Avalanche Course

AST 1 – Avalanche Skills Training

The AST 1 - Avalanche Skills Training course is the long-established standard in introductory avalanche education. This course is designed to bring resort skiers into the backcountry with the foundational skills to understand avalanche formations and proper backcountry travel.  

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Your First Step to Accessing the Backcountry

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

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 skills to ski fun lines. It will also give student the prerequisites to pursue more advance professional or recreational avalanche training. 

** Half day of online learning to be completed in the week leading up to your field day


Ability to hike uphill for 3 hours, Intermediate ski ability (confidence on blue square runs)

Highlight Skills

Companion rescue, Snow assessment, Group management, Use of ski touring gear



1.5 Days**


Starting at $225


Whistler or Squamish


All Winter



Guest / Guide Ratio

8 to 1


  • Course material (decision-making handbook)
  • Access to the online course for 60 days
  • 1 days instruction from CAA members and ACMG guides

Does Not Include

  • Avalanche rescue equipment
  • Backcountry lift ticket
  • Lunch

Our AST 1 course is unique in that we are teaching participants the basic skills of avalanche phenomena, assessment, avoidance, and ski touring skills to access the backcountry. This course will cover 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
  • Online Learning

Avalanche Statistics

  • Snowpack Assessment
  • Defining Avalanche Problems
  • Avalanche Sizes
  • Terrain Assessment
  • Group Management
  • Applying Daily Forecast in the Field
  • Companion Rescue
  • Pre-trip Planning
  • Gear

This course is for those who are new to backcountry skiing/ split boarding or those with limited backcountry experience. Prerequisites include:

  • Good ski or boarding ability (confident on blue square runs at a minimum)
  • Basic understanding of gear (have put it all together at least once)
  • Moderate fitness - can hike 2 to 3 hours/day.          

Whistler/Blackcomb Lift Ticket - $49 / day

Crevasse Rescue + Glacier Travel Online Course - $45

Backcountry Essentials Online Course - $45


Weekend (Nov 27 - Mar. 26) Squamish
$275 per person + GST
Weekday (Dec. 1 - Mar. 30) Squamish
$225 per person + GST
Weekend (Dec. 4 - Mar. 27) Whistler
$275 per person + GST
Weekday (Dec 8 - Mar. 23) Whisler
$225 per person + GST


Day 0.5 (Online)
Complete online learning at your own pace in the week leading up to your field day (3-4 hours)

Day 1 (Whistler or Squamish)
8:00 am – Morning session
9:00 am – Field session
4:30 pm – Return to cars

Whistler field day: If you do not have a seasons pass, backcountry passes are available for purchase at checkout.

Squamish field days: Chains are required by BC parks to access the meeting location.

Online Pre-Course

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.

Frequently Asked Questions


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