Big Red Catskiing Rossland BC Canada

 

AST (AVALANCHE SKILLS TRAINING)

LEVELS 1 & 2

2015-2016 SEASON

KOOTENAY AVALANCHE COURSES

Hello, and thank you for your interest in AST courses offered through Kootenay Avalanche Courses.  The focus will be toward maximizing safety and fun in the winter backcountry.  I’ve been teaching avalanche education for 25 years.  I'm a Level 2 Guide with the Canadian Ski Guides Association and also a Professional Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association.  During the non-winter months, I work as a mental health counsellor with children and youth.  I use tools from psychology to help my teaching.  I’ve published a couple articles on Human Factors in the winter backcountry.  Be prepared for an engaging and interactive course.  Think of the AST as a two part program.  AST1 is Part 1 and generally prepares you to be a follower but also an active participant in a group of backcountry recreationists.  AST2 is Part 2 and helps prepare you to be a leader of a group.  Most of our Rossland based AST courses are run in association with Big Red Cats.  We are lucky to be associated with BRC for the 11th season.  Weather permitting, we are able to take advantage of their snowcat to get us quickly into the backcountry terrain.

Objectives for the AST 1
At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the basics of avalanche formation and release.
  • Identify avalanche terrain.
  • Know the steps required to plan and carry out a trip.
  • Use the Avaluator™ as a decision-making tool in areas where trips are rated using the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) and where Avalanche Danger Ratings and Avalanche Bulletins are available.
  • Find resources for obtaining ATES terrain ratings if their trip is not rated.
  • Learn about human factors through the Human Factors Decision Making Tool (HFDMT)
  • Use appropriate travel techniques in avalanche terrain.
  • Carry out a companion rescue.
  • Understand the limits of their training.

Objectives for the AST 2
At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Use the Avaluator™ as a filtering tool to determine when additional planning and travel techniques are required.
  • Be familiar with Avalanche Danger Ratings verification techniques for personal use on a local scale.
  • Be familiar with the ATES technical model as a means to develop personal, local terrain ratings.
  • Understand how human factors influence decision making using the Human Factors Decision Making Tool (HFDMT).
  • Use routefinding to take advantage of nuances in terrain to manage personal risk.
  • Use travel techniques in avalanche terrain appropriate to the avalanche conditions.
  • Proficiently carry out a companion rescue.
  • Understand the limits of their training.

The AST 1 is an introductory level course.  The only prerequisites are ability to journey through the backcountry (see equipment list below) and a desire to learn how to travel safely in winter terrain.  The Avalanche Skills Training Level 2 Course will provide an intermediate level decision-making framework that is based on the most advanced knowledge available. It is suitable for use by people with a moderate degree of training and experience.  In both courses, please make yourself familiar with the Canadian Avalanche Centre’s website at:    http://www.avalanche.ca      There is a wealth of information.  In particular, please check out the Latest Bulletin for our region, the Kootenay Boundary.  In addition, you might be interested in the “pre-trip planning”, “training”, and “gear” tabs.

Below, you'll find a typical outline for your course.  For all the Rossland based AST courses: the AST 1 starts at 8:30 a.m. sharp at the Big Red Cats Welcome Centre or their new restaurant next doors, on the ground floor of Red Robs, one of the complexes at the base of Red Mountain.  The AST 2 starts at 6:00 p.m. sharp at the same location.  The rest of the course will be determined by snow conditions and finding the optimal environment for your learning.  I've put in details for an example of a typical field day to give you a rough idea of what you'll be doing during your AST.  Locations and times are subject to change.  Also note the Equipment List below.  It is your responsibility to have all the gear in working order before the course starts.  If the gear is new to you (ex. skins, touring bindings, snowshoes, etc) please take the time to become familiar with its use before we head into the field.  All of this will help make the experience more positive for you and your classmates.  I'm looking forward to meeting you.  If you have any questions about the course, please forward them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Questions about billing should go to Paula at BRC, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 250-362-2271.  For the Lodge Based AST 2 courses, see separate information about times and locations and additional equipment required for staying overnight at the specific backcountry ski lodge.

 

AST Level 1 Course Outline (All times and locations subject to change)

First Day Classroom/Field Session (Note: You will need outdoor clothing, snow boots, and your pack with avi gear for the afternoon.  You do not need skis/snowboards for the first day of the AST 1.  You will also need a lunch, for both days)

0830 – Meet at Big Red Cats Welcome Centre or restaurant to the right, ground level of Red Robs Complex.

                          Introduction to AST

                          Review course participate background, including medical

                          Set Goals & Review Safety Considerations

                          Sign Waivers and Pass out Course Books, HFDMT, Avaluator

                          Go over Course Curriculum

1330 –               Practice Beacon Search, Probing

                          Practice Shovel Technique

1600 -                           More Course Curriculum

                          Review tomorrow’s field day plan, equipment needs, questions

                          Homework – review course textbook & print Avalanche Bulletin               

                          View DVD: “The Fine Line”

1700 -                           Conclude at BRC Welcome Centre

Second Day Field Session (Location will be determined based on best conditions)

0700 -  Carpool to BRC staging area.

