This is the course where you’ll learn how to recognize avalanche terrain and how to self rescue. An AST 1 is a minimum of two days with both classroom and field components. You need to take this course first and so should your friends because just one person trained in a group is not enough. Everyone in your group should take an AST 1. Recognize an AST 1 course is only the beginning – the avalanche pros will tell you avalanche training is a life long process.

What you will learn in an AST 1:

  • Avalanche formation and release
  • Identify avalanche terrain
  • The basics of trip planning
  • Optimal use of tools and resources like the avalanche forecasts to mitigate your avalanche risk
  • Use of appropriate travel techniques in avalanche terrain
  • Intro to companion rescue

Many instructors will offer the AST 1 course packaged with a Companion Rescue Skills or the Managing Avalanche Terrain courses. Check out the course schedules to see what is right for you. Learn more about the Companion Rescue Skills and Managing Avalanche Terrain courses below.

2019/20 Dates

Location: Hakuba, Japan

January 2020: January 2nd and 3rd, January 5th and 6th , January 8th and 9thth

February 2020: February 10th and 11th, 20th and 21st, 27th and 28th

March: To be decided. Will create new dates if we have people interested!


This may be adjusted to suit due to weather and snow conditions

Day 1 (At our Office/classroom in Ochikura, near Tsugaike)

8:30am am at Goodguides

Group introductions, goals and objectives for the Course, backcountry risks, agenda review, waivers

  • Avalanche phenomena and the implications to us
  • Avalanche formation and avalanche safety
  • Characteristics of avalanches, triggers and
  • Avalanche Terrain Recognition
  • Introduction to the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES)
  • Mountain snowpack and snow metamorphism

12:00 pm

  • Lunch break

1:00 pm

  • Assessing and reducing avalanche risk
  • Accessing and utilizing the Avalanche Danger Scale and Public Avalanche Bulletins
  • Using the AvaluatorTM
  • Human factors and decision making
  • Safe travel and trip planning components
  • Companion Rescue
  • Avalanche transceivers
  • Discuss logistics for the Field Day

4:30 – 5:00 pm

  • Class ends

Day 2

We typically meet at GoodGuides Office. Your instructor will provide meeting details on the classroom day.

9:00 am

  • Meet, issue avalanche training gear and introduce additional field day instructors
  • Weather and public avalanche bulletin discussion
  • Avaluator
  • Field observations (Wind, Precipitation, Temperature)
  • Transceivers and companion rescue practice
  • Managing and reducing risk in avalanche terrain
  • Route selection, track setting and terrain recognition
  • Snow study profile, stability tests and identifying layers of concern
  • Group rescue scenario – response and priorities

4:00 pm

  • Debrief
  • Next level avalanche training
  • AST 1 certificate presentation
  • End of course!