We all have questions, we know you have some. Here we try to answer the most common questions you have. If you do not see your question below give us a call or send us an email.
Click on the questions to see the answer...
We have a couple of options for you depending on what your goals are.
Before you jump right into an AST Level 1 (blue), we recommend starting with our 1 day 101 courses, fitness level, and skill level are green (beginner).
Learn how to transition quickly, manage those sticky skins, walking techniques, and we will also show you some low-avalanche risk terrain to practice your skills. No previous experience is required, this is an entry-level course that anyone can participate in.
The AST Level 1 is designed for those looking to get beyond the ski resort.
Our professional guides will teach you how to plan and carry out a safe backcountry trip, read and use the avalanche bulletin, utilize the vast array of online resources at your disposal, and carry out a proficient rescue in the event of an accident.
Our AST-1 course is designed to get you the skills you need to get up to speed quickly so you can maximize your fun and safety in the backcountry.
All of your guides at Kootenay Backcountry Guides are certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (A.C.M.G.) and the Canadian Avalanche Association.
We use our experience and the vast array of up-to-date avalanche and weather information to make our decisions. We carry communication systems with us, plenty of 1st aid and mountain rescue equipment, and we are trained in their use. We make group decisions and we share our decision-making process with you. If one person is not comfortable then the group needs to respect that.
We have the utmost respect for the mountains, that is why we are here doing what we do!
The answer is no. Kootenay Backcountry Guides are committed to helping everyone enjoy the backcountry. We teach people who are just getting into the backcountry through our Backcountry 101 and Avalanche Skills Training Courses.
We can tailor a trip to any group or individual needs. You should be able to confidently ski on intermediate runs at the ski hill, and not be afraid to tackle the odd black diamond.
The fitter and more skilled you are the further we can go, but we do not put pressure on you to go past where you feel comfortable. However, if you have the skills and want to go shred with a bunch of experts who know where to go to get it on, we can do that as well.
Be sure to review our Skill and Fitness Assessments
We recommend before jumping into an AST 2, that you enroll in one of our Managing Avalanche Terrain (MAT) courses. This 1-day field-based course designed to expand on the terrain management taught in the AST 1 and to develop advanced winter backcountry travel skills.
Each of these courses takes place at a different popular touring location in the Kootenay Pass or Whitewater Ski Resort backcountry.
You must have taken your AST Level 1, and be at a BLUE ski and fitness level.
ROAM Shop in Nelson rents transceivers, shovels, and probes. They also rent tech binding-equipped touring skis, boots, poles, and a wide selection of splitboards.
We have teamed up with ROAM Shop to offer all registered program participants renting equipment to take one day’s cost of equipment rented from them off the purchase price of new gear. This means you can test out the gear you are thinking of buying. Also, you get a 10% discount on rentals and a 5% discount on all purchases of new equipment at ROAM Shop.
Please make sure you let them know you are a registered participant in a KBG program at the time of purchase!
Start your day by meeting your guide at the Kootenay Backcountry Guides Office located at 198 Baker St, Nelson BC V1L 4H2 (Savot Nelson).
We start by going over our waiver, safety, plan for the day, and final gear check. Depending on the objective this occurs between 7 and 8 am. If you want to put in a massive day, we start earlier.
For tours in the Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry, we head up to the resort and launch from there. Once we arrive on the mountain, we practice our avalanche rescue skills. Then it is off to play in the mountains and having fun!
For groups going to Kootenay Pass we will take a 1hour drive to Kootenay Pass and launch from there.
Fit groups can achieve 2000m or close to 7000 ft of vertical, and more relaxed crews can play until they are tired. Typically we get between two and five runs. We are always monitoring folk's energy levels and make our plans accordingly.
We always try to be back at our starting point at least one hour before sunset, which gives us a safety margin. After our final run, we re-group at our cars and end the day with debriefing and make plans for the next day.
You sure can! Wanna book a private with your riding crew? Or bring the family out?
We can create custom AST courses and Private Guided tours catered specifically to your groups' needs and requests.
Just drop us an email at
Minors (under 19 years of age) are welcome to participate in our programs on the following terms:
If you are a minor and wish to enroll in one of our courses please contact us at
At this time 1 Ride tickets are not included in your fee - we plan to have this incorporated for next season.
1 Ride tickets are available only to Kootenay Backcountry Guides participants and will be billed to the credit card that you registered with.
Unfortunately, we are just trained guides and not chefs. Everyone must provide their own meals. We recommend bringing the following to ensure you are well fueld for the day:
Make sure you are prepared the day before. You will not have time to buy lunch the morning off.
If you wish to cancel your booking, you must notify us in writing by email to
A. Lodge Trips, Traverses, Basecamps, and Lodge Based Avalanche Safety Training
B. Avalanche Safety Training and Courses:
C. Private Course/Private Guided Tour Group Cancellations:
In light of the refund and cancellation policies set out above, trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended to cover you for unforeseen circumstances that may interrupt or cancel your trip or course with us. We do not provide such insurance but have provided you with a recommended provider. Follow this link for a quote https://lifestylefinancial.ca/get-a-quote/kootenay-backcountry-guides/
We do not provide such insurance but will provide you with recommended providers. Follow this link for a quote https://lifestylefinancial.ca/get-a-quote/kootenay-backcountry-guides/