AST Level 1 Avalanche Courses in Squamish

Squamish | British Columbia
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to upgrade your skills in Squamish

  • Trip Highlight

    Learn the fundamental avalanche skills amid towering powdery peaks

  • Trip Highlight

    Squamish’s backcountry is known for broad terrain and teems with steeps and alpine bowls

  • Trip Highlight

    The perfect combo of classroom theory and practical application in splendid backcountry

Known for placing great emphasis on outdoor recreation, Squamish is a welcoming destination with enough variety to keep the most versatile of thrill-seekers engaged at all times. Its captivating nature has something in store for everyone, and the snow-blanketed towering peaks with acres of deep powder and pristine slopes are ideal for anyone keen on backcountry skiing. However, off-piste skiing and the formidable nature around you can be treacherous, and things can go south in the blink of an eye. If an avalanche strikes while you’re on the slopes, the environment around you becomes perilous. Avoid all of this and hire an expert guide to help you master the fundamental avalanche safety skills. You’ll acquire both theoretical knowledge in a classroom setting and then put all of it to use in Squamish’s marvelous backcountry. Become a safer and more confident skier and enjoy some phenomenal vistas along the way!


December through April

Nearest city

Vancouver, BC, is just under an hour away


2-3 days

Skill level

Beginner to intermediate


Choose how you spend your day

Group AST Level 1 Course

2 days

This course will help you understand and recognize the risky conditions that one can encounter in the backcountry and prepare you for any challenges that it might throw your way. Your certified and knowledgeable instructor will make sure that you understand everything you need to know on the first day so that you can apply this newly-acquired knowledge in Squamish on the second day. Learn avalanche safety theory and master the fundamental avalanche skills in the field to become a safer skier!

Hybrid AST Level 1 Course

3 days

This online course is specifically designed to address the ongoing pandemic—it is ideal for those with busy schedules and you can access it from the comfort of your home. The course and your certified instructor will help you understand and recognize the perils of the backcountry and prepare you for any challenges that you may chance upon. Learn avalanche safety theory online and on the third day, head out in true backcountry and put the newly-acquired knowledge into practice.

Online part of the course is held on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the field day on Saturdays.

Private AST Level 1 Course

2 days

This course will help you understand and recognize the possible and unforeseen pitfalls that you could encounter in the backcountry and help you prepare for any challenges that you may face. Join a private local guide and master the fundamental avalanche theory on the first day. On the second day, put your newfound knowledge into practice in Squamish’s true backcountry!

Group AST 1+ Level 1 Course

3 days

Proper training with hands-on experience will make your backcountry adventures in avalanche terrain safer and more enjoyable. The AST 1+course includes an extra field day that the regular AST 1 doesn’t—ideal for people that really want some experience in the snow. After you have completed the online learning at home we will do a brief classroom session on the first day before heading out into the backcountry. Spend 2 full days in the field, based out of the Squamish and Whistler areas, and cover an exhaustive set of avalanche preparedness skills.

AST Refresher Course

1 day

If you’ve taken your AST Level 1 some time ago and everything you learned seems a bit distant, this AST refresher course is ideal for you! Focus on updating and refreshing your skills, covering any changes in best practice or technology, and practicing to make your backcountry adventures avalanche terrain safer and more enjoyable. Let your experienced and certified local guides share their knowledge about winter travel, avalanche operations, and forecasting, adding an extra dimension of interest to your training.

Trip Highlights

Learning outcomes

AST Level 1 Course

Day 1 – Classroom Day

  • You will be provided with a log-in and password for an online learning course that covers all of the classroom related materials.
  • Everyone will sign waivers before starting on the course theory.

Day 2 – Field Day

  • 7:30am: Meet your guides for a short Classroom Session. The guide will lead a short briefing (discussing current conditions and weather) and have everyone perform a gear check.
  • 8:30am: Head out the door for a day of ski touring & learning to apply the skills you learned online.
  • 4:00pm: Back at meeting location for pm debrief.

AST 1+ Level 1 Course

Day 0.5 – Classroom Day

  • You will be provided with a log-in and password for an online learning course that covers all of the classroom related materials.

Day 1 & 2 – Field Days

  • 8:00am: Morning Classroom Session
  • 9:30am: Head out the door for a day of ski touring & learning
  • 4:00pm: Back at meeting location for pm debrief

AST Refresher Course

Day 1 – Classroom Day

  • You will be provided with a log-in and password for an online learning course that covers all of the classroom related materials.
  • The online course is then followed up by a 1-2hr Zoom meeting with your instructor.

Day 2 – Field Day

  • 8:00am-Morning Classroom Session
  • 9:30am-Head out the door for a day of ski touring & learning
  • 4:00pm-Back at meeting location for pm debrief
Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Squamish

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Squamish, BC, please refer to the Explore Squamish and the Government of British Columbia.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

    • An experienced, certified guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A classroom day and a full day in the field
    • Extra day in the field for the AST 1+ course
    • Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 certificate (upon successful completion)
    • A Companion Rescue Field Card acknowledging completion date at course end
    • Avaluator Booklet
    • Canadian Avalanche Association mandatory student fee

What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Accommodation
    • Food and snacks
    • Parking
    • Shuttle services

How fit do I need to be?

In order to get the most of this adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

Prerequisites: You need to be at least an intermediate skier seeing as you’ll need to be able to ascend moderate slopes using skins. All participants should be comfortable traveling in snow while carrying touring gear. You should also have an average level of fitness.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

    • Alpine touring skis or splitboard with skins and bindings (can be rented)
    • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
    • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel
      • Avalanche probe

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet
    • Sunglasses or ski goggles
    • Gloves
    • A warm hat/toque and balaclava
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Down or synthetic insulated jacket or vest
    • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
    • Mid layer fleece top
    • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
    • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
    • Water bottle and 1L of water
    • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • First-aid kit with blister kit
    • Sunscreen
    • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 25-35L backpack)
    • Pen, paper/notebook, face mask (for Classroom Day)
    • Laptop (for Classroom Day) — optional
    • Map, compass, GPS — optional
    • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

Rental locations are in Squamish and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and pricing:

    • For the group courses, the max client to guide ratio is 8:1.
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
    • For the private course, the max client to guide ratio is 8:1.
    • The cost for the private course is per person and decreases as your group grows, making it a perfect opportunity to learn with your friends and family!

Courses in Squamish, BC, can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 19, you’re good to go.
    • Guests under the age of 19 must have a parent or legal guardian sign the waiver on their behalf.

If anyone under the age of 19 wants to join your group, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Squamish, most people fly into Vancouver International Airport, about 1.5 hours away from Squamish. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. If you’ve opted for the in-person course, you’ll head to the guiding company’s classroom location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

For the field day, a shuttle service can be arranged for those without the appropriate vehicle and snow chains to book the shuttle service.

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Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding
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