Avalanche Skills Training Level 2
The natural progression after your AST 1 course.
About the course
The AST 2 curriculum, developed by Avalanche Canada, will build on skills learned in the AST 1 course. It is a 4 day course that includes 1 full classroom session, and three field sessions, with additional pen-to-paper sessions in the evening. You will receive coaching on trip planning, navigating, track setting, and more.
This course is for those practiced in backcountry travel, who have taken the AST 1, and are looking for feedback and coaching in their decision making process. You should have a good level of fitness and know how to use, and trouble shoot, your backcountry touring equipment.
We will spend two nights at a local backcountry hut with catered dinners and breakfasts. Preparation and clean-up required. Hut fees, two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, including appetizer and dessert, are included in the course fee.
Maximum of 4 participants per course.
Custom courses available for groups of 3 or more.
Fernie Dates: January 2-5, January 13-16
Course fee: $875 + 5% GST and includes four days of instruction with an ACMG guide, 2 nights accommodation at a backcountry hut, food while at the cabin, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain book by Bruce Tremper, Avaluator 2.0, field book, and course certificate.
Day 1 - Classroom
Time: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Park Place Lodge – Mt. Fernie Room (Second Level)
This is a typical classroom day format with a lot of content to cover. We will discuss terrain travel at length and give you tools for progressive planning and travel techniques. We will also build on the basics of seasonal snowpack structure that you learned in the AST 1 course.
In the afternoon the class will plan our 3 day backcountry trip. We will make a travel plan, rescue plan, and assign gear.
We will have quick breaks throughout the day, but please bring your lunch as we will be watching a movie during lunch time. *Lunch is also available for purchase at the venue.
Please bring your transceiver to the class room day!
Day 2 - Class & Field Day
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Park Place Lodge, Mt. Fernie Room
Day 2 is a big day! We will meet in the morning to review our trip plan and make any necessary changes. Your guide will check everyone’s gear before we head out for the trail head. The tour to the hut will give everyone a chance to make observations, track set, and lead the group. In the evening the guide will prepare dinner while the students completes a hazard evaluation of the day. After dinner, the group is responsible for planning the next day’s objective. For dessert, we get together and review all of the hard work and everyone will have the opportunity to contribute!
Day 3 - Field Session
Time: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Today is the highlight of the course. After the morning weather obsercations and meeting, we spend all day ski touring! This is your opportunity to receive the most direct feedback on your decision making in avalanche terrain.
The evening is similar to the night before, with additional learning topics and feedback.
Day 4 - Field Session
Time: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Once again, we gather our morning information and discuss. We will go for another ski tour before packing up and heading back to civilization. A debrief will be held at a local establishment of the groups choice!
Required items: Please bring the following on Day 1, Classroom Session
- Lunch & Snacks (You can order food from the restaurant at The Park Place Lodge at lunch time and they will serve you in the classroom)
- Digital Avalanche Transceiver with Fresh Batteries: 3 Antenna type transceiver required, if you are unsure, send me an email indicating the make and model.
- Paper and pen AND PENCIL for notes (you will be provided with a field book)
Required Items: Please bring the following on Day 2, Field Day
- Water: thermos or flask 1-2L, hydration pack not recommended due to cold freezing the tube.
- Some additional snacks/treats/drinks to supplement provided lunch.
- Digital Avalanche Transceiver
- Avalanche Shovel: collapsible & metal.
- Collapsible Avalanche Probe
- Skis: ‘Alpine Touring with touring bindings’ or ‘Telemark’
- Split Board: with split board skins. Please practice transitions from touring mode to riding mode at home before the field day.
- Snowshoes: Minimum 25inch length is recommended
- 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.
- Multi-Day Pack: large enough for spare clothes, lunches, shovel, probe, sleeping bag, and share of group gear (first aid kit, breakfast/dinner etc.). 40-60 litre size recommended.
- Sunglasses and/or Ski Goggles
- Sleeping Bag – the hut is very warm, so a 3 season bag will be fine
- You will be provided with field book, but please bring pencils
- It is HIGHLY recommended that you arrive with a GPS App installed on your phone. GAIA is preferred.
The Guides Hut in downtown Fernie have transceivers for rent as will as a limited supply of touring equipment.
During the field day there can be longer periods of inactivity in very 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): A wool product, such as merino, or a synthetic product, such as Helly Hansen lifa™ or Patagonia Capilene™.
- Warm Pants: preferably hardshell – waterproof.
- Warm Mid-Layer Shirt, Sweater, or Fleece
- Insulated Jacket or Vest: Down or Primaloft™ insulation is essential for staying warm while taking breaks or when the weather gets really cold. Don’t be afraid to double down! I use the Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody.
- Water Resistant Jacket: hard shell or soft shell. A hardshell set up is essential when the weather turns wet (ie. snowy!). Gore-Tex™, or similar material works great.
- Socks: wool or synthetic, no cotton.
- Wool or Fleece Hat that covers the ears
- Warm Gloves, and an extra pair of thinner gloves or glove liner
- Ski Helmet: recommended for skiers and riders
- Comfortable hut clothing and booties (not bulky!) I bring a t-shirt and tights.
A note on clothing: Typically, you will wear the same base layers everyday while touring, and bring a cotton shirt and thin pants for the hut.
Optional Equipment: Not essential, but feel free to bring anyway
- Chemical hand warmer & toe warmer packets
- Snow saw
- Snow Study Kit
- Compass, Inclinometer