AST2 Cain - For Skiers and Boarders

As low as:

$695.00 / person

(at 8:1 ratio)


Avi Kit rental $60.00

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.

Island Turns and Tours Guidebook $69.00

Save on postage and have this indispensable trip planning guide delivered to you at your course. With well over 500 Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale rated Island tours, this guidebook allows you to apply the learning from your IAG/HVI course to doing real trips in the mountains.

IAG Cancellation Coverage $36.00

As per our Cancellation Policy, your trip or course is 100% non-refundable after 30 days prior to the trip/course start date. Purchasing this addon will allow you to cancel your trip/course within that 30 day time period for reasons of injury, illness or family emergency, and will provide you with a credit for the full value of your trip/course fee which can be be used on any Island Alpine Guides or Hike Vancouver Island trip or course or trip for up to one year from the start date of the trip/course originally booked.


As our adventures lure us into more complex avalanche terrain, it’s important to delve deeper into snow science and move beyond the internalized rule-based models learned in AST1. Avalanche Skills Training Level 2, an intermediate level course, provides the observational and practical tools to incorporate the experiential decision-making processes necessary for more nuanced terrain.

Over the span of four days, our professional ACMG Guides and avalanche forecasters will teach advanced snow assessment and the finer points of decision-making. Along the way, we’ll cover group management considerations as well as advanced travel and rescue techniques.

A certificate is issued by email following completion of your course provided all sessions have been attended. This certificate is valid as the pre-requisite for the CAA Level 1 operations course.


  • Closer look at the nature and formation of avalanches
  • Additional stability evaluation techniques
  • Winter backcountry travel and group management
  • Assessing avalanche danger 
  • Combining observations and experience in decision-making 
  • Safety measures and avalanche transceivers (multi-burial search)
  • Accident case studies  
  • Route finding and safe travel
  • Hazard and terrain recognition
  • Managing complex terrain
  • Small party self-rescue


  • 4-Day of instruction with an ACMG-certified guide and/or CAA Avalanche Professional
  • Industry-recognized certificate of completion
  • Avalanche Canada student fee

Not Included

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


Mount Cain is a volunteer-run ski hill located about 20km from Woss on Northern Vancouver Island.

Given the remote location of this course, logistics may vary. Any specifications will be noted in the booking tab with the corresponding date.

Typically Cain courses are best run for contiguous groups, or groups that have accommodation already sorted with space for a classroom, and the ability to accommodate an instructor (COVID allowing). If accommodation is not available to you, we are also willing to offer this course with a virtual session several days prior to three field days at Mount Cain.

About Mount Cain & Amenities

  • Volunteer-run ski hill located 20 km from Woss - see driving directions here
  • The road to Mount Cain is a serious mountain road and requires chains and winter tires. Pulling trailers up the Mount Cain road is ill advised year round. 
  • Washroom facilities available
  • To use the lifts or rent accommodation at Mount Cain, you must be a MCAPS member - membership can be purchased for $20 and goes towards supporting the hill
  • Lift Tickets are purchased in person at Mount Cain
  • There is no potable water (rental cabins supplied with water jugs, otherwise please bring what you require)
  • Parking lot is often used for car camping (there may be other groups using this area, so please be respectful of others by keeping the noise to a minimum and packing out what you pack in)
  • Check out Mount Cain’s accommodation rental page for accommodation details

If you enjoy using these facilities, please consider donating or volunteering for this volunteer run operation. Learn more about Mount Cain here, and read driving directions to Mount Cain here.

If you are interested in holding a course at Mount Cain, please get in touch. 


This course is a time commitment. Each day typically goes from approximately 08:30 to 17:00, though precise meeting and location details are typically decided upon by the group and the instructor. Below is a typical breakdown of what to expect:

Day 1 – Theory and review (virtual or in-person depending on health recommendations at the time). Delivery of classroom may vary depending on the group requirements.

Day 2 – Field day: meet your instructor outside the main lodge at Mount Cain at 08:30, unless otherwise specified.

Day 3 – Field day: meet your instructor outside the main lodge at Mount Cain at 08:30, unless otherwise specified.

Day 4 – Field day: meet your instructor outside the main lodge at Mount Cain at 08:30, unless otherwise specified.

Participants will receive a pre-trip email one-week prior with trip details.

Questions? Check out our
FAQ page, or send us an email. 


This course is the next step in your Avalanche Skills Training. As such, we have a more rigorous set of pre-requisites to ensure that everyone can get the most out of the course and complete it safely:

  • Strong intermediate ski or boarding ability (blue square runs in natural conditions)
  • Moderate fitness (can tour uphill, gaining 500 - 1000m of elevation per day)
  • AST1 or equivalent (contact us to discuss exceptions)
  • Approximately 20 days touring experience (or one season of touring as a minimum)
  • Prepared to spend the day outside in variable conditions (please see gear list)
  • 19+ (if you are a minor, please reach out to discuss options) 

If you are unsure if you meet these requirements, please reach out! We are always happy to discuss alternatives or set up private courses to meet individual needs.


