Ski Super Course: Banff & Canmore, AB
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Banff / Canmore

Ski Super Course

Backcountry Skiing Courses Western Canada

Summary

  • Cost:
  • $1015

Location: Canmore and Banff, Canadian Rockies   Duration: 6 Days   Fitness: Average   Ability: Introductory   Prerequisites: AST1   Course Code: SKISUPERBanCan

This ultimate backcountry ski course incorporates the following Mountain Skills Academy modules for a fully comprehensive skill set:

  • Intro to Backcountry Skiing
  • Winter Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel
  • Ski Mountaineering Rockies
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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 ultimate backcountry ski course incorporates the following Mountain Skills Academy modules for a fully comprehensive skill set:

    • Intro to Backcountry Skiing
    • Winter Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel
    • Ski Mountaineering Rockies

    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.

    This enables participants to experience different backcountry destinations, snowpacks and mountain terrain.

    This comprehensive course is designed to provide backcountry skiers & riders with a full compliment of skills necessary to undertake every facet of the sport.

    Core skills:

    • Backcountry ski technique
    • Route selection
    • Track setting
    • Glacier travel
    • Rescue systems
    • Ski mountaineering
    • Glacier skiing
    • Tree skiing
    • Avalanche hazard mitigation

    Book your Ski Super Course this season for a solid winter backcountry foundation!

    Day 1 – Intro to Backcountry Skiing

    • 08:00 Meet @ GearUp Sports rentals, Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
    • Equipment fitting.
    • Morning Meeting: Sign waivers, introductions, course goals, safety discussion and gear check
    • Lesson 1
    • Drive to backcountry ski-touring location
    • In the field: Lessons 2 – 6
    • 16:00 drive back to Canmore
    • 17:30 End of day. Evening Meeting: Debrief. Discuss following day

    Day 2 – Intro to Backcountry Skiing

    • 07:00 meeting @ Rocky Mountain Bagel Co., Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
    • Morning Meeting: Review current weather and conditions. Day plan, gear check
    • Drive to backcountry ski location
    • In the field: Lesson 7
    • Review: Avalanche observation, snowpack tests, weather and snowpack recording
    • Lessons 8 & 9
    • Throughout the day ongoing feedback, problem solving and mentoring from your guide
    • 16:00 drive back to Canmore
    • 17:30 End of day. Evening Meeting: Debrief. Discuss following day

    Day 3 – Winter Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel

    • 08:00 Meet @ Rocky Mountain Bagel Co., Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
    • Morning Meeting: Review current weather and conditions. Day plan, gear check
    • Drive to field location
    • In the field: Lessons 1 – 15
    • 16:00 End of day. Evening Meeting: Debrief. Discuss following day

    Day 4 – Winter Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel

    • 07:00 Meet @ Rocky Mountain Bagel Co., Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
    • Morning Meeting: Review current weather and conditions. Day plan, gear check
    • Drive to a local glacier (Athabasca, Lower Victoria, Crowfoot etc. – this location will be chosen by the guide and is condition dependent)
    • In the field: Lessons 16 – 20
    • 16:00 End of day. Evening Meeting: Debrief. Discuss following day

    Day 5 – Ski Mountaineering Skills Day

    • 08:00 Meet @ Rocky Mountain Bagel Co., Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
    • Morning Meeting: Review current weather and conditions. Day plan, gear 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 6 – Ski Mountaineering Day

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

    Clothing

    • 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

    Equipment

    • 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.

    Day 1

    • Lesson 1: Using the weather and avalanche forecast, ATES scale and local guidebook for trip planning
    • 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 consideratin, downhill powder technique

    Day 2

    • Lesson 7: Situational awareness, route finding, track setting refinement in class 2 (challenging) or class 3 (complex) terrain.
    • Lesson 8: Downhill technique refinement
    • Lesson 9: Emergency Response

    Day 3

    • Lesson 1: Introduction to Glacier Kit
    • Lesson 2: Equalized anchor, knots and rappelling
    • Lesson 3: Ascending the rope – prussic, ratchet, reverse
    • Lesson 4: Situational awareness, review hazards
    • Lesson 5: Glacier travel rope handling & crevasse rescue
    • Lesson 6: Dividing the rope
    • Lesson 7: The prussik
    • Lesson 8: Arresting the fall, holding the victim and anchor building
    • Lesson 9: Backing up anchor and approaching the lip
    • Lesson 10: Canadian drop loop system demo
    • Lesson 11: Incorporating a ratchet
    • Lesson 12: First raise method, z-pulley raising system, adding advantage.
    • Lesson 13: Reversing the raise & lowering
    • Lesson 14: Crevasse Rescue Scenario
    • Lesson 15: Problem solving specific scenario

    Day 4

    • Lesson 16: Rope up point strategy (map & altimeter) & white out plan
    • Lesson 17: Glacier formation, physiology, terminology and travel including rope handling and taking coils
    • Lesson 18: Safe glacier travel route finding & track setting – crevasse avoidance, serac hazard mitigation, dealing with avalanche terrain, crevasse bridge integrity and evaluation
    • Lesson 19: Traveling in echelon & belaying across crevasse bridges
    • Lesson 20: Downhill glacier skiing safety strategy

    Day 5

    • 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.

    Day 6

    • 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 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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