AST+ Theory to Practice - Mount Washington

As low as:

$215.00 / person

(at 6:1 ratio) Next Trip: Jan 25, 2025 (day trip)


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 $35.00

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.

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 $11.00

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.


Taking the step from AST1 to touring in the backcountry can be daunting. AST+ bridges the gap from theory to practice as students move towards planning and executing personal trips in backcountry terrain. 

AST+ provides a structured pre-trip planning session, followed by a practical day in the field. Students will gain knowledge about local terrain, and put skills into practice along the way. 


  • Analyze maps, weather forecasts, ATES ratings, and avalanche bulletins to choose suitable terrain for the day
  • Use of planning tools and other resources in pre-trip planning process
  • Review of mountain and snowpack areas of concern
  • Assess terrain for easiest and safest route of ascent
  • Efficient up tracking through simple and challenging terrain
  • Opportunities to practice setting a skin track and route find
  • Group management practice, ascending and descending
  • Using the Avaluator trip planner and slope assessment card as decision-making tools
  • Practice and feedback


  • Pre-trip planning session
  • A day of backcountry ski touring with an ACMG guide

Not Included

  • Transportation
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Personal gear and 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.


Our standard course runs in the backcountry surrounding either Mount Washington or Mount Cain, and take advantage of lifts for quick access to alpine terrain.

Course location will be indicated on booking tab with the corresponding date. You are also welcome to request locations and dates prior to booking and we will do our best to accommodate you if possible. 

Note: If you do not have a season pass for Mount Washington, please purchase a lift ticket as an add on, as we will use lifts for efficient access to alpine terrain. If you are taking your course at Mount Cain, you will need to be a member of MCAPS to purchase a lift ticket for yourself. See their website for details


On the morning of our course, we will meet in person for our pre-trip-planning session then head out for a full day of touring in avalanche terrain, gaining knowledge about local terrain and putting skills into practice along the way, all facilitated by an experienced guide. We will end the day with a structured debrief to cement important lessons of the day. 

08:30: Meet at Mount Washington outside the Main Lodge. Start the day with our pre-trip planning session (outdoors) then spend a full day touring, gaining knowledge about local terrain and putting skills into practice along the way. 

16:00 - Debrief

Exact meeting details will be provided one-week prior in a pre-trip email. 

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


This course is beneficial for individuals at all stages of learning. Intimate group sizes allow guides to tailor the curriculum to individuals' experience levels.

Groups made up of people with a variety of levels of experience actually enhance the group learning potential as they model perfectly what real groups of tourers are like, and the decision making challenges that they face.

That said, to safely partake, we do require that you: 

  • Are a strong intermediate skier or boarder (able to ride blue square-equivalent runs comfortably and safely in natural conditions)
  • Have moderate fitness (able to hike for 2-3 hours/day)
  • 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) 
  • Are prepared to spend the day outside in variable conditions (please see gear list)
  • Have taken Avalanche Skills Training One, Avalanche Canada's Avy Savy online course or have equivalent training or experience.

Note: if you are unsure if you meet these requirements, in particular the riding ability, 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.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details 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, send us an email (link).

Avalanche Safety Gear

These items are available as an add on “avalanche kit” when you book, or by request for $15. 

  • 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/board
  • Poles
  • Skins
  • Ski touring/snowboard boots
  • Day pack (30 - 40L, or whatever will fit your gear)


  • Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants
  • Lightweight, breathable jacket and pants (for uphill skinning/climbing)
  • Insulated jacket (down or 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) 
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Ski strap
  • Camera
  • Personal first aid (e.g. blister kit, medication)

Trip Planning and Learning Aids

  • Avaluator Trip Planner and Slope Assessment tool (these will be available to you if you have taken an AST1 – if you have not, please contact us)
  • Current Island Avalanche Bulletin (saved to phone or printed)
  • ATES rating documents for the touring area (saved to phone or printed)
  • Map of the touring area
  • Notebook and pencil (Rite in the Rain recommended)


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.

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 or send us an email.


I thought the course was great! Ken is a fantastic guide and the lessons we learned really stood out to me the following day after I read the avalanche report which essentially duplicated what Ken commented on. The conditions on Sunday were the type where I would stay inbounds and not even consider venturing into the backcountry, so having Ken show the group how to safely travel in these conditions was very beneficial. Corey, Victoria, BC
IAG once again showed us why they are the best at what they do!!! Extremely informative in the most awesome style presented. Ryan was the cool professional that we needed and wanted! Thanks again IAG Campbell River SAR, Campbell River
Every IAG course I take leaves me feeling both more confident and knowledgeable! Thanks for always being awesome! Campbell River SAR, Campbell River
Graeme was awesome!! From our pre trip meeting, to being out in the field, his communication and sharing of knowledge helped instil confidence in the group. His ability to adapt the trip plan based on the groups needs was recognized and appreciated. Tara Miller,
It really was one of the best courses I've ever taken - it was perfectly structured and well taught. Thanks! It's proven especially useful; I've been planning all kinds of trips all around here! Erik Petereson, Nanaimo, BC.
We absolutely loved our day. Along with great weather and great snow on those Southwest facing slopes, our guide was patient, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable about the area and conditions. It had been a few years since we had taken AST1 and were looking for a refresher focusing mainly on practical skills, trip and route finding, and insider knowledge for Island touring (since this is our new home!). Our guide provided this. We would recommend IAG to anyone and will definitely consider trips with your team in the future. Stacey and Robert Fraser, Victoria, BC.
Graeme is a fantastic instructor. Our group had a wide array of skills and Graeme was able to navigate all of our experiences levels while providing valuable knowledge to all. I appreciate the array of terrain he took us through and indepth coverage of the course topics. All while having a good time! Tara S. ,
Great learning opportunity for anyone wanting to take their backcountry travel/avalanche terrain knowledge to the next level. Thank you Jan and Island Alpine Guides. Derek Jenkins, Victoria, BC.
Thanks Jan for an excellent day of instruction and coaching in the 'AST plus' course. Anyone who wants to boost their confidence in effectively planning a trip, and making critical decisions in the backcountry ought to attend. I learned a ton, and had a lot of fun. Thomas Kerr, Victoria, BC.
I wanted to say thanks to all of you again for a wonderful day out and for participating in this course last Sunday. A huge thanks to Jan for his expert instruction, guidance and encouragement as well! When I initiated the course with IAG, I could not have imagined a better group of folks to be out in the snow with! It was a super day of learning, pushing boundaries and enjoying new terrain at Mount Washington. Peggy Taylor, Victoria, BC.
I went for a short tour soon after taking AST Plus. The information I learned on the course was spot on. The forecasted snow hadn't arrived so I was able to use the tools learned during the class to make an informed decision about what the level of risk reasonably was for our area and we had a great day! Before having taken that course, I wouldn't have had enough confidence to go out given the risk level predicted in the bulletin. EJ Hurst, Gabriola Island, BC
Joe is a great instructor and with the small group size it was easy engage and maximize the learning opportunity. Jan,