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FAQs

We all have questions, we know you have some. Here we try to answer the most common questions you have.
If you don't see your question below give us a call or send us an email.

Click on the questions to see the answer...

I want to get into backcountry skiing/riding, where should I start?

We have a couple of options for you:

1. Ski Touring / Splitboarding 101

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

I have my AST 1, but less than 10 days in the backcountry. What's next?

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.

You say safety is #1, what does that mean?

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! 

Do I need to be an expert?

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

What does a typical day look like?

Start your day by meeting your guide outside the Railstation Cafe (next to Visitor Centre) and go 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 folks 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 debrief and make plans for the next day.

Can I book a private AST Course or Guided Tour?

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can set that up for you.

Is lunch included?

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 field for the day:

  • Hot beverage
  • Snacks - fill your pockets! (Granola bars, Power bars, trail mix, etc)
  • Candy/Chocolate -for the extra boost in the afternoon
  • Sandwich/Wrap/Hot lunch (pre-assembled)

Make sure you are prepared the day before. You will not have time to buy lunch the morning off.

My course/tour is at Whitewater Ski Resort backcountry and I don't have a pass, is my ticket included?

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.

$37.54 +tax

What's your Cancelation Policy?

5. Refund and Cancellation Policy

a. Ski Touring and Avalanche Education is a unique experience that is subject to weather and snowpack conditions. These conditions are constantly changing and add an element of complexity to each day. We reserve the right to cancel a ski touring day, course or trip, in part or in whole, for any reason, including inclement weather, avalanche conditions, operational emergencies, lack of guides or instructors, pandemics, or insufficient guest bookings.

b. Except as provided in these terms and conditions, KBG will not provide you with a refund or compensation for any expenses related to your booking or trip to anywhere we operate, including airfare, car rentals, and accommodations. KBG strongly recommends that you purchase trip cancellation insurance (https://lifestylefinancial.ca/get-a-quote/kootenay-backcountry-guides/)

c. While we try our best to group skiers and boarders in our courses and mixed groups by ability level, no refunds shall be provided if your group skis or travels at a greater or lesser ability than you.

d. For private guided trips you are responsible to ensure that the members of your group are of enough ability to complete their touring day. 

e. Any refunds made at the time of the refund will be refunded in Canadian Dollars via your original payment method. No adjustments will be made to the refund to account for differences in the exchange rate between the time payment was made and the refund was issued.

f. full cancellation by KBG prior to the start of your trip or course. We may cancel your booking at any time prior to the scheduled start time.  If we do, you will be given the opportunity to reschedule to a later date or course in the same season. If a mutually agreeable date cannot be scheduled that season, we will provide you with a full credit towards a trip or course equal to the value of your trip with KBG.

g. In the event you do not want a credit we will give you a refund equal to the cost of the trip minus a 25% administration fee. 

h. If you arrive late, forget your equipment, have equipment issues,  injure yourself, decide to end your day early for whatever reason, or are instructed to stop skiing because we (in our sole discretion) determine that you are not physically fit or able, no refund will be provided. 

6. Guest Cancellation. 

If you wish to cancel your booking, you must notify us in writing by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Your cancellation is only effective at the time we confirm the cancellation in writing to you.

a. If your cancellation is confirmed by us prior to your final payment is due, your deposit plus applicable taxes shall be forfeited to us. If the cancellation is confirmed on or following your final payment, no refunds will be provided to you.

b. If you have a group booked for private guiding and one of the group members decides to cancel they are not entitled to a refund. 

Review our Full Policy Here

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