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.
Offered daily. Click "Book Now" to select a date.
Get a taste of Whistler’s backcountry with this one day course. We cover the basics of the use of backcountry equipment including putting skins on and off, breaking down a splitboard, skiing/riding with a loaded pack, use of a transceiver, probe and rescue shovel technique.
Among the many skills we touch on, you will learn basic avalanche rescue, terrain analysis, track setting, uphill and downhill skiing technique, route finding, tree skiing and trip planning. Based out of Whistler, we spend a full day skiing in the beautiful Coast Mountain Range. There is no better place in the world to learn backcountry skiing than Canada.
Learn from the some of the best-trained ski guides and avalanche experts in the world!
Please note that this course is intended only as a sample of the backcountry. We highly recommend following up with our full Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 course.
We are happy to help source any rental gear you need for your trip
Touring skis / splitboard and skins
Ski / snowboard boots
Poles (yes, boarders need them too!)
Lift pass: backcountry lift ticket available through our office
Weatherproof shell jacket and pants – dress for a day of riding in the alpine
Warm under layer(s)
Goggles and/or sunglasses
Water (at least 1 litre)
Lunch and snacks
Avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, shovel, probe)
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.
Learn about training courses at the academy:
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. We also accept bank e-transfers 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 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 Tours
**On all multi day trips pre-arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).
1-2 Day Courses
3+ Day Courses
**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 19) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where a parent or legal guardian is not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well, they must sign a waiver and have a parent 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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