Top three reasons to upgrade your skills in Whitefish
Improve your skillset on 3,000 skiable acres of quality light dry powder
Amazing views of Blackhead Lake make learning avalanche safety a treat
Enjoy some breathtaking descents in Whitefish’s winter wonderland
Those prepared to rough out the fog and bitter cold of winter in Whitefish, Montana, can expect to find some of the finest backcountry skiing and boarding in the “last best place on Earth”. Whitefish permeates a rough sort of charm—you don’t go there for five-star luxury ski resorts, you go there for the cheap lodging, the great pancakes, and the miles upon miles of ungroomed powder. However, the Montana backcountry can be treacherous, and the threat of an avalanche always looms over those who choose to trade the resort for the wilderness. And if things go south, you should be ready. Take an AIARE Level 1 Course in Whitefish and master the fundamentals of avalanche safety while blazing your own trail down some crazy slopes.
December through January
Kalispell, MO is 20 minutes away
Beginner to intermediate
Book this adventure
AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Course in Whitefish
Refine your avalanche safety knowledge and become a safer, more competent backcountry adventurer with this AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course. Learn or review the fundamentals of avalanche safety under the guidance of an experienced instructor. The one-of-a-kind setting of the Blacktail Ski Area provides the ideal learning environment, and the snow and slope quality will guarantee an unforgettable learning experience!
This comprehensive course was designed for people looking to build a foundation for safe backcountry travel, with a focus on hazard evaluation, decision-making, and companion rescue in avalanche terrain. It includes proper instruction for basic safety and protocols for safe backcountry travel.
The first day is reserved for an introductory Zoom class with your guide, where you will get a short introduction and overview of the course. The following two days will be spent in the field, learning the skills and tools you need to navigate the backcountry and evaluate the snowpack when trudging through avalanche terrain.
Meet your guide
The 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!
Very professional! Excellent instructors with a wealth of knowledge and most importantly, they know how to facilitate growth of one’s mountain sense.
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 exploring on snow in the Tetons and beyond.
Things to know
Covid measures in Whitefish, Montana
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, 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 virtual check-in and introduction into the course
- A full 2 days in the field
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Food and snacks
How fit do I need to be?
In order 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.
You don’t need to be an advanced skier or boarder, but you do need to be able to ascend moderate slopes using skins. All participants should be comfortable traveling in snow while carrying touring gear. There are no other prerequisites.
What equipment do I need to bring?
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)
- Basic avalanche safety gear (can be rented)
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Helmet – optional
- 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
- Ski goggles
- Extra prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Lip balm
- Headlamp and extra batteries
- Laptop computer
- Camera — optional
Can I rent equipment?
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 guide
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented from your guide
- Splitboards can be rented from your guide
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 age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- This course is not private. For the group courses, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 6:1.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
Ski touring in Whitefish can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
Getting there and meeting location
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 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.