Avalanche Awareness AST1

After a week of snowboarding in the Perisher area, I opt to spend my weekend back in the classroom. While many would ask why (or even how) you can do an avalanche awareness course in the Australian backcountry, it turns out that nowhere is immune to avalanche risk and understanding the dangers and recovery techniques is both interesting and important.

The 2-day AST1 course covers the basics of avalanche formation, safe line choice, and the environmental factors which lead to different snow conditions. Day 1 is spent in the classroom in Jindabyne with the practical pit digging, snow testing and recovery scenarios on day 2 in the backcountry behind Guthega.

I’ve booked into this course with Snow Safety Australia, run by Adam West, primarily due to the fact that this AST1 course is recognised and backed by Avalanche Canada and is internationally recognised, allowing me to hit up some of the greatest back-country snowboarding all around the globe.

While we didn’t always stick to time, Adam was a fantastic instructor and I’ve come away from the course with a greater appreciation of the risk, but also an understanding of when and when not to accept this risk. I fully intend to continue my training with the AST2 course in future years, but for now I’ll be taking this knowledge overseas, next stop snowboarding in the northern hemisphere!


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