Mountain Adventure Skills Training
Did we get you at Mountain Adventure? Push your personal boundaries in this truly adventurous program. Imagine your stunning BC Rocky Mountain classroom where you’ll spend time hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, canoeing, whitewater rafting while also earning the certifications and training that employers want. That’s MAST!
Now accepting applications for September 2023!
Why Consider a Mountain Adventure Career?
- Why wouldn’t you? It’s a career that involves having adventures in the mountains!
- Employment opportunities abound: whether you are on a river or a mountain, there are many guiding and other careers waiting for you.
- Be prepared to work in your home province, across Canada, or even internationally.
Why Choose Our Program?
- The most comprehensive skills course list – all included in one tuition
- Our nine-month program prepares you to work or play in the backcountry or sidecountry
- Learn to be a professional from our highly skilled professional instructors
- Earn industry certifications
- Gain university credits towards a degree in Adventure Tourism
- Season pass at Fernie Alpine Resort included in tuition
- Enjoy the Canadian Rocky Mountain lifestyle in Fernie BC
- No fees for electives – 14 skills courses included in tuition
- No fees for textbooks
With the 9-month Mountain Adventure Skills Training program, 60% of your learning time will be outdoors experiencing the regions amazing adventure lifestyle opportunities while also learning the skills employers want you to know. With multiple certification courses, you’ll be introduced to the knowledge you need to be successful in your dream job.
The Mountain Adventure Skills Training Program (MAST) is designed for full-time students interested in pursuing a one year certificate and meets the requirements of the B.C. Provincial common core curriculum.
This program starts in September each year. Part-time students applying in the Winter or Spring semester should select University General Studies as their program when applying.
Learn to be an Adventure Tourism professional from our highly skilled instructors who work in the industry, get a season’s pass at Fernie Alpine Resort as part of your tuition, and gain university credits toward a degree in Adventure Tourism. This program has it all.
- 38 of 48 Credits are required for the MAST Certificate
- There are no extra charges for elective courses
- There are no discounts or refunds from tuition fee if students choose not to take elective courses
|MAST 111||Risk Management in Adventure Tourism||3|
|MAST 114||Natural History||3|
|MAST 119||Guiding and Leadership||3|
|MAST 121||Introduction to Adventure Tourism Industry||3|
|MAST 122||Wilderness Travel Theory||3|
|MAST 136||Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development||3|
|MAST 140||Rock Climbing 1||2|
|MAST 141||Hiking 1||2|
|MAST 142||Mountaineering 1||2|
|MAST 143||Ski Touring 1||2|
|MAST 144||Canoe Skills 1||2|
|MAST 145||Whitewater Raft Guide Training 1||2|
|MAST 146||Avalanche Skills Training 1||2|
|MAST 147||Alpine Ski/Snowboard Instructor Certification||2|
|MAST 156||Avalanche Skills Training 2||2|
|MAST 150 or MAST 151||Occupational First Aid Level 3 or Wilderness Medical Associates Wilderness First Responder||2|
(no extra charge for electives, no refund if you choose not to take the elective)
|MAST 162||Ski Tour 2||2|
|MAST 165||Swiftwater Rescue Technician 3||2|
|MAST 169||River Expedition Skills||2|
|MAST 166 or MAST 167||Whitewater Raft Guide Training 2 or Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking||2|
|MAST 168 or MAST 172||Canoe Guide Certification or Mountain Bike Skills Development||2|
Outdoor Industry Certifications
MAST-111 – Risk Management in Adventure Tourism
Students explore legal and industry standards for risk management in Adventure Tourism. Topics include the guide’s role in managing risk, Canadian legal system, developing a risk management plan, the role of insurance and legal releases.
MAST-114 – Natural History
This course provides an overview of the natural/cultural history of the Southern Canadian Rocky Mountains and develops interpretation techniques to communicate this information. Lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on field experiences will cover the topics of geology, ecology, botany, biology, human history, ecosystem-based management and heritage interpretation. Students develop skills in classification, identification, interpretive techniques, and stewardship of the environment.
MAST-119 – Guiding and Leadership
This course involves an exploration of leadership and effective practice of theories and concepts of teaching, guiding and learning in an outdoor setting. Students examine leadership models, group and individual facilitation and the importance of communication while building a blue print of their own personal leadership philosophy and abilities. Other topics include certification standards, log book requirements and legal parameters.
