanche e-book created by Doug Latimer
    • Avalanche Canada course materials including textbook
    • Avalanche Canada course certificate
    • Classroom space at the ACC Clubhouse

    Participants Must Provide

    • Transportation to and from the field location on Day 2
    • Accommodation is available at the ACC Clubhouse for an additional $30 per night
    • Meals and lunches
    • Personal gear (see gear list)

    Your Guides

    Doug Latimer

    Doug has 20 years of guiding experience behind him as an ACMG ski guide and an ACMG apprentice rock guide. As well as his private guiding he has spent a number of years working for the UoC where he taught a range of instructional programs in avalanche training, crevasse rescue and backcountry ski and ski mountaineering. He also somehow finds time to run a multimedia production company! In 2019, we are excited to announce Doug will be joining us as our on-staff winter guide; the perfect guy to take care of our Intro To, avalanche safety and other ski courses. 


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