AST 1 + Ski Touring Skills

Your First Step to Accessing the Backcountry

Our AST 1+ course is unique.  We incorporate ski touring skills into the conventional AST 1 course template.  This course focuses on avalanche terrain, snowpack analysis and companion rescue in addition to the skills needed to access the backcountry.  Navigation, group management, efficient up tracking and terrain assessment for the easiest, safest ascent route are also skills covered to get participants out in the backcountry skiing fun lines safely.

  1. Do you want to ski in the backcountry?
  2. Do you have intermediate or higher ski ability?
  3. Do you like learning in a group setting?

Then yes!

This course is for anyone who wants to make sure they are taking the appropriate steps to make smart decisions in the backcountry and the touring skills to access and ski the backcountry.

Courses available every weekend until mid-March with 5 weekday courses scheduled December 5/6, December 12/13, January 9/10, January 23/24 and February 6/7, 2019.

Women's only courses December 1,2 January 8,9 and January 26,27.


The Goods

Length: 2.5 Days**

Location: Whistler, BC.

Prerequisites: Ability to hike up hill for 3 hours and advance ski ability (black diamond runs).

Highlight Skills: Companion rescue, snow assessment, group management and use of ski touring gear.

Season: Scheduled Dates All Winter

Max. Guest to Guide Ratio: 8:1

Price: Starting at $289

**2 hour evening classroom session before 2 full days on the mountain



Day 0.5 (The evening before the course)

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Classroom Session
Location: Whistler.

Day 1
8:00 am - Morning Session in Whistler Village
9:00 am - Whistler Backcountry Field Session
(Lift tickets are necessary, discounted backcountry passes are available upon booking)

Day 2
8:00 am - Morning Session in Whistler Village
9:00 am - Whistler Backcountry Field Session
(Lift tickets are necessary, discounted backcountry passes are available upon booking)

Is This for You

The AST 1+ course is for skiers who have no, or limited, backcountry experience.  The ability to ski black diamond runs in powder conditions is required to participate in this course.

  • Good Ski or Boarding Ability (ability to ski/ride black diamond runs just barely)
  • Basic Understanding of Gear (have put it all together at least once)
  • Moderate Fitness - Can Hike 2 to 3 hours/day

What You Will Learn

Our participants will learn the basic skills of avalanche phenomena, assessment and avoidance but also the ski touring skills to access the backcountry.  This course covers both pillars of safe and efficient backcountry travel.


Avalanche Skills Training

  • Understand the basics of avalanche formation and release
  • Identify avalanche terrain
  • Pre trip planning
  • Use of the Avaluator decision-making system
  • Using public avalanche bulletins
  • Travel in avalanche terrain (uphill and down)
  • Companion rescue

Ski Touring Training

  • Utilize your backcountry equipment properly
  • Read a map, compass
  • Assess terrain for easiest and safest route of ascent
  • Identify mountain and snowpack areas of concern
  • Efficient up tracking through simple and challenging terrain
  • Group management ascending and descending
  • Navigation

Completed the 2.5 Day AST 1+ course and Altus could not have been better. Great communication prior to our course, very informative during the weekend and great staff. Scott was our Pro for the weekend and he was able to share his experiences and convey great lessons throughout the entire time. Great balance of 'classroom' and practical/ hands-on learning. 100% recommended for anyone whom is looking to start getting into Backcountry skiing. A+.

- Derek F

I have now done 2 courses with Altus and had the best experience at both. Most recently I completed the AST1+ course with Brett and could not speak more highly of him. He was very knowledgeable, patient and his passion for the mountains was infectious. We learned a ton and had the best time doing so. Thanks Altus

