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Avalanche Education

We're serious about safety.

"The level of expertise and patience available through Kootenay Backcountry Guides was unparalleled and made me aware of how much more there is to learn about the backcountry. I feel like I am part of the community now!" - Sara

A.S.T. - 1

Avalanche Skills Training Level 1

This course is for everyone who is getting into ski touring and splitboarding and needs to learn the basics. You will get a series of online course materials, and TWO full field days in the Whitewater/Kootenay Pass backcountry.

A.S.T. - 2

Avalanche Skills Training Level 2

Are you ready to take backcountry adventure to the next level? On this four-day course, our expert guides will give you all the tips and tricks you need for a lifetime of safety and exploration in the backcountry. 

Hut Based A.S.T.-2

Avalanche Skills Training Level 2

This A.S.T. 2 course is for those seeking an incredible hut-based backcountry learning adventure. Join us at the fully equipped Lyle Creek Hut that is located just under the spectacular Mnt Brennan. Private rooms for two, hot and cold running water and electricity.

M.A.T.

Managing Avalanche Terrain

Imagine a full field day with a professional guide exploring the terrain you most want to learn about. This course is designed to build on the foundations learned in the A.S.T.-1 and help you learn new areas to play in.

Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (A.S.T.-1)


Upcoming Dates

2020-21 Dates!

November 28th- 29th, 2020

December 5th-6th,  2020

December 12-13th, 2020

December 19-20th, 2020

January 2nd-3rd,  2021

Jan 16-17th, 2021

January 30th-31st, 2021

February 6th and 7th, 2021

February 27th and 28th, 2021


 

Whether you are taking your first steps into the backcountry or looking to increase your knowledge base, the Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 program is for you. Our professional guides will teach you how to plan and carry out a safe backcountry trip, read and use the avalanche bulletin, utilize the vast array of online resources at your disposal, and carry out a proficient rescue in the event of an accident.  

Our AST-1 course is designed to get you the skills you need to get up to speed quickly so you can maximize your fun and safety in the backcountry. 

Please contact us if you wish to book this as a private trip for you and your friends or family. Custom dates are available.

*New in 2020-21*GOODBYE CLASSROOM AND HELLO MORE MOUNTAINS!

Our AST-1 course is now based on home learning combined with TWO full 8-hour field days. 

  • Pre-Learning

    You will get a series of online videos to watch two weeks before your course start date. You will be required to read and study the material before Day-1 of your course date. There will be a short mandatory online quiz to take before Day-1.

  • Day 1

    Will be spent learning the fundamentals, getting familiar with your safety equipment and going on a short tour. You  will learn all the necessary information to safely carry out a backcountry ski trip and learn the latest companion rescue techniques. 

  • Day 2

    We expand on your learning from day-one and carry out a full field day in either the Whitewater Ski Resort or Kootenay Pass Backcountry. You will put everything we learned on day-one into practice. 

Here is what you get: 

  • Two days of instruction with our fun and professional guides.

  • The Avaluator™ tool, a great tool you can use to trip-plan and make on-mountain decisions.
  • The new Avalanche Handbook by James Floyer and Keith Robine.

  • Our 5 Rules to Stay Safe in Avalanche Terrain and gear checklist card. 


  • Course Cost:

    $267 +tax

"BUCKLE UP.
IT'S YOUR TURN TO DRIVE!"

Avalanche Skills Training Level 2 (A.S.T.-2)


Upcoming Dates

2019-20 Dates

Dec 31st- January 3rd, 2021

January 14-18th, 2021

February 12th-15th, 2021

Are you ready to take your learning to the next level? 

No more following your friends and being unsure of yourself. This 4-day course is designed to give you the foundation needed for a lifetime of safety in the backcountry. You will get a series of online videos to watch that review and expand on the lessons learned in the AST-1. We follow this with FOUR full field days in classic backcountry locations throughout the Kootenays. 

