Ski Mountaineering Rockies: Banff & Canmore AB
Banff / Canmore

Ski Mountaineering: Banff/Canmore

Backcountry Skiing Courses Western Canada


  • Cost:
  • $559

Location: Canmore and Banff, Canadian Rockies   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Average   Ability: Intermediate   Prerequisites: AST 1, Backcountry, Crevasse rescue is an asset   Course Code: SKIMTNRBanCan

This is a fast-paced course that takes backcountry skiers/snowboarders to the next level – winter ski mountaineering. This course goes into techniques of ski mountaineering ascents and descents in the backcountry and alpine. The course is taught by IMFGA/ACMG certified guides.

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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 is a fast-paced course that takes backcountry skiers/snowboarders to the next level – winter ski mountaineering.

We host this course in the Canadian Rockies, a premiere backcountry destination where ski mountaineering opportunities abound. Based out of Canmore, we are at the foot of the Rocky Mountains with several ranges to choose from: Kananaskis Country, Lake Louise, Yoho and the major peaks along the Columbia Icefields.

Large summits can be accomplished in a day from Canmore.

The first day is an intensive skills day where we learn ski-mountaineering techniques and skills.

The next day is a ski mountaineering ascent and descent that brings all the skills together.

At course completion, participants will have an excellent foundation for ski mountaineering.

Ski mountaineering is both an alpine and backcountry ski activity. Guaranteeing our course participants the highest level of expertise, only fully certified IFMGA/ACMG Mountain and Ski Guides teach this course.

Day 1 – Skills Day

  • 07:30 Meet @ Rocky Mountain Bagel Co., Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
  • Morning Meeting: Review current weather and avalanche conditions, discuss day plan, equipment check.
  • Drive to a Rockies practice location.
  • In the field:
  • Lessons 1 – 4
  • Drive back to Canmore meet at Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge for evening session.
  • PM Meeting: debrief the day, learn how to do a ski mountaineering route plan and discuss the next day’s weather, avalanche forecasts and mountain conditions.

Day 2 – Ski Mountaineering Day

  • 07:00 Meet @ Rocky Mountain Bagel Co., Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
  • Morning Meeting: Review current weather & avalanche conditions, discuss day plan, equipment check.
  • Drive to Rockies ski mountaineering objective.
  • Lessons 5 – 8
  • PM meeting: Day debrief, next steps and course closure.


  • Warm top and bottom under layers and socks
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Warm hat, optional balaclava or neck tube
  • 2 pairs of gloves, optional mittens
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Street clothes and shoes
  • Bathing suit


  • Touring skis / splitboard
  • Ski / snowboard boots
  • Skins
  • Ski poles
  • Ski crampons
  • Avalanche Safety Kit (probe, transceiver, shovel)
  • Ski touring mountaineering axe
  • Harness
  • 3 locking carabiners
  • 4 non-locking carabiners
  • 2 x 5m 7mm prussik
  • 1 auto-block device
  • 1 x 120cm sling
  • 1 ice screw
  • 1 x 0.5m personal prussik
  • 50m ski touring rope
  • Minimal alpine rock rack; 2-3 cams, 3-4 stoppers- 4 60cm draws
  • Ski goggles
  • Rite in the Rain notebook and mechanical pencil
  • First Aid Kit with blister kit
  • Glop stopper
  • Ski scraper
  • Map, compass, GPS (all optional)


For this course you will need backcountry skis or a splitboard. If you do not have access to this equipment and would like us to hire either skis or a splitboard, please let us know when you are booking and we can arrange this for $45 per day for a full backcountry touring ski set (skis, poles, boots, skins) or $110 for a splitboard set (splitboard, poles, skins). If you also require snowboarding boots these can be hired for $15 per day.

This course requires use of an Avalanche Safety Kit including probe, transceiver and shovel. We strongly recommend at this level that you purchase and own a kit of your own.

If you do not own a kit and would like us to arrange the rental of one for you please let us know when you are booking as we have preferred pricing through our local partners. If you wish to purchase an Avalanche Safety Kit we can arrange this through our partnership with Backcountry Access for $340 with the purchase of your course.

  • Lesson 1: “Snow and ice school” – introduction to ski mountaineering equipment, ski crampons and boot crampons, ice axe use
  • Lesson 2: Ascending/descending and moving in steeper firmer/crusted/icy slopes
  • Lesson 3: Belaying and rapelling, anchors
  • Lesson 4: Roped terrain vs unroped – belaying, rope management, short roping, boot packing, stowing the skis on pack, ridge walking
  • Lesson 5: Ski mountaineering objective: situational awareness, route finding and track setting in Class 3 (complex) terrain
  • Lesson 6: Glacier travel & alpine hazard evaluation
  • Lesson 7: Ski mountaineering ascent and descent technique and strategy
  • Lesson 8: “Survival skiing” technique

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 first day. 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 $20 per day.

Accommodation in Canmore

Accommodation is not included in the course price however we offer significantly discounted pricing arrangements through a selection of local providers ranging from hostel dorm beds to hotel suites.

If you require accommodation in Canmore for the length of your course please let us know when you register and we can make the arrangements. Often course participants split the cost of a room and are able to enjoy the amenity of a full service hotel at the price of a hostel dorm bed.

Food for Backcountry Field Days

Please make sure you 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 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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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 24 hours: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, 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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