AST 1 – Fernie

The AST 1 course in Fernie is the essential first step for those traveling in avalanche terrain. This 2 day program includes 1 classroom day and 1 day of field learning.

About the Course

Please note, you must fill out the waiver acknowledgement BEFORE making a booking.

Curriculum: The Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 curriculum, developed by Avalanche Canada, is the essential first step in developing your decision making framework for venturing into winter backcountry avalanche terrain. This course includes 8 hours of classroom theory, and at least 8 hours practicing theory in the field.

At the end of the course you will:

  • Be able to recognize and appropriately travel through avalanche terrain
  • Interpret the avalanche forecast
  • Know how to use rescue equipment and the basics of companion rescue
  • Understand factors that affect the snowpack
  • Have the prerequisite certificate for the Avalanche Operations Level 1 course

The AST 1 course in Fernie is over 2 days, back-to-back. The full course dates can be viewed by selecting your preferred start date from the drop-down menu, followed by “Book Now”.

"We had an amazing day out ski touring with Mel reviewing avalanche knowledge and rescue techniques. Her tips and tricks will help me out in the years to come! Super friendly and knowledgeable!" - Sheri, AST 1 Participant

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our Instructors and Guides

The Mountain Addicts team is obsessed with safety. All of our guides are members of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). The ACMG is the only internationally recognized professional association of trained and certified mountain guides and instructors in Canada. Our guides come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and Mountain Addicts will find your perfect match.

Mel Makepeace

Ski Guide & Owner

Mel is the owner of Mountain Addicts, an ACMG Ski Guide and Professional Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. She began her career as a ski patroller in 2008 and now travels the world ski touring and heli-ski guiding. Mel particularly loves facilitating mountain travel confidence in women.

Greg Inman

ACMG Ski Guide

Greg Inman grew up skiing on Poley Mountain in New Brunswick. After graduating from Acadia University with a degree in Recreation Management, Greg moved to Fernie to become a ski guide. With a background working as a heli-skiing guide in northern BC, and ski touring almost every range in BC, he now spends most of his time guiding at Island Lake Catskiing while raising a young family in Fernie.

Corin Lohmann

ACMG Ski Guide

Corin loves sharing the mountain experience and the connections that are made while learning and exploring in the backcountry. Since 2011, Corin has been guiding ski trips in the mountains of Western Canada. He lives in Fernie with his family and spends his summers running ; a glacier guiding business in Jasper National Park.

More Info

  • You should be able to get down a blue run at the ski hill in a controlled manner at minimum.
  • The group may ascend roughly 200 vertical meters over the course of the field day.
  • All participants are required to sign a waiver.

Equipment List

Required items: Please bring the following on Day 1, Classroom Session

  • Digital Avalanche Transceiver with Fresh Batteries: 3 Antenna type transceiver required. Please contact us if you are unsure about your transceiver.  
  • Lunch & snacks – we will have a 30 minute lunch break and you can purchase food near-by.

Other useful items:

  • Pen & Paper
  • Compass


Required Items: Please bring the following on Day 2, Field Day

  • Lift Ticket or Season Pass: You can purchase a single-ride lift ticket from Mountain Addicts at the checkout ($40)
  • Lunch & Snacks: Bring a variety of small snacks to eat on-the-go, such as bars, jerky, cheese, as well as a sandwich is recommended. We don’t often have the time/weather for a lengthy sit-down lunch
  • Water/Tea: A warm thermos of tea/hot chocolate as well as 1L of water, hydration packs are not recommended due to cold freezing the tube
  • Digital Avalanche Transceiver
  • Avalanche Shovel: collapsible & metal
  • Collapsible Avalanche Probe: longer is better
  • Skis: ‘Alpine Touring with touring bindings’ or ‘Telemark’. Please practice transitioning your bindings from ski-mode to walk-mode and back again. Mel Makepeace loves the Icelantic Nomad Lite for ski touring performance.


  • Split Board: with split board skins. Please practice transitions from touring mode to riding mode at home before the field day


  • Snowshoes & snowboard
  • Ski Poles: recommended for all modes of travel
  • Climbing Skins ‘Stick-on type’ (only required if using skis or split boards)
  • Boots: appropriate for your mode of snow travel
  • Day Pack: large enough for spare clothes, lunch, shovel and probe. 30 liter minimum size recommended.
  • Sunglasses and/or Ski Goggles: we recommend both as high output activities will fog up your goggles. Goggles with multiple lenses are especially handy; XSPEX Goggles “Chaos”
  • Sunscreen

Optional Equipment: Not essential, but feel free to bring

  • Chemical hand warmers& toe warmers packs
  • Snow Saw
  • Snow Study Kit
  • Field Book & Pencil
  • Compass, Inclinometer

Mountain Addicts have limited gear available to rent. The Guides Hut in downtown Fernie have touring and safety equipment available to rent.

Field Day Clothing


During the field day there can be longer periods of inactivity in cold temperatures. To maximize your learning experience, be sure to bring lots of extra clothing so that you can focus on the course and not the cold. Bring clothing of varying thicknesses that can be ‘layered’ to achieve comfort and versatility. Cotton clothing is not appropriate as it causes rapid heat loss when wet. You may have heard the expression “Cotton Kills”.

Below is a recommended clothing list:

  • Base Layers (top and bottom): Wool or synthetic materials preferred, such as  Rab® Forge Leggings and Top
  • Water Resistant Jacket: A quality hardshell for staying dry when it’s dumping is an essential piece of ski touring kit. Our guide’s use the Rab®  Khroma Kinetic Jacket.
  • Water Resistant Ski Pants: Waterproof pants help keep you warm in the powder. Pants with ventilation that you can open and close are ideal. Check out the Rab® Khroma Kinetic Pants.
  • Warm Mid-Layer Shirt, Sweater, or Fleece such as the Rab® Alpha Flash Jacket.
  • Insulated Jacket or Vest: A feather down or Primaloft™ insulated jacket is essential for staying warm while taking breaks or when the weather gets really cold. Don’t be afraid to double down! The Mountain Addicts love the Rab® Neutrino Pro Jacket.
  • Socks: wool or synthetic, no cotton.
  • Wool or Fleece Hat that covers the ears.
  • Buff: great for protecting your face in cold and windy conditions. Mountain Addicts have buffs for sale.
  • 2 Pair of Gloves: we always recommend ski touring with at least 2 pair of gloves. One pair for sweating in, and another pair for keeping your hands dry and warm. Check out these options: Rab® Pivot GTX Glove and Rab® Khroma Tour Infinium Gloves.
  • Ski Helmet: recommended for skiers and riders. We love Pret helmets!

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