AST 1 + Ski Touring Skills

Your First Step to Accessing the Backcountry
Our AST 1+ course is unique.  We incorporate ski/split touring skills into the conventional AST 1 course template for two full days in the field.  The course focuses on avalanche terrain, snowpack analysis, companion rescue, navigation, and group management.  We ensure students have the necessary skills to travel in the backcountry and to ride fun lines safely by dialing in efficient up-tracking and terrain assessment for the easiest, safest ascent route.
  1. Do you want to ride in the backcountry?
  2. Do you have intermediate or higher ski/board 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 from mid-November to mid-March with mid-week courses now running every Wednesday-Thursday as well!

Women's only courses: November 28, 29, December 5,6, January  9, 10, and January 27, 28.

The Goods

Length: 2.5 Days**

Location: Whistler, BC.

Prerequisites: Ability to hike uphill 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 $329

* 4-hour online learning component must be completed before the first field day!


Day 0.5 

Online curriculum to be completed prior to the course. Takes approximately 4 hours. Location: Anywhere!

Day 1
8:00 am - Morning Session in Whistler Village
9:00 am - Whistler Backcountry Field Session

Day 2
8:00 am - Morning Session in Whistler Village
9:00 am - Whistler Backcountry Field Session

*Pass holders must make reservations for both days. If you do not have a seasons or Epic pass, backcountry lift tickets are available at time of booking

Is This for You?

The AST 1+ course is for skiers and boarders who have no, or limited, backcountry experience.  The ability to ride 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 and tested on a hill at least once)
  • Moderate Fitness - Can Hike 2 to 3 hours/day

What You Will Learn

Participants will learn the basic skills of avalanche phenomena, assessment and avoidance in addition to the ski touring skills to access the backcountry.  This course covers the two 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

Online Pre-Couse

Unique to Altus AST courses is our custom made #altusonlinelearning platform with over 13 courses available. Each course is built and instructed by one of our guides and is used to ensure you get the most out of your time in the field.

The AST 1 pre-course takes approximately 3 - 4 hours to complete and is a series of videos and presentations followed up with a final exam. The final exam requires a 60% pass to receive the AST 1 certificate.

Students will have access to this course for learning to revisit for 2 months from sign up.


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 recently took the AST1+ through Altus. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and if it would be worth paying extra to take the plus version, but the program exceeded my expectations. You complete the online course at your own pace, which leaves two full days in the field to be really hands on. Our guide, Christine, was extremely knowledgeable, approachable and fun to ride around with! 

- Ashley K

Scheduled Courses - 2020/2021

February 13, 14 $329 / person

All prices are in CAD and subject to 5% GST

February 17, 18 $329 / person

February 20, 21 $329 / person

February 27, 28 $329 / person

March 6, 7 $329 / person

March 10, 11 $329 / person

March 13, 14 $329 / person


Gear Rentals

Contact Us


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
(Backcountry pass necessary if you don't already have a Season's Pass, Epic Pass, or Edge Card. Available upon booking.)

Day 2
8:00 am - Morning session in Whistler village
9:00 am - Whistler Backcountry field session
(Backcountry pass necessary if you don't already have a Season's Pass, Epic Pass, or Edge Card. Available upon booking.)

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
  • 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
  • Baselayers


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

Please take a moment to read and understand our policies before booking! Booking, payment, cancellation and weather policies, as well as FAQ, may be found here.

All Altus AST courses are taught to the highest standard and follow the Avalanche Canada curriculum.


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.