What Is Avalanche Canada?

Avalanche Skills Training is provided by Avalanche Canada certified trainers. Avalanche awareness and education programs are important to ensure individuals can understand, recognise and avoid avalanche hazards.

Avalanche Canada is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to public avalanche safety. Avalanche Canada provides daily avalanche forecasts for the mountainous regions of Western Canada throughout the winter as well as coordinating and delivering avalanche awareness and education programs.

Avalanche Canada provide the curriculum and support to instructors of training programs, and act as a central point-of-contact for avalanche information, and work closely with many different avalanche research projects, both at home and abroad.

Avalanche Skills Training 1

In an AST 1, you’ll learn how to recognize avalanche terrain, understand the avalanche forecast, plan your trips, and perform a companion rescue. An AST 1 is a minimum of two days and is delivered both in the classroom and in the field.

Recommended to anyone who enjoys exploring remote areas of the mountain or skiing/snowboarding in powder conditions to take this course. Over the 2 days training you will cover:

  • Avalanche formation and release
  • How to identify Avalanche terrain
  • Trip planning
  • Reducing risk in the field
  • Introduction to companion rescue – using transceiver, probe and shovel
  • Types of snow and snow packs

Companion Rescue Training

Companion rescue is an additional course that can be taken to further your education and build on the skills learned during your AST 1. A one day course delivered in the field led by licensed trainers. The course will cover:

  • How to respond safely and efficiently to an avalanche incident.
  • How to hone your transceiver skills
  • How to use your probe effectively
  • How to shovel. Learn to organize your group with the most efficient shovelling techniques.
  • Learn the best methods for finding a victim buried without a transceiver.
  • How to practice these skills

ski patrollers on sled on training course


Avalanche Skills Training 2

Following on from the AST level 1, the level 2 course builds on the foundation knowledge of avalanche awareness. An advanced decision-making framework for travelling in avalanche terrain is covered. An AST 2 course combines classroom instruction with a minimum of three days in the field. Over the course you will learn about:

  • Progressive planning
  • Travel techniques for travelling safely through various types of terrain
  • Danger Ratings – key techniques on a local scale
  • Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) technical model – how to use for developing personal, local terrain ratings
  • Proficient companion rescue

For more information about AST please visit the Avalanche Canada website.

Ski Patrol Courses

At the Winter Sports Company, we offer extensive and professional ski patrol courses allowing you to become certified with internationally recognised qualifications. Ski Patrollers are part of an elite management team, and must be well prepared and trained to a very high standard. It’s not for the faint-hearted and requires a good level of skill to get around the mountain in all conditions. You learn to rescue and administer first aid on the mountain, as well as avalanche control, rope rescue and lift evacuation. You’ll learn about and get certified in outdoor emergency patient care, avalanche control, air rescue, helicopter orientation, toboggan handling, mountaineering and many other essential and fascinating skills that will help you find work within the Ski Patrol Service. Check out our courses:

9 week Ski Patrol Course, Revelstoke

Ski Patrol Course, Panorama BC, Canada

Ski Patrol Course Sun Peaks

For anyone currently enrolled on a Winter Sports Company course or internship that is interested in taking an AST qualification, please reach out to us and we can help get you signed up.