- Lisa N

Scheduled Courses - 2018/2019

November 24, 25 $289 / person

December 1, 2 $289 / person

December 1, 2 $289 / person

Women's only course

December 5, 6 $289 / person

Mid week

December 8, 9 $289 / person

December 12, 13 $289 / person

Mid week

December 15, 16 $289 / person

December 22, 23 $289 / person

December 29, 30 $289 / person

January 5, 6 $289 / person

January 9, 10 $289 / person

Mid Week

January 8, 9 $289 / person

Women's only course

January 12, 13 $289 / person

January 19, 20 $289 / person

January 23, 24 $289 / person

Mid week

January 26, 27 $289 / person

January 26, 27 $289 / person

Women's only course

February 2, 3 $289 / person

February 6, 7 $289 / person

February 9, 10 $289 / person

February 16, 17 $289 / person

February 23, 24 $289 / person

March 2, 3 $289 / person

March 9, 10 $289 / person



$30 / Day


$69 /Day


Day 0.5 (Wednesday or Friday)

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Classroom session
Location: Whistler, Squamish or Vancouver

Day 1
8:00 am - Morning session in Whistler village
9:00 am - Whistler Backcountry field session
(Lift tickets are necessary, discounted backcountry passes are available upon booking $59)

Day 2
8:00 am - Morning session in Whistler village
9:00 am - Whistler Backcountry field session
(Lift tickets are necessary, discounted backcountry passes are available upon booking $59)

What's Included
  • Course Material (Decision Making Hand Book)
  • 2.5 Days Instruction from CAA Members and ACMG Guide
What's Not Included
  • Backcountry Ski Rentals
  • Avalanche Rescue Equipment (we can supply rentals if necessary $30/day) 
  • Whistler Blackcomb Backcountry Lift Ticket
  • Lunch
  • Transportation
Gear List

Avalanche Safety Gear

  • Avalanche Transceiver
  • Shovel: Collapsible aluminum shovel.
  • Probe: Normal length probe somewhere from 220cm to 320cm. 

*Available for rent at check out*


  • Ski touring skis: bindings, skins, poles or split board+skins
  • Ski touring/snowboard boots
  • Snow saw (optional)
  • Suitable day pack 30 - 40L


  • Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants
  • Lightweight breathable jacket and pants (for uphill skinning/climbing)
  • Insulated jacket (synthetic insulated jacket is strongly recommended)
  • Lightweight gloves for climbing/skinning
  • Warm gloves
  • Warm hats
  • Balaclava or another type of neck warmer
  • Base layers


  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles
  • Sun screen
  • Sun hat
  • Ski strap
  • Small personal ski repair kit
  • Personal first aid, medication
  • Camera
Booking Policy

Making a booking

Greater than 14 days from start date

  • 20% deposit is required to secure your guides and or trip. Remaining trip cost is due 14 days

Less than 14 days from start date

  • Trip cost must be paid in full

*Subject to change based on particular trip

Forms of payment

Credit card: Visa, Mastercard

Email transfer:

Cheque: Only accepted 30 days prior to trip commencement


Greater than 30 days from start date

  • Deposit will be refunded in full

30 to 14 days prior to trip commencement

  • Deposit amount will be forfeited

Less than 14 days

  • Full trip amount will be forfeited

*Subject to change based on particular trip

*All cancellations must be received in writing

Cancellations by Altus Mountain Guides

Upon confirming your booking we guarantee the trip departure. If we cancel a trip for any reason prior to the start date a full refund will be provided. If we are forced to cancel a trip for any reason after the trip start date, a full refund for the unused portion of the trip will be provided.

Trip cancellation insurance

Upon confirmation of your trip Altus Mountain Guides enters into financial obligation and cannot refund payment or release you from your contractual obligation except for condition stated below in “Cancellations” Therefore in an effort to avoid unnecessary cancellation penalties, cancellation insurance is strongly recommended in the event you can not participate or if your trip is interrupted “for any reason”. This is available from most travel companies. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding our policy or obtaining insurance.


Still Have Questions or Concerns?

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, concerns or requests on how we can make this the best trip ever!!!

About Ross Berg

Ross has guided, climbed and skied in the European Alps for the last several seasons. When he’s at home he can be found working as a heli ski guide in winters and climbing alpine rock routes in summer.