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For the visitors of the small mountain town of Whitefish, Montana, skiing is everything. And with a national park and a mountain resort practically in their backyard, who could blame them? However, you shouldn’t mistake Whitefish for just another trendy resort complex. As the locals would tell you, “Whitefish is not a ski town, it’s a town of skiers”. Hundreds of locals join the tourists every day to ride the tree-lined runs of Whitetail and Whiskey Spring, or to test their skill on Big Horn, Black Bear, or the aptly named Hellroaring Basin. All this on light and fluffy snow that’s constantly being refreshed by Pacific snowstorms, making scoring a powder day extremely likely. This winter, mix backcountry business with backcountry pleasure and take an AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course in Whitefish. Learning doesn’t feel as strenuous when you’re among rime-ice coated trees, soaking in the stunning views of Flathead Lake or Glacier National park. Scratch your backcountry itch and learn a thing or two while you’re at it!

Adventure highlights

  • Tons of black diamond runs provide an authentic learning environment

  • Mountain winds and cold temperatures guarantee quality powder daily

  • Breathtaking views of Glacier National Park and the Flathead Valley


Learn new skills or revisit old ones with this one-day standalone course. This course is intended to be taken regularly to keep up with optimal rescue techniques. Newcomers will learn the basics of companion rescue, while experienced participants will expand their skillset with advanced topics and realistic scenario practice. An expert guide will provide you with professional coaching to ensure a safe and productive learning experience!

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Meet your guide

The Mountain Guides
The Mountain Guides
The Mountain Guides have been leading mountain adventurers in the Western US since 1968. With some of the most experienced mountain guides in the country, TMG leads hundreds of people every year in the mountain ranges of Wyoming and Montana, the canyons and towers of Utah, on Cody’s South Fork ice falls, the cliffs and crags of Boulder, Colorado, in Red Rock, Nevada, and City of Rocks, Idaho.
5.00 (3 reviews)
Clinton C. (source: Jackson Hole Mountain Guides)

Very professional! Excellent instructors with a wealth of knowledge and most importantly, they know how to facilitate the growth of one’s mountain sense.

John H. (source: Jackson Hole Mountain Guides)

JHMG knows their stuff! My instructors provided a wealth of knowledge for us to learn from and an awesome attitude that kept everyone stoked!

Ben W. (source: Jackson Hole Mountain Guides)

Knowledgeable instructors and in a setting that inspires.  I learned a lot during my course and look forward to putting my new knowledge to use by exploring snow in the Tetons and beyond.

Things to know

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Whitefish, Montana, please refer to the Montana Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force website

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • What you get in this adventure: 

    • An experienced, certified guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A full day in the field
    • A rescue card acknowledging completion date at course end

    What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Accommodation
    • Food and snacks
  • To get the most of this adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.


    Students must be able to travel in the snow and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow to class. Skiers must be able to hike for several hours at a time while carrying a small pack. All participants should be comfortable traveling in snow while carrying touring gear. There are no other prerequisites.

  • For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

    • Alpine touring, telemark, or snowboarding boots (can be rented)
    • Skis or splitboard with compatible binding for boots (can be rented)
    • Climbing skins (can be rented)
    • Ski poles (can be rented)
    • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel
      • Avalanche probe

    For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet — optional, but recommended
    • Long sleeve synthetic — medium to expedition weight long underwear
    • Softshell or fleece jacket
    • Shell jacket with a hood
    • Puffy jacket with a hood
    • Synthetic or wool long underwear bottoms 
    • Shell pants — full side zips and built-in gaiters 
    • Socks — synthetic or wool, sized for your boots and blister protection
    • Liners — optional, but recommended
    • Gloves – 3 pairs: 1 light, 1 medium, 1 heavy pair 
    • Medium weight ski hat
    • Baseball hat or visor for sun
    • Buff or a neck gaiter
    • Backpack (30-40 liter ski pack)
    • Thermos or insulated water bottle
    • Food you can eat-on-the-go
    • Sunglasses 
    • Ski goggles
    • Extra prescription glasses/contact lenses
    • Sunscreen
    • Lip balm
    • Headlamp and extra batteries
    • Laptop computer
    • Camera – optional
  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent: 

    • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel, and probe can be rented from your guides
    • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented from your guides
    • Splitboards can be rented from your guides

    Ski rental locations are in Whitefish and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

  • Group sizes and pricing:

    • This course is not private. For the course, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 6:1 with group of up to 12 people.
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

    Ski touring in Whitefish can be arranged for larger or private groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to take this course with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements. 

    If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Whitefish, most people fly into Glacier Park International Airport 15 minutes away from Whitefish. From there, you can rent a car or take a train.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop in Whitefish or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.

  • Day Trips Cancellations
    Fully refundable within the initial 48 hours from booking, unless the trip date is less than 7 days from the time of the booking.
    Cancellations up to 7 days prior to the trip date are refundable 100%.
    Cancellations within 7 days prior to the trip date are non-refundable.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,

Learning outcomes

This course is meant to teach you avalanche rescue skills and increase your likelihood of survival in an avalanche situation. The course emphasizes that education and avoiding getting caught in an avalanche is the best plan, while rescue is just a backup in case everything goes wrong. The course also promotes a culture of routine avalanche rescue practice and attendance of an avalanche rescue course every two years.

Start with an introduction and an explanation of course logistics and an intro to avalanche rescue. After a short departure check, participate in a rescue demonstration, a rescue skills breakdown, and single burial scenarios. After a lunch break, engage in advanced topics, scenario practice and assessment, and learn about patient considerations and evac protocols.

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