The Avalanche Skills Training One is an introductory avalanche course designed for individuals with little to no avalanche related experience. Students will learn to understand the formation of avalanches, to recognize avalanche terrain, understand how weather contributes to avalanche hazard, be able to understand and interpret avalanche bulletins, to plan backcountry trips and to enact critical avalanche rescue skills.

Island Alpine Guides courses at Mount Washington benefit from quick and exclusive access using lifts at the resort to get us straight into great backcountry terrain for touring, learning and riding.

To register for this course, you should be a strong intermediate skier in natural conditions. If you are new to touring, you may wish to check out our Intro to Backcountry Touring course. If you would like to take this course on snowshoes, please see our "AST1: Snowshoe"

If you don't own your own touring gear and would like to try it out, Ski Tak Hut offers 25% off rentals for all Island Alpine Guides customers while on one of our trips.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details about our booking and cancellation policy, and other commonly asked questions.

All Island Alpine Guides courses and trips take place in an outdoor, wilderness environment. This means that as a participant you will be encountering various risks, dangers and hazards some of which include avalanches, cornices, crevasses, cliffs, trees, creeks, rockfall, difficult travel conditions, weather, illness, equipment failure, wild animals, becoming lost as well as the possibility of mistakes being made by IAG guides and instructors. To participate in these activities you will be required to read and agree to our waiver as part of the registration process. You will also be required to sign the waiver at the start of the course or trip. In doing so you will waive or give up certain legal rights including the right to sue or to claim compensation following an accident.

Included in the price:

  • Avalanche Skills Training Handbook
  • Avaluator Trip Planner/Slope Assessment Tool
  • Industry recognized certificate of completion
  • Exclusive access to the Mount Washington Backcountry
  • Avalanche Canada Student fee

Not included in the price:

  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Personal equipment
  • Avi kit
  • Lift ticket


  • Avi Kit rental $15.00

    Avalanche kit rental includes transceiver, shovel and probe. If you are bringing your own avi kit, this must include a modern, digital, 3-antenna transceiver, and a solid shovel and probe. If you do not have all three of these things then you must rent a kit from us to take part. Avi Kits once rented are non-refundable.

  • Lift ticket $31.00

    This specially priced lift ticket is mandatory if you do not own a season pass. If you are not purchasing this add-on, you must email us at to confirm that you have a season pass, otherwise we will add a lift ticket to your booking. Lift Tickets once purchased are non-refundable.

