Intro to Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding
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Whistler / Squamish

Intro to Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding

Backcountry Skiing Western Canada

Summary

  • Cost:
  • $305

Location: Whistler/Backcomb   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Good   Ability: Beginner   Prerequisites: None  

This course is designed to serve as an excellent introduction to backcountry skiing/snowboarding. No backcountry experience is required however you should be an intermediate skier/rider, you should be confident skiing blue runs at the resort. This course is for beginner backcountry skiers looking to develop the basic skills to backcountry ski or ride safely. We strongly recommend you take this course in conjunction with our AST1 course specifically designed to meet the needs of Skiers and Riders.

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The following dates are available for this course.

We will post up more public dates if there is demand, so please let us know what dates work better for you.

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Course Information

This course is designed to serve as an excellent introduction to backcountry skiing/snowboarding. No backcountry experience is required however you should be an intermediate skier/rider, you should be confident skiing blue runs at the resort. This course is for beginner backcountry skiers looking to develop the basic skills to backcountry ski or ride safely. We strongly recommend you take this course in conjunction with our AST1 course specifically designed to meet the needs of Skiers and Riders.

Among the many skills taught, students will learn avalanche rescue, terrain analysis, track setting, uphill and downhill skiing technique, route finding, tree skiing and trip planning. Based out of Whistler, we spend two days skiing in the beautiful Coast Mountain Range. 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.

Learn from the some of the best-trained ski guides and avalanche experts in the world!

A good follow-up from this course would be the Avalanche Skills Training Level 2.

Day 1

  • 08:00 Meet at Whistler Alpine Guides office
  • Equipment fitting.
  • Morning Meeting: Sign waivers, introductions, course goals, safety discussion and gear check.
  • Lesson 1: Using the weather and avalanche forecast, ATES scale and local guidebook for trip planning.
  • Drive to backcountry ski-touring location.
  • In the field:
  • Lesson 2: Backcountry skiing/snowboarding equipment
  • Lesson 3: Companion Rescue review and practice
  • Lesson 4: Route planning, up-track setting and situational awareness in class 1 (simple) and 2 (challenging) terrain.
  • Lesson 5: Avalanche awareness, snowpack tests.
  • Lesson 6: Downhill run plan, hazard evaluation, terrain consideration, downhill powder technique.
  • 16:00 drive back to the office
  • 17:30 Evening Meeting: debrief the day. Trip plan for day 2.

Day 2

  • 07:00 meet at Whistler Alpine Guides office
  • Morning Meeting: Review current weather and conditions. Day plan, equipment check.
  • Drive to backcountry ski location.
  • In the field:
  • Lesson 7: Situational awareness, route finding, track setting refinement in class 2 (challenging) or class 3 (complex) terrain.
  • Review: Avalanche observation, snowpack tests, weather and snowpack recording.
  • Lesson 8: Downhill technique refinement
  • Lesson 9: Emergency Response
  • Throughout the day ongoing feedback, problem-solving and mentoring from your guide.
  • 16:00 drive back to the office, equipment return, debrief the day. Next steps and course wrap up.

We are happy to help source any rental gear you need for your trip

Equipment:

Touring skis / splitboard and skins
Ski / snowboard boots
Poles
Lift pass: $53 backcountry lift ticket available through our office or Whistler Blackcomb ticket windows
Weatherproof shell jacket and pants – dress for a day of riding in the alpine
Warm under layer(s)
Gloves
Winter hat/toque
Helmet
Goggles and/or sunglasses
Sunscreen
Water (at least 1 litre)
Lunch and snacks
Camera
Avalanche safety equipment (Transceiver, shovel, probe)

  • Lesson 1: Using the weather and avalanche forecast, ATES scale and local guidebook for trip planning & Route Plan
  • Lesson 2: Introduction to Backcountry Skiing equipment
  • Lesson 3: Companion Rescue review, intro to advanced scenario and practice
  • Lesson 4: Equipment: Backcountry ski binding and boot function, special notes, ski skins and other details.
  • Lesson 5: Route plan, up-track setting and situational awareness in class 1 (simple) and 2 (challenging) terrain.
  • Lesson 6: Efficient up track route finding, route setting, pace and technique.
  • Lesson 7: The kick-turn, rounding out corners, star turn.
  • Lesson 8: Avalanche awareness, snowpack tests, pole probe test.
  • Lesson 9: Weather and snowpack recording.
  • Lesson 10: First downhill run plan, conservative action plan, best compass aspect to ski, current avalanche hazard, terrain considerations.
  • Lesson 11: Efficient downhill preparation- de-skinning tricks and downhill mode.
  • Lesson 12: Downhill safety briefing; group count, buddy-up system, hazards, tree skiing, break over considerations and more.
  • Lesson 13: Avalanche safety protocol, ski cutting, regrouping.
  • Lesson 14: Introduction to downhill powder technique.
  • Lesson 15: Continued practice and enhancement of above skills in uphill mode.
  • Lesson 16: Continues practice and enhancement of above skills in downhill mode.
  • Lesson 17: 17:30 Meeting- discuss day, hazards, avalanche and snowpack observation- Next days Avalanche Bulletin, Weather Forecast, Day Plan.

Day Two

  • 7:00 meet at pre-arranged venue (usually a local cafe)
  • Revue current Weather and day plan, Q & A session, Days agenda, equipment check.
  • Lesson 18: Situational Awareness, Route Finding, Track setting refinement- in class 2 challenging and or class 3 complex terrain.
  • Review: Avalanche observation, snowpack tests, weather and snowpack recording.
  • Lesson 19: Downhill technique refinement
  • Lesson 20: Emergency Response
  • Lesson 21: Continued enhancement and fine tuning of uphill technique
  • Lesson 22: Continued enhancement and fine tuning of downhill technique
  • Throughout the day- ongoing feedback, problem solving and mentoring from your guide.
  • 17:30 Return to Whistler Alpine Guides office. Discuss day, hazards, avalanche and snowpack observation- Next steps and course wrap up.

Bonus curriculum: Throughout the course students will garner additional knowledge through continuous mentoring in group leadership, avalanche and weather forecasting, route planning and many other relevant skills.

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance upon booking and Emergency Evacuation insurance.

Emergency Evacuation and Medical

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 National Health.

We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance. Emergency evacuation insurance is also 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 course prices are quoted in Canadian Dollars and are exclusive of a 5% Federal GST. Prices are subject to change.

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 WFR courses.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 24 hours: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, no reschedule.
  • Outside of 24 hours: $25 rescheduling fee per booking or full refund.
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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