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The AST 1 is an introductory level course. The AST 2 course will provide an intermediate and advanced level decision- making framework that is based on the most advanced up to date knowledge available. AST 1 courses are two days, and the AST 2 is one evening plus 3 full days. Both include one day with a snowcat-assisted ski tour, and the AST 2 also incorporates a day of guided ski touring and coached decision-making in the backcountry, generally at Kootenay Pass.

All AST courses run with Big Red Cats include a snowcat lift up the mountain on the field day for one day of cat-assisted touring. While a guest at Big Red Cat you are supported by the BRC snow safety team and, if necessary, other guides and guests who are just a radio-call away.

Course Fee: $270

Course Dates

  • Nov 26-27, 2021

  • Nov 28-29, 2021

  • Dec 12-13, 2021

  • Dec 17-18, 2021

  • Dec 19-20, 2021

  • Dec 23-24, 2021

  • Jan 2-3, 2022

  • Jan 16-17, 2022


Keith Robine

Keith has been teaching avalanche courses to students all over North America for the past 30 years. He is a Professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association and a member of the Canadian Ski Guide Association. Big Red Cats has been operating AST courses with Keith out of Rossland for many years, and he is literally the person who wrote the book on avalanche safety.  Co-wrote.

Keith does do some guiding for BRC, but in recent years mostly sticks to ski touring and AST instruction.  His website is - Here is an article on Keith in the Spokane Spokesman-Review

Mike Packham

Mike is one of BRC's guides, and is also a member of CAA and CSGA. He can be contacted via his Facebook page. If you have a group of 6-8 and you'd like to set up a private course, or tailor a course for your group (such as spreading the AST1 over 3 days, and incorporating two field days and more snowcat skiing), get in touch with him or send us an email as dates are very flexible in December and January, and possible during some dates in February.

AST Level 1 Sample Outline

(All times and locations subject to change)

First Day Classroom/Field Session


  • Meet at classroom in Rossland
  • Introduction to AST
  • Group avalanche initiative exercise
  • Course Curriculum, including Types of
  • Avalanches, Terrain, Snow Science, Avaluator
  • v2, Companion Rescue


  • Field practice of Beacon Searching, Probing,and Apex Shovel Technique


  • Equipment for Backcountry Touring
  • Review plans for tomorrow’s tour
  • Homework – review course textbook & print
  • CAA Avalanche Bulletin


  • Conclude Session

Second Day Field Session


  • Carpool to BigRedCats staging area. Leave vehicle(s) near Nancy Greene Summit.


  • Ride snowcat to shoulder of Mt. Crowe between Crowe and Neptune


  • Ski down below the east face of Mt. Crowe, terrain analysis, human factors


  • Skin up to summit of Mt. Crowe, snow stability evaluation, Avaluator v2


  • Ski down to highway, group travel, human factors, companion rescue exercise


  • Pick up vehicles and return to Red Shutter


  • Course review, presentation of certificates, course evaluations

1700 AST Level 1 Course Concludes

AST 2 Course

The AST 2 Course includes one evening and three full days of instruction. It is a prerequisite to take the AST 1 or have equivalent education with prior instructor approval. The field sessions include backcountry touring in multiple locations and more advanced classroom/fieldwork.

Other dates and custom courses may be available upon request. For more information, please contact Keith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.