For skiers and snowboarders  


You have taken an AST 1 course and now ready to move to the next level. AST 2 builds on the AST 1 skills and helps build confidence in avalanche terrain by introducing slope evaluation, mountain weather, hazard management and route finding skills in more complicated terrain.  

This is an intensive 4 day course and requires participants to be competent on their mode of transport be it skis or splitboard. unfortunately we can not accommodate snowshoe's on this course. Day tours are up to 12km's with 600m of climbing possible.

Course Content:

  • Character of Avalanches

  • Companion Rescue

  • Decision Making within avalanche terrain

  • Terrain exceptions

  • Route planning

  • Hazard management 

  • Introduction to snow evaluation tests

  • Planning, executing and review a full day of ski / split board touring



Course Dates:

December 29/30 pm online sessions and January 2,3, and 4 field days.

Course availability: (FULL)

Touring days will take place in the Strathcona Provincial Park Backcountry

Due to COVID-19 Restrictions we are still permitted to run the field sessions outside as per Dr. Henry but class room sessions will be moved to Zoom sessions that will run on 2 separate evening sessions.

The AST 2 course:

Involves up to 8 hours of class room and 3 days or practical instruction in the field.


The Class Room (online!)

Some topics are best discussed when not standing around in blizzard conditions!

These subjects are covered in the comfort of an informal classroom setting where we can cover key aspects of the course as outlined above.


In the Mountains:

The field days will build on the classroom sessions and help to reinforce key aspects of the course. You will get the opportunity to route find in terrain, observe snowpack layering and learn how to utilize your rescue equipment efficiently.

The AST 2 course can be done on Skis or Split boards only.  

Unfortunately we don't run snowshoe courses. Your equipment will need to be capable of traveling both up and down hill on snow.

It is important to note that SMA courses are structured to get you into mountainous terrain and you should be prepared to travel on your skis or splitboard for a full day covering approx. 12kms of distance. This is not for everyone so please ensure you are aware of this when signing up.

Every Student must wear an avalanche transceiver as well as carry a probe and shovel.

For a complete gear list of what you will require on course download the gear list below.

SMA Courses are heavy on field instruction so expect to be out in the mountains on all days of the course.

As our field days are structured to get you out into the mountains into real ski touring objectives. This means that there is some vehicle ravel involved ranging from Parksville up to the Comox Valley. As this is an AST 2 course it is assumed participants are fit and competent in using their equipment. Please note this is not a beginner course. Participants will also be strong intermediate skiers or snowboarders.

 Equipment List:

A gear list is provided but if you are in need of gear SOS Gear in Courtenay has all your needs covered. Check them out for equipment.


For Equipment list download file here:

Course Costs Include:

  • 2 evening online sessions and 3 days AST 2 training

  • Return Helicopter flight from Parksville to a field location

  • Avaluator and Avalanche Handbook

  • Avalanche Canada Certificate of course completion.

  • Use of Avalanche Beacon

You will also be required to sign a waiver of release for this trip. Download file here:




Need Gear? Check out SOS Gear in Courtenay. Rentals and backcountry skiing equipment can also be picked up at the Ski Tak Hut.

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Cliff Umpleby

Cliff Umpleby is your AST 2 Course Instructor.

Cliff brings over 20 years of practical experience to SMA Courses. As a certified ACMG Ski Guide, Cliff spends most of his winter racking up large amounts of vertical meters in Avalanche Terrain.

SMA belives that the best course delivery is by instructors who are also practitioners. This means that you're course is being delivered to current standards and by someone who is present in the mountains full time.

As the founder of the Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin Cliff also has extensive experience in Island terrain and snowpack.

Cliff is a CAA Level 3 Avalanche Practitioner, a Professional Member of the CAA and a full time guide. He also really loves to Ski and looks forward to sharing this passion with you!



OR.. in Person at SOS Gear in Courtenay (206-1995 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay)

To Register for a course simply click the button below. You will be redirected to a Registration Form where you can fill in your information as well as directions for payment. All payments are done via email transfer (keeps all of our costs down) or in person at SOS Gear in Courtenay.