Big Red Catskiing Rossland BC Canada

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).  

2019 dates:
AST 1 $235
Sunday-Monday Dec. 9-10
Sat-Sun Dec. 15-16
Fri-Sat Dec. 21-22
Sun-Mon Dec. 23-24
Additional information see Keith's website

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

Keith also runs week-long avalanche courses at various backcountry lodges in British Columbia. This is perhaps the finest way to hone your ski touring skills, under the watchful eye of an instructor, skiing as much powder as you can handle. Most lodges are accessed by helicopter and include comfortable accommodation and hearty meals.  These courses often book out a year in advance, but spots may be available.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

AST Level 1 Sample Outline

AST Level 1 and AST Level 2 Rossland BC

(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.

Other dates and custom courses may be available upon request. For more information, please contact Keith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.