Avalanche Skills Training Level 1

The Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 course (AST 1) is an entry-level avalanche course for recreational skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers travelling in avalanche terrain. You don't need any experience to take this course. It is a must for everyone recreating in the backcountry, skitouring and other winter activities. It may also be a good overview for people who have some experience but no formal training.

This comprehensive 2 days program combines practical field day with indoor theory and review based on curriculum as established by Avalanche Canada. You need to take this course first and so should your friends because just one person trained in a group is not enough. Everyone in your group should take an AST 1. This is a standardized course and a pre-requisite for Canadian Industry Training Programmes (CAA ITP Level 1).
I provide a completion certificate at the end of the course.

This course is for skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers. On standard courses only skiers/snowboarders are allowed. Snowshoe AST 1 course can be run for private groups, by request.

What you will learn:

  • Avalanche formation and release
  • How to identify avalanche terrain
  • The basics of trip planning
  • Optimal use of tools and resources like the avalanche forecasts to mitigate your avalanche risk
  • Using appropriate travel techniques in avalanche terrain
  • Human factors and decision making
  • Intro to companion rescue
  • Use of the Avalauator tool

Additional day with Managing Avalanche Terrain (MAT) course can be added by request of participants. Not necessary that the whole group signs for this day, it can be only part. But I would recommend to take it, especially if you do not plan to take AST 2 course in the same season. Please, contact me to get the details about additional MAT day.

To make your course as effective as possible, in prior take the on-line avalanche course at the Avalanche Canada website.


Classroom day will be held in Chamonix town.

Practical outdoor day: Chamonix valley, Aravis range, Grand Massif area, Les Contamines Montjoie or Aosta valley, depends on snow and weather conditions. All possible locations are within one hour drive from Chamonix.


AST 1 dates 2023/2024: TBA

For private groups I offer AST courses on any suitable for you dates. Contact me for details.

Price: 290 EUR per person

Minimum to maximum number of participants: 3 to 6

Price includes:

  • Instructor for 2 days
  • Course materials - Avaluator decision-making aid and AST Handbook
  • Classroom day
  • Group equipment

Extra expenses:

  • Personal gear
  • Lift Passes
  • Insurance
  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Food&Drinks


The terrain requires that you have an intermediate level of skiing or snowboarding ability. If you can get down a blue run at the ski hill you are ready to learn about avalanches!

You will use ski touring equipment during the course, but previous ski touring experience is not required. Snowboarders - you don’t need previous touring experience if you are using snowshoes. If you are using a splitboard you should be familiar with your split system. Splitboards can be tricky stuff for beginners, and you will have no time to learn how to set it up during the course.

Chamonix valley and surroundings offer great choice of different types of accommodation. Town of Chamonix is a good place to stay, but places like Les Houches or Servoz are also a good choice.

For the classroom day you can use a public transport, location will be close to transport infrastructure. On a field day we will be in different areas within one hour of drive from Chamonix, depends on snow and weather conditions. For most of them we will need to drive there, but most of the time there is a possibility to share the cars. If you come for the course with the car and are keen to share it with other participants, please let me know in advance.

Gear list:

  • Touring skis or splitboard or snowshoe for splitboarders.
  • Appropriate clothing, according to the weather. We may stay in one place for an hour or so, good down jackets is essential. Extra gloves/mittens also strongly recommended.
  • Avalanche rescue gear:
    • Avalanche transceiver - current 3-antenna device.
    • Avalanche shovel
    • Avalanche probe
      Do not have that? Contact me, I will organize it. Practice with your avalanche transceiver before the trip. Make sure it both transmits and receives at least 30m away. Understand all its functions and how to use them.
  • Thermos and food for a day
  • Sunglasses
  • Not obligatory but recommended:
    • Compass (smartpone app works well)
    • Thermometer
    • Inclinometer (smartpone app works well)