Edmonton, AB, Canada T6L 1K5
NOTE: Public courses and guiding were suspended for summer 2022 due to continuing issues related to COVID. We are hoping to return to a more normal schedule in 2024.
This letter will serve to introduce you to the Introductory Backcountry Touring and Ski Techniques Course. The dates for the course are TBA (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). The March course takes place in the Canmore / Banff Park area. The cost of the course is $315.00 including GST (subject to change).
In order for you to be confirmed on the course you must first complete the personal information form, then read, understand and sign the waiver. You will then need to mail or email those completed forms in. You will then be billed for the course fees.
If you have not paid, your spot is NOT yet confirmed. We reserve the right to cancel the course in the event of severe weather or low enrollment. Should this happen, your course fees will be refunded. See our website for complete cancellation policies and procedures.
Should less than three persons sign up for the course, we reserve the right to cancel the course. We also reserve the right to cancel the course in the event of extreme weather. Should this happen, your course fees will be refunded.
Introductory Backcountry Touring and Ski Techniques is an exciting three day course that we began in 2001. Many people find the hardest part of backcountry ski touring is the actual skiing itself. This course focuses on skiing in non - glaciated alpine terrain on either telemark or randonee (alpine touring) equipment.
Basic deep powder and difficult snow technique will be introduced from the ground up. We will examine strategies for using terrain evaluation and simple ski technique to make the backcountry a more enjoyable, highly survivable experience. We will also examine the role that equipment plays in making your winter turns more fun and stable. Track setting, route finding, pacing and related topics will be woven into the course material. All three days will be spent primarily outdoors but some time may be spent indoors as well. The first day of the course takes place at a mountain ski resort.
For courses run out of Canmore/Banff on the first day we will head to Sunshine Meadows. The second and third days will either be near Lake Louise or Bow Summit in Banff National Park.
Exact locations will depend upon conditions, weather, and group abilities and will normally be determined by the end of the sessions on the first day. The second and third days are out ski touring looking for snow to work on our skills and turns.
You can combine this course with "Avalanche Skills Training - Level 1" plus "Introduction to Ski Touring and Winter Glacier Travel" back to back to make the week long "Complete Introduction to Winter Ski Touring".
In order to be prepared for this course it is important that you get out on your touring gear at least a few times before this course. This is NOT a course for the raw beginner who has never skied before! We encourage you to take a lesson at a downhill ski resort on your telemark or alpine skis before coming out on this course. Even if all you can do is go to a small local downhill area, it can be worth every minute in advancing your cause in the mountains. Participants must be in good physical condition and able to ski uphill and downhill in control with a pack on easy groomed slopes (green or blue runs) and simple variable off trail snow conditions.
We provide instruction and avalanche safety equipment and beacons. Do NOT rent any avalanche or climbing equipment for this course. If you own your own beacon, shovel, probe, feel free to bring them. We DO NOT provide skis, climbing skins, boots, poles or clothing.
We encourage you to bring the very best equipment possible. Poor and outdated equipment will defeat the entire purpose of this course. You will require either good quality telemark or alpine touring (randonee) equipment including warm boots and clothing. Lightweight cross country track skis or skating skis are totally inadequate. We recommend skis with a minimum 90 to 100mm width at the tip. The wider the better for more flotation in difficult backcountry conditions.
If you want to joins us on a snowboard please contact us in advance so we can make allowances in our route planning. Boarders must own, borrow or rent a split - board for ease of travel in a mixed group. If you are not sure about gear, give us a call.
You will require a LARGE day pack to carry your food, clothes and a share of the group gear. If you are not sure, give us a call. Be sure your clothing can handle the changes in mountain environment, including extreme cold, wind, snow and bright sun. Spare gloves / mitts are a must. The course will proceed in all but the most severe weather. The course equipment list may help you to prepare for the course.
You are responsible for your own meals, accommodation and transportation for the entire course. Be sure to prepare a bag lunch and bring water or other drinks for each day of the course, as we do not return to the vehicles for lunch. A good lightweight thermos is often handy.
Meeting time and place for the Canmore / Banff courses is 8:00 am (location TBA). Be completely ready to head to the ski hill at the meeting time. Your breakfast should be totally finished when we meet.
You must have a valid Park Vehicle Group Pass or Personal Pass to attend this course, as we are travelling in National Park areas. Be sure to purchase one when you first enter the Park if you do not already have one.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT WAIVERS: Our insurer requires that we have a two part process for using and administering waivers. If you sign up by mail or email you must included a signed and witnessed waiver as part of your application for all courses. You will also be required to sign a second full colour paper copy of the waiver in the presence of one of our staff members. There are no exceptions.
Cyril Shokoples IFMGA
Chief Instructor / Mountain Guide
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Edmonton, AB, Canada T6L 1K5