Head Further into the Backcountry by Taking Your Avalanche Safety Skills to the Next Level

Are you looking to fill gaps in your winter? Backcountry skiing is a great way to do so. If you have previous experience and have previously taken an AST 1 course then we highly recommend taking AST 2.

Taking an AST 2 course is an essential ingredient for the intermediate backcountry skier or splitboarder who wants to start exploring more complex avalanche terrain safely and independently. Unlike an AST 1, participants can expect to be fully involved in the day-to-day selection of routes and objectives on this course, with the support and feedback of your guides. You'll also be introduced to more advanced stability tests and snowpack analysis.

At ACC Adventures, we cover the standardized curriculum (as outlined by Avalanche Canada) but with an ACMG ski guide as well as a CAA professional license holder on staff, we've gone much further to create a customized program that caters specifically to skiers and splitboarders.

This is our standard course that happens over 3 to 4 days. We have adapted the classroom day(s) to an online offering to keep our program COVID friendly. Our field days vary depending on weather and snow conditions but we try to vary them as much as possible to show you different snow packs, terrain, and conditions. Common options are Kananaskis, Lake Louise and several options along the 93 north highway.

 
 

Camp Objectives 

Expanding on the skills that you learned in AST 1 the AST 2 course is designed to teach you to explore more complex terrain. Field days will have a heavy focus on getting students in the lead and making decisions on the move. Teaching you how to lead and route plan for your own trips. Your guides will introduce a variety of new snow stability tests, as well as a more advanced set of snowpack analysis skills and their application, not previously introduced in the AST 1 course.

All our students receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course. The AST 1 is a prerequisite certification course you are expected to have before attending AST 2

Day by Day Adventure Itinerary 

*NOTE: You do not need your avalanche gear for the zoom sessions

Class Time
Full day classroom and online sessions will cover the entire curriculum listed below. The classroom session will take place at the Canmore Club House.  Full day sessions (classroom, online) will start at 9:00 am.  The two evening sessions will meet online at 6:00 pm MST via a zoom link sent out 1-2 weeks before course starts. These evening sessions will end around 9:00 pm MST. Curriculum topics covered evening one include:
  • Introductions, course goals, agenda
  • Understanding avalanches: Formation and characteristics
  • Avalanche terrain recognition
  • Introduction to the ATES (Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale)
  • Changes in the mountain snowpack (i.e. snow metamorphism)
Curriculum topics covered evening two include:
  • Assessing and reducing risk
  • Accessing public avalanche bulletins
  • Using the AVALUATOR
  • Safe travel choices and proper route planning
  • Companion rescue techniques
  • Discuss program for Day 3 in the field
Field Days
The locations for the field days will be discussed with the class participants and could be anticipated to start at the location at 9:00 am MST. On these days you will be making real-life observations and gaining hands-on experience. Curriculum topics which will be covered on these days include:
  • Meet at the parking area, sign waivers
  • Field observations
  • Companion rescue techniques and practice
  • Managing risk in avalanche terrain
  • Route selection, track setting and terrain related hazards
  • Snow profiles and stability tests
  • Companion rescue scenario
  • 4:30 pm - Course debrief, presentation of certificates

Our field day will see a maximum participant-to-guide ratio of 6:1 to make for the best possible learning experience!

Is this Camp For Me?
Intermediate

To receive the AST 2 Certificate, participants must first take the AST 1 Program. This program is open to all ACC members who are at least an intermediate or type II skier and have an interest in learning about avalanche phenomena in more challenging and complex mountain terrain. Participants can expect longer and more physical days than on the AST 1 Course.

Food, Accommodation and Guiding

Food
To keep the cost of this camp as low as possible for you, food is not provided on this camp. Be sure to bring along a packed lunch and your favourite snack to fuel the field day!

Accommodation
Accommodation is not included in this course. 
*Hut Based AST 2's include the hut rental fee with the price of the course.

Guiding

We have a dedicated team of instructors (below) who are excited to provide you with knowledge to start of your backcountry experiences safely. We want to provide the best possible learning experience and give you maximum opportunity to ask questions. So for our field day on Day 3, we bring in an extra guide/instructor where necessary to keep participant-to-guide ratios below a maximum of 6:1. 

The ACC hires guides certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). Visit the ACMG website to learn more about what they do!

Rentals

If you don't have everything on the gear list and aren't ready to invest in your own, there are many awesome local businesses that rent out all of the equipment you will need.  Be sure to reserve your rentals ahead of time to make sure everything you need is available for you when you need it.

