AST Level 2 Avalanche Course at Ymir Lodge

Ymir Lodge | British Columbia
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to upgrade your skills at Ymir Lodge

  • Trip Highlight

    Practical education in the Kootenay powder sections

  • Trip Highlight

    Immersive avalanche course combined with the luxuries of a lodge

  • Trip Highlight

    Located at 6,250 ft, the lodge offers stunning views of the surrounding Kootenays

Get ready for heli-accessed snowy wonders at the Ymir Lodge! This all-inclusive Level 2 Avalanche Education Course is designed for backcountry skiers, riders and winter alpinists who often come into contact with avalanche terrain. Learn how to lead a small travel group and develop a travel plan without adequate resources. Apart from helping experienced backcountry adventurers gain new skills necessary to make decisions in complicated situations, this course will give you ample time to ride the powder-laden slopes around the Kootenays. Located at 6,250 ft, Ymir Lodge offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains covered by the perfect combo of fluffy Rockies powder and Coastal snow. Enjoy wonderful food, experience the magic of lodge-based backcountry touring and find out why Ymir Lodge is the perfect classroom!


January and February

Nearest city

Nelson, BC, is 20 mins away from the lodge; Spokane, WA, is 3 hours away


4 or 8 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced


Book this adventure

AST Level 2 Avalanche Course at the Ymir Lodge

4 days

Take a deep-dive into the Level 2 Avalanche Skills Training curriculum and spend 3 days studying and applying the risk-management framework in the deep Kootenay snowpack. Enjoy your stay in Ymir Lodge with great food, helicopter in/out, and a sauna for a relaxing evening after a day of learning. Commit yourself to the avalanche education process and learn about gathering field obs, identifying terrain, planning tours, mitigating risk by taking safety precautions.

Prerequisites: Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AST 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent Level 1 training is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is highly recommended before taking the AST 2 course. AIARE or AAA-approved one-day Avalanche Rescue Course.

In-Depth Level 2 Avalanche Skills Training at Ymir Lodge

8 days

This longer-format course allows you to fully grasp the curriculum and gives you more time to apply skills in the field. You get a more in-depth knowledge of how to read into a new snowpack and a new backcountry destination and gives you a chance to explore more skiing objectives in the Kootenays’ powder—right from your lodge! More days also ensure a completely fuss-free experience, maximizing all the fun parts of the tour.

Prerequisites: Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AST 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent Level 1 training is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is highly recommended before taking the AST 2 course. AIARE or AAA-approved one-day Avalanche Rescue Course.

Trip Highlights

Learning outcomes

Here's what you'll learn

On Day 1, you’ll meet your guides at 8:o0 am at Kootenay Valley Helicopters (KVH 250-505-2150). Then, it’s a helicopter ride to the Ymir Lodge, where you’ll get situated and have a safety briefing. Your guides will go through the curriculum and explain the schedule for the duration of the course. Each evening your group will discuss goals for the next day. When the day is over, relax in a sauna and enjoy a warm meal!

Each morning, you will head out for classes and exercises in the field. Some of the things you’ll learn about are:

  • Gathering field obs
  • Identifying terrain
  • Planning tours
  • Mitigating risk
  • Taking safety precautions in the backcountry.

The best thing about this setup is that this is an avy course where you actually get to spend your time skiing… a lot! Classroom part of the curriculum will be covered in the mornings and evenings, giving you full days on the untouched slopes of the Kootenays.


Reviews (3)

Thomas C about PeakSTRATAGEM on Google Reviews

Brent put together an absolutely phenomenal AST2 trip and his crew Jay and Shabaz took great care of us. He always puts safety first and helped us to learn both experientially and with theory throughout the day.  We had 2 vegans in our group and the food was fantastic and accommodating for everybody.  If you want to ski some challenging, fun lines while constantly learning, definitely choose Peak Strategm – I would strongly recommend.

