Avalanche Search and Rescue

The Avalanche Search and Rescue (AvSAR) Response course is a 3-day professional-level course combined with a 1-day practical skills assessment taken at a later date. The course is designed to teach participants the hazards associated with avalanche search and rescue, and how to apply advanced AvSAR techniques and strategies. This will help students and organizations in preparing to respond to AvSAR incidences.

The course is intended for industry professionals and advanced search and rescue
volunteers seeking hands-on technical avalanche rescue techniques and strategies. Best practices in avalanche rescue are delivered by current practitioners and materials are updated regularly with input from industry, manufacturers, and instructors.

The course is delivered primarily in the field, with a combination of demonstrations and practice stations. A sample course schedule shows the general progression of course topics


Once AvSAR students have mastered the theory and skills demonstrated on the AvSAR course they are eligible to take the AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment. This assessment is a separate 1-day examination of the participants technical skills; it is taken at a later date (normally in conjunction with the Avalanche Operations Level 2 Module 2).


Visit the course calendar for course dates, locations and registration.


Please note: student are responsible for their own transportation on the course.

Program Goals

For each course the Canadian Avalanche Association creates specific course goals and learning objectives. These reflect industry standards and current best practices and are updated accordingly. The Avalanche Search and Rescue course goals and objectives are displayed in the AvSAR DACUM. If you are unfamiliar with DACUMs please read the document "Learn what a DACUM is and why it is important".


Applicants must meet the following prerequisites:

  • CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1 or similar training and experience*; OR
  • Currently working in a professional or volunteer capacity for an agency or organization with an organized AvSAR response capacity (RCMP, DND SAR Techs, PEP, mechanized and non-mechanized skiing, ski areas, Parks, highways, etc.).
  • 80 hour First Aid certificate (recommended)

* Applicants wishing to be exempted from prerequisites due to similar training and experience should apply to waive the prerequisite using the Prior Learning Assessment application before registering online. A PLA reference form will need to be submitted on your behalf: PLA CAA Professional Reference Form or CAA Non-CAA Professional Reference Form.

NOTE: The AvSAR course became a prerequisite for the Level 2 Module 2 course in the 2013-14 winter season.

Registration Process

If you have met the prerequisites listed then you may register on-line for the AvSAR course of your choice (if available). Note that on-line registration opens in early-mid June and requires full payment at time of registration.

You will be required to upload a scan of the following documents during your registration process. Without them, you will be unable to complete your registration. A scan can be a legible digital photo of the required document. A scan is needed of:

  • Avalanche Operations Level 1 Certificate or an approved Prior Learning Assessment*

* Applicants wishing to be exempted from prerequisites due to similar training and experience should apply to waive the prerequisite using the Prior Learning Assessment application before registering online. A PLA reference form will also need to be submitted on your behalf: PLA CAA Professional Reference Form or CAA Non-CAA Professional Reference Form.


Students wishing to register for the AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment must register for it separately from the AvSAR course. Level 2 students do not need to register for the Practical Skills Assessment as it is part of their Level 2 Module 2.

Tuition and Funding Opportunities

****The following are 2016-17 tuition prices. Note that prices are now location-specific to reflect ACTUAL costs associated with course locations****  


Whistler: $775

Revelstoke: $722


An additional $100 registration fee is applied to international students to account for shipping costs.

Course Evaluation

The assessment of student learning is broken into two parts: theory and technical skills. The theory portion is assessed by a final written exam. This exam has a combination of multiple-choice, matching and short answer questions. Participants must achieve a mark of 71% or higher in order to pass the written exam. Verbal and/or written feedback is also provided on technical skills practised during the AvSAR course. Students will receive an AvSAR Theory certificate upon successful completion of the written exam.


Technical skills are assessed on Day 1 of the Avalanche Operations Level 2 Module 2 course. This is an optional assessment for those students not pursuing the Level 2 program. Students will receive an AvSAR Practical Skills certificate upon successful completion of the practical skills assessment.

Exam scenarios and their associated marking schemes are introduced during the AvSAR course.

Course Materials + Equipment

Students will be provided with a student manual approximately 1 month before the course. The student manual contains pre-course readings, study questions, and tasks which must be completed before the start of the course. Participants are recommended to allocate ample time prior to this course for dedicated study and preparation.


Please refer to the sample equipment list.

Box 2759, 110 MacKenzie Ave
Revelstoke, BC Canada, V0E 2S0
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Tel 250-837-2435
Fax 866-366-2094
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