MAST-121 – Introduction to Adventure Tourism Industry
This course provides an overview of the variety, products, and infrastructure of adventure tourism in the province. Students explore past trends and discuss the future of adventure tourism while examining the positive and negative impacts the industry has on communities, ecosystems, and economies. Topics of land use, environmental impacts and cultural considerations in tourism are discussed. This also helps students evaluate the scope of career options and define their own role in this exciting industry.
MAST-122 – Wilderness Travel Theory
This course reviews aspects of wilderness travel such as clothing and equipment, navigation, environmental concerns and group travel techniques. Students will learn to identify declination and magnetic north, take a bearing from a map, set a compass from a map and follow a compass bearing. Students will gain a thorough knowledge of topographical maps and the military grid system and will utilize new learning in trip planning exercises. This course introduces the student to the concepts of summer and winter emergency survival in wilderness settings. Topics such as fire building, shelter building, and the psychology of stress are discussed. Overnight survival exercises complete the course.
MAST-136 – Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development
This course introduces the development, planning, marketing, financing and key success factors required to start new action sport, eco- and adventure tourism businesses. Students consider the
opportunities, risks and issues specific to small business ventures during pre-startup, launch and initial growth. This course is designed to assist the student in developing a viable business model, then create a basic professional business plan, supported by research from primary and second sources. In addition to textbooks, the instructor uses case studies and multiple industry examples to illuminate courses concepts.
MAST-140 – Rock Climbing 1
This course introduces the student to the basics of top roped rock climbing. Students learn the basic knots, safety procedures, equipment and rope skills, group management and climbing techniques to safely set up and climb basic top roped climbs.
MAST-141 – Hiking 1
This course involves a five day hike through local alpine mountainous terrain where students learn basic camp skills, environmental concerns, group travel considerations, safety and route planning, navigation, food and menu preparation. Classroom and field preparation days lead to a five day mountain expedition.
MAST-142 – Mountaineering 1
This course introduces students to basic glacier travel. Students develop skills in group management, roped travel, crevasse rescue, glaciology, winter camping skills, snow and ice anchors.
MAST-143 – Ski Touring 1
This course focuses on the skills necessary to travel, ski or snowboard safely in the backcountry in winter. These skills include ski touring equipment knowledge and proficiency, route finding, avalanche terrain and hazard evaluation, group travel management, and companion rescue.
- Minimum Credits: 2
- Length: 52 hours
- Prerequisites: Students must be strong intermediate skiers and/or snowboarders and have completed the MAST 146 Avalanche Skills Training. Must be physically fit and capable of traveling in mountainous terrain under adverse weather conditions.
- Delivery Method: ? On-campus
- Course Outline
MAST-144 – Canoe Skills 1
This course prepares the student to canoe tandem and solo in lake water and class 1-2 river situations. Basic strokes and maneuvers are taught while canoe safety and self-rescue are practiced and
demonstrated. Curriculum follows the Recreational Canoe Association of BC Advanced Tandem and Solo sections as well as touching on Basic Moving water skills.
MAST-145 – Whitewater Raft Guide Training 1
This course prepares the student for employment in the BC Rafting Industry. Students will learn how to read whitewater, manage a team in the raft, perform river rescues, rig a raft and to maneuver a raft in up to class 3 water.
MAST-146 – Avalanche Skills Training 1
The Avalanche Skills Training program provides a national standard for entry level and intermediate level decision making in avalanche terrain. The curriculum provides a decision making framework suitable for use by people with a moderate degree of training and experience. This course covers two introductory certifications: AST 1 and Companion Rescue Certifications and focuses on safe travel practices in avalanche terrain. Several Canadian Avalanche Centre educational products are utilized to develop route finding, hazard awareness, companion rescue and decision making skills.
MAST-147 – Alpine Ski/Snowboard Instructor Certification
The Level 1 Courses combine the basics of practical teaching methods, technical understanding and development of guest service skills. Candidates receive coaching on their riding, teaching and people skills with the goal of reaching the Level 1 standard. They also receive suggestions and strategies for long-term development. Level 1 is a pre-requisite for Level 2. The alpine skiers take the CSIA Alpine Ski Instructor Level 1 Certification course. The snowboarders take the CASI Snowboard Instructor Level 1 Certification course.
MAST-156 – Avalanche Skills Training 2
Avalanche Skills Training 2 builds on the foundations of the Avalanche Skills Training 1 course. AST 2 provides a more advanced decision making framework that is based on the most advanced knowledge available and is suitable for use by people with a moderate degree of training and experience. Classroom and field sessions focus on developing route finding, hazard awareness, companion rescue and decision making skills.
