Mountain Adventure Skills Training
Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What are the goals of the Program?
  2. Is there a waiting list?
  3. When does my registration need to be in to the College?
  4. Where can I find information on loans, other funding options, bursaries and scholarships?
  5. Is there student housing, where will I live and what are the costs?
  6. What is the cost of living like in Fernie?
  7. What are the job prospects?
  8. Can I speak to a graduate?
  9. Will I be a guide at the end of the program?
  10. Who are the instructors?
  11. Are there courses that deal with Leadership and Teaching?
  12. Do I need a car or other transportation?
  13. What is a Class 4 Drivers License?
  14. How are classes scheduled?
  15. What about further education?
  16. What prerequisites do I need?
  17. How many students in the program?
  18. What if I already have some of the certifications offered by the MAST program?
  19. What if I get sick or injured...what is the refund policy?
  20. Is there a January Intake (registration)?
  21. How much time is spent in the field and classroom?
  22. Can I use a snowboard for the ski touring and avalanche courses?
  23. Want to contact us?

What are the goals of the Program?

  • To enhance student's employability in the Adventure Tourism industry by improving leadership and team work skills, providing currently required industry certifications, and developing well rounded technical skills.
  • To enhance the student's capability for further education at the diploma or degree level by providing transferable academic and field courses. Essentially the MAST program can be equal to the first year of a degree.
  • Field courses are taught by ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) guides and certified professionals who are selected for their teaching skills. 

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Is there a waiting list?

The MAST program operates on a 'First come First Serve' basis. If all prerequisites are met  applying early with a complete application package may ensure a seat in the program. Once 18 spots are filled a wait list is created. Accepted students pay a non-refundable tuition deposit by the specific deadline or their seat may become available to the next person on the wait list.

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When does my registration need to be in to the College?

As soon as possible. Applications are processed and students are accepted based on a First come First Serve basis. Deadline is July 31 (or call to see if seats are still available). 

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Where can I find information on loans, other funding options, bursaries and scholarships?

Financial assistance may be available for 'Employment Insurance' eligible applicants, if you can demonstrate that the MAST training is needed to help you get back to work. Please talk to your local Human Resource Centre or check out their web site at http://www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca.

There are general scholarships available. Please contact our Financial Aid department for questions regarding student loans and general scholarship applications. More information regarding  funds available for students on the following sites:

You should research student loans in your home province, contact a local college or university for information.

The federal government is taking over the Canada Student Loans Program. 

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Is there student housing, where will I live and what are the costs?

There is no student residence on campus in Fernie. We generally advise you to check out local listings on www.ourfernie.com or www.fernie.com. You will need to arrive in Fernie in mid to late August to get settled. By late August most of the MAST students are here and often get together to rent a house. Costs of apartments and houses range from approx. $250-400/month for a room in a house, $500-1500 for a house, and $350-850 for an apartment or basement suite. 

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What is the cost of living like in Fernie?

A tough question. It is all relative to what you are used to. Fernie is cheaper than Whistler but perhaps not a cheap as Saskatoon Saskatchewan. The cost of living is not prohibitive to living here. 

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What are the job prospects?

Get the job you want!

If you really want that adventure job you can get it. Graduates of the MAST program are sought after by many employers. MAST graduates have the right mix of skills, certifications and practical experience to tackle a wide variety of jobs in the outdoors.

Many graduates are now business owners, or managing integral parts of adventure businesses.

Please see Employment Opportunities for more information. 

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Can I speak to a graduate?

For privacy reasons we cannot give out any personal information of our current students or graduates.

Please check out our blog for current student adventures! For first hand stories on 'Risk', 'Roger's Pass', 'Split Boarding' and 'Motivation' - see Stories and Testimonials.  

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Will I be a guide at the end of the program?

