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.

  • Improve your skillset on 3,000 skiable acres of quality light dry powder

  • Amazing views of Flathead Lake make learning avalanche safety a treat

  • Enjoy some breathtaking descents in Whitefish’s winter wonderland

Choose itinerary

AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Course in Whitefish
Available upon request
Yurt-Based AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Course
Available upon request

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)
John H. about Colorado 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!

Clinton C. about Colorado Mountain Guides

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

Ben W. about Colorado 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 exploring on 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, 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: 

      • Experienced, certified guides with extensive knowledge of the area
      • Three days of avalanche education and field practice
      • Snowcat transportation from the Great Northern Powder Guides base area to your yurt and back (for the Yurt-Based Tour)
      • Accommodations (for the Yurt-Based Tour)
      • Dinner, breakfast, and hot drinks (for the Yurt-Based Tour)

    What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
      • Transportation to the Blacktail Mountain Resort (for the Resort-Based Tour)
      • Transportation to the Great Northern Powder Guides base area (for the Yurt-Based Tour)
      • Accommodations (for the Resort-Based Tour)
      • Lunch and snacks (for the Yurt-Based Tour)
      • All meals and snacks (for the Resort-Based Tour)
  • 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.

  • 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
      • 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 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 prices:

      • These courses are 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.

    Avalanche safety courses 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.
  • To get to these tours in the Whitefish area, most people fly into Glacier Park International Airport 15 minutes away from Whitefish, MT. From there, you should rent a car, or take a taxi or shuttle to Whitefish.

    For the Resort-Based Tour, you should then rent a car or take a taxi to Lakeside, MT. You will meet your guides at the Blacktail Mountain Resort 14 miles (22 km) west of Lakeside at noon of day 1. The following days’ classes will be held there as well, from 9am – 5pm.

    For the Yurt-Based Tour, you will meet your guides at the Great Northern Powder Guides base area 23 miles (37 km) north from Whitefish at 8 am of day 1. From there, your guides will arrange snowcat transportation to your yurt.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,
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