You can expect our professional guides to show you advanced methods for terrain analysis, companion rescue, route finding, skin track setting, map and GPS reading, and cover advanced weather forecasting. We will show you how to take relevant snowpack observations, including the compression test, and extended column test.

The AST-2 course is for students who are looking to get professional level decision making tools and processes so they can find the best snow and increase their safety. 

Please contact us if you wish to book this as a private trip for you and your friends or family. Custom dates are available. 

*New in 2020-21*GOODBYE CLASSROOM AND HELLO MORE MOUNTAINS!

Our AST-2 course is now based on home learning combined with FOUR full 8-hour field days. 

  • Pre-Learning

    You will get a series of online videos to watch two weeks before your course start date. You will be required to read and study the material before Day-1 of your course date. There will be a short mandatory online quiz to take before Day-1.

  • Day 1

    Is spent reviewing key lessons from the AST-1, covering advanced companion rescue skills, and introduction to snowpack tests. We will do a short tour to an area where we can run companion rescue scenarios and get snowpack information. We will plan out our backcountry trip for the following day at either Kootenay Pass or the Whitewater Ski Resort backcountry.

  • Day 2

    We will have a short online morning meeting covering the weather and avalanche hazard and go over our route plan for the day. We will then head into the backcountry and begin putting all of our built on skills into practice by having a full day of touring, assessing terrain and snowpack along the way.

  • Day 3

    We will have a short online morning meeting covering the weather and avalanche hazard and go over our route plan for the day. We will then head into the backcountry and begin to put you into the driver’s seat, making decisions with the aid of our expert guides. We will start to get you to gather your own snowpack information and assess terrain.  At the end of the day we will plan our trip for the next day.

  • Day 4

    is a full field day. We will meet up in the morning in Nelson and go over our route plan for the day. Class members will be more involved in the planning and decision making on this tour.  The guide will take on more of a support role and assist you in planning and carrying out a backcountry ski tour.

  • Course Cost:

    $575 +tax     *Other fees may apply

Hut Based AST-2


Upcoming Dates

  • January 21-25th, 2021

    February 12-16th, 2021 (Sold out)

    February 18-22nd, 2021

    Course Cost: $1299

This AST-2 course is for those seeking an incredible hut-based backcountry learning adventure. We will be based at the fully equipped Lyle Creek Hut that is located just under the spectacular Mount Brennan. Unwind in the hot tub after a big a day of adventure-based learning and relax in comfort in the evenings. Our expert guides will give you professional-level tools so you can make the most out of your backcountry journey. Our goal will be to make use of the terrain on and surrounding Mount Brennan so you gain valuable skills you can use for the rest of your backcountry adventures. Our maximum group size for this course is six students, this will enable us to maintain room for physical distancing in the spacious lodge. There are three private rooms with two beds each, allowing you to have adequate rest and space to maintain health. This course ideal for couples and friends who are in the same social bubble. 

  • Course Cost:

    $1299 +tax

"Gotta use your brain, it's the most important part of your equipment"

Managing Avalanche Terrain


Winter 2020/2021 dates!

**@Whitewater Backcountry *@Kootenay Pass backcountry

Dec 13th, 2020 Lightning Strike Ridge * 

December 19th 2020, Five Mile Creek **

More dates coming soon!

The Managing Avalanche Terrain (MAT) is a focused field-based course designed to expand on the terrain management taught in the AST-1 and to develop advanced winter backcountry travel skills. Each one of our courses takes place at a different popular touring location in the Kootenay Pass or Whitewater Ski Resort backcountry. 


Our MAT course is designed to help you learn the terrain you play in and maximize your fun and safety in the backcountry. 

Learning to tour doesn't have to be hard and intimidating!

Subscribe to our Newsletter and download our Backcountry Safety Card

The Five Rules to Stay Safe in Avalanche Terrain Card is intended to remind you of the importance of the decision-making process about riding a slope or traveling through avalanche terrain. As an added bonus we have added a leaving home checklist to review before hitting the mountains to not leave anything behind.

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