Highlights of the MAST Program
The BC Rocky Mountains are your classroom in the Mountain Adventure Skills Training (MAST) program in Fernie, BC. With nine months of training this program is the gateway to landing your ultimate outdoor dream job as students earn 13 certifications in the outdoor industry. After talking with some of the 2021-2022 MAST students about their experiences with hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, canoeing, and whitewater rafting it is obvious that the MAST program is an adventurists dream. What makes the MAST program so great? From having the chance to learn from outdoor industry guides and professionals, developing great leadership and communication skills, getting in some sick pow turns while navigating avalanche terrain, to learning how to survive ALONE in the backcountry, here, some of the MAST students have provided the inside scoop on what makes this program so special.
“The highlight of my MAST experience has been our “Mountain 1” course. We had the opportunity to learn mountaineering basics in the field from some top-notch guides. We climbed the Athabasca glacier off the Columbia highway and the Victoria Glacier over lake Louise. The most incredible part of this program is having the chance to learn hands on from current and well-seasoned professionals.”
- Geoffrey Hawkswell
“MAST is an awesome program for those who want to live an active lifestyle, want to challenge themselves to try something new, or are enthusiastic towards outdoor activities. Of course, in the MAST program we learn and experience a variety of outdoor activities, such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing and some river sports. But these activities are just a part of this program. I believe the main part or the most important of the MAST program is advancing communication, leadership, and teamwork skills to develop mental strength. These factors are essential for our life.”
- Shiro Masuoka
“Tied for my favourite part of the MAST program are ski tour 1 and the survival week. Ski touring was fun because we got to go out and see some awesome views and put the knowledge we learned in our Avalanche Skills Training (AST) courses to use and got to get some fun powder turns! And I liked having Robbie, a fellow split boarder, as a guide as I learned so much about the little intricacies of split boarding vs skiing. I also really enjoyed the survival week as we got to learn about different types of emergency shelters that you can make and tips on how to survive if you get stuck out in the woods. Between these courses and the Wilderness First Responders I now feel more confident heading into the backcountry. If something goes wrong I'm not completely screwed!”
- Teresa Martin
“Ski tour 2 on the Wapta Icefield in Banff and Yoho National Park was my favourite! This course allowed us the opportunity to combine a bunch of skills that we have learned in the classroom and on field courses. We definitely put our skills to the test! We combined our mountaineering knowledge of winter camping, glacier travel, rope and rescue systems with our group management skills and our avalanche training which included setting objectives, plotting, and navigating routes and managing avalanche terrain. Getting to put our skills and knowledge from the classroom and field days together made ski tour 2 the ultimate course.”
- Colin Dierker
The photo above was taken by Geoffrey Hawkswell on his highlight of the MAST program, Mountaineering 1 through the Victoria glacier. Where better to learn about glacier travel than a glacier itself? This program continues to impress its students and provides the ultimate classroom for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.