The Avalanche Skills Training 2 – AST 2 course is your next step in avalanche skills development after completing an introductory course. To fully enjoy the backcountry it’s crucial you understand avalanche phenomena, recognize the terrain where avalanches occur and find routes that minimize risk. Our AST 2 course addresses these issues over a comprehensive four day training period.
An AST 2 course builds on the foundations of your AST 1, and provides a more advanced decision-making framework for travelling in avalanche terrain. An AST 2 course comprises a minimum of 9.5 hours of classroom instruction with a minimum of three days in the field.
If you’re a serious backcountry skier or winter mountaineer who wants to build a solid knowledge base to safely expand your backcountry horizons, then this is the course for you. It will be a valuable investment in your mountain safety training and will significantly increase your avalanche knowledge and experience.
This is a hands-on course featuring extensive practical field experience augmented with one day of classroom theory and discussions. This course builds on the knowledge and skills learned in the AST 1 by exploring more advanced topics and snow tests. The curriculum is designed to give a solid grounding in the essentials and is based on the requirements set out by Avalanche Canada. Your instructors are certified guides who are seasoned in ski touring, heliskiing and avalanche forecasting. This program is suitable for those who have taken the AST 1 program in the past, or for experienced backcountry skiers looking to expand their skills.
For Advanced skiers and Snowboarders we also offer the AST 2 course in Local Provincial Parks. This is one of the most exciting backcountry ski locations in Western Canada, and is a great spot to learn how to evaluate avalanche conditions and keep safe in steeper and more complex terrain.
We had a great time on our AST 1. Our Instructor was knowledgeable and incredibly patient. He was kind and humble and explained things in a way that the entire class could understand.
—Matt – February 2016
2016-2017 Schedule New!
- Introductions, goals and objectives, agenda
Review of AST1 program
- Avalanche phenomena, formation and characteristics of avalanches
- Avalanche Terrain Recognition, introduction to the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale
- Changes in mountain snowpack, snow metamorphism
- Accessing and utilizing the Avalanche Danger Scale and Public Avalanche Bulletins
- Using the Avaluator TM
12:00 pm – Lunch Break
- Safe travel and trip planning
- Review of Companion Rescue: A methodical approach
- Avalanche and back country safety gear
- Gear check
- Transceiver review
- Logisitics for the Field Days
4:30 pm – Class Ends
Days Two, Three and Four
Each morning will start with trip planning, accessing and discussing the Public Avalanche Bulletin and weather updating. You will be using Yamnuska’s Daily Avalanche Hazard Evaluation© form to assess the conditions and risk for the day.
Program days will be spent in the backcountry on a tour designed for decision making. You will be in real avalanche terrain appropriate for the conditions, suited to group ability and the Avalanche Danger forecast for that day. Days are typically six to seven hours in the field.
Subject matter covered:
- Proper back country travel preparation in avalanche terrain
- Use of avalanche ‘danger scale’ and other information gathered by professionals
- Use of the Avalauator 2 TM
- Group management and safety in the backcountry
- Avalanche terrain recognition
- Route finding in avalanche terrain
- Decision making in avalanche terrain
- Snow profiles and stability tests such as the Compression Test and Rutsch Block
- Weather, snow pack and avalanche activity observations
- Snow stability analysis
- Companion Rescue and group rescue skills including: avalanche transceiver use, single burials and multiple burials, shovelling and probing techniques
Note: Agenda may vary with field conditions and group abilities
NOTE ON RISK: The course takes place in the backcountry in a winter environment. Conditions can be harsh and you need to be adequately dressed to enhance your comfort and learning. During the day we will be travelling through avalanche terrain however, we do limit our exposure to avalanches so that we can operate in the program area no matter what the avalanche danger is for that given day. This can be a physically demanding course. Learning will be greatly enhanced if you are a comfortable rider or skier in all snow conditions. All of our guides/instructors carry first aid kits and emergency communication.