0730 -  Ride snowcat to summit of Mt. Neptune

0830 -  Ski down the south face of Mt. Neptune

            terrain analysis, HFDMT (Human Factors Decision Making Tool)

1000 – Skin back up to the summit of Mt. Neptune

            More terrain analysis, snow stability evaluation, Avaluator 2, companion rescue

1300 -  Ski the west face of Mt. Neptune and out to the BRC staging area

            Group travel, human factors

1500 -  Pick up vehicles and return to Red Shutter

1530 -  Course review, presentation of certificates, course evaluations

1700 -  AST Level 1 Course concludes

 

 

 

 

AST Level 2 Course Outline (All times and locations subject to change)

First evening Classroom Session

1800 –            Meet at Big Red Cats Welcome Centre or restaurant to the right, ground level of Red Robs Complex.

              Introduction to AST

                          Review course participate background, including medical

                          Set Goals & Review Safety Considerations

                          Sign Waivers and Pass out Course Books, HFDMT, Avaluator

                          Go over Course Curriculum

                          View DVD: “Know Before You Go”

                          Review field day plan, equipment needs, questions

                          Homework – review book “Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain” & print Avalanche Bulletin   

2130 – Evening presentation concludes

Second Day Field/Classroom Session (Location will be determined based on best conditions)

0700 – Carpool to BRC staging area. Leave vehicle(s) near Nancy Greene Summit.

0730 -  Ride snowcat to shoulder of Mt. Crowe between Crowe and Neptune

0830 – Ski down below the east face of Mt. Crowe

            Terrain analysis, group decision making

1030 – Skin up to summit of Mt. Crowe

            More terrain analysis, snow stability evaluation, Avaluator 2

1300 -  Ski down to Nancy Greene Summit Area

            Group travel, human factors

1430 -  Pick up vehicles and return to BRC Welcome Centre

1500 -  Review day’s learnings at BRC Welcome Centre, additional topics

1700 -  Conclude

Third Day Field/Classroom Session

0830 –   Meet at Big Red Cats Welcome Centre or restaurant, ground floor of Red Robs Complex.

                          Go over Course Curriculum

1000 –               Ride Lifts at Red, Terrain Evaluation *(note: lift ticket required)

                          Practice Beacon Search, Probing, Shoveling

                          Advanced Group Travel Techniques

1530 -                           More Course Curriculum

                          Student’s help plan tomorrow’s field day, equipment needs                            

1700 -                           Conclude

Fourth Day Field/Classroom Session

0730 – Carpool to ski touring location TBD.

0800 – Backcountry Touring Day

            Terrain analysis, snow stability evaluation, HFDMT, Avaluator, group travel

1500 -  Pick up vehicles and return to Red Shutter

1530 -  Course review, presentation of certificates, course evaluations

1700 -  AST Level 2 Course concludes

Equipment List

  1. Touring Skis and bindings with uphill capability
  2. Climbing Skins

Or for Snowboarders:

  1. Split Board or Snowboard
  2. Climbing skins or snowshoes (Note: For AST2, all snowboarders must have Split Boards, no snowshoes)
  1. Ski Poles (Note: snowboarders need poles for uphill travel, therefore          collapsible poles are necessary).
  2. Warm Hat or Helmut
  3. 2 pair gloves/mitts (1 light, 1 heavier)
  4. Layered Ski/Snowboard Clothing (no Cotton!)
  5. Goggles & sunglasses
  6. Optional packages of Hand & Toe Warmers
  7. Headlamp with fresh batteries
  8. Personal snacks & lunch (Fat better than Sugar for staying warm)
  9. Personal Water Bottle with warm to hot water(Hard Plastic Preferred)
  10. Large Sock to insulate water bottle or thermos
  11. Avalanche Transceiver
  12. Probe
  13. Shovel
  14. Any other specialized gear, repair items, etc.
  15. Backpack to carry above items

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. If I don’t have all the gear, where can I get it?

You can borrow from friends, buy at local shops, or inquire with BRC or Red Mountain about possible rentals.

  1. Which course should I sign up for, AST Level 1 or 2?

You should start by taking the AST 1.  It is a prerequisite for the AST 2.  If you took the older RAC course and have stayed active in avalanche education, you're probably ready for the AST 2.  If you're not sure, please contact the instructor.

  1. How much will it cost me?

AST Level 1 = $219 plus 5% GST.  AST Level 2 = $399 plus 5% GST.  Other costs will include a lift ticket at Red for AST2 & a few bucks to pay for gas when carpooling.  Included in price is instruction, snowcat access, course textbook.

  1. How do I sign up?

Sign up through Big Red Cats, (250) 362-2271.

  1. What’s the minimum number of people?

Minimum class size is usually 5 students.

  1. If we have a group interested, can we pick our own dates?

It is possible to schedule another course by contacting Big Red Cats.

  1. Can we run a course with more Cat Skiing Access?

Yes, for an additional fee, the field component can utilize catskiing for the full day.

  1. What about a Corporate Group?

We can also organize a package for a Corporate Group.  Options include: lodging, team building, avalanche education, cat skiing, and lift-service skiing.

 

 

Tags: ast course, avalanche course, avalanche training, caa courses, caa ast

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