300 people die in avalanchs each year – and, you guys, that's not just some number, that's somebody's child, brother, sister, or parent. As a community, we need to come together and make a change.

– Trent Meisenheimer
Director, Know Before You Go

We stand behind that statement with everything we got.

As much as we love getting out there, we know that the backcountry is one of the most dangerous spaces to play and that coming home safe should always be at the front of our minds.

More than just understanding that though, it's about actually knowing how to keep yourself safe and what to do when things inevitably go wrong.

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As a community, it is up to every single one of us in the backcountry to know what's right, what's wrong, and how to respond when things go "not as planned."

To bring our us all closer to that, we're stoked to be partnering with the Canada West Mountain School – one of Canada's top Avalanche Safety Providers – to deliver an intensive two-day Avalanche Safety Courses that will allow the community to push further than we have before and do so safer than we've ever been.

If backcountry adventures are your thing, you're going to want to get in on this.

PS. As winter rolls on, we'll be setting up more and more trips that will require all members to have their AST-1.

PPS. If you aren't sure why you need your AST, just check out this short avy vid by Travis Rice and KBYG.
 

WHEN'S IT HAPPENING

Saturday, February 17th – Sunday, February 18th
7:45AM to 5:00PM both days.
 

WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN IT'S COMPLETE

  • 7 hours of theory and 10 hours of practical fieldwork, spread over 2 of learning;
  • An instructor to student ratio of 1:8;
  • All course materials including 1 Avaluator and 1 Backcountry Avalanche Awareness manual for each participant;
  • Avalanche Canada Certificate of completion;
  • All Parks Permits as required; and
  • The knowledge you're heading into the backcountry with the skills to make it home.

 

ITINERARY, FORMAT, AND TOPICS

The course will focus on teaching practical methods of understanding, recognizing and avoiding avalanche hazards, including terrain evaluation, snowpack structure, weather, safe route finding, decision making and avalanche rescue techniques.

The format includes 7 hours of theory and 10 hours of practical fieldwork, spread over 2 days.

Day 1: In The Class

Start Time: 7:45AM
End Time: 5:00PM
Location: 400 Brooksbank Ave, North Vancouver
Topics Covered:

  • avalanche hazard recognition
  • avalanche terminology
  • avalanche mechanics
  • mountain weather
  • snowpack structure
  • basic terrain evaluation
  • equipment requirements

Manuals are included in the course and form an integral part of the learning. Canada West's AST-1 course content and materials have been developed over the past 30 years and are based on the nationally-recognized AST-1 curriculum developed by Avalanche Canada.

    The initial theory session will prepare you for the Day 2 Field Session so that your time in the field is used most efficiently.
     

    Day 2: In The Field

    Start Time: 7:45AM
    End Time: 5:00PM
    Location: Mt Seymour, though in cases of poor snow conditions, alternate locations may be used.

    Day-2 is a full day of "hands-on" practical learning in the field working on decision making, terrain, travel and, rescue skills, this is where you get an opportunity to "put it all together"!

      Your Day 2 Field Session is spent in the backcountry where you will have maximum time to focus on learning and practicing what you've learned, including:

      • terrain evaluation
      • mountain hazard assessment
      • safe route finding techniques
      • snowpack analysis
      • snow testing techniques
      • transceiver searches
      • rescue fundamentals
         

      REQUIRED GEAR

      A full gear list will be delivered before class but know the following will be required:

      • Avalanche Safety Kit (Both Days) – Avalanche transceiver (beacon), collapsible avalanche shovel, small pack and a probe.
      • Outdoor Gear (Day 1) – Proper footwear and clothing appropriate for walking and standing in cold/wet conditions as you will be outside in any/all conditions for up to 2-3 hours.
      • Snowshoes (Day 2) – Snowshoes (preferred) and/or backcountry touring skis and climbing skins.
      • Backcountry Jacket/Pants/Gear (Day 2) – Proper gear for backcountry, winter conditions.
         

      SELECT YOUR AST 1 SETUP

      Select one of the four options below:

      Note: we will be putting you through in groups of 8, up to a maximum of 24 students. If a group does not get at least 6 students, then a 100% refund will be issued or the course will be postponed one weekend.

      Once you're signed up, we'll send you all the intake form and waivers.

      Curious about refunds? Check out Canada West refund policies.