In this course, we take our regular AST 2 program to one of the backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering capitals of North America – Roger’s Pass. You will end the course with all of the Avalanche Skills Training 2 curriculum while experiencing this amazing backcountry skiing area. While the focus is on developing your avalanche skills, you will no doubt be thrilled with the skiing this area affords.
Serious backcountry skiers and riders who expect to be skiing Rogers Pass in the future will find this course offers the best of both worlds – indepth knowledge of ‘the pass’ from one of our knowledgeable guides along with the AST 2 course training.
The Rogers Pass AST 2 course will help you build a solid knowledge base to safely expand your backcountry horizons. It will be a valuable investment in your mountain safety in addition to exposing you to some magical terrain.
This is a hands-on course featuring extensive practical field experience augmented with one day of classroom theory. The curriculum is designed to give a solid grounding in the essentials of avalanche knowledge based on the requirements set out by Avalanche Canada. Your instructors are guides seasoned in ski touring, heliskiing and avalanche forecasting. This course is suitable for those who have taken the AST 1 program in the past AND are high intermediate or advanced backcountry skiers.
‘Excellent course delivered by a great company with a fantastic guide. Would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to increase their awareness, knowledge and safety for travelling in avalanche terrain. Also, a great time to take this course is during heightened avalanche activity. You can always be safe in the backcountry no matter what the avalanche activity. This course will teach you that it’s all about the terrain you choose and the decisions you make which keep you safe. Excellent!’ – Matt, January 2014
Rogers Pass AST 2 Course Agenda
- Day 1: Meet in the lobby of Ramada Inn in Golden, BC at 9:30am MST for introductions, a review of course goals and itinerary. This day will be spent in the classroom where we will discuss advanced avalanche theory and forecasting. We rent space at the Ramada for the classroom day.
- Day 2 – 4: Each day there will be a field trip to a ski area in Rogers Pass. Destinations will be decided based on weather and snow conditions.
Considerable flexibility is built into the course delivery. Snow and weather conditions may dictate the order of presentation to some degree. Key topics will be constantly revisited during the program.
- Avalanche phenomena and theory
- Avalanche terrain recognition
- Avalanche transceiver use
- Avalanche emergency response
- Proper back country travel preparation
- Safe decision making
- Route finding in avalanche terrain
- Safe ‘test’ skiing
- Snow metamorphism
- Snow stability analysis
- Snow profiles, ‘Rutsch blocks’
- ‘Shovel’ tests and additional field tests
- Use of avalanche ‘danger scale’ and other information gathered by professionals
- Weather, terrain and the snow pack
- Weather, snow pack and avalanche activity observations
Instructors & Group Size
We are very proud of the instructors who teach our avalanche courses. They are full-time senior mountain guides who hold certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and are professional members of the Canadian Avalanche Association. Most courses will be limited to 16 participants. There is a maximum of one instructor per 8 participants.
Dave Stark: Director of Operations for Yamnuska, mountain guide and professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association with close to thirty years in the field.
Jesse de Montigny: Mountain guide and professional member of the CAA. Jesse is the Assistant Direct of Operations at Yamnuska.
Steve Blagbrough: Mountain guide and professional member of the CAA. Experience in Canada, Europe and Scotland. Steve is a senior guide at Yamnuska.
Grant Meekins: Mountain guide, certified teacher and professional member of the CAA. Grant is a senior guide at Yamnuska.
Please meet at the lobby of the Ramada Inn in Golden, BC at 9:30am (MST) on the first day. The first day will be spent in the classroom so be dressed for the great indoors! Rogers Pass is approximately a 45 minute drive from Golden.
To keep prices down participants are responsible for their own transport to Golden and Roger’s Pass on the field days. Roger’s Pass is 350km west of Calgary on the Trans Canada (#1) Highway in Glacier National Park. Calgary International Airport is regularly serviced by flights from Europe and throughout North America. Greyhound (1 800 661 8747) services Rogers Pass from points east and west along the Trans Canada Highway.
If you are flying from afar for the program we suggest that you rent a car for your visit. In addition to getting you to the program locations, it will allow you to explore our region a bit after program hours.
Accommodation and Meals
Meals are NOT included. At the Ramada Inn a continental breakfast is included. Many restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel. The Kicking Horse River Lodge (A hostel type accommodation) has a fully-equipped communal kitchen. If you have specific dietary needs, we suggest you plan to bring at least a small amount of breakfast and lunch food to eat during the program.
Each day of the program you will need a lunch, energy snacks and plenty to drink.
Equipment & Clothing
The equipment and clothing you bring to this course will have a big impact upon the quality of your experience. Please be sure to bring all items listed. If unsure about anything please don’t hesitate to call and ask us!
Yamnuska supplies classroom materials, avalanche equipment, and specialized snow study equipment only. You will need to bring:
Skis & Boards
There are two ski systems you can use: System 1 ‘Alpine Touring’ skis are essentially ‘downhill skis’ with a special touring binding which allows the heel to lift whilst going uphill or across the flats and then ‘locks down’ to become a regular downhill safety binding. We recommend this system to anyone with a background of downhill skiing who is not already an advanced telemark skier. System 2 ‘Telemark’ skis. These should only be used for this program if you are at least an advanced-intermediate telemark skier with some backcountry experience. This system is more difficult and less forgiving than the other.
