AST 1 Course IN Canmore, BANFF & Lake Louise? Grab a Seat.


Book your seat today on our Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise AST 1 Courses. Taught by senior industry instructors, Cloud Nine offers dates for the AST 1 Course every weekend, November through February. Please note when selecting your course date from the calendar only the start date of your course is shown. By selecting the start date, you will be automatically registered for the 2-Day AST 1 Course to include 2 consecutive days of training, Saturday and Sunday, every weekend.

Supporting our Bow Valley Community - The AST 1 Subsidy Program is Back: 

Cloud Nine is proud to offer our AST 1 Subsidy program for Bow Valley Residents between the ages of 18-30. This program is intended to support residents who are most likely to experience barriers in accessing Backcountry Avalanche Education.

Residents fitting both age and residency criteria can email our office for a subsidy code to use at time of registration, and receive 25% off your AST 1 Course.

Military & First Responder discount: 

We offer a 10% discount to any Military service personnel & any First Responder. Please email our office for the subsidy code. 

Group Discounts:

Want to book your AST 1 with friends or family? Drop us a line to pick up a promo code for reduced rates on groups of 3 or more on our public AST 1 Courses. Get 10-20% off when you show up with your crew.

1% For Community: 

For many in our community, social and economic challenges create barriers to entry into the backcountry and we aim to make it easier to help all individuals access and connect with these amazing places. 1% of our total AST 1 Revenues from the previous season go to funding no charge seats on our AST 1 Courses for members of our community that could benefit most. Nominate an individual, or apply by contacting our Program Managers at


Photo  @mattiasfredrikssonphotography






Day 1 – Theory 7.5hrs

Hosted via Zoom Meeting

  • 0830hrs - Zoom Meeting Waiting Room Opens
  • 0900hrs - Zoom Meeting Opens
  • 0900-0915hrs - Instructor Introductions, Course Goals, Agendas, Review Timings & Schedule, Presentation of Waiver of Liability Documents.
  • 0915 - 1200hrs - Curriculum (Theory)
    • Understanding Avalanches: Formation & Characteristics
    • Avalanche Terrain Recognition
    • Introduction to the ATES (Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale)
    • Introduction to Terrain Traps
  • 1200 - 1300hrs - Lunch
  • 1300 - 1630hrs - Curriculum (Theory)
    • Learn how to unpack and use The Public Avalanche Bulletin
    • Introduction to Decision-Making Competence, Decision-Making Quality
    • Learn how Human Factors & Human Bias can impact risk levels in the Backcountry
    • Learn the primary support structures to aid you in your decision-making
    • Intro to the AVALUATOR
    • Introduction to Google Earth as a pre-trip planning tool
    • Introduction to technical weather models and creating your own forecast
    • Introduction to Good Travel Habits in the Backcountry
    • Introduction to Avalanche Rescue Techniques (theory)
    • Gear and Equipment Review
    • Discuss Student Groups for Field Day & Review Meeting Location and Timing for Field Day


Day 2 – Field Day. 7-8hrs

Field Day Location: Bow Summit - Icefields Parkway

Meeting Time TBA. Start Times vary based on time of year and group size - 0700-0830hrs.