Choose one (1) of the following:
MAST-150 – Occupational First Aid Level 3
This in depth first aid course is a prerequisite for employment with the BC Ambulance Service, many ski patrols and some Fire Police Departments. It covers the basics of airway, breathing and circulation – includes how to deal with obstructed airways, breathing distress, bleeding control, shock and one and two person CPR. In addition, continuing patient assessment, hard collar application, securing a patient to a spine board, upper and lower limb splinting and minor wound care are covered. Completion of records and reports are an integral part of the course. The course covers basic to advanced life support and first aid scenario skills.
MAST-151 – Wilderness Medical Associates Wilderness First Responder
The Wilderness First Responder program is the ideal medical training for leaders in remote areas including outdoor educators, guides, military, professional search and rescue teams, researchers, and those involved in disaster relief. The curriculum is comprehensive and practical. It includes the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments for days and weeks if necessary.
- No extra charge for electives, no refund if you choose not to do elective.
- 38 of 48 Credits required for Full Certificate Credential Program
MAST-162 – Ski Tour 2
This is an advanced Ski Mountaineering course in which students advance their ski touring skills in larger mountainous terrain. Students spend five days practicing route finding and navigation skills, winter camping skills, assessing avalanche terrain and skiing through glaciated terrain.
MAST-165 – Swiftwater Rescue Technician 3
This four-day intensive certification course develops the student’s abilities to react correctly in a river rescue situation. Students learn to be comfortable in moving water and have a basic understanding of moving water principles while practicing proven river rescue techniques for canoeists, kayakers, rafters and rescue personnel.
MAST-169 – River Expedition Skills
This course will introduce the students to multi day large group river expedition guiding skills. Topics include menu planning, shopping, packing and cooking for a large group. Students will utilization group cooking equipment and food safety and handling techniques. Planning, packing, set up of group paddling equipment, various style of craft, safety gear, personal gear packing and storage in crafts. The students will execute a large group multi day expedition.
Choose one (1) of the following:
MAST-166 – Whitewater Raft Guide Training 2
Building upon Whitewater Raft Guide Training 1, this course gives students advanced skills and maneuvers in rivers up to Grade 3. Students refine river reading skills, work as a team and learn advanced guiding skills. Students develop leadership skills to coach and command a raft crew in preparation for meeting the qualifications required by the BC Rafting Outfitters Association. Multiple days on the Elk and Bull rivers develop strong team rafting skills as well as safety and risk management practices.
MAST-167 – Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking
This course is designed to develop skills at the novice white water kayaking level. Students are educated in safety issues as well as equipment design and use. Instruction is provided in flat water techniques, progressing into gentle whitewater and river running procedures. This course prepares the student to safely progress to grade three whitewater and covers theoretical knowledge and practical application of whitewater kayaking skills.
Choose one (1) of the following:
MAST-168 – Canoe Guide Certification
Building upon skills learned in Canoe Skills 1 students can be certified at the Day Guide and Expedition guide levels providing they meet the Recreational Canoeing Association of British Columbia standards. The course focuses on: paddling, rescue and teaching skills, group management and dynamics, risk assessment and decision making, meal preparation and hygiene, camping, Leave No Trace and interpretive skills. The Expedition Guide Certificate requires solid moving water skills in addition to many other leadership, coaching, communication, camping and environmental skills.
MAST-172 – Mountain Bike Skills Development
This course is geared towards beginner to advanced riders looking for formal instruction in riding techniques, mountain bike guiding skills, trail building and bike maintenance. Taking place in Fernie, this course utilizes local trails, professional bike guides and mechanics and local trail builders to encompass a complete overview of the employment opportunities in this growing sector.
- Secondary school graduation or equivalent.
- Minimum 65% in either English 12, English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, ENGL 090, or equivalent.
Non-Academic Admission Requirements:
- 19 years or older as of September 4th, prior to program beginning.
- Completion and submission of MAST Program Admissions Package, which includes a letter of interest, a resume, a reference letter from employer or educational instructor, the MAST Application Questionnaire, the MAST Ski Ability Policy and Agreement, the MAST Physical Fitness & Abilities Agreement, the MAST Medical History Questionnaire, and the MAST general program waiver, and
- •Students will be required to sign a general program release and waiver form before attending any outdoor activity.
How to Apply
Application Deadline is July 31. Applications from qualified students are processed on a first come, first served basis. Do not delay submitting your application.
To apply for entry in the MAST program please complete the following steps:
1. Review the Admission Requirements:
You must be 19 years or older as of September 1 and have completed Grade 12 or equivalent, or have permission from the Program Coordinator. You must also be physically able to accomplish the tasks of the program.