Snow Boards can be used on this program. If ‘boarding’ you need to be an advanced boarder and you must use a ‘split’ board. A snowboard and snow shoe combination is NOT acceptable. Please don’t bring a board if you’ve never boarded in the backcountry before. Poles are essential for boarders.
- Skis / Split Board If skis, either ‘Alpine Touring’ or Telemark. We recommend a short (160 – 185cm) wide ski designed for powder. Please see note under rental information if you are renting ski equipment.
- Climbing skins ‘Stick-on type’
- Ski Poles
- Avalanche transceiver – digital transciver with a triple antennae. If you have an older type, single or double antennae, we will loan you a transceiver.
- Ski/board boots
- Daypack (large enough for spare clothes, lunch & equipment)
- Avalanche shovel (collapsible metal shovel designed for companion rescue)
- Avalanche probe
- Sunglasses and ski goggles
- Thermos flask and/or water bottle (full!)
- Sun cream
- Pocket knife
- Small Blister and Personal 1ST-Aid Kit
(Let us know in advance if you wish Yamnuska to provide a beacon, probe, or shovel for the field day)
Yamnuska supplies but feel free to bring anyway:
- Collapsible Avalanche Probe
- Snow Study Kit
There can be prolonged periods of inactivity in very cold temperatures on the field days. Don’t be afraid to bring too much! We suggest bringing light clothing of varying thicknesses that can be ‘layered’ to achieve comfort and versatility. The most important consideration for clothing is the ability to regulate temperature as you change from periods of activity to periods of rest. Cotton clothing is not appropriate as it causes rapid heat loss when wet.
- Long Underwear (top and bottom). They should be synthetic such as Capilene or Merino Wool. Patagonia Capilene and Merino baselayers are good options.
- Warm pants (softshell, insulated, or fleece)
- Warm shirt (not cotton)
- Sweater or fleece jacket
- Insulated jacket or vest. This is essential for staying warm while taking breaks or when the weather gets really cold. The Patagonia Down Fitz Roy jacket is a good example of a warm insulated jacket.
- Waterproof jacket with hood and pants (Gore-Tex or nylon) A hardshell set up is essential when the weather turns really wet. Gore-Tex, H2NO or similar material works great. The Patagonia Torrentshell is a good example of a waterproof hardshell jacket.
- Socks (wool outer, synthetic blend liner). A good pair of socks goes a long way to preventing blisters.
- Wool or fleece hat that covers the ears
- Warm gloves and light glove liner
- Gaiters, only needed if your ski pants are not elasticized at the ankle
Skis, Boots, Boards, Skins & Poles can be rented from:
- Calgary: Mountain Equipment Co-op. – 830-10 Ave. S.W. Calgary (Tel: 403 269-2420)
- Canmore: Gear Up – 1302 Bow Valley Trail (403 678-1636)
*Please note that your ‘DIN’ or ‘Release Value’ settings on your ski bindings are critical to your safety while skiing. Our expectation is that everyone arrives on programs with their ski binding’s release value correctly set. We have noted that some ski rental shops will not set release values on touring bindings. We advise you to rent from a shop that will set release values on your ski touring bindings unless you are proficient and comfortable setting your own DIN / release value. Failure to have Release Values correctly set could result in a serious injury.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require a 35% deposit (including taxes) at the time of booking. Final payment is due eight weeks before the start of the program.
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident while here. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue so long as you have a valid National Park Entry Pass which you can obtain on entry to Glacier National Park.
Please familiarize yourself with our detailed booking instructions and conditions.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the program. Please view our sample waiver copy.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travelers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the national and provincial parks, however costs such as air or ground transportation, long term care and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance. For more information and to purchase a plan, visit the Simpson Group’s website.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure’s trip.
$895 CDN includes instruction, books and use of safety and snow study equipment. GST is extra.
Guests should be advanced downhill skiers or split boarders and should have had backcountry skiing/riding experience before the course. ‘Advanced’ means that you are comfortable making parallel turns on most ungroomed black diamond terrain at a ski hill and that you have the ski skills to deal safely with all but the most extreme terrain. This should not be your first backcountry skiing trip and you will need to be efficient in using your ski touring or split boarding equipment. In the Yamnuska context, a minimum would be prior participation on our Intro to Backcountry Skiing, Wapta Traverse, or Intro to Ski Mountaineering trips with additional personal days of touring totaling approximately 5-7 days.
You also need to be in good aerobic shape, as you will have to ‘skin’ up everything you ski down. On the field days you should expect full days of touring up to 12km return and 500-900m of elevation gain. This will be with a daypack containing your lunch, water, avalanche gear, and spare clothing. We also offer this program based out of our office in Canmore, Alberta. See here for details.
This program is limited to participants 19 years and older unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and in which case approval must be given by Yamnuska Mountain Adventures.
Previous avalanche training is not required, however to receive your AST 2 certificate you must have taken an AST 1 with Yamnuska or another approved Avalanche Canada AST provider in the past.