To help you get the most out of your course, you will be asked to complete some homework in the week leading up to your trip. This will be sent in the pre-trip email one week prior.  You may also with to review Avalanche Canada's online tutorial, AvySavvy

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details for commonly asked questions or send us an email. 
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 “avalanche 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


  • Ski touring skis or split board: bindings, skins, poles
  • Ski touring/snowboard boots
  • Day pack (30 - 40L, or whatever will fit your gear for field days)


  • 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 hat
  • Balaclava or another type of neck warmer
  • Baselayers (top and bottom)


  • Water
  • Lunch and snacks (prepared ahead of time and consumable on the go)
  • Thermos with tea
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Ski strap
  • Personal first aid (e.g. blister kit, medication)
  • Compass/Altimeter (optional)
  • Camera
  • Notebook and pencil (Rite in the Rain recommended)
  • Avaluator (available to purchase upon request)
  • Avalanche Handbook (available to purchase upon request)
  • Companion Rescue Card (available to purchase upon request)

Please note that this list does not include any overnight equipment or gear. Accommodation is up to participants. Please familiarize yourself with Cain’s amenities

Rentals & Add Ons

Avalanche Kit: We offer rental transceivers, shovels and probes as an add-on kit when you book or by request pre-trip. If you do not have your own modern, digital, three antenna transceiver, collapsible shovel, and/or probe - please request a rental kit prior to your course/trip.

Avalanche Canada Learning Materials: Since AST1 is a prerequisite for this course, it is expected that you will have your own copy of the Avalanche Handbook, Avaluator and Companion Rescue Card. If you do not have these items, you may request to purchase the physical copies. We can also provide you with a digital handbook for prior study upon request.

Touring Gear: 'Ski Tak Hut' in Courtenay ( offers backcountry ski and splitboard rentals. Clients on IAG courses and trips are eligible to receive a unique 25% discount code towards their gear rentals from Ski Tak Hut - for the duration of their course/trip with us. These discount codes are distributed directly by IAG to our clients upon request. Rentals from Ski Tak Hut can be ordered online using the unique discount code. Note you will be asked to show the booking confirmation you received from us when you pick up your gear.

Winter 4x4 Vehicle(s): 'Far Out Wilderness' ( is a 4x4 vehicle rental service in Victoria that offers clients access to a fleet of rugged, reliable, and fully-equipped vehicles designed to conquer the most challenging winter terrain. Their vehicles come with snow tires with the 3 peak mountain symbol, chains, and ski racks. They also provide emergency equipment, including SOS, SPOT messenger systems, GPS, tire pump, toe rope, tire pressure gauge, a map to BC's backcountry roads, and a first aid kit. Everything you need to get safely to the ski slopes! Upon request, IAG clients can receive a 5% discount code towards their rentals from 'Far Out Wilderness'.

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


Tony and I wanted to say how much we enjoyed the course and Lyle's teaching. I'm someone who inherently looks for yes no answers to questions but Lyle further made me appreciate the subtle art of 'snow science'. Sebastian Wende, Australia
Thanks for an amazing course! Ulrike Schmidt, Victoria, BC
By far one of the best experiences of a lifetime. Instructors with unparalleled experience and understanding at IAG! Kurt Kaufman, Toledo, Ohio
I wanted to let you know how fantastic the AST2 course was this past weekend at Mt. Cain. Despite initial snow issues, it was good of you and Lyle to organize the snow to fall in different consistencies and depth over the four days, to make our learning during our profile practices more valuable. Lyle was a first-class guide. I liked his “what do you think” approach, rather than regurgitating the information at or to us. Being an educator, I know and appreciate good teaching practices when I see them. He was patient with all of my questions and often directed me to answer them myself with further investigation. Mully Jackson, Victoria, BC
I finally finished standing down from the AST2 course at Mt. Cain yesterday. I'm very pleased to have attended, and feel it was well worth the investment and time. You struck an excellent balance between theoretical knowledge, field exposure, and creative exercises. In particular, I learned a lot from the exercise of writing the forecasts under your direction. That was an excellent teaching technique, for it forced us to think ahead and anticipate conditions and how they would be changing. Thank you for putting together a very well done course, and presenting it well. I, and I'm sure the others, appreciated your willingness to put in some additional time with us beyond the minimum requirement. Bill Wallace, Malahat, BC
Henry really enjoyed the AST2 course at Mt. Cain last weekend. I think Joe was a good fit as an instructor for Henry. If you see Joe, please pass on my gratitude to him. Holly M, Cortez
Graeme was an awesome instructor to work with. Her provided an opportunity for everyone to contribute their observations and thoughts towards decision making. Mt. Cain was a spectacular location that provides a variety of real avalanche terrain to travel too. Anon.,