2. Apply online:
Apply online through the EducationPlannerBC (EPBC)’s application service.
- Enclose your secondary school transcript
- Enclose the $30 application processing fee ($100 if you are an International Student)
- Letter of reference from employer or educational instructor
- Handwritten or typed letter describing yourself, your interest in the MAST program and your past experience and future plans in the adventure tourism industry
- MAST Questionnaire
- Release and Waiver
- Medical Form – MAST
- Skier Ability Information
3. A non-refundable commitment fee of $250 is required.
You are given details for this payment in your letter of acceptance. Tuition installment and deadlines will be detailed in your letter of acceptance.
Season’s Pass at Fernie Alpine Resort included in tuition. We offer more skills courses included in tuition than any other Adventure Program!
- Group equipment – tents, ropes, rafts, canoes, kayaks, cooking equipment (except as noted on personal equipment list)
- Transportation and accommodation during out-trips
- Textbooks for core courses
- Season pass at Fernie Alpine Resort
- Free access to Fernie campus climbing gym and computer lab
Tuition and Fees:
|Student Association Fee:||$80.50|
|Health and Dental Fee:||$229.50|
Tuition and Fees for International Students:
|Student Association Fee:||$80.50|
|Health and Dental Fee:||$229.50|
*These prices are for international students and may not be 100% accurate. However, these estimates will give you an adequate idea of tuition and fees for our programs. These prices do not include textbook costs. All prices are subject to change. Tuition fees include an alumni fee, student activity fees, and a student technology fee. In certain cases a materials and supply fee may also be included. For more information, visit: Tuition and Fees.
Additional Student Costs:
- Personal equipment (see list below)
- Out-trip food and equipment rental. Students are responsible for food and personal costs during out-trips.
- Lodging in Fernie and personal expenses. The MAST program is based in Fernie, BC. There is no College residence available.
The following personal equipment list is required by all MAST students. This equipment will, with care, last for years. Students may wish to delay purchase of equipment until program confirmation. For good advice and introductory product knowledge check the ‘LEARN’ heading on the MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop) web site..
Camping and Hiking Gear needed by September 1
- Mountaineering boots suitable for use with crampons (can be rented)
- Good quality hiking boots for off trail serious mountain terrain
- Down jacket, Down booties with winter use covers (a true luxury)
- Head lamp, water bottle, camp eating utensils, bowl etc.
- Compass with sighting mirror, adjustable declination and clinometer. Recommended models: Suunto MC-2 (G-Global or NH-Northern Hemisphere), Silva 16DCL or Silva Expedition S
- Outerwear, Gortex jacket and pants, soft shells and/or equivalent, lightweight and packable
- Sun hat, toque, leather-palm winter ski gloves
- Sunglasses and goggles (UV blocks)
- Socks plus spares (wool or synthetic or blend, no cotton)
- Insulative layers (polypro underwear, fleece, etc.) (no cotton)
- Personal outdoor clothing (quick dry pants, all weather clothing) (no cotton)
- Four-season sleeping bag (at least -18’C)(down is lighter and packs smaller)
- Sleeping pad or Thermarest (ultra light model suitable for winter camping)
- Multi day pack >70 litres
- Day pack 40 litres – suitable to strap skis or snow board to with waist and sternum straps
- Gaiters – waterproof-breathable fabric, loose fitting, big enough for hiking and mountaineering boots.
- Bear Spray and Holster
- Watch – with alarm for field courses
Ski Touring Gear needed by November 1
- Skis (recommended 90-105 mm waist, not twin tip)
- Back country touring bindings (recommend new Fritchi or Dynafit) or Telemark set up or Split Board with touring specific bindings and 3 segment collapsible ski poles
- Ski Touring boots suitable for bindings (should have vibram sole and excellent walk mode)
- Ski helmet
- Touring / Climbing skins
- Avalanche probe (minimum 280 cm) CM markings, metal avalanche shovel – large blade
- Digital (3 antennae) avalanche transceiver
Rock Climbing Gear needed by September 1
- 12m of 7 mm accessory cord
- One long sewn sling (runner): (120cm long)
- 5m 1″ tubular climbing webbing
- Rock climbing shoes – snug but not painful
- Climbing helmet
- Climbing harness (with adjustable legs for winter use)
- Four locking carabiners (one locking pear shaped auto locking, triple action gate)
- Four non-locking carabiners – identical – and not bent gate
- Belay device (suitable for a variety of rope sizes)
Whitewater Rafting/Canoeing/Kayaking Gear needed by April
- PFD (Personal Floatation Device – Rafting/Canoeing specific – rescue model preferred)
- Wet suit (3mm farmer john) and dry top (at minimum) or Dry Suit (recommended)
- 3mm Neoprene: gloves, socks, beanie and booties (good quality with strong sole)
- Whitewater helmet
- Accessories: whistle, water knife, throw bag
- This list does not include standard academic items such as texts, writing materials, etc.