  • Coming from the Bow Valley? Check out GearUp in Canmore. ACC members get 10% off all gear rentals!
  • Coming from Calgary? We recommend renting your gear from MEC, the University of Calgary Outdoors Center, or the Norseman.
  • Coming from the Revelstoke? Give Revelstoke Powder Rentals a try.

 

Backcountry Skiing Hazards

  • Avalanche
    • Avalanches can occur in the terrain you will be entering. Caused by natural forces, or by people travelling through the terrain  
    • What are the risks
    • Anyone caught in a avalanche is at risk of personal injury, death, and or property damage or loss
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
    • Daily risk assessment processes
    • Guest training
  • Terrain
    • Cornices
    • Crevasses
    • Trees, tree wells, and tree stumps
    • Cliffs
    • Creeks
    • Rocks and Boulders
    • Variable and difficult snow conditions
    • Impact or collision with other persons or objects
    • Encounters with domestic or wild animals
    • Loss of balance or control
    • Becoming lost or separated from the group
    • Slips, trips, and falls
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
    • Radios and/or other communication devices
  • Boots and Binding systems
    • Even when set up correctly, a ski binding might not release during every fall or may release unexpectedly. The ski boot/binding system is no guarantee that the skier will not be injured. Non-DIN-certified bindings, such as pin/tech bindings, present a higher risk of pre-release and/or injury as they are not designed to the same safety standards as a DIN-certified alpine binding.
    • Unlike alpine ski boot/binding systems, snowboard and some telemark boot/binding systems are not designed or intended to release and will not release under normal circumstances. Using such a system increases the risk of injury and/or death when caught in an avalanche.
  • Communication, rescue, and medical treatment
    • Communication can be difficult and in the event of an accident rescue and treatment may not be available
    • Adverse weather may also delay the arrival of treatment or transportation out of the field,
    • Alpine weather conditions can be extreme and change rapidly without warning making travel by helicopter, snowmobile, snowcat, dangerous
    • If an injury occurs in challenging terrain movement to an evacuation point may be slow
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Your guide is trained in both backcountry first-aid and rescue techniques
    • Emergency response plans
    • Satellite communication tools
  • Other
    • Slips trips and falls indoor or outdoor
    • Infectious disease contracted via direct or indirect contact, including but not limited to influenza or Covid-19
    • Equipment failure
    • Negligence of other persons, including other guests
    • Negligence of the guide Including failure to to take reasonable steps to safeguard or protect you from or warn you of risk, dangers, hazards, oh participating in ACC activities
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Your guide is trained in both backcountry first-aid and rescue techniques
    • Satellite communication tools

Your Guides

DOUG LATIMER

Doug has 20+ years of guiding experience behind him as an ACMG ski guide and an ACMG apprentice rock guide. As well as his private guiding he has spent a number of years working for the UoC where he taught a range of instructional programs in avalanche training, crevasse rescue and backcountry ski and ski mountaineering. He also somehow finds time to run a multimedia production company! On top of all that, we are lucky to have Doug as our lead winter guide, where he shares his fantastic enthusiasm and extensive knowledge throughout our winter programs.


Adventure Map

Details

Field Days

  • December 20-23 2022
  • January 13-15 2023
  • February 3-5 2023
  •  $695+ Tax
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Before registering, please review our Waivers and Liability page as well as the Cancelation policies.

More Information

Please try to register online before calling. If you are having issues please try to have your emergency contact information and course questionnaire filled out before calling.

Email Us  

(403)-678-3200 ext 312

Cancellation Policy  
We sell Tugo® Travel Insurance suitable for both ACC Adventures and personal trips

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Included WITH YOUR CAMP FEE

  • 4 to 5 days of instruction by ACMG certified ski guides
  • Audio-visual avalanche presentation created by Doug Latimer
  • Avalanche Canada course materials including textbook
  • Avalanche Canada course certificate
  • COVID adapted online classroom day(s)

Participants Must Provide

  • Transportation to and from the field locations
  • Accommodation
  • Meals and lunches
  • Personal gear (see gear list)

Organizing Fantastic ACC Adventures For Over 100 Years

  • Local Knowledge: Based out of Canmore, AB, we know the Rockies region and the best local caterers, guides and porters
  • Dedicated resources: Full-time office staff, ACMG guides and group equipment on-hand to ensure your trip runs smoothly
  • Not-for-profit: Any money we make on camps and courses is reinvested into providing services for our members and the mountain community