"The level of expertise and patience available through Kootenay Backcountry Guides was unparalleled and made me aware of how much more there is to learn about the backcountry. I feel like I am part of the community now!" - Sara
Feb 9-10 (women only)
Whether you are taking your first steps into the backcountry or looking to increase your knowledge base, the Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 program is for you. Our professional guides will teach you how to plan and carry out a safe backcountry trip, read and use the avalanche bulletins, utilize the vast array of online resources at your disposal, and how to carry out a rescue in the event of an accident.
The AST 1 course is for everyone who is getting into ski touring or needs to learn the basics. You need beginner to intermediate ski skills (able to ski a blue run at a ski hill) and average fitness level (can walk 4 km in the backcountry).
Looking for an AST course with one more day of learning? Kootenay Backcountry Guides has your answer. This course has one evening session on Friday night followed by one day in the Whitewater backcountry and a final day in Kootenay Pass backcountry. This course will have all of the same key lessons taught on the AST 1 but will give you the benefit of an extra day of learning terrain and snowpack with a professional.
Nov 24-25 and Dec 1-2 (split over 2 weekends)
Are you ready to take your learning to the next level? This 4-day course is designed to give you the foundation needed for a lifetime of safety in the backcountry. You will have one full day of in-class learning, reviewing and expanding on the lessons learned in the AST 1. We follow this with 3 full field days in classic ski touring locations throughout the Kootenays. You can expect our professional guides to cover topics such as, terrain analysis, companion rescue, route finding, skin track setting, map and GPS reading, and how to take relevant snowpack observations, including the compression test, and extended column test.
The AST 2 course is for students who have completed the AST 1, have intermediate to advanced ski skills and fitness level at a point where you are confident to undertake three consecutive days of touring.
Is spent in class reviewing key components of the AST 1 and expanding on lessons learned around avalanche hazard, terrain, group decision making and companion rescue. We will introduce what snowpack tests to use and when and examine fracture character. We will plan out our next days backcountry trip in the Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry.
is a full field day. We will meet in Nelson in the morning and go over our route plan for the day. We will then head into the backcountry and learn how to dig profiles with a partner and get snowpack information that is relevant to the avalanche bulletin, at the end of the day we discuss our findings and plan out our next day.
is a full field day. We will meet up in Salmo and go over our plans for the day. We will then head to Kootenay Pass and cover terrain and group management practices. We will expand on learning how to gather snowpack information and do some snow profiles. At the end of the day we will plan our trip for the next day.
is a full field day. We will meet up in the morning in Nelson and go over our route plan for the day. Class members will be more involved in the planning and decision making on this tour. The guide will take on more of a support role and assist you in planning and carrying out a backcountry ski tour.
**Whitewater Ski Resort backcountry
Dec 2 Cornice Ridge*
Dec 8 Five Mile**
Dec 9 Baldy Rocks*
Dec15 Lightning Strike*
Dec 16 Black Queen**
Dec 23 Kutetl Creek**(Expert only)
Jan 5 Evening Ridge**
Jan 6 Ymir Ridge**
Jan 20 Twin Lakes* (Expert only)
Jan 26 The Burn**
The Managing Avalanche Terrain (MAT) is a focused field-based course designed to expand on the terrain management taught in the AST 1 and to develop advanced winter backcountry travel skills. This course is taught exclusively by A.C.M.G. guides who are familiar with the ski touring locations.
The MAT course is for students who have completed the AST 1, have intermediate to advanced ski skills and fitness level at a point where you are confident undertaking a full day of touring. Each one of our courses takes place at a different popular touring location in the Kootenay Pass or Whitewater Ski Resort backcountry.