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  Phone: 403 678 4164 - 1 866 678 4164

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Dates and Prices

*February 4th course is run over two consecutive weekends: February 4-5 and February 11-12, 2017


$595 CDN includes 4 days of instruction, books and use of safety and snow study equipment. An AST 2 certificate will be issued on successful completion.*

*To be eligible for the AST 2 certificate participants must first have taken the AST 1 course through an Avalanche Canada recognized provider. Yamnuska offers the AST 1 course on most weekends throughout the winter months. Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.

Is it for you?

Guests should be intermediate/advanced downhill skiers or split boarders and should have had backcountry skiing/riding experience before the course. 'Intermediate/advanced' means that you are comfortable making parallel turns on ungroomed blue terrain at a ski hill and that you have the ski skills to deal safely with ungroomed black diamond terrain (you can stop, turn around and then traverse out of areas you can't handle). 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 from 7-10km return and 300-500m 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 Rogers Pass, British Columbia. See here for details.
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 provider in the past.

Avalanche Skills Training 2

Avalanches are the greatest hazard facing the winter backcountry traveller. To fully enjoy the backcountry it's crucial to be able to understand avalanche phenomena, recognize the terrain where avalanches occur and find routes that minimize risk.

If you're a serious backcountry skier or winter mountaineer who wants to build a solid knowledge base to safely expand your backcountry horizons, then this is the course for you. It will be a valuable investment in your mountain safety training and significantly increase your avalanche knowledge.Avalanche Canada

This is a hands-on program featuring extensive practical field experience augmented with one day of classroom theory and discussions. This course builds on the knowledge and skills learned in the AST 1 by exploring more advanced topics and snow tests. The curriculum is designed to give a solid grounding in the essentials and is based on the requirements set out by Avalanche Canada. Your instructors are guides who are seasoned in ski touring, heliskiing and forecasting. This program is suitable for those who have taken the AST 1 program in the past, or for experienced backcountry skiers looking to expand their skills.

For advanced skiers we also offer this four day program in Rogers Pass. This is one of the most exciting backcountry ski locations in Western Canada, and is a great spot to learn how to evaluate avalanche conditions to keep safe in steeper and more complex terrain.

Course Agenda

Day 1: (At the Yamnuska Office in Canmore)

9:30 am

  • Introductions, goals and objectives, agenda

Review of AST1 program

  • Avalanche phenomena, formation and characteristics of avalanches
  • Avalanche Terrain Recognition, introduction to the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale
  • Changes in mountain snowpack, snow metamorphism
  • Accessing and utilizing the Avalanche Danger Scale and Public Avalanche Bulletins
  • Using the Avaluator TM

12:00 pm - Lunch Break

1:00 pm

  • Safe travel and trip planning
  • Review of Companion Rescue: A methodical approach
  • Avalanche and back country safety gear
  • Gear check
  •  Transceiver review 
  • Logisitics for the Field Days

4:30 pm - Class Ends

Days Two, Three and Four

Each morning will start with trip planning, accessing and discussing the Public Avalanche Bulletin and weather updating.  You will be using Yamnuska's Daily Avalanche Hazard Evaluation© form to assess the conditions and risk for the day.

Program days will be spent in the backcountry on a tour designed for decision making.  You will be in real avalanche terrain appropriate for the conditions, suited to group ability and the Avalanche Danger forecast for that day.  Days are typically six to seven hours in the field.

Subject matter covered:

  • Proper back country travel preparation in avalanche terrain
  • Use of avalanche 'danger scale' and other information gathered by professionals
  • Use of the Avalauator 2 TM
  • Group management and safety in the backcountry
  • Avalanche terrain recognition
  • Route finding in avalanche terrain
  • Decision making in avalanche terrain
  • Snow profiles and stability tests such as the Compression Test and Rutsch Block
  • Weather, snow pack and avalanche activity observations
  • Snow stability analysis
  • Companion Rescue and group rescue skills including:  avalanche transceiver use, single burials and multiple burials, shovelling and probing techniques

Note:  Agenda may vary with field conditions and group abilities 

NOTE ON RISK: The course takes place in the backcountry in a winter environment. Conditions can be harsh and you need to be adequately dressed to enhance your comfort and learning. During the day we will be travelling through avalanche terrain however, we do limit our exposure to avalanches so that we can operate in the program area no matter what the avalanche danger is for that given day. This can be a physically demanding course. Learning will be greatly enhanced if you are a comfortable rider or skier in all snow conditions. All of our guides/instructors carry first aid kits and emergency communication.

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