  • Meet Your Field Guides / Instructors
  • AM Hazard Evaluation Meeting - Group Exercise
    • Discuss changes to your weather forecast overnight with your Guide, and assess impacts on Avalanche Hazard Ratings.
    • Review General Plan for the Field Day, including essential equipment required, and emergency response procedures.
    • Review inputs in the Public Avalanche Bulletin, and relate information in this product directly to our proposed trip plan.
    • Guides to present Waiver of Liability Forms for Students.
    • Companion / Avalanche Rescue Gear student sign out.
    • Depart for Field Day.
  • Session One - Avalanche Transceiver Basics
    • Introduction of Basic Functions - ON/OFF + Search, Send and Group Check Modes.
    • Wearing your beacon: Pro's and Con's of wearing in the harness vs. a garment pocket.
    • Learn about transceiver interference: how tech devices, magnets and other objects can interfere with your transceivers transmitting signal.
    • Learn to complete a "Range Function Check", ensuring your transceiver is functional at a minimum range of 40m.
    • Learn to complete a "Transmit Function Check", ensuring all group members are emitting a transmitting signal as they leave the trailhead and enter the field.
  • Session Two - Terrain Recognition & Verification. The ATES Rating Scale. Developing your Information Set.
    • During this session, we'll begin to put into context the terrain principles learned in your Day 1 Theory session.
    • Learn to recognize the difference between avalanche and non-avalanche terrain.
    • Learn to recognize evidence of past avalanches to gauge your exposure to potential avalanche hazard.
    • Learn the basics of verifying your position on the terrain, using natural and environmental indicators.
    • Learn Slope Angle Verification.
    • Learn to recognize how snow is redistributed by wind in the terrain, creating areas of increased stress in the snowpack.
    • Learn to recognize how slope aspect and sun exposure can impact the snowpack.
    • Apply key terrain terminology to features in the field.
    • Learn the basics of gathering snowpack information during travel.
    • Correlate information provided in the Public Avalanche Bulletin and begin to verify the presence of Avalanche Problems in the snowpack during travel.
  • Session Three - Using Your AVALUATOR Card
    • Learn to use your AVALUATOR Card in the field to aid in decision-making and risk management.
  • Session Four - Introduction to Snow Profiles
    • Guides demonstrate how to choose a Snow Profile (Pit) location representative of the terrain you want to access.
    • Learn how to ID the layers of concern, and relate them to the specific problems listed in the Public Avalanche Bulletin.
    • Learn the Compression Test: a foundational snowpack stability test
  • Session Five - Avalanche (Companion) Rescue
    • Learn the systematic process for single burial (victim) avalanche rescue.
      • Assign a leader.
      • Assess for remaining hazard, or risk of secondary avalanche.
      • Headcount.
      • Leader ensures all transceivers are turned to search mode.
      • Define the search field and the last seen point.
      • Perform signal, coarse, and fine search.
      • Use Pinpoint Probing to locate the victim.
      • Dig them out by using the conveyor belt shovelling method.



Logistics to consider ahead of your AST 1 Canmore / Lake Louise Course:


    Looking to get a little closer to our field day location? We suggest the following accommodation options in Canmore, Banff & Lake Louise to get you into the mountains and save yourself the drive the morning of your AST 1 Field Day.


    For those looking to purchase gear and equipment prior to your course, we would suggest the following local Bow Valley retailers:

    • Vertical Addiction
      • Located in Canmore, Vertical Addiction offers a complete selection of technical climbing, mountaineering and ski equipment along with a broad selection of technical clothing. 
    • SkiUphill
      • Located in Canmore, SkiUphill is a collective of experience driven individuals each with their own history, knowledge and stories of getting out there and getting after it. They offer expertise in backcountry skiing, trail running, climbing and any combination of those activities all while offering the best selection of curated equipment.
    • Monods Sports
      • Located in Banff, Monods is one of the longest operating outdoor equipment and clothing retailers in the Bow Valley. Monods has a large selection of technical clothing and equipment offerings.
    • Ortovox
      • Our Partners at Ortovox are known for their high-quality technical outerwear and are a supporting partner of C9G and our ski guiding programs.
    • Black Diamond Equipment
      • Black Diamond Equipment has been providing skiers and alpinists with technical equipment since 1989, and is a supporting partner of C9G and our guided ski programs.


    • Students are responsible for their own meals.
    • Students are responsible for their own transportation on course.
    • Students are responsible for obtaining a National Park entry pass for their field days if required.



Students will require one of the following travel equipment kits to join us on course:

  • Alpine Touring Skis
  • Splitboard
  • Snowshoes

In addition students will require the following:

  • Climbing Skins - trimmed to fit your specific equipment
  • Ski Poles
  • 1 of the following: Alpine Touring Ski Boots / Snowboard Boots / Winter Boots for Snowshoers
  • Daypack - IMPORTANT: You will require at minimum a 30L backpack. Anything smaller will not be sufficient to hold essential safety equipment. 
  • Sunglasses (for the uptrack)
  • Ski Goggles (for the decent)
  • Lunch 
  • Water
  • Thermos with a Hot Drink
  • Sun Screen
  • Small Blister Kit or Personal 1st Aid Kit
  • Small Repair Kit (optional)

Avalanche Rescue (Companion Rescue) Equipment: 
If you have your own beacon, probe, and shovel, it's best to arrive with your own equipment. For those requiring this essential equipment, we stock *new rescue equipment replaced yearly, for your use on course, at no extra cost. Our avalanche beacons undergo weekly diagnostic testing to ensure proper function. 

