Make sure you know who your instructor is. Because you should be on an Avalanche Safety Course!
Make sure you have the right gear. You'll either need a splitboard with touring bindings if you’re a snowboarder, or touring skis (with touring bindings!) and boots with a walk mode if you're a skier.
Have a working understanding of how to use your beacon, shovel and probe - and make sure you have a backpack that fits it all. You need to carry much more than you would just skiing in the resort, so you'll have to squeeze in your safety gear, skins, lots of water, lunch and extra snacks.
Bring a map to learn about the area you're in. In Whistler, the best one to grab is the John Baldwin Backcountry Whistler map which can be purchased in most Whistler ski shops.
Bring snacks. A big day walking uphill in the cold will make you hungry, and it’s important to fuel your body whilst its burning energy. Granola bars, fruit, boiled eggs, pocket bacon - whatever keeps you going.
If you don't like hiking, you probably won't like skinning. You have to really love skiing to trudge uphill, in variable conditions, for extended periods of time.
The snow might not be great. "Backcountry" definitely doesn't equal perfect, untouched powder. Be prepared to enjoy all conditions - bulletproof ice to spring corn.
Bring duct tape! It is amazingly handy for technical malfunctions and does a great job covering up blisters.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Use your voice, be receptive to others, and always have your own opinion in the decision-making process. After all, you need to know where you’re going and why it’s a safe route.
The AST 1 is just the start. Many guides will tell you that avalanche training is a lifelong endeavor. There is an indefinite amount of learning and experience (good and bad) that can help prepare you in the event of an emergency and reduce the risk of disaster.