Thank you for your interest in AST courses offered through Kootenay Avalanche Courses. The focus will be toward maximizing safety and fun in the winter backcountry. I use tools from work in the field of psychology to promote a positive learning environment for students. I co-authored the AST Handbook (textbook for this course) in 2018. Working with Avalanche Canada, I wrote the Instructor Manual for the AST 1 curriculum in 2023 and AST 2 in 2020. Be prepared for an engaging and interactive course. Think of the AST as a two-part program. AST1 is Part 1 and generally prepares you to be a follower but also an active participant in a group of backcountry recreationists. AST2 is Part 2 and helps prepare you to be a leader.
Prerequisites for the AST1
- You must have a minimum of at least 2 backcountry days with the same equipment you plan to use on the course, touring skis or a split board (no snow shoes).
- You should be proficient skiing/boarding in powder up to at least 30-35 degrees in open and treed terrain.
- Your fitness should be sufficient for you to complete a tour of at least 2,000 vertical feet.
- Age 19 and older. Age 16-18 requires permission signed by their legal guardian prior to the start of the course. Age 12-15 inquire with KAC about the AST 1 Youth Certificate.
- All participants must sign the AST waiver in the presence of a Kootenay Avalanche Courses staff member on the first day of their course. Before registering for your course you must read, understand, and agree to the terms and conditions of the waiver.
Objectives for the AST 1
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
- Describe avalanche formation and release using basic terminology.
- Recognize avalanche terrain.
- Identify appropriate trip planning resources.
- Apply the daily process for backcountry trip planning and execution.
- Describe techniques to minimize risk while traveling in avalanche terrain.
- Perform a basic companion rescue.
AST 1: Rossland, November 25-26, 2023 (Saturday-Sunday) SOLD OUT$325.00 November 25 @ 8:00 am - November 26 @ 5:00 pm Note: For this early season course, we usually do the field day at Kootenay Pass, where there is typically more snow. If there is enough snow around Rossland, we will stay local. Read more
AST 1: Rossland, December 2-3, 2023 (Saturday-Sunday) SOLD OUT$325.00 December 2 @ 8:00 am - December 3 @ 5:00 pmRead more
AST 1: Rossland, December 10-11, 2023 (Sunday-Monday)$325.00 December 10 @ 8:00 am - December 11 @ 5:00 pmAdd to cartOnly 1 spots remaining!
AST 1: Rossland, December 16-17, 2023 (Saturday-Sunday)$325.00 December 16 @ 8:00 am - December 17 @ 5:00 pmAdd to cart
AST 1: Rossland, January 2-3, 2024 (Tuesday-Wednesday)$325.00 January 2 @ 8:00 am - January 3 @ 5:00 pmAdd to cartOnly 4 spots remaining!
AST 1: Rossland, January 28-29, 2024 (Sunday-Monday) SOLD OUT$325.00 January 28 @ 8:00 am - January 29 @ 5:00 pmRead more
AST 1: Rossland, February 19-20, 2024 (Holiday Monday-Tuesday)$325.00 February 19 @ 8:00 am - February 20 @ 5:00 pmAdd to cart
AST 1: Rossland, March 17-18, 2024 (Sunday-Monday) SOLD OUT$325.00 March 17 @ 8:00 am - March 18 @ 5:00 pmRead more
The AST 1 is an introductory level course. Some AST 1 students are just getting started in the winter backcountry, whereas others have been introduced to the sport through friends and are now ready for their first formal course. Prior to the course start, please:
- Make yourself familiar with the Avalanche Canada website. In particular, please check the latest Bulletin for our region, the Kootenay Boundary.
- You will find several good resources on the “Learn” tab of the AvCan website, particularly the Online Avalanche Tutorial. This gives a detailed look at everything covered in AST1. Some of you might just give it an overview, whereas others could spend a few hours. Any time invested in pre-course learning will enhance your experience when you show up for your AST1 Course.
- Review the Equipment List. It is your responsibility to have all the gear in working order before the course starts. If the gear is new to you (ex. skins, touring bindings, split board, etc) please take the time to become familiar with its use before we head into the field.
- All students are required to sign a waiver at the beginning of day 1 of the course. You can review a copy of the Waiver under Student Resources.
Below, you’ll find a typical outline for your course. The AST 1 starts at 8:00 a.m. sharp. Locations and times are subject to change. Preparation will help make the experience more positive for you and your classmates. I’m looking forward to meeting you.
AST 1 First Day Classroom/Field Session (Note: For the first day, you need outdoor clothing, snow boots, and your pack with avi gear for the afternoon. You also need a lunch. You do not need skis/snowboards. )
0800 – Meet in the classroom – Seven Summits Centre For Learning, 2110 1st Avenue, Rossland, BC. Introduction to AST, Review course participant background, Set Goals & Review Safety Considerations, Sign Waivers and Pass out Course Books, Go over Course Curriculum.
1400 – OUTSIDE: Practice Beacon Search, Probing, Shovel Technique
1700 – Conclude. Homework to review course textbook & Avalanche Bulletin.
AST 1 Second Day Field Session
0800 – In the field, skiing, boarding, and touring. Cover Terrain Analysis, Slope Angle, Trip Planner & Slope Specific Decision Tool, Avaluator, Snow Stability Evaluation, Companion Rescue, Group Travel, Human Factors.
1530 – Course review, Presentation of certificates, Course evaluations
1600-1700 – AST Level 1 Course concludes
Really enjoyed the psychology part of the course.
I feel like I now have the tools to make wise decisions.
Awesome course, great teacher.
Your knowledge and passion are evident and inspiring.