Intro to Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding: Rockies AB
Banff / Canmore

Intro to Backcountry Skiing & Splitboarding



  • Cost:
  • Per Person (min. 2): $239
  • Single Person Supplement: $459
  • Private Group (up to 6 people): $749

Location: Canmore and Banff, Canadian Rockies   Duration: 1 Day   Fitness: Good   Ability: Introductory   Prerequisites: Intermediate runs  

This course is designed to serve as an excellent introduction to backcountry skiing and snowboarding. No backcountry experience is required however you should be confident skiing ungroomed blue/intermediate runs. This course is for skiers and boarders looking to try out the backcountry and develop the basic skills to ski or ride safely.

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Course Information

This course is for skiers and snowboarders looking to develop the basic skills to backcountry ski or ride safely. We strongly recommend you follow up this course with our Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 course.

Among the many skills taught, students will learn basic avalanche rescue, terrain analysis, skin track setting, uphill and downhill skiing technique, route finding, tree skiing and trip planning.

Based out of Canmore/Banff, we spend a day skiing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Field locations include Kananaskis Country, the Kootenays and the Icefields Parkway. There is no better place in the world to learn backcountry skiing than Canada – easy access, excellent and dependable snow, skiing in the trees, in the alpine and on the glaciers as well as incredible ski mountaineering.

  • Meet the guide at the pre-arranged meeting point
  • Morning Meeting: Sign waivers, introductions, course goals, safety discussion and gear check.
  • Lesson: Using the weather and avalanche forecast, ATES scale and local guidebook for trip planning.
  • Drive to backcountry ski-touring location.

In the field:

  • Topics: Backcountry skiing/snowboarding equipment; route planning, up-track setting and situational terrain awareness; avalanche awareness and rescue; downhill run plan, hazard evaluation, terrain consideration, downhill powder technique.
  • Drive back to Canmore

If you need to rent backcountry gear, we recommend Gear Up Sports & Rentals in Canmore.

Avalanche Safety Kit is required (transceiver, shovel, probe) and can be rented from Gear Up.


Field Day: Dress appropriately for the conditions.

  • Down or synthetic “puffy” insulated jacket
  • Insulating top and bottom under layers and socks
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Warm hat and balaclava
  • 2 pairs of gloves, mittens (optional)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.


  • Backpack-25-35 Litres
  • Touring skis / splitboard and skins
  • Ski / snowboard boots
  • Poles
  • Helmet
  • Write in the rain book and mechanical pencil (optional)
  • First Aid Kit with blister kit
  • Map, compass, GPS (all optional)
  • Feel free to bring your own Avalanche Safety Kit if you have it
  • Lunch, snacks, and water
  • Thermos for hot beverage

Learn from a professional ski guide the techniques and wisdom of backcountry travel.

Throughout the Intro to Backcountry course you will be led by a professional guide and will be taught important aspects of winter travel in the backcountry.

This course is the perfect choice for a resort skier or snowboarder wanting to transition to backcountry riding.

  • Avalanche rescue
  • Terrain analysis
  • Track setting
  • Uphill and downhill skiing technique
  • Route finding
  • Tree skiing
  • Trip planning

Transport to Field Locations

Participants in this course will meet their guide at an agreed time and location, usually a local cafe, in Canmore on the morning of the course. From there you will be expected to have private transport to get to the course location. If you don’t have private transport we can arrange transport with the guide for an additional fee.

Accommodation in Canmore

Accommodation is not included in the course price.

Food for Backcountry Field Time

Pack plenty of high energy food and snacks as well as fluids to keep you at your best all day long. There are plenty of restaurants and supermarkets in Canmore, and if you completely forget, we may start the day at a local coffee shop so you’ll be able to grab something for lunch from there. A thermos of tea or coffee is also a great idea.

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Buddy Up!

Share the cost of the guide! Let us know which activity you would like to do and we'll do our best to find you a buddy.

Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase insurance for Trip Cancellation, Emergency Evacuation and Adventure Sports Coverage (some backcountry adventures are excluded from coverage).

Emergency Evacuation and Medical Insurance

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by your provincial health plan (except ambulance/air ambulance transport). We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance.

Emergency evacuation insurance is compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com who can be reached via the following:

All prices are quoted in Canadian dollars and are exclusive of a 5% tax (GST). Prices are subject to change. Guide gratuities are not included in fees.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept credit card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

Applicable to all tours and courses*: If conditions force us to cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund. We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability.  *Does not apply to First Aid and Wilderness First Aid courses.

Late Arrival Policy

Guests arriving more than 15 minutes late for an activity forfeit 100% of the tour price. Tours leave promptly; it is recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to sort out gear and sign waivers.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 48 hours of start time:  Cancellation will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no rescheduling.
  • More than 48 hours:  $25 rescheduling & refunding fee (per booking).
Multi Day Programs
  • 2 Day Programs: Within 10 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 10 days: $25 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.
  • 3+ Day Programs: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule or full refund.
  • Customized Trips: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**On all multi day trips pre arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).

Courses Cancellation Policy

1-2 Day Courses

  • Within 10 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 10 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

3+ Day Courses

  • Within 30 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**If you are able to find someone else to take your place on a course, please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.


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