  • Avalanche Beacon (3 antennae unit, must have been purchased new in past 4 years)
  • Avalanche Probe
  • Avalanche Shovel (metal blades only)


On our AST 1, this essential clothing list is provided firstly to help support a better quality educational environment for you while on course. On the field day, there will be 20-30 min blocks where our Guides are demonstrating skill sets such as snow profiles and companion rescue where the group comes to a stop for longer periods. Having the right technical clothing that will keep you warm and dry, serves to provide you with a better quality learning environment. 

  • Base Layers - Either wool or synthetic, or a polypro base layer are the best options. DO NOT wear cotton base layers!
  • Mid Layers - Again, wool, synthetic or polypro is are best
  • Softshell Jacket or Gore-Tex Jacket
  • Softshell Pants or Gore-Tex Pants
  • Insulated Jacket - Large Parka style jackets are very important for the moments we are stopped during the field day. Down Parka's or Synthetic Down Parka's are a very important addition to your clothing systems for the course.
  • Socks - Wool blend, no cotton



The AST Level 1 & 2 Courses are non-refundable. The best method to protect your investment with us should unforeseen arise, requiring you cancel your booking, is to purchase a Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policy. 

Lifestyle Insurance has covered many of Cloud Nine Guests on trips all over the world, and we have first-hand experience seeing these policies activated by our Guests. 

Safeguard your trip costs and investment with us. Request a Quote from Lifestyle Financial.

Is this coverage required?

  • For Canadian Residents, coverage is suggested but not required to register.
  • For Non-Canadian Citizens, coverage is suggested but not required. It is strongly suggested that your policy includes Emergency Medical Coverage, unless you carry an alternative policy which will respond in the event of medical emergency.


WAIVER - Release of Liability & Indemnity Agreement

Prior to booking you will be required to acknowledge that you have been provided a copy of our Waiver of Liability Agreement for your review. All participants, or their legal guardians wishing to participate on any Cloud Nine Programs, must acknowledge that they have been presented this document, have read it in its entirety, and understand the agreement being entered into by signing. While there is no obligation to enter into this agreement with us, it is a condition of our service provision. 



Booking TErms & Conditions

Before you book your course, please review our Booking Terms & Conditions. We do not accept bookings without your voluntary acceptance of these terms. Please read carefully as these terms outline specific policies and guidance for both our staff and clients with respect to refunds, cancellations, rescheduling etc.


Please note before booking: The AST Level 1 & 2 Courses are non-refundable programs. 
Those wishing to reschedule their course dates, may only do so pending our course availability. Rescheduling or order changes will incur a $25 admin fee per occurrence.



For those who prefer our smallest and most focused learning environments. Groups of 4+ can book a Private Group AST 1 on course dates that suit you and your crew best, and one of our ACMG / IFMGA Mountain Guides will join you on your terms. You pick the Group Size as well as a Field Day venue and date outside those available on our Public Courses. 

Private Rates for our Canmore AST 1 start at $310/person. Group Discounts available for teams of 5+.

How Do We Book It?

Contact our office to confirm availability for your preferred dates. We'll provide you with a private booking link for you and your group to register either together or individually.




Cloud Nine Guides AST CONNECT+


Got your AST 1? Bridge the gap to the AST 2 with our AST CONNECT+ Ski and Split Backcountry Touring & Education Days. Seats from $175/day.


Private Group AST 1 Courses available in your Southern Alberta home ranges for your group of 6 or more. Starting at $400/seat.


Private Group AST 1 Courses available this season in Revelstoke for you and your crew of 6 or more. Starting at $320/seat.


Private Group AST 1 Courses available this season in Golden, BC for you and your crew of 4 or more. Starting at $320/seat.





Cloud Nine Guides AST CONNECT+


Got your AST 1? Bridge the gap to the AST 2 with our AST CONNECT+ Ski and Split Backcountry Touring & Education Days. Seats from $175/day.


Ready to explore the challenging and complex terrain along the Icefields Parkway and Lake Louise Group? Starting at $645/seat.


An AST 2 Course for our friends in Southern Alberta? You bet. Save the drive, beat the crowds, and explore and learn in your home ranges this season. Rates from $1049.00.


The Holy Grail of AST 2 Courses: add two parts Selkirks, a dash of the Purcells... Game on. Starting at $1100/seat.

ORTOVOX - Proud Supporting Partner of the Outdoor Rock Climbing Series Courses
Cloud Nine Mountain Guides are Internationally IFMGA Certified
Cloud Nine Guides is a Avalanche Canada Licensed Provider of the AST Curriculum