Avalanche Operations Level 1
Share |

"This course was without question the best organized and most succinct course that I have ever completed. Not one minute of wasted time, nor was there ever too much information to digest at any one time. The way the material was delivered in the classroom, as well as the conduct of the field trips, was clearly an endorsement of the coaches expertise in the content. I look forward to continuing my education through the CAA into the future." Ben Moffitt

Registration will be open beginning September 14-16, 2016.


This course is the first professional level training course for persons seeking employment with avalanche risk management operations. Participants must be advanced skiers or splitboarders, or snowmobilers for the sled course, and should have considerable backcountry travel experience commensurate with industry standards. The Level 1 course is an essential prerequisite course to many other industry training programs, including guiding.


This intensive seven- to eight-day technical training course is comprised of approximately 40% theory and classroom work, and 60% practical application and field work. See the sample course schedule for an example of an average day.


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

Visit the course calendar for course dates, locations and registration*.
* Proof of Prerequisites must be uploaded during the registration process and full course payment is taken.


Application/Registration Process

If you have met the prerequisites listed below then you may register online for the course of your choice (if available). On-line registration opens in the beginning of September every year. Check in over the summer to the course calendar for specific opening dates. Courses that take place in British Columbia require full payment at time of registration (including applicable hut fees, see tuition). For courses that take place in Alberta, $500 is due at time of registration and the remainder is due the morning the course begins.

You will be required to upload scans 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.

  • Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST 1) certificate* OR approved Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) application**;
  • Proof of 19 years of age or older. Example: a copy of your driver's license.

*If a student is taking their AST 1 course between registration and the commencement of the Level 1 course, then they need to upload a letter of intent during the registration process.

**A student applying for PLA will need the AST 1 course goals for their self-assessment.

Program Goals

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • State the nature of avalanches;
  • State the hazards of avalanches;
  • Describe and classify avalanche terrain;
  • Describe the properties of the mountain snowpack;
  • Describe, collect and record weather data;
  • Collect and record snowpack data;
  • Collect avalanche occurrence data;
  • State the factors and methods used in avalanche hazard evaluation;
  • Apply risk control methods;
  • Conduct avalanche search and rescue;
  • Describe the scope of practice for the L1 ski operations.


Applicants must have and prove** at time of registration:

  • A minimum of an Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST 1)* or similar training and experience;*
  • Advanced backcountry travel skills in either skiing or splitboarding including proficiency with touring bindings, skins, and split boards OR snowmobiling for the sled course;
  • Proficient & consistency in multiple burial transceiver skills (two transceivers buried at least 70cm deep found in under five minutes in a 40m x 40m area);
  • 19 years of age or older (for courses based in British Columbia), 18 years of age or older (for courses based in Alberta)

*Participation on an AST 1 course before your Level 1 is acceptable for those that do not have AST 1 at time of registration. You must fill out a letter of intent. For those with training and experience similar to the AST program (e.g., from another country) you can apply to waive the AST 1 prerequisite using our Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) form; this must be approved prior to registration. A student applying for PLA will need the AST 1 course goals for their self-assessment.

**See application/registration process.

Recommended Course


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


Revelstoke: $2045

Lake Louise: $2037

Whistler: $1973

Fernie: $1932

Golden: $1860

Chic-Chocs: $1649

Kootenay Pass: $1675 (plus applicable hut fees)

Monashee Powder Snowcats: $1675 (plus applicable hut fees)

Burnie Glacier Lodge: $1675 (plus applicable hut fees)

An additional $100 registration fee is applied to International Students to account for shipping costs.

*Please note that additional hut fees are in effect for the programs taking place at Monashee Powder Snowcats, Kokanee Glacier, Burnie Glacier, Valkyr, Boulder, Sol Mountain, and Kootenay Pass. All hut fees are non-refundable.

2016/17 Hut Fees :
Monashee Powder Snowcats - $745 + tax
Burnie Glacier - $1215 + tax
Kootenay Pass - $731 + tax

The Avalanche Canada Foundation yearly offers scholarships for students.  

There is also an Alberta job grant.

A Golden Area scholarship.


Course Evaluation

Course evaluation is a combination of written tests and exercises, field book observations, practical examinations and field discussions. There are three mandatory elements that a student must pass (Professional Rescue Exam, Weather Observations, Snow Profile Exam) in addition to receiving an overall mark of 71% or greater. Retests are allowed in specific situations only. A passing grade results in the CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1 certificate of completion being granted to the student.

Accommodation and Huts

For town based courses, the CAA strongly recommends accommodation for students as close to the classroom location as possible. Mornings typically start around 6:30 with manual weather observations and lectures starting around 8:00 (sometimes earlier to allow longer field days). Evening sessions are held occasionally throughout the week. Expect most days to go to 20:00

Hut-based courses are run out of a remote backcountry operation. Additional fees are charged for these courses and include all meals, lodging and transportation from trail head to operation. Hut-based courses are an incredible value when compared to similar costs at other locations. These courses not only provide exceptional value but also an enhanced learning environment. Course participants will have exclusive use of the operation's terrain and facilities for the duration of their course. Close proximity to field study locations increase the amount of time students spend studying snowpack and avalanche terrain. In each operation, students will be expected to participate in daily hut duties as specified by facility operators and course instructors.

Course Equipment and Materials

Please refer to the sample student equipment list. A final equipment list will be sent to you with your student manual, which will be sent to your mailing address no later than a month prior to course start. If you have concerns please contact our office.

International Courses

Industry Training Program curriculum is delivered every year in countries such as Japan and New Zealand. If you are interested in finding out more about our international outreach projects, please go to the websites listed below or contact the CAA directly.

Box 2759, 110 MacKenzie Ave
Revelstoke, BC Canada, V0E 2S0
Find us
Tel 250-837-2435
Fax 866-366-2094
Contact us
Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal