Learn to Backcountry Ski 2017

Dates & Price

  • Adventure Dates: January 13 - 15, 2017
  • Adventure Rates: $550 + applicable tax, due upon registration
  • Information Package: Download Info Pack
The Learn to Backcountry Ski course is part of the ACC's annual Powder Program which is sponsored by our partner Smartwool. Smartwool's support allows us to keep costs of our Powder Program camps and courses low as well as provide Smartwool product to all of the program's participants. We thank them for their support.

Camp is now FULL, wait list only

Set yourself up right with lessons from the ACC

Photo by Tim Styles

Photo by Tim Styles

The backcountry is an entirely different beast from that of the resort. Terrain, snow pack, snow type, travel conditions, fitness, weather, avy hazard are all just a few of the concerns that go into riding in the backcountry. It’s a committing decision to head into the backcountry and the idea of a whole new set of gear that can be expensive. Get out right so you can have the best experience possible.

Let the Alpine Club of Canada help take some of that stress off your plate. With our fully certified ski guides, we can ease you into the backcountry. The focus of this camp is to learn and discuss all the above mentioned decision criteria and a whole lot more when making that first step away from your vehicle. Both days will be spent outside and evening discussions will ensue after dinner.

Get off the beaten track to see the world from a different perspective

This camp is designed for true backcountry areas, not utilizing power assisted access (slackcountry). This is not an Avalanche Safety Training course, but is designed to introduce people to the world of backcountry gear, travel and skiing. Critical decisions need to be made before you head out and while out. This camp will provide you with the right questions to ask and the ability to answer them.

Slider pictures by Martin Le Roux, Jen Olson, Jan Ilsakkers and Jasmin Fredette

Camp Itinerary

Photo by Felix Viau

Photo by Felix Viau

  • Day 1 – Meet at the Canmore HI Hostel Clubhouse in the Guides Room at 6 pm.
  • Day 2 – Early morning start (to be determined by your guide) and travel to course area
    • Avalanche gear use and practice
    • Short Ski approach with discussions along the way
      • Discussions may include  but are not limited to
        • Clothing
        • Weather
        • Ski selection
        • Ski Location
        • Track setting
        • Hazards (Objective and Subjective)
        • Ski Technique
  • Photo by Randy Abbott

    Photo by Randy Abbott

    Day 3 – Early morning start (to be determined by the group) and travel to course area

    • Longer ski approach with discussions along the way
      • Discussions may include  but are not limited to
        • Clothing
        • Weather
        • Ski selection
        • Ski Location
        • Track setting
        • Hazards (Objective and Subjective)
        • Ski Technique
    • Course ends

Gear, Food, Lodging


  • Full ACMG Guide throughout the camp
  • Accommodation for Friday + Saturday night at the Canmore HI Hostel
  • Bag lunches throughout the week
  • All group gear

Participants must provide:

  • Daily transportation to/from the climbing areas (participants will be expected to use their own vehicles and carpool)
  • Accommodation after the course
  • Breakfasts and Suppers
  • Personal gear (see equipment list in Info Pack)

Level of Difficulty

This camp is designed for those that have zero to limited backcountry experience. Ski experience is a must at an intermediate level at a resort. You will spend almost all day outside (up to 8 hours), sometimes stopped for discussion. Come prepared for cold weather with warm layers. Fitness is a key component to backcountry travel. It is imperative that you have a basic level of fitness to allow access and learning

ACC Powder Program - Presented by Smartwool

Winter in Canada’s mountains means powder skiing and the ACC knows the terrain. Whether you’re looking to get skills and get up to speed, or looking for the trip of a lifetime, you’ll find it here. Join us!

Powder Program Adventures

  • Rogers Pass Powder Camp (Jan 28-Feb 1, 2017). An awesome ski camp deep in Rogers Pass, based in the Wheeler and Asulkan Huts. For experienced skiers. 5 days, $1,450.
  • Fairy Meadow Powder Week (April 1-8, 2017). A fly-in, fully-guided week in Selkirk powder paradise. Our most advanced powder camp. 8 days, $2,550.

Powder Program Skills Courses

Smartwool supports the ACC’s Powder Program and we thank them for their assistance.

Learn to Backcountry Ski Course Staff

  • Bio pic

    Philip Wilhelm

    Phil grew up at the foot of the Rockies in Calgary, but that wasn’t enough, he had to move closer. He has now resided in the Bow Valley for the past 20 years pursuing his passions.  As an assistant ski and rock guide he is often guiding ski trips or rock climbs. On his days off  you can find him skiing or climbing for fun, or maybe fly fishing to satisfy his zen side. Safety oriented, an eye for a good line, a sly sense of humour, and being an all round good guy makes Phil a great choice to guide your next adventure.