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Avalanche Skills Training

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

November 20, 2020 Update - At this time we are only taking bookings from West Kootenay Residents for the remainder of the 2020 courses/guided tours. If you are from outside the West Kootenay Region we still encourage you to register for 2021 courses/guided tours. 

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

Mount Brennan AST 2

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

M.A.T.

Managing Avalanche Terrain

The Managing Avalanche Terrain (M.A.T.) is a field-based course designed to expand on the terrain management taught in the AST-1 and to develop advanced winter backcountry travel skills. Get to know your backyard! 

C.R.S.

Companion Rescue Skills

You know that you need more practice to feel confident with your rescue skills! If an avalanche strikes and buries one of your friends, you want to be at the top of your game. In this one course, you will get all the latest information on how to best respond to having one of our touring partners buried in an avalanche.

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


2020/2021 DATES

  • November 28 - 29, 2020 (SOLD OUT)
  • December 5- 6, 2020 (SOLD OUT)
  • December 12 - 13, 2020 (SOLD OUT)
  • December 19 - 20, 2020
  • December 26-27, 2020
  • January 2 - 3,  2021
  • Jan 16 - 17, 2021
  • January 30 - 31, 2021
  • February 6 - 7, 2021
  • February 13-14, 2021
  • February 27 - 28, 2021

 

Oh no, is the course date you want to register for sold out? Simply register for our waitlist and if spots open up we will be reaching out to you. 

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 course for you and your friends or family. Custom dates are available.

November 20, 2020 Update - At this time we are only taking bookings from West Kootenay Residents for the remainder of the 2020 courses/guided tours. If you are from outside the West Kootenay Region we still encourage you to register for 2021 courses/guided tours. 

*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)


2020/2021 DATES

  • December 31, 2020 - January 3, 2021
  • January 14  - 17, 2021
  • February 4 - 7, 2021
  • February 12 - 15, 2021

Oh no, is the course date you want to register for sold out? Simply register for our waitlist and if spots open up we will be reaching out to you. 

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. 

You must have taken the AST-1 course to enroll in this course.

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

November 20, 2020 Update - At this time we are only taking bookings from West Kootenay Residents for the remainder of the 2020 courses/guided tours. If you are from outside the West Kootenay Region we still encourage you to register for 2021 courses/guided tours. 

*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

    We will have a short online morning meeting covering the weather and avalanche hazard 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






Top of
Mount Brennan

Hut Based A.S.T.-2


Upcoming Dates

    • January 21-25th, 2021
    • February 12-16th, 2021 (Sold out)
    • February 18-22nd, 2021

    Course Cost: $1299 +tax

Oh no, is the course date you want to register for sold out? Simply register for our waitlist and if spots open up we will be reaching out to you. 

This AST-2 course is for those seeking a unique hut-based backcountry learning adventure. We will be based at the fully equipped Mount Brennan Hut that is located just under the spectacular Mount Brennan. Unwind in the hot tub after a big day of adventure-based learning, relax in comfort in the evenings, and sleep peacefully in the private double occupancy rooms.

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 to teach the curriculum of our signature AST-2 program. 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. 

Our maximum group size for this course is six students (3 pairs of friends, family, or couples), 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 is ideal for couples, families and groups of friends who are in the same social bubble. 

You must have taken the AST-1 course to enrol in this course.

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

November 20, 2020 Update - At this time we are only taking bookings from West Kootenay Residents for the remainder of the 2020 courses/guided tours. If you are from outside the West Kootenay Region we still encourage you to register for 2021 courses/guided tours. 

  • Course Cost:

    $1299 +tax

“GOTTA USE YOUR BRAIN, IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR EQUIPMENT” - WARREN MILLER

Managing Avalanche Terrain (M.A.T.)


Winter 2020/2021 dates!

  • Dec 12th, 2020 Cornice Ridge (Kootenay Pass)
  • Dec 13th, 2020 Lightning Strike Ridge (Kootenay Pass Backcountry)
  • Dec 18th, 2020 Black Queen (Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry)
  • December, 19th 2020 Five Mile Creek (Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry)
  • December 20th 2020, Twin Lakes (Kootenay Pass Backcountry) *(SOLD OUT)*
  • January 8th, 2020 The Muffin Ridge (Kootenay Pass Backcountry) *(Expert only)

More dates coming soon!

Course Cost: $149 +tax. *additional fees may apply

Oh no, is the course date you want to register for sold out? Simply register for our waitlist and if spots open up we will be reaching out to you. 

GET TO KNOW YOUR OWN BACKYARD!

The Managing Avalanche Terrain (M.A.T.) is a field-based course designed to expand on the terrain management taught in the AST-1 and to develop advanced winter backcountry travel skills. Get to know your own backyard! Each one of our courses takes place at a different popular touring location in the Kootenay Pass or Whitewater Ski Resort backcountry. We encourage you to register for multiple M.A.T. course dates, to maximize your experiences and become more familiar with the accessible terrain out your backdoor.

Our M.A.T. course is designed to help you learn the terrain you play in and maximize your fun and safety in the backcountry. We understand that more than ever skiers and boarders are looking to explore the backcountry. Learn how to do so safely from our expert local guides, while having a good time.

You must have taken the AST-1 course to enroll in this course.

November 20, 2020 Update - At this time we are only taking bookings from West Kootenay Residents for the remainder of the 2020 courses/guided tours. If you are from outside the West Kootenay Region we still encourage you to register for 2021 courses/guided tours. 

  • Course Cost:

    $149 +tax. *additional fees may apply

M.A.T.

Every minute counts...

*NEW* Companion Rescue Skills


2020/2021 DATES

  • December 19, 2020
  • January 10, 2021

Course Cost: $149 +tax    *additional fees may apply

You know that you need more practice to feel confident with your rescue skills! 

If an avalanche strikes and buries one of your friends, you want to be at the top of your game. In this one course, you will get all the latest information on how to best respond to having one of our touring partners buried in an avalanche. You will also get plenty of time to practice your skills.

Our expert guides will give you feedback on ways you can improve your transceiver searches, probing skills, organizing a digging team, and what to do once you have removed someone from under the snow.

You must have taken the AST-1 course to enroll in this course.

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

November 20, 2020 Update - At this time we are only taking bookings from West Kootenay Residents for the remainder of the 2020 courses/guided tours. If you are from outside the West Kootenay Region we still encourage you to register for 2021 courses/guided tours. 

  • Course Cost:

    $149 +tax     *additional fees may apply

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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