In this course, we take our regular AST 2 program to one of the backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering capitals of North America – Roger’s Pass. You will end the course with the AST 2 curriculum while experiencing this amazing backcountry area. While the focus is on avalanche training, you will no doubt be thrilled with the skiing this area affords.
Serious backcountry skiers and riders who expect to be skiing Rogers Pass in the future will find this course offers the best of both worlds – in-depth knowledge of ‘the pass’ from one of our knowledgeable guides along with your AST 2 training.
The Rogers Pass AST 2 will help you build a solid knowledge base to safely expand your backcountry horizons. It will be a valuable investment in your mountain safety in addition to exposing you to some magical terrain.
This is a hands-on program featuring extensive practical field experience augmented with one day of classroom theory. The curriculum is designed to give a solid grounding in the essentials and is based on the requirements set out by the Canadian Avalanche Center (CAC). Your instructors are guides seasoned in touring, heliskiing, and forecasting. This program is suitable for those who have taken the AST 1 program in the past and who are advanced/intermediate backcountry skiers looking to expand their skills.
- Day 1: Meet in the lobby of Ramada Inn in Golden, BC at 9:00 am MST for introductions, a review of course goals and itinerary. This day will be spent in the classroom where we will discuss advanced avalanche theory and forecasting. We rent space at the Ramada for the classroom day.
- Day 2 – 4: Each day there will be a field trip to a ski area in Rogers Pass. Destinations will be decided based on weather and snow conditions.
Considerable flexibility is built into the course delivery. Snow and weather conditions may dictate the order of presentation to some degree. Key topics will be constantly revisited during the program.
- Avalanche phenomena and theory
- Avalanche terrain recognition
- Avalanche transceiver use
- Avalanche emergency response
- Proper backcountry travel preparation
- Safe decision making
- Route finding in avalanche terrain
- Safe ‘test’ skiing
- Snow metamorphism
- Snow stability analysis
- Snow profiles, ‘Rutsch blocks’
- ‘Shovel’ tests and additional field tests
- Use of avalanche ‘danger scale’ and other information gathered by professionals
- Weather, terrain, and the snowpack
- Weather, snowpack, and avalanche activity observations
Instructors & Group Size
We are very proud of the instructors who teach our avalanche courses. They are full-time senior mountain guides who hold certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and are professional members of the Canadian Avalanche Association. Most courses will be limited to 16 participants. There is a maximum of one instructor per 8 participants.
Please meet at the lobby of the Ramada Inn in Golden, BC at 9:00 am (MST) on the first day. The first day will be spent in the classroom so be dressed for the great indoors! Rogers Pass is approximately a 45-minute drive from Golden.
To keep prices down participants are responsible for their own transport to Golden and Roger’s Pass on the field days. Roger’s Pass is 350km west of Calgary on the Trans Canada (#1) Highway in Glacier National Park. Calgary International Airport is regularly serviced by flights from Europe and throughout North America. Greyhound (1 800 661 8747) services Rogers Pass from points east and west along the Trans Canada Highway.
If you are flying from afar for the program we suggest that you rent a car for your visit. In addition to getting you to the program locations, it will allow you to explore our region a bit after program hours.
Accommodation and Meals
The course is based at the Ramada Inn in Golden, British Columbia. Accommodation is NOT included.
Alternate hostel accommodation is also available in Golden at the Kicking Horse River Lodge.
Meals are NOT included. At the Ramada Inn, a continental breakfast is included. Many restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel. The Kicking Horse River Lodge has a fully-equipped communal kitchen and a licensed cafe and sundeck. If you have specific dietary needs, we suggest you plan to bring at least a small amount of breakfast and lunch food to eat during the program.
Each day of the program you will need lunch, energy snacks, and plenty to drink.
Equipment & Clothing
The equipment and clothing you bring to this course will have a big impact on the quality of your experience. Please be sure to bring all the items listed. If unsure about anything please don’t hesitate to call and ask us!
Yamnuska supplies classroom materials, avalanche equipment, and specialized snow study equipment only. You will need to bring:
Skis & Boards
Alpine Touring skis are essentially ‘downhill skis’ with a special touring binding that 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.