MAST graduates have found jobs guiding whitewater rafting, hiking, sea kayaking, canoeing, tail guiding with cat skiing operations, fly fishing and others. Some MAST graduates also have found employment instructing indoor and outdoor rock climbing, canoeing, skiing and snowboarding. To become a fully certified rock climbing guide, mountain guide or ski guide takes several years of training and experience. The MAST program is a great first step in this direction for dedicated individuals.

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Who are the instructors?

Our field trip/skills courses generally have a guide: student ratio of 1:6. The guide/instructors are ACMG (Assoc. of Canadian Mountain Guides) assistants or full guides. Certification courses are taught and examined by industry certified individuals who have met all industry standards. Classroom courses are taught by skilled and qualified instructors who have been chosen for their teaching skills, ability to relate the topic to adventure tourism, and background education and training. 

See our Instructor Profiles for more information.

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Are there courses that deal with Leadership and Teaching?

There is a classroom course which deals specifically with leadership theories, styles and problem solving. You will receive practice teaching and speaking in front of groups in various courses and outdoor settings including: canoe instruction, skiing instruction. 

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Do I need a car or other transportation?

You can, generally, walk from anywhere in Fernie to the College in about 15 minutes. You may want a car or bike to get around. 

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What is a Class 4 Drivers License?

Enables you to drive a 15 passenger van or 22 passenger bus, a good thing to have in the Adventure Tourism Industry. You will need to have a current BC drivers license.

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How are classes scheduled?

The schedule is packed full of both classroom based and outdoor skills/field trips. Other than field courses most days run on a 9-4 schedule. You are expected to attend all mandatory courses offered in the MAST program and accrue the stipulated credits to graduate. some courses run through the weekend and many involve overnight camping. You need to be well organized, motivated and be able to ‘change gears’ to keep up with academic work loads. 

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What about further education?

The MAST program ladders into several 2 year diplomas and 4 year degree programs in BC and Alberta. Program transfer options

Essentially one year of MAST can be equal to first year of a degree in Adventure Tourism.

Call us for details. 

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What prerequisites do I need?

You must be 19 years old by the first day of classes, and be a grade 12 graduate or have the equivalent. You need no previous experience in the backcountry or in any of the activities except as follows. Your physical abilities must include: Strong Intermediate to expert ski/snowboard/ telemark skills, intermediate swimming skills, excellent physical conditioning - able to carry 50lbs. for several days in mountainous terrain.

See our Admission Requirements for more information.

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How many students in the program?

Currently we will accept 18 students into the MAST program.

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What if I already have some of the certifications offered by the MAST program?

The MAST program cannot refund or rearrange funds for each student. The MAST program offers the basic certification courses for the majority of the class. If you already have some of the certifications offered by the MAST program there is a possibility for you to go on to the next level of certification. 

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What if I get sick or injured…what is the refund policy?

As stated above your commitment fee and tuition fees are non refundable. We have to commit to certifying bodies and instructor/guides. If someone is injured or there are other mitigating circumstances a tuition credit to finish the program the following year is examined on a case-by-case basis. 

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Is there a January Intake (registration)?

At this point there is no intake into the MAST program in January.

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How much time is spent in the field and classroom? 

About 40% of the program is spent indoors in the classroom and about 60% of the program is spent outdoors as the field portion. 

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Can I use a snowboard for the ski touring and avalanche courses?

We spend more time ski touring than any other activity in this program. It is much easier to get a job patrolling or guiding if you are a skier who can snowboard than just a snowboarder. If you have been a skier in the past, but are a snowboarder now, and you are serious about the possibility of ski guiding in the future you should consider getting back on skis. Snowboarders must work 30% harder to cover the same terrain as skiers when we are doing long approaches in the mountains. You need to source out a split board by November as the Avalanche course starts in December. 

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Want to contact us?

Mountain Adventure Skills Training Program Instructor/Coordinator
Brian Bell
College of the Rockies Fernie Campus
Phone: 250-423-4691  |  Toll Free: 1-866-423-4691
Fax: 250-423-3932 
Email: bbell@cotr.bc.ca