Safety: Winter Adventures in the Mountains


November 24th + 25th 2018
Classroom Day – Silver Creek Lodge Canmore
Field Day – Kananaskis Country near Canmore

Do you venture out of bounds at the resort, off the hiking trails or into the backcountry of the mountains during winter?

If so, an Avalanche Skills Training Course Level 1 (AST 1) is your place to start. You don’t need any experience to take this course. It is a must for everyone recreating in the backcountry or slack country. 




Did you know that different levels of Avalanche Skills Training courses are offered ongoing in Alberta during the winter season through a number of different educators? These AST (for short) courses are for those of us interested in all kinds of winter mountain activities, including but not limited to: nordic skiing, back country skiing, tobogganing, hiking, ice climbing, snowmobiling.

Meet Diana + Lisa:  vibrant and amazing members of our Hike365 community who recently completed their AST1 training together! We went for a nordic ski to Lake O’Hara, chatting a little bit about winter mountain safety + their experiences in taking the course.

On location with Diana + Lisa at their AST1 Course through Mountain Skills Academy

Did the dangers related to winter mountain travel play a role in your decision to take your AST1?

D: -“Yes. I had a bit of fear with the idea + reality of avalanches, and this motivated me to take the AST1 course.”

L:-“Yes.  I wanted to be proactive and knowledgeable about the possible situations that can occur should I choose to enter into potential avalanche terrain.”

How did the Hike365 community inspire you to take your AST1 Course?

D: -“Hike365 got me seriously thinking about all the winter activities that are out there to do! I used to think that AST courses were geared more for back-country ski touring, a level which I am not yet at, but after joining the community I learned of the importance of knowing about the dangers related to winter hiking, snowshoeing and xc skiing, and there are many. Without Hike365’s on the trail conversations about winter mountain safety I may not have ended up trying out as many of the winter activities as I have this year after taking my AST1 course”

L:-“Hike365 encouraged me to take my AST1 course since we all take the safety part of mountain sports seriously and encourage this amongst our community.  There are some amazing cross country ski trails that some of us want to do on our own time that I knew were in possible avalanche terrain that I want to safely + knowledgeably explore.”

How will you will put your new safety skills to use?

D: -“By making new friends at Hike365 who also have AST I am so happy to have a better knowledge base of my own to prepare for and participate in the winter activities I am interested in both within and outside of our planned events.  It’s great to do more than than just dream about some of the nordic xc tours I am interested in and be able to safely accomplish these goals with my new friends I’ve made within the community on our own time.”

L: -“It will be helpful to consistently talk with the other girls in the community who have their AST about what we have learned from our course(s).  I can put what I have learned into practice making sure we are all making safety a number one priority when we are out on our adventures both in winter and summer.”

Lisa is a geologist from Alberta, and always has a map in hand once the views open up on our adventures to name the peaks as far as the eye can see! Wondering what peaks Lisa’s seen lately? Follow her on Instagram!

Diana works in the outdoor industry and is always up to speed with the latest gear thanks to her career! To see what gear Diana is loving these days check her out on Twitter!

Not all sign posted summer destinations are safe for winter travel. Please research the trail you ware wanting to take appropriately.
– If you are getting out there to play in areas that avalanches are possible, make sure to take an avalanche safety course to recognize the hazards involved with winter mountain travel. Always check before you head out and know the snow!
– No winter hikes/skis/snowshoes can be listed on our blog as free from all avalanche hazards due to the nature of winter travel. By using any of these recommendations you are acknowledging the risks associated with winter travel, holding yourself accountable for your actions.

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