Avalanche Operations Level 1

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 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*.
Registration for Level 1 is a gradual opening of courses over September 3-5, 2014. 
Opening September 3: November, December and Burnie Glacier courses.
Opening September 4: Remaining January courses.
Opening September 5: All remaining courses. 

* Proof of Prerequisites must be uploaded during the registration process.

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 September 3. 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, $625 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.

*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.

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;
  • 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.

*Participation on an AST 1 course before your Level 1 is acceptable for those that do not have AST 1 at time of registration. Youmust 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 for exemption using our Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) form; this must be approved prior to registration.

**See application/registration process.

Recommended Course

Avalanche Skills Training 2 (AST 2)


Ski/Board Level 1: $1,575 (plus applicable hut fees)*

Snowmobile Level 1: $1,790 (plus applicable hut fees)*

An additional $100 registration fee is applied to International Students.

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

2014/15 Hut Fees - Note these may be subject to slight change at registration:
Monashee Powder Snowcats - $745
Burnie Glacier - $1100
Kootenay Pass - $660
Carl Kuster Mountain Park - $672


The Canadian Avalanche Foundation yearly offers scholarships for students.  


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