Avalanche Courses with Big Red Cats
Whether you are getting ready for your first winter of backcountry skiing and riding or you’ve been at it for years, the Avalanche Skills Training (AST) Level 1 or 2 course - developed by the Canadian Avalanche Centre - is the perfect opportunity to learn about (or brush up on) safe backcountry travel techniques, route finding, slope assessment and companion rescue. Join us for a combination of classroom learning and snowcat assisted ski touring.
The AST 1 is an introductory level course. The AST 2 course will provide an intermediate and advanced level decision- making framework that is based on the most advanced up to date knowledge available. AST 1 courses are two days, and the AST 2 is one evening plus 3 full days. Both include one day with a snowcat-assisted ski tour, and the AST 2 also incorporates a day of guided ski touring and coached decision-making in the backcountry, generally at Kootenay Pass.
To book online, click here, select the "AST Courses" tab, and then choose one of the dates for the first day of the course you are looking for. (For example you might choose the 15-16 Dec course, just look for the one listed as 15 Dec).
Sat-Sun Dec. 15-16
Fri-Sat Dec. 21-22
Sun-Mon Dec. 23-24
About the Instructor
Keith has been teaching avalanche courses to students all over North America for the past 28 years. He is a Professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association and a member of the Canadian Ski Guide Association. Big Red Cats has been operating out of Rossland, BC since 2005.
Special Lodge-based AST 2
AST Level 1 Sample Outline
(All times and locations subject to change)
First Day Classroom/Field Session
- Meet at Big Red Cats Welcome Centre,
- lower left part of Red Robs Complex.
- Introduction to AST
- Group avalanche initiative exercise
- Course Curriculum, including Types of
- Avalanches, Terrain, Snow Science, Avaluator
- v2, Companion Rescue
- Field practice of Beacon Searching, Probing,and Apex Shovel Technique
- Equipment for Backcountry Touring
- Review plans for tomorrow’s tour
- Homework – review course textbook & print
- CAA Avalanche Bulletin
- Conclude Session
Second Day Field Session
- Carpool to BigRedCats staging area. Leave vehicle(s) near Nancy Greene Summit.
- Ride snowcat to shoulder of Mt. Crowe between Crowe and Neptune
- Ski down below the east face of Mt. Crowe, terrain analysis, human factors
- Skin up to summit of Mt. Crowe, snow stability evaluation, Avaluator v2
- Ski down to highway, group travel, human factors, companion rescue exercise
- Pick up vehicles and return to Red Shutter
- Course review, presentation of certificates, course evaluations
1700 AST Level 1 Course Concludes
AST 2 Course
The AST 2 Course includes one evening and three full days of instruction. It is a prerequisite to take the AST 1 or have equivalent educa<on with prior instructor approval. The field sessions include backcountry touring in mulltiple locations and more advanced classroom/fieldwork.