Snow Boards can be used in this program. If ‘boarding’ you need to be an advanced boarder and you must use a ‘split’ board. A snowboard and snowshoe combination is NOT acceptable. Please don’t bring a board if you’ve never boarded in the backcountry before. Poles are essential for boarders.
- Skis / Split Board We recommend a short (160 – 185cm) wide ski designed for powder.
- Climbing skins ‘Stick-on type’
- Ski Poles
- Avalanche beacon (must be 457Khz frequency), loaners available (let us know if you need one).
- Ski/board boots
- Daypack (large enough for spare clothes, lunch & equipment)
- Shovel (lightweight snow shovel)
- Sunglasses and ski goggles
- Thermos flask and/or water bottle (full!)
- Sun cream
- Hand Sanitizer
- Pocket knife
- Small Blister and Personal 1ST-Aid Kit
- Helmet (recommended)
(Let us know in advance if you wish Yamnuska to provide a beacon, probe, or shovel for the field day)
Yamnuska supplies but feel free to bring anyway:
- Collapsible Avalanche Probe
- Snow Study Kit
There can be prolonged periods of inactivity in very cold temperatures on the field days. Don’t be afraid to bring too much! We suggest bringing light clothing of varying thicknesses that can be ‘layered’ to achieve comfort and versatility. The most important consideration for clothing is the ability to regulate temperature as you change from periods of activity to periods of rest. We discourage cotton clothing as it causes rapid heat loss when wet.
- Polypro underwear (top and bottom)
- Warm pants (insulated or fleece)
- Warm shirt (not cotton)
- Fleece Jacket (heavyweight)
- Insulated jacket or vest
- Waterproof jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or nylon)
- Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex or nylon)
- Socks (wool outer and polypro liner)
- Wool or fleece hat
- Waterproof gloves and/or mitts
- Neck Tube/Buff
- Face Mask
- Gaiters, only needed if your ski pants are not elasticized at the ankle
Skis, Boots, Boards, Skins & Poles can be rented from:
- Calgary: Mountain Equipment Co-op. – 830-10 Ave. S.W. Calgary (Tel: 403 269-2420)
- Canmore: Gear Up – 1302 Bow Valley Trail (403 678-1636)
- Banff: Mountain Magic – 224 Bear St. (Tel: 403 762-2591)
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require a $35% CDN deposit (including taxes) at the time of booking. The final payment is due eight weeks before the start of the program.
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident while here. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for a rescue so long as you have a valid National Park Entry Pass which you can obtain on entry to Glacier National Park (cost $9).
Please familiarize yourself with our detailed booking instructions and conditions.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the program. Please view our sample waiver copy.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travellers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the national and provincial parks, however, costs such as air or ground transportation, long-term care, and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries, and other unplanned events. For these eventualities, Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical, and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance. For more information and to purchase a plan, visit the Simpson Group’s website.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure trip.
$975 CDN includes instruction, books and use of safety and snow study equipment. Goods & Service s Tax (GST) is extra.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Is it for you?
Participants should be advanced/intermediate skiers and should have had some backcountry skiing experience before the course. In the Yamnuska context, a minimum would be prior participation on our Intro to Backcountry Skiing, Wapta Traverse, or Intro to Ski Mountaineering trips.
‘Advanced intermediate’ means that you are comfortable making parallel turns on most terrain at a ski hill and that you have enough ski skills to deal safely with all but the most extreme terrain found at a ski hill (that is to say you can stop, turn around, then traverse out of areas you can’t handle). This should not be your first backcountry skiing trip.
You also need to be in good aerobic shape, as you will have to ‘skin’ up everything you ski down. You will be skiing with a daypack containing your lunch, water, avalanche gear, and spare clothing. We also offer this program based out of our office in Canmore, Alberta. See details.
This program is limited to participants 19 years and older unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and in which case approval must be given by Yamnuska Mountain Adventures.
Previous avalanche training is not required, however, to receive your AST 2 certificate you must have taken an AST 1 with Yamnuska or another provider in the past.