- This list refers only to technical equipment; clothing and other daily necessities are not included.
- Students are urged to consider the most cost effective equipment purchases. Look for sale items, phone several shops and talk to experienced sales people.
- Students will be required to have a personal laptop.
Graduation Success Stories
2019 Stories and Testimonials
MAST Student Amy Twigge fulfills lifelong dream. Published by Fernie Fix Magazine
Read about how Amy has taken the time to learn to play again.
MAST Student has article published in Fernie Fix Magazine
Read about the program from Charlie’s perspective.
2018 Stories and Testimonials
Meet Your Instructors:
Experienced guides and instructors ensure you are learning the most professional skills at the current standard. You will receive personal contact with professionals who are out there making a living in the business of Adventure Tourism.
Sarah Osberg – Program Coordinator/Instructor
Lee-Anne Walker – Masters of Environment and Management
Lee-Anne owns and operates Fernie Nature Tours where she shares her passion for all things wild and roots to our past. She is an environmental educator with Wildsight and has taught natural history and environmental stewardship with MAST since the programs inception. In 2009 she completed her MA in Environment and Management. Her goal is to change the world, one mind at a time.
Blair Craig and Lynn Muller
Blair and Lynn own and operate Canyon Raft Company, the first raft company to be based out of Fernie. Blair and Lynn have extensive experience on wild rivers all over BC. Blair is a provincial examiner for the BC Raft Certification process and a Swiftwater Rescue Instructor. In winter Blair is the Snow Cat Operations Manager at Fernie Alpine Resort. They have been involved with the MAST program for 15 years.
Beth Gallup – Entrepreneurship Instructor
Beth has made a career of bringing new ideas to life. Her strengths include coaching students and consulting clients through the practical steps required to connect services and products with realistic markets. She prioritizes cash flow, knows how to communicate value to investors, customers, and company teams.
Her experience includes managing, founding and owning more than one outdoor adventure business. Beth has an MBA in New Venture Development. In addition, she studied at the European Summer School for Advanced Management. Beth is endlessly curious and a serial entrepreneur.
Roger Warnatsch – Canoe Instructor
Roger’s passion is river canoeing, exploring rivers from Southern California to the Northwest Territories, appreciating the importance of the canoe to Canada’s history and also expanding the boundaries of how people normally think of canoeing. He is a Master Instructor and the Instructor coordinator with the Recreational Canoe Assoc. of BC and is dedicated to river conservation. He and his wife Allyson have been teaching with the MAST program since 2009.
Rick Emmerson – ACMG Ski Guide
Rick is an ACMG Ski Guide and has been guiding with Island Lake for the past 10 seasons. Rick has been skiing and climbing the Fernie backcountry for many years. Rick holds his Canadian Avalanche Association Level 2 Forecaster and is a professional member. Known for his excellent teaching and knowledge, Rick is an asset to the MAST program guiding staff.
Eric Ostopkevich – ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide
Eric graduated from the MAST program in 2001 and is now a heli ski guide with Mica Heli out of Revelstoke. Eric is a passionate educator who enjoys giving back to the MAST program where he got his start in Adventure Tourism.
Steve Kuijt – ACMG Ski Guide
Steve has worked with the MAST program for many years and is a passionate guide who ensures students understand their mountain environment. Steve is a guide/instructor for the Alpine Hiking, Avalanche Skills and Ski touring courses.
Mike Stuart – ACMG/IFMGA Mountain guide
Owner of Canadian Alpine Guides has been working with the MAST program for over 10 years. Mike instructs the Mountaineering, Rock Climbing and Ski Touring courses. He enjoys the enthusiasm of the students as well as mentoring them through their introduction to mountain sports.
Mountain Adventure Skills Training Certificate – Block Transfer Agreements
Articles of Interest
Highlights of the MAST Program
by Jenna Aldus
Meet the MAST Program
by Charlie Osborne
5 Day Survival
by Josie Hartlin
Primed for Success
Meet a MAST Alumnus
by Josie Hartlin
Winter Overnight Shelter Building
by Josie Hartlin