AST1 FOR FAMILIES

As low as:

$295.00 / person

(at 8:1 ratio)
  • STRENUOUSNESS
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  • TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY
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Add-ons

Avi Kit rental $30.00

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 [email protected] 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.

About

An Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST1) course offered specifically for parents with their youth who share backcountry adventures together, want to speak the same language, and are serious about safety.

Learning the core skills of avalanche awareness alongside your youth offers the opportunity to develop and share risk assessment conversations together and continues the foundation for future learning opportunities together.

All youth under the age of 19 on this course must be accompanied by their legal guardian. All participants on course must meet the course prerequisites to participate (please read through our "AST1 requirements" page or be in touch with any questions).

This Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST1) is an introductory course geared towards recreationalists with little to no experience in avalanche terrain. It’s also suitable for those with some experience who are looking for more formalized training. AST1 is recommended for anyone venturing into avalanche terrain outside of ski area boundaries. Each course provides a theory session and a practical field session. Students are provided with take-home reference materials and tools which provide clear and effective learning progressions, emphasizing important knowledge and skills. 

This ski/board course at Mount Washington benefits from exclusive lift access from the resort on the field day, providing a quick approach to terrain for touring, learning, and riding.

Curriculum

  • Understand the basics of avalanche formation and release
  • Recognize avalanche terrain
  • Develop a pre-trip plan
  • Use the Avaluator decision-making system
  • Interpret avalanche bulletins
  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain (uphill and down)
  • Complete slope scale assessments
  • Enact a companion rescue

Included

  • 2 days of instruction with a certified instructor
  • Certificate of completion
  • Avalanche Skills Training Handbook
  • Avaluator Trip Planner/Slope Assessment Tool
  • Avalanche Canada student fee

Not Included

  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Personal equipment 
  • Avi Kit (transceiver, shovel, probe – available as an add-on)
  • Lift ticket (available as an add on)

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

Locations 


Whether the theory session is in-person or online will be determined by provincial health recommendations and our level of comfort with current risk of COVID-19.  Please build flexibility into your plans and consider this when looking for accommodation or organizing rentals with third parties. 

Our standard in-person classroom is in the Comox Valley and we use Mount Washington Alpine Resort as an access point to backcountry terrain for the field day. 

If you would prefer to complete your AST1 at Mount Cain, please see AST1 Cain for booking details.

Itinerary


Avalanche Canada requires a minimum of 4 hours of classroom time and 7 hours in the field. Our courses exceed all the minimum time requirements set by Avalanche Canada. Please anticipate that each day will go from 8:30 to around 17:00*.

You will be provided with exact meeting details specific to your course one-week prior to your course start date.

Day 1: Theory session

8:30am: Meet your instructor and other participants either virtually* or in a classroom in the Comox Valley for a day of theory. Skis/boards will not be needed on day one. 

If in-person, we will also complete some companion rescue practice on the theory day, in which case avi kits will be required. 

4:00pm-5:00pm: Approximate finish time

Day 2: Field session 

8:30am: Students meet their instructor at the base of the Hawk Chair at Mount Washington Alpine Resort for a morning meeting. Waivers and avi kit rentals are handed out.

9:00am: After the morning meeting, students will spend the day outside in the field, identifying terrain, practicing route finding and safe travel, and learning about slope assessment, hazard recognition and small party self-rescue.
 
4:00pm-5:00pm: Debrief and rental return

*Timing depends on how the group, conditions and how quickly the instructor can move through the necessary material, and whether the theory day is in-person or held virtually

Participants will receive a pre-trip email one-week prior with trip details. Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or send us an email. 

Requirements


Avalanche Skills Training 1 is an introductory avalanche course designed for individuals with little to no avalanche related experience.

Youth and Parents are welcome to participate on touring gear, snowshoes, or a combo of snowshoes for going up and skis or a board to come down. However, to comfortably participate we ask that you: 

  • Have moderate fitness (able to hike for 2-3 hours/day).
  • Are prepared to spend the day outside in variable conditions (please read through the 'gear list' tab on this webpage.)
  • Have access to a vehicle with winter tires and chains.
  • Have a basic understanding of your gear, and any limitations (consider practicing with your transceiver beforehand and your transitions with your touring set up in and out of walk and ride mode).
  • If choosing to ride downhill on skis or snowboard, we request that you are a strong intermediate skier or boarder (able to ride blue square-equivalent runs comfortably and safely in natural, ungroomed conditions).
  • If you do not have touring gear and will be using skis / a snowboard for the course - you must carry snowshoes in a backpack for use on the uphill portions of the course and be prepared to carry your skis/snowboard uphill. 

Optional pre-course study 

To help you prepare and get the most out of your course, we recommend some pre-course study. Avalanche Canada’s online avalanche tutorial is a great resource.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or send us an email. We are always happy to help you find a suitable course or customize something to suit your needs whenever possible.

Gear List


The equipment list provided aims to prepare you to be comfortable in the field regardless of the weather. Please ensure that all your gear is functioning and in proper repair. If you have any questions, please send us an email: [email protected]

Avalanche Safety Gear

These items are available as an Add On “avi kit” when you book, or by request for $15/day

  • Avalanche Transceiver (must be a modern, digital three-antenna)*
  • Shovel: Collapsible aluminum shovel*
  • Probe: Normal length probe somewhere from 220cm to 320cm*

Hardware

  • Ski touring skis/splitboard (boarders may also snowshoe uphill carrying their snowboard on their pack for the descents).
  • Poles
  • Skins
  • Ski touring/snowboard boots
  • Day pack (30 - 40L, or whatever will fit your gear)

Clothing

  • Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants
  • Midweight, breathable jacket and pants -- for uphill skinning/climbing
  • Insulated jacket -- synthetic or down
  • Lightweight gloves for climbing/skinning 
  • Warm gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Balaclava or another type of neck warmer
  • Baselayers (top and bottom)

Other

  • Water
  • Lunch and snacks (prepared ahead of time and consumable on the go) 
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Ski strap
  • Personal first aid (e.g. blister kit, medication)
  • Camera
  • Notebook and pencil (Rite in the Rain recommended)

Rentals


  • Touring Gear: Ski Tak Hut offers 25% off backcountry rentals (skins, boots, and skis or a splitboard) for clients on IAG trips and courses. These can be ordered online using a discount code. Request your unique code from us after you have booked your trip. Note you will be asked to show the booking confirmation you received from us when you pick up your gear.
  • Avalanche Kit: We offer rental transceivers, shovels and probes as an add on kit when you book.  If you do not have your own modern, digital, three antenna transceiver, please request a rental kit prior to your trip.  

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for information about gear fitting, rentals, add ons, and other commonly asked questions, or send us an email. 

Testimonials

There are currently no testimonials for this trip yet.