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Lodge Based AST Courses
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AST 2 – Dec 17-21, 2024 (Valhalla Lodge – 5days)


$2250 + GST

Group Size
Maximum of 6 to 8 participants per instructors
Skill Level
Intermediate Backcountry Skills / Intermediate to Advanced Downhill Skiing Skills

Lodge Based AST Courses

Avalanche education with a backcountry immersion...

Take our lodge based AST courses and deepen you knowledge by immersing yourself in a remote backcountry lodge. For the Winter 2024-25 season, we will host a 5day early season AST 2 course based out of Valhalla Lodge in the West Kootenays on December 17-21, 2024.

The AST 2 will deepen your knowledge, broaden your perspective and refine your decision making skills in avalanche terrain. It is the next logical step after completing the AST 1. Similar topics will be covered with more in-depth emphasis on adapting personal exposure relative to changing conditions & ongoing field observations.

Here is a little info about Valhalla Lodge:

It’s no myth, the Valhalla Lodge terrain is legendary. Just mere hours from the hamlet of Nelson, BC – in the world famous powder fields of the West Kootenays. Those that venture here swear to keep the secret of this alpine paradise, but the legend grows deeper each passing year. The terrain here boasts a unique blend of steep tree skiing and alpine terrain.

The Lodge is located at treeline and surrounded by no fewer than 10 stellar alpine basins. Deep powder lines, crystalline mountain air, enticing terrain – something for everyone just out the front door. Here you will find a variety of great ski-touring options including long steep tree runs along with open alpine terrain.

Valhalla Lodge Course – Sample Itinerary (4days)

Day 1: 1pm flight to Valhalla Lodge from Burton BC. We will have a morning intro inside the lodge, discuss current conditions, select terrain options, and spend the afternoon learning while touring near the Lodge. We will have a 2hr evening classroom session in the lodge after a nice cooked meal.

Day 2, 3 & 4: Full backcountry skiing days followed by 2 hour classroom sessions in evenings.

Day 5: We will get up early to do a final morning tour and course wrap-up. We are scheduled to fly back to staging starting at 10am.

The skills you will learn include; avalanche hazard recognition, terminology & mechanics, mountain weather, snow pack structure, basic terrain evaluation, terrain evaluation, mountain hazard assessment, safe route finding techniques, snow pack analysis, snow testing techniques, transceiver searches and rescue fundamentals. Students will receive a CAA certificate and personal feedback before course end.

Intermediate Backcountry Skills / Intermediate to Advanced Downhill Skiing Skills. (avalanche safety gear, touring equipment and/or Split board required).

Successful completion of Avalanche Skills Level 1. Ensure you have most recent (2010) version of Avaluator™ and Trip Planner (V 2.0). Pre-read Staying Alive in avalanche terrain by Bruce Tremper.

Valhalla lodge is located at treeline elevation (2080m) in the Southwestern Selkirk Mountains near the Village of Nakusp in Southeastern BC. We will access the lodge by helicopter from a staging area 30minutes drive along HWY 6 South of Nakusp.

Nakusp is a 1.5hrs drive South of Revelstoke along HWY 23 or a 2.5hrs drive North of Nelson along HWY 6. All guests are responsible for their own transportation before and after the trip.

Mountain weather can vary drastically.  In winter you can expect temperatures to be from -15C to –5C in the day while in spring daily temperatures could rise above freezing.

Visibility may be poor or whiteout conditions when snowing heavily or clear on bluebird days.  Ensure you are dressed for all variations as temperatures, wind, precipitation can change within the day.

  • Pre-trip planning support
  • Certified ACMG, IFMGA and/or CAA instructor
  • AST 2 class note handouts & certificate upon course completion
  • Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain (DMAT field-book)
  • Breakfasts & Dinners included on Hut based courses
  • Group safety equipment (communication device, rescue kit, first aid supplies, GPS, maps)

Not included in price:

  • Lunch, snacks
  • GST 5% tax
  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper. Ensure you purchase/borrow & read resource in advance
  • 2010 Avaluator™ Trip Planner (received in AST 1) contact CAC for replacement card
  • Personal ski touring boots, skis, skins or splitboard
  • personal avalanche safety equipment *SMG rentals available $40/day for complete set or beacon ($25), shovel ($10) & probe ($10)
  • Transportation to touring location
  • Lift fee if applicable, one way Whitewater fee is $39, Red Mtn $39
  • Trip cancellation, adventure travel insurance, medical insurance

Where can I rent Ski touring and safety equipment?

Here are a few outdoor stores in Nelson that supply good service and quality outdoor equipment and gear rental, please ensure you rent gear well in advance.

ROAM phone 250-354-2056
Valhalla Pure Outfitters phone 250-354-1006
Gericks phone 250-354-4622
Sacred Ride phone 250-354-3831

What transceiver should I use?

If you are interested in touring in the backcountry with friends or take one of our courses, it is very important to get a modern “triple antenna digital transceiver” with a marking function. We ask participants to ensure that they have a digital transceiver for the course.

For recreational skiers and boarders, we suggest the following beacons: Mammut-Baryvox “Element”, Ortovox “Zoom”, Peeps “Recon” or the Tracker “3” or “S”. For people moving towards working in the ski industry a more professional “more advanced” beacons is recommended, such as Mammut-Baryvox “Pulse or S”, Ortovox “3+“ or Peeps “guide”, etc.

Skis, Telemark or Split Boards?

Which should you use? If you are a downhill skier then you should use Alpine Touring gear. Only if you are already an advanced Telemark skier or Snowboarder should you bring Telemark or Split Board gear. All types of gear can be rented in Nelson prior to your day trip. There are three types of backcountry systems you can use:

Alpine Touring skis are essentially downhill skis with a special touring binding which allows the heel to lift whilst going uphill or across the flats and then ‘locks down’ to become a regular downhill safety binding. We recommend this system to anyone with a background of downhill skiing who is not already an advanced telemark skier.

Telemark skis. These should only be used for this program if you are at least an advanced-intermediate telemark skier with some backcountry experience. This system is more difficult and less forgiving than the others.

Snowboarding with a Split Board is the most effective way to snowboard in the back country. We recommend this system to advanced snowboarder over snowshoeing.

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