Gen Kenny about Brent Peters on Google Reviews

Personable, great guide to work with. Guides you into becoming your own problem solver. He gives you the right tools and instruction to think critically about your decision-making in the mountains. That’s a skill more valuable than any athletic or technical skill. And they’re a hoot to boot! 😉

Brad Bowyer about Brent Peters on Google Reviews

Ive been out with Brent and team on several trips, and courses. Brent brings a high level of training to all of his programs, preparing the recreationalist to take more steps on their own. It’s been a pleasure to learn from him, and, hang out in the backcountry.

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Nelson, British Columbia

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 Nelson, BC, please refer to the Province of British Columbia website.

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 all-inclusive adventure: 

  • An experienced, certified guide with extensive knowledge of the area
  • 3 or 6 guided days with ACMG guides
  • Heli flight to and from Ymir Lodge from Nelson, BC
  • Accommodation in the Ymir Lodge
  • Meals
  • Avalanche Canada Certificate

What’s not included:

  • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment (can be rented)
  • Transportation to and from Nelson, BC
  • Food and accommodation before and after the course

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have an excellent level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. While there is terrain for all skill levels, this course is for intermediate to advanced skiers only. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

This course is not for fist-time backcountry skiers. You should have several seasons of touring experience, have completed a level 1 avalanche course, and have strong fitness/movement skills. Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain. An AST 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent Level 1 training is required. A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is highly recommended before taking the AST 2 course. AST or AAA-approved one-day Avalanche Rescue Course.

What equipment do I need to bring?

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

  • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (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
    • Harness for glacier travel (for advanced touring)
    • Snowscreen thermometer — optional
    • Saw (33cm pruning saw) — optional

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

  • Helmet
  • Head lamp with good batteries
  • Sunglasses or ski goggles
  • Light gloves
  • Medium gloves
  • Heavy gloves or mitts
  • Long underwear top (synthetic or wool)
  • Light fleece or wool sweater
  • Lightweight wind jacket (nylon or ‘Schoeller’)
  • Waterproof – breathable shell jacket
  • Warm insulated jacket (down or synthetic)
  • Pair of wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
  • Pair wool or synthetic underwear
  • Long underwear bottoms (synthetic or wool)
  • Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
  • Waterproof breathable shell pants (full zip is best)
  • Handkerchief
  • Down or synthetic camp booties — optional
  • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
  • Insulated water bottle and 1.5-2L of water
  • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
  • Food you can eat on-the-go
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
  • Camera — optional
  • Duffle bag for flying into the lodge
  • Shoes or sandals
  • Winter boots for travel to the outhouse
  • Hut clothing
  • 1-2 towels and a swimsuit for sauna
  • Personal medications and toiletries
  • Chargers for electronic devices (normal AC power is available via micro-hydro)

Your guide recommends bringing the following resource materials that you should have received on your AST1 course: Avalanche Skills Training Handbook, Floyer/Robine, Avaluator 2.0

Can I rent equipment?

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

  • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe from your guide.
  • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from ROAM Shop.
  • Splitboards can be rented from ROAM Shop.

Ski rental locations are in Nelson, BC, 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 minimum age requirements

Group sizes and pricing:

  • For this course, the maximum client-to-guide ratio is 6:1. Ymir Lodge sleeps up to 19 people.
  • It takes a minimum of 5 participants for this tour to run.
  • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows. Since the course is not private, solo backcountry enthusiasts are more than welcome!

Courses at Ymir Lodge and around Nelson, BC can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

  • If you are older than 13, you’re good to go.
  • Minors joining the course need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 60 days prior to departure. For bookings within 30 days of the departure, full payment is required. 

Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

  • For cancellations thirty (30) or less days in advance, Client is not entitled to any refund. 
  • No refunds or credits are given for “no-shows” or those who prematurely depart from a trip or course for any reason

For this adventure, your guides cannot refund trip payments, including deposits, as they are committed to expensive bookings like helicopters, lodges, and vehicle transfers. We strongly recommend trip insurance for these bookings.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Ymir Lodge, you can drive from Calgary (about six hours) or Vancouver (about eight hours), but most people fly into Spokane International Airport, WA. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service. Drive time is approximately three hours with a border crossing.

You will meet your guides at the staging area at Kootenay Valley Helicopters in Nelson, BC (KVH 250-505-2150) and from there take a helicopter ride to the Ymir Lodge.

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