  • Dec 10 - 11, 20220 spots available.$295.00 Sold Out
  • Jan 7 - 8, 20233 spots available.$295.00 Book Trip
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Graeme was a great instructor, he was super knowledgeable and very enthusiastic about training and the course overall which made it very easy to stay engaged and gain information. The course went super well, couldn’t really have asked for more. Andrew B. , Mt Washington
Ken is an excellent instructor and I thoroughly enjoyed the course!! C.G., Vancouver Island
Thanks again for a great course. It was exactly what we needed. Kyle Milburn, Ecofish Research Ltd, Courtenay, BC
Thank you again for a truly amazing weekend. You really blew any expectations we had for AST1 out of the water. Breanne Storey, Victoria, BC
My most sincere kudos to Mike for a administering a great course. He definitely made the course extremely engaging and interesting. His enthusiasm, knowledge and demeanour gave credibility to the course material and avalanche theory, and thoroughly engaged the students. Also, it made for one heck of a good time. Tony Litke, Snow Survey Network Program, BC Ministry of Environment, Victoria, BC
The course was great, weather was perfect and Christoph is a great instructor with an amazing amount of knowledge. It's been over 10 years since I took my Avi Awareness and the new knowledge and tools will be an amazing help in the backcountry. Michael Allen, Valhalla Pure Outfitters, Nanaimo, BC
I just finished my AST1 course today and wanted to say that I had an awesome time and am looking forward to making turns in the backcountry. Thanks again for another awesome course. I've spread the word among my friends and they're all looking forward to next year to book their own spots for the AST1 course. Kevin Hardy, Courtenay, BC
The course was fantastic. In particular our guide Ken Wylie’s communication skills were terrific. Graeme Green, Roberts Creek, BC
Thanks for the incredible, informative and fun course. Kimberly Johnston, Ucluelet, BC
Thank you to our instructor, Mike, for sharing his expertise and lifelong mountain knowledge — from hoar frost to facets, from convexities and overburden, to runout zone and debris field. He made the companion rescue interesting and challenging. Practise, practise, practise. A special thank you to you too for your effort with the great Avalanche Bulletin page, our number 1 tool. Thomas & Waltraud Radetzki, Sooke, BC
I wanted to let you know how happy I am with the AST1 course I took with you recently. The practical knowledge we learned over those two days is invaluable. I definitely feel more confident in my decision-making beyond the rope. Steven Hornick, Cobble Hill, BC
The zoom session was very informative and it covered a lot of information. The field day was excellent and Graham was a great guide, allowing everyone to follow at their own pace. Taren, Mt Washington
Even though it was our 5th year running, I felt that your delivery of new course material and presentation techniques keeps getting better. Your ability to teach teenagers about terrain and avalanche risk assessment and group decisions is very effective. Thank you for helping to inspire tomorrow's stewards of nature. Andrew Jackson, Glen Lyon Norfolk School, Victoria, BC.
I have nothing but good things to say about our instructor Ken. He was very knowledgeable and patient while explaining concepts. He encouraged and was always happy to answer any question we had to make sure everyone understood what was being taught. His personal experience and stories were powerful teaching tools explaining the balance between risk/reward when entering the backcountry. A.C., Vancouver Island
The course with our guide Ken Wylie was amazing. Ken was insightful and inspiring, and some of what he shared extended well beyond avalanche safety into activities in the backcountry and life. Kristen Walsh, Victoria, BC
I found the course material excellent and the presentation was top notch. It helped that the subject matter is so inherently fascinating, but the two of you really brought it to life. It was clear from your passion that safety in the backcountry is of great personal significance to you. Your message of personal responsibility and power on the part of each member of a group really resonated with me. I was heartened to be made to feel like a member of a team, whose opinions and intuitions are important, even in the company of people with vastly more experience. This is a powerful message, applicable in many spheres of life that involve teamwork, from the mundane to the potentially life-changing. And for me, it was an extremely effective learning trigger, helping to give weight and substance to everything that I learned. Stefan Kriegler, Vancouver Island, BC
An awesome experience! I can't wait to get out and use it. Patrick McConnell, Courtenay, BC
My son really enjoyed the AST1 course. He had a great time and learned a lot. He has told me a few stories from the course and you definitely got his attention. He loves skiing and the mountains and has been doing some skiing recently in the backcountry, which of course has had me concerned. I appreciate you teaching him respect for the backcountry and the elements. This course will help him to be safer and better prepared. Thank you very much. Sheila Goodall, Courtenay, BC
Awesome course, so worth the money. Angeline and I came out with so much more knowledge than we expected and feel so much more prepared to tour the backcountry this season. It really showed me how little I really knew last season. Your teaching ability and passion for ski touring and avalanche knowledge really shines through while you're teaching (especially in the field). Thanks again, and we look forward to taking more courses and tours with you in the near future. Nate Elman & Angeline Huson, Courtenay, BC
I would like to commend you and your staff for putting on an awesome course. The content was thorough and engaging, and the field work was not only an excellent way to reinforce the classroom lessons, but it also added so much more value to the course to be able to see things first hand out in the "real world". The class size was large enough to be able to simulate a good-sized ski group but not too large for each student to get individualized attention from the instructor. Speaking of the instructor, Christophe did an amazing job. He was knowledgeable, professional and did a great job engaging us with the course content. I came away with a much greater understanding of the mechanics of avalanches and also a far greater respect for the potentially devastating effect that bad decision-making can have. I would absolutely recommend the AST1 course to anyone who ventures into the backcountry. Christina Sharun, Nanaimo, BC
Just a quick note to express my satisfaction with the AST1 course at Mount Washington this past weekend. The course exceeded my expectations in every regard and I came away feeling it was a weekend very well spent. You have a gift in Lyle. He is an exceptional instructor who can balance very well between the novices, such as me, and the folks with more experience. His teaching style means everyone benefits from each other as well as him. Bil Derby, Nanaimo, BC
I am a 45 year old skier and I have been skiing for just over 30 years. I recently purchased alpine touring gear and am eager to use the equipment safely. The classroom presentation was excellent. The field work was exciting and brought to life the information presented in the classroom. I really enjoyed the course and I look forward to gaining more experience on my skis outside the resort boundaries. Andrew, H, Nanaimo, BC
