FAQs

We all have questions, we know you have some. Here we try to answer the most common questions you have.

Click on the questions to see the answer...

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 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.

What does a typical day look like?

Start your day by meeting your guide at one of Nelson's famous coffee shops.  We can fuel up for the day on caffeine 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, the best plan is to find a great spot to grab a drink and rehash the best moments of the day.

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