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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

AST 1 2-Day

Avalanche Skills Training Level 1

Our 2 day AST-1 course is for everyone who is getting into ski touring or needs to learn the basics. You will get one day of classroom theory, companion rescue practice and trip planning skills followed by a full field day in the Whitewater backcountry.

AST 1 3-Day

Avalanche Skills Training Level 1

We all know that a two day AST course is not enough! An extra field day is what you need to get to the level you want to be at. This course has one evening session on Friday night followed by one day in the Whitewater backcountry and a final day in Kootenay Pass backcountry.

AST-2

Avalanche Skills Training Level 2

Are you ready to take your learning to the next level? This 4-day course is designed to give you the foundation needed for a lifetime of safety in the backcountry. You will have one full day of in-class learning, reviewing and expanding on the lessons learned in the AST 1.

Hut Based AST-2

Avalanche Skills Training Level 2

This AST 2 course is for those seeking an incredible hut-based backcountry learning adventure. Based at the fully equipped Lyle Creek Hut that is located just under the spectacular Mnt Brennan, relax in comfort in the evenings and make the most of your days by starting in the mountains first thing in the morning.

MAT

Managing Avalanche Terrain

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 location in the Kootenay Pass or Whitewater Ski Resort backcountry.  

Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (2 Day)


Upcoming Dates

2019-20 Dates!

November 30th-December 1st, 2019

December 7th-8th,  2019

January 4th-5th,  2020

January 11th-12th, 2020

January 18th-19th, 2020

February 8th-9th, 2020

February 15th-16th, 2020

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 bulletins, utilize the vast array of online resources at your disposal, and how to carry out a 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. 

The AST-1 course is two full 8 hour days.

  • Day 1

    is spent mostly in classroom learning the fundamentals and getting familiar with your safety equipment. We will learn all the necessary information to safely carry out a backcountry ski trip and learn the latest companion rescue techniques. Then we will plan our trip for the following day.

  • Day 2
    is 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 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 Kieth Robine.

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


  • Course Cost:

    $267 +tax

"If you want to play here...
you have to learn the rules first"

Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (3 days)


Upcoming Dates

2019-20 Dates

December 13-15th, 2019

 

We all know that a two day AST-1 course is not enough! The additional field day will help you get the most out of your winter! This course has one evening session on Friday night followed by two full field days, one day in the Whitewater backcountry and a final day in Kootenay Pass backcountry. This course will have all of the same key lessons taught on the AST-1 but will give you the benefit of more hands-on experience!.  

The AST-1 (3 days) is one evening and two 8 hours field days

  • Day 1

    is spent mostly in classroom learning the fundamentals and getting familiar with your safety equipment. We will learn all the necessary information to safely carry out a backcountry ski trip and learn the latest companion rescue techniques. Then we will plan our trip for the following day.

  • Day 2

    is a full field day in the Whitewater backcountry. You will put everything we learned on day one into practice.

  • Day 3

    is a full field day at Kootenay Pass. We will spend most of our time analyzing terrain and making decisions on where to go riding.  

Here is what you get: 

  • Three days of instruction with our 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 Kieth Robine.

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


  • Course Cost:

    $392 +tax

"If you think you know enough, you don't know enough"

Avalanche Skills Training Level 2 


Upcoming Dates

2019-20 Dates

December 12th-15th, 2019

January 2nd-5th, 2020

February 6th-9th, 2020

March 14th-17th, 2020

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 have one full day of in-class learning, reviewing and expanding on the lessons learned in the AST-1. We follow this with 3 full field days in classic ski touring 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 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. 

 

The AST-2 is four full 8 hours days

  • Day 1

    Is spent in class reviewing key components of the AST 1 and expanding on lessons learned around avalanche hazard, terrain, group decision making and companion rescue. We will introduce what snowpack tests to use and when and examine fracture character.  We will plan out our next days backcountry trip in the Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry.

  • Day 2

    is a full field day. We will meet in Nelson in the  morning and go over our route plan for the day. We will then head into the backcountry and learn how to dig profiles with a partner and get snowpack information that is relevant to  the avalanche bulletin, at the end of the day we discuss our findings and plan out our next day.

  • Day 3

    is a full field day. We will meet up in Salmo and go over our plans for the day. We will then head to Kootenay Pass and cover terrain and group management practices. We will expand on learning how to gather snowpack information and do some snow profiles.  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:

    $525 +tax     *Other fees may apply

Hut Based AST-2


Upcoming Dates

  • January 24th-Jan 28th 2020

    $1099 +tax
    Self Catered
  • February 17th-21st 2020

    $1299 +tax
    Dinners and Breakfast Catered

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 Mnt 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 massive terrain on Mnt Brennan and the surrounding mountains so you gain valuable skills you can use for the rest of your backcountry adventures. Looking for details of how it all works? Check out the course outline and information package with the links below.

Self Catered info package

Catered info package

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

Managing Avalanche Terrain


*Kootenay Pass  **Whitewater

December 6th 2019, Cornice Ridge *

December 7th 2019, Lightning Strike Ridge *

December 14th 2019 Evening Ridge **

December 21st 2019, 5 Mile Bowl **

January 5th 2020,  Missile Ridge *

January 12th 2020, The Muffin * (expert only)

February 2nd 2020, The Burn **

February 8th 2020, Kutetl Creek ** (expert only)

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. 


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 Saftey 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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