Eyeing the untracked powder beyond the resort boundary, but not sure how to transition to the backcountry safely and responsibly? Our entry level ski & splitboard course is designed for you! Whether it’s deciding where to ride, assessing the snowpack or understanding the gear, our highly trained and experienced ACMG guides will show you the way. A included copy of the ACC’s Winter Backcountry Leader Manual will provide valuable reference material once you’re ready to go it alone.
As well as our regular course dates, we offer a women & non-binary-only edition for those looking for a gender-inclusive learning environment, Guided by Erica Roles. We also offer splitboard-specific editions which are taught by splitboarding guru, Chucky Gerrard.
Whichever, you choose, our fantastic location in Canmore, AB, gives access to the perfect learning environment in nearby Kananaskis and Banff National Park. For those coming from further afield, enjoy our convenient on-site, award winning hostel accommodation for a modest additional fee.
December 2ND-3RD 2023; Women and Non-Binary edition
December 2ND-3RD 2023; Splitboarding Specific edition
January 27TH-28TH 2024
Price: $500+ TAX
Please try to register online before calling. If you are having issues please try to have your emergency contact information and course questionnaire filled out before calling.
OR Call: (403)-678-3200 ext 213
Backcountry Skiing Hazards
What are the risks
The main focus of this course is giving you the tools you need to start exploring the backcountry independently. Key topics of learning will include:
Although some aspects of avalanche safety will be touched on, this is not a specialized Avalanche Safety Training course (which we would recommend taking in addition to this course). Our guides will be as accommodating as possible to each individual’s unique goals and requirements so feel free come armed with specific questions or learning requests.
Participants meet online at 6:00 pm MST via a zoom link sent out 1-2 weeks before course starts. This pre meeting will break down the basic trip planning needed for a winter backcountry outing: research and resources, trip planning, weather considerations, hazard evaluation, difficulty assessment, basic backcountry gear systems, emergency gear, and clothing layering systems.
The session will last around one hour with the primary goal of going over gear so everyone feels ready when meeting on the first field day.
Meet at Commonwealth Creek Parking (Kananaskis) at 9 AM (MST).
This camp is designed for those who have little to no backcountry experience. However, an intermediate level of ski experience at a resort is essential – you must be comfortable on ungroomed blue runs and you will have a better time on the course if you have some experience skiing with a daypack (30L) and skiing varied terrain and conditions.
You will spend almost all day outside (up to 8 hours), sometimes stopping for discussion or breaks. Come prepared for cold weather with warm layers and please read the gear list carefully making sure you have everything. It is imperative that you have a basic level of fitness to allow for access and learning.
If you have any questions about your suitability for this course, please contact the office before registering.
To keep the cost of this camp as low as possible for you, food is not provided on this camp. Be sure to bring along a packed lunch and your favourite snack to fuel the field day!
Accommodation is not included in this course.
Our dedicated on-staff Ski Guide Doug Latimer oversees all of our winter introductory programs. Doug has almost 20 years of experience in teaching AST and other winter instructional courses, as well as in developing course materials and ski guiding. We are extremely excited to have him on board for a third season after rave reviews in previous seasons.
We want to provide the best possible learning experience and give you maximum opportunity to ask questions. So participant-to-guide ratios will be kept below a maximum of 6:1.
The ACC hires guides certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). Visit the ACMG website to learn more about what they do!
If you don’t have everything on the gear list and aren’t ready to invest in your own, there are many awesome local businesses that rent out all of the equipment you will need. Be sure to reserve your rentals ahead of time to make sure everything you need is available for you when you need it.
Women and Non-Binary Edition
Erica has been working as a guide since 2005 and became Canada’s 11th Female IFMGA Mountain Guide in 2018. Born in the UK, she spent much of her childhood in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She moved to Canada with her family in 1998 and fell in love with the mountains of Western Canada. Erica began her ski career as a Ski Patroller at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Wanting to share her passion for the mountains with other people led her to a career in guiding. These days Erica splits her time between guiding, playing in the mountains with friends, and hanging out with her daughter Grace. Erica has worked for a number of different guiding operations throughout the ranges of Western Canada. She loves guiding because she gets to spend time in beautiful places but also because of the people she meets and the experiences she gets to share with them.
Participants and staff at the GMC are probably know Charles “Chucky” Gerrard as the guy who keeps the camp running, can improvise a fix for almost anything with a roll of duct tape and the parts from an old dirt bike, and makes sure that everybody gets to where they’re going. In the winter, he does double-duty as an ACMG ski guide and a Level 4 snowboard instructor with CASI (Canadian Alliance of Snowboard Instructors). In his spare time, he hand builds his own gear.
Francisco – AKA Pancho – is originally from Santiago, Chile where he began his outdoor pursuits at an early age accomplishing numerous first ascents in the Andes. At 18, he was invited on a climbing trip to the Alps where his passion for adventures in the mountains was cemented. Pancho began his guiding career leading mountaineering trips to Aconcagua and trekking trips to Patagonia and in 2004 he received his UIAGM/IFMGA mountain guide certification in France and has continued his guiding career in the Andes, Alps, Rockies and Himalayas. In 2006 he began semi-annual trips to Canada to experience all the Canadian Rockies have to offer and now reside full-time in Canmore with his wife. Pancho is excited about sharing the outdoors with his guests, whether it is mountaineering, climbing, skiing, trekking, or teaching outdoor education courses.
Chris Girard is an ACMG Ski Guide based out of Cochrane, Alberta and takes great pleasure is sharing his passion for the mountains. His guiding aspirations began through volunteering and leading trips through various ACC sections. In addition to being an ACMG Ski Guide, Chris is also a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association, and an AST Provider with Avalanche Canada. Now a Father of two, Chris is well practiced in staying calm and keeping his sense of humour in times of chaos. During his off season, Chris works as a guide on the Athabasca Glacier.
We sell Tugo® Travel Insurance suitable for both ACC Adventures and personal trips:
INCLUDED WITH YOUR CAMP FEE
PARTICIPANTS MUST PROVIDE
ORGANIZING FANTASTIC ACC ADVENTURES FOR OVER 100 YEARS
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