We were impressed by the service and expertise of the staff from the point of registration through the run of the AST1 course. Very friendly, approachable and highly experienced staff, Ryan Shelly did a great job of teaching us the course and we look forward to doing our AST2 Bergljot, S,
Thanks so much for a weekend full of knowledge and fun. You guys did a great job in helping us gain confidence in the backcountry. Doing what you do saves lives and I appreciate it and I can't wait to get out there and have fun safely! Kim J, Duncan
I really enjoyed the AST1 course last weekend. Bill was very experienced and interesting and I appreciated his advice and input. The group was fun and I learned a tonne about avalanches and how to rescue someone. Annie C, Victoria
I took this course when I lived in Alberta, nearly a decade ago; but Alex was by far a superior presenter. The knowledge he presented came alive when he supplemented his instruction with the details of his personal experiences. Anon., Vancouver Island
I left my Avalanche Skills Training course feeling inspired and grounded. Anyone who backcountry skis should take this course! Maddy D, Courtenay
I have to say that this course is one of the BEST I’ve ever done. Ryan and Tim were a wealth of information, not only in the practical sense but with multiple “there I was” stories to back up their teachings. The field work was well paced and VERY informative. Our instructors made sure to be inclusive of everyone and take time for our questions. They were also very entertaining inserting comic relief on occasion to provide much needed levity on the long days. I am eager to hone my new skills and hopefully attend another one of your excellent courses next year. Dallas H, Comox
I truly had a great day with Ken and the group learning about avalanches and rescue. He made sure everyone was taken care of, the gear was working, he gave us breaks to drink water or snack, and that we would warm up by moving or doing activity if he saw us getting cold. Ken was a professional and consistently displayed years and years of experience in the backcountry. I would highly recommend the course to anyone, and suggest they try to get Ken as their instructor. Lewis W, Courtenay
Super fun and informative! Robyn F, Courtenay
I want to pass along a special thanks to Ryan. The AST 1 course this weekend was fantastic. The theory class was very informative, and covered a lot of material. I thought Ryan’s presentation was very good, professional yet quite personnel too. We had a good group and some great interaction. Thanks again, I will definitely be contacting IAG in the future! Matt H,
I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this course. I came out of it with way more than I anticipated. A big thank you to our instructor Ken Wylie who brought not only great expertise with avalanche safety but a deeper knowledge of the human condition which made this course incredibly impactful for me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom Ken! It will be put to good use in the snow and out. Jennifer A, Nanaimo
Really enjoyed the course. I really appreciated the depth of knowledge Ken had, and his philosophical perspective on safety and avalanches. Neil E,
Loved it all. I felt like I got a very thorough and well-rounded overview of avalanche safety, and I feel much more confident heading out into the backcountry. Really appreciated Graeme’s passion and enthusiasm for snow and for teaching. He made it a super fun and safe environment. Can’t wait to take another course! Jennifer Joyce, Mount Washington
Tim was an excellent instructor. He was friendly and fun but still able to communicate the absolute seriousness of what you are getting yourself into once you step into the backcountry. Amidst a pandemic, I felt safe. I would recommend AST1 through Island Alpine Guides. Tamara Akerman,
Excellent and clear delivery of all information that was expected to be covered in this course. Alex was able to answer all questions with great detail and relevance. The whole day over Zoom was well done and I found it easy to pay attention. Our field day was really well set up and I thought it to be an appropriate mix of time spent talking, as well as practicing the physical skills. If anything, I wish the day had been longer! Vik,
These guys are specialists in their field and were friendly, approachable and articulated concepts and theories in a very easily digestible way. Truly awesome! Anon.,
I cannot say enough about Tim, he displayed the perfect amount of textbook mixed with real life experiences. He has a way of presenting the information that needs to be recognized as EXCELLENT. I'm very satisfied with the knowledge I gained and have reflected my positive experience to all my community. Thanks Tim Dennis Mellson,
Tim did a great job making sure people were following along, but kept the course moving as well. The mountain day was also excellent. Tim went above and beyond to make sure we know what it would be like to be in an avalanche, and why this course is so important. Looking forward to taking more classes with Island Alpine. Alex,
Jan presented an engaging and comprehensive presentation over zoom, which was easy to follow and well-paced for online learning. He was extremely knowledgeable and willing to answer any and all questions with an in-depth response! Joe was a fantastic field instructor, I greatly appreciated his open approach to our (many) questions & curiosities, and willingness to draw from his own experiences in the backcountry. Thanks to the whole team for such an awesome course! Meg Rogers,
I thought Brynn was an incredible instructor. He did a very good job of presenting the vast amount of info in an engaging way in our classroom session. I appreciated his sharing of personal stories to explain dangers, what he learned and how to approach things from a safe, rules based decision making process. In our field day he was knowledgeable, approachable and made the learning really fun. I feel like I took so much away from the course overall and would absolutely book another one with him as an instructor. Thanks, Brynn! Sarah,
Jan was excellent at keeping the whole day engaging and very informative. Learned a whole bunch. I was very happy with the day and would highly suggest this course to anyone interested in avalanche awareness. Dan Kolk,
We had a fabulous day with Island Alpine. Our guide, Tim, was excellent. He was engaging and encouraging and had a wealth of knowledge that he was passionate to share. He kept the crew focussed and cohesive and managed the weekend beautifully. We came away feeling as though we had learned much, understood that we still had much more to learn and are excited to get out in the backcountry. Thank you! Paisley,
So much fun, lots of laughter. Instructors were both very knowledgeable, engaging, approachable & inclusive. Kaley V.,
This past weekend’s AST1 course was excellent. Lyle did a great job of delivering the course content in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Even though snow conditions were not good, the field work we did was so valuable and effective. Andrew Jackson, Glenlyon Norfolk School, Victoria, BC
Jan is a very knowledgeable guide and is easy to approach with any question about the mountains you could think of. I highly recommend the AST1 course for anyone who is interested in the backcountry. From experienced to complete beginner, this course has the very best building blocks to set a valuable foundation to keep you safe and having fun in the mountains. I will definitely be taking more courses through Island Alpine Guides in the future. Natty Stash, Vancouver Island, BC