Foundation Backcountry Clinic

Per Person: $259

Private (up to 6 People): $849

A “fast-track” clinic specifically designed to take one’s introductory skills to the next level!

Location: Whistler

Duration: 1 Day

Ability: Intermediate

Fitness: Good

Prerequisites: AST 1 & Ski Touring

The Foundation Backcountry Clinic is designed help refine your technique and further develop your backcountry decision making skills.

Effective track-setting and terrain management, snowpack assessment and testing, uphill & downhill risk management technique.

What is a clinic?

A clinic is not a course, it is building and refining skills so that they are applied in an efficient and effective manner, which then leads to a strong structured foundation for a safe, rewarding trip and rapid future progression. 

Passholders: Please be aware that you are responsible for making your own reservation to access the lifts on clinic dates.  For more information please visit: Whistler Blackcomb or to make a reservation visit: Epic Pass

Other Ski Clinics: Advanced Backcountry / Expert Backcountry / Companion Rescue


Public Course Dates:

Private Course Dates:

Book a Private Course and have a guide to yourself!

Book Now

Book online or contact our office to ask any questions: 1-604-938-9242 or


Request Alternative Dates

Have particular dates in mind? Let us know! If we have enough requests we’ll add them to this Course.

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This course is developed to take skills obtained in our Introduction to Backcountry Ski & Splitboarding and AST 1 to the next level. Aimed around skiers and splitboarders who have been out in the backcountry a number of times and are looking to refine their movement skills, sharpen their risk assessment abilities, and overall, make themselves greater assets to their touring partners.

Participants will cement their foundation while honing critical skills under the supervision and mentorship of a certified guide. Both theoretical and practical (in-the field) skills are mentored.

A clinic is not a course, it is building and refining skills so that they are applied in an efficient and effective manner, which then leads to a strong structured foundation for a safe, rewarding trip and rapid future progression.

Ideally, you have already completed your AST1 course or have comparable touring experience.

It is important that you to have intermediate to advanced ski or splitboarding skills in various conditions and are in good physical shape. It’s advantageous to have your own backcountry equipment and be well-versed in its function.

The price of this clinic does NOT include the cost of a lift ticket to get up the mountain on the clinic day. This can be purchased from MSAA if you do not have a season pass.

If you have already have developed skills mentioned in this clinc we recommend booking the Advanced Backcountry Clinic to further develop your skills into and more rounded skier/splitboarder.

We highly recommend after this course signing up for our AST 2 Course before heading into more advanced terrain.

Day 1: will be held in Whislter exploring the diverse terrain beyond the resort. Meet at Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre for 8:15am sharp!

Homework & Pre-Trip Planning:

Participants are provided the next day’s location and asked to construct a pre-trip plan utilizing the MSAA Trip Planner, Avalanche Forecast, Weather and other recommended resources with a maximum exercise target time of 30 minutes to finalize the plan.

Morning Meeting & Day Plan:

Participants meet, go through this day’s avalanche hazard, snow conditions and the trip plan with a maximum meeting target time of 30 minutes. The day is organized as a mission, with the participants fulfilling the mission’s objectives such as testing the snowpack, finding the best snow and slope, confirming a slope is safe to ski down, recognizing changes in conditions and so forth.

Foundational Skills Performance:

After routine trailhead procedures (checking transceivers and equipment), students alternate leads implementing the trip plan and undertaking the clinic’s technical objectives (curriculum). Best snow and safest conditions, explore and implement the plan, what to avoid, indicator runs, snowpack tests, conditions changes


Escape Route Logo

If you require rentals or need to purchase equipment, we have teamed up with the experts at the Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre. Follow the link HERE to purchase or rent gear for this course!

Clothing (Dress appropriately for the conditions):

  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Down or synthetic insulated jacket
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Insulating top and bottom under layers and socks
  • Warm hat/toque and balaclava
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen


  • Lift Pass
  • Backpack-25-35 Litres
  • Alpine touring skis/splitboard, skins, bindings, and boots
  • Avalanche Safety Kit (transceiver, shovel, probe)
  • Helmet
  • Poles
  • First Aid Kit with blister kit
  • Rite in the Rain notebook and pencil (optional)
  • Map, compass, GPS (optional)
  • Lunch, snacks, and water

Course Topics Covered:

Pre-trip plan goals:
  • Hazard identification accuracy; rating / type / layer / location / trigger / mitigation
In Field Terrain Selection & Track Setting Performance:
  • Safe, efficient, conservative approach, quality ski terrain identification, best; snow, aspects, elevation, incline, terrain type (anchors, trees or open, supported/unsupported) to ski/ride
  • Snowpack Problems & Hazard Identification/Investigation/Mitigation Performance
  • Downhill ski/riding Performance
  • Human factors