AST1 Washington - for Snowshoers

As low as:

$315.00 / person

(at 8:1 ratio)


Avi Kit rental $60.00

Avalanche kit rental includes transceiver, shovel and probe. If you are bringing your own avi kit, this must include a modern, digital, 3-antenna transceiver, and a solid shovel and probe. If you do not have all three of these things then you must rent a kit from us to take part. Avi Kits once rented are non-refundable.

Lift tickets $70.00

We offer specially priced lift tickets for the duration of your guided course or trip. Purchase is necessary to take part, unless you have a seasons pass or a ticket of your own. No need to buy for each day of the course, only a single ticket purchase is necessary. Please note that once purchased, lift tickets are non-refundable.


Looking to explore the backcountry this winter? Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST1) is an introductory course geared towards recreationalists with little to no experience in avalanche terrain. It’s also suitable for those with some experience who are looking for more formalized training. AST1 is recommended for anyone venturing into avalanche terrain. Each course provides a theory session and a practical field session. Students are provided with take-home reference materials and tools which provide clear and effective learning progressions, emphasizing important knowledge and skills. 

Our snowshoe specific AST1 is for those who are not skiers or snowboarders or whose riding skills are not yet up to the standard required for our ski/board AST1. This snowshoe AST1 course at Mount Washington benefits from lift access from the resort on the field day, providing quick access to excellent terrain for learning. We offer specially priced lift tickets as an add-on when you book. 


  • Understand the basics of avalanche formation and release
  • Recognize avalanche terrain
  • Develop a pre-trip plan
  • Use the Avaluator decision-making system
  • Interpret avalanche bulletins
  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain (uphill and down)
  • Complete slope scale assessments
  • Enact a companion rescue


  • 2 days of instruction with a certified instructor
  • Certificate of completion
  • Avalanche Skills Training Handbook
  • Avaluator Trip Planner/Slope Assessment Tool
  • Avalanche Canada student fee

Not Included

  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Personal equipment 
  • Avi Kit (transceiver, shovel, probe – available as an add-on)
  • Lift ticket (available as an add on)

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details about our booking and cancellation policy, and other commonly asked questions.


Our standard in-person classroom is in the Comox Valley. 

The field day will be held in a backcountry area accessed from Mount Washington Alpine Resort. 

Exact meeting details will be provided in the pre-trip email sent one-week prior to the start of your course.

Note: Whether the theory session is in-person or online will be determined by provincial health recommendations and our level of comfort with current COVID-19 risk.  Please build flexibility into your plans and consider this when looking for accommodation.


Avalanche Canada requires a minimum of 4 hours of classroom time and 7 hours in the field. Our courses exceed all the minimum time requirements set by Avalanche Canada. Anticipate that each day will go from 8:30 to around 17:00. Exact timing often depends on the group, the instructor and the conditions of the day, but below is a general idea of what to expect:

Day 1: Theory session

08:30: Meet your instructor and other participants for your AST1 theory day over Zoom. All theory sessions will be held virtually over Zoom for the 2022/2023 season. Snowshoes will not be needed on day one. 

16:00-17:00: Approximate finish time

Day 2: Field session 

08:30: Students meet their instructor at the base of the Hawk Chairlift (Mount Washington). Waivers and rental add-ons are handed out.

09:00: After the morning meeting, students will spend the day in the field, identifying terrain, practicing route finding and safe travel, and learning about slope assessment, hazard recognition and small party self-rescue.
16:00-17:00: Debrief and rental return.

Exact meeting details will be provided in the pre-trip email sent one-week prior to the start of your course.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or send us an email. 


Avalanche Skills Training 1 is an introductory avalanche course designed for individuals with little to no avalanche related experience. However, to comfortably participate we ask that you: 

  • Have moderate fitness (able to hike for 2-3 hours/day)
  • Have a basic understanding of your gear, and any limitations (consider practicing with your transceiver beforehand if possible)
  • Be prepared to spend the day outside in variable conditions (please see gear list)

Pre-course study 

To help you prepare and get the most out of your course, we recommend some pre-course study. Avalanche Canada’s online avalanche tutorial is a great resource.

Minors on AST1.

If you are under the age of 19 and your parent or legal guardian is not participating on course with you, you must complete our AST1 Informed Consent with your legal guardian pre-trip to participate. Please be in touch with any questions. 

Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or send us an email. We are always happy to help you find a suitable course or customize something to suit your needs whenever possible.

Gear List 

The equipment list provided aims to prepare you to be comfortable in the field regardless of the weather. Please ensure that all your gear is functioning and in proper repair. If you have any questions, please send us an email: [email protected]

Avalanche Safety Gear

These items are available as an add on “avalanche kit” when you book, or by request for $15/day.

  • Avalanche Transceiver (must be a modern, digital three-antenna)
  • Shovel: Collapsible aluminum shovel
  • Probe: Normal length probe somewhere from 220cm to 320cm


  • Snowshoes + ski poles with big baskets
  • Warm boots to hike (Sorrels or hiking boots with gaiters)
  • Day pack (30 - 40L, or whatever will fit your gear)


  • Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants
  • Lightweight, breathable jacket and pants (for uphill skinning/climbing)
  • Insulated jacket (synthetic insulated jacket is strongly recommended)
  • Lightweight gloves for climbing/skinning 
  • Warm gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Balaclava or another type of neck warmer
  • Base layers (top and bottom)


  • Water
  • Lunch and snacks (prepared ahead of time and consumable on the go) 
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Ski strap
  • Personal first aid (e.g. blister kit, medication)
  • Camera
  • Notebook and pencil (Rite in the Rain recommended)


Avalanche Kit: We offer rental transceivers, shovels and probes as an add-on kit when you book or by request pre-trip. If you do not have your own modern, digital, three antenna transceiver, collapsible shovel, and/or probe - please request a rental kit prior to your course/trip. 

Snowshoes: Available for rent at 'Ski Tak Hut'( Clients on HVI courses and trips are eligible to receive a unique 25% discount code towards their gear rentals from Ski Tak Hut - for the duration of their course/trip with us. Discount codes are distributed directly from HVI to our clients upon request. Rentals from Ski Tak Hut can be ordered online using the unique discount code. Note you will be asked to show the booking confirmation you received from us when you pick up your gear.

Winter 4x4 Vehicle(s): 'Far Out Wilderness' ( is a 4x4 vehicle rental service in Victoria that offers clients access to a fleet of rugged, reliable, and fully-equipped vehicles designed to conquer the most challenging winter terrain. Their vehicles come with snow tires with the 3 peak mountain symbol, chains, and ski racks. They also provide emergency equipment, including SOS, SPOT messenger systems, GPS, tire pump, toe rope, tire pressure gauge, a map to BC's backcountry roads, and a first aid kit. Everything you need to get safely to the ski slopes! Upon request, IAG clients can receive a 5% discount code towards their rentals from 'Far Out Wilderness'.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for information about gear fitting, rentals, add-ons, and /or other commonly asked questions, or send us an email.


Graeme was an amazing instructor. His wisdom and experience are hugely beneficial. I'm learned a lot with this course.

I was over the moon with this course. I took it 10+ years ago (with IAG as well) and feel like I got so much out of doing it again and am so glad that we did it. I wanted to say that Bryn did a really awesome job on the Saturday. Please pass that on to him, he was engaging and really knowledgable, and also brought a human aspect. The field day with Bill felt like a real honour to be learning from someone with so much experience and such a snow nerd that was very good at explaining things in a way that I feel like can be applied. Being able to actually go through and see terrain really helped give me more context and lots to think about. In short it was all great.
Jillian, Mt Washington

Zoom session was very engaging. Bryn is an excellent instructor and the personal stories really helped deliver the message. For the field day Bill was great! Very positive attitude and patient with the questions that our group had. Felt very safe out there with Bill!
Jon, Mt Washington

The online portion was very engaging. The instructor had an intuitive ability to deliver the content in a way that kept my attention for the entire day. On both days the use of subject matter experts and instructors who are genuine in their interest is priceless. On the second day Jan was able to perfectly "throttle" his extreme level of expertise and skill to apply to our beginner level group and allowed me to take away a lot of valuable information without being overwhelmed.
Dave, Mount Washington


Helene was an amazing instructor! She managed to teach a huge amount of content over the course in a way that was easy to understand and remember. She highlighted dangers in the backcountry I was never aware of, and gave lots of resources on how to travel in the winter safely. Nick,