Top reasons to upgrade your skills at Mistaya Lodge
Classroom to field has never been easier—just step out the door
A whole week of putting your new AIARE 2 skills to the test
All-inclusive experience in a spacious, cozy lodge with a private chef
Jamming the AIARE 2 course into 3 packed days is possible, but why rush it? Take your time testing new skills in the Canadian Rockies with a week-long level 2 course and a luxe lodge as your base. British Columbia needs no introduction when it comes to its deep powder, but it gets even better when we tell you can ski both above and below the tree line, making this area perfect even if the weather plays tricks on you. And your base—the Mistaya Lodge—really is as good as it gets. Snuggly nestled among lofty conifer trees at 6,700 feet, your home for the week offers unparalleled views of tranquil peaks, glaciers, alpine, and subalpine meadows. If you’re on the fence about taking a prolonged course, find out more about upgrading your avalanche skills with AIARE Level 2 by Rob Coppolillo, a certified AMGA/IFMGA guide.
Calgary, AB, is 3 hours away from Golden, BC, the starting point of this tour
Intermediate to advanced
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AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course at the Mistaya Lodge
Taking the AIARE level 2 course becomes a lot more fun and relaxed when you’re based in a remote lodge for a full week. With more than enough time to sharpen new skills alongside your professional guide, there’s no room for pressure. After a day out in the deep snowpack of Canadian Rockies, return to your Mistaya lodge, where a cozy living room, a wood-fired sauna, and freshly prepared warm meals await.
Day 1: Arrival
Meet your guides in Golden, BC. Following a quick briefing and equipment check, enjoy a 20-minute flight to the Mistaya Lodge, your home for the week. You’ll spend your days learning and touring in Wildcat Creek Basin, a remote region of the Canadian Rockies that lies along the Continental Divide. Once you get settled in, your guide will take you through a safety briefing. Spend the rest of the day touring or enjoying the lodge.
Day 2-7: AIARE 2 and Ski Days at the Mistaya Lodge
The idea of the trip is not to rush your AIARE 2 course, but rather to have enough time to apply new skills on British Columbia’s unparalleled terrain with no rush. Not only do you get to spend 8 days shredding pristine powder in a remote region of Canada, but you also get to walk away from this adventure feeling more confident and safer out in the backcountry. Your guides will do their best to transfer all their avalanche knowledge, and you’ll get to comfortably test it over the course of a week.
Day 8: Departure
Following a week in the Canadian Rockies, it’s time to pack up and leave your lodge. Just a brief heli ride, and you’re back in Golden. It’s time to say goodbye to your amazing team and catch a flight back home.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Differentiate where specific avalanche hazards exist within the landscape and identify avalanche terrain where consequences may be more severe.
- Use and interpret weather, snow, and avalanche observations to locate appropriate terrain prior to entering and while in the field.
- Demonstrate leadership skills within a small team that include facilitating small group discussion, promoting appropriate terrain selection, and utilizing simple risk management strategies.
- Implement a basic forecasting framework that can be used in conjunction with and in the absences of local supporting avalanche information.
What’s the Mistaya Lodge like?
The Mistaya Lodge is a heli-accessed backcountry lodge sitting at 6,700 ft elevation (2,045m) in the Canadian Rockies. Due to its sustainable solar and microhydropower systems, the lodge bears minimum impact on the pristine surrounding environment. The Mistaya oozes a perfect blend of luxury and coziness, making anyone feel at home. With seven spacious bedrooms, indoor washrooms, a large kitchen, a sauna bath house, and a big sun deck, your only worry on this trip will be choosing the window with the best view.
Kick off your days with a cup of coffee in your hand, marveling at million-dollar views of surrounding peaks and glaciers. If you’re worried about food, don’t be! An amazing private chef will come along, preparing delicious meals for you every day. We’re happy to accommodate special dietary requirements, but let us know in advance.
Meet your guide
Vetta Mountain Guides
As recent participant of a week long, hut-based, AIARE 2 avalanche course with Rob, I must recommend him as an excellent educator and entertainer. Rob and his colleague, fellow IFMGA guide, Tim Brown went above and beyond to cover the course curriculum and way beyond. They were able to also offer us incredible opportunity to apply the course concepts in the field. As avalanche education is a never ending process, I’m already in talks with Rob for the next trip/course.
I recently completed the Aiare Level 2 Avalanche Course with Rob in British Columbia. It was an amazing week of ski touring and education. Rob was super helpful from the start of trip preparation through the entirety of the trip. Great sense of humor combined with great knowledge and coaching skills. I learned a ton and had a blast.
I went on an incredible AIARE hut trip with Rob and Tim. They are both incredible guides and the trip was top notch. I will be skiing with them again in the future.
I took an AIARE 1 course with Vetta Mountain Guides and highly recommend them. All instructions/needs leading up to the course were clearly communicated, the course structure was well-balanced between classroom discussions + exercises and on-mountain training, and our guides, Rob and Tim, were highly knowledgeable and super fun(ny). They went above and beyond, offering up tips on gear and touring efficiency, too. I’d trust them to guide me anywhere. 🙂
Things to know
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, certified AIARE instructor with extensive knowledge of the area
- Eight days of learning & skiing at the Mistaya Lodge
- AIARE level 2 avalanche course
- Helicopter transportation from Golden, BC, to the lodge and back
- Lodge accommodations for the duration of the tour
- All meals and non-alcoholic drinks for the duration of the tour
- Private chef
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Transportation to and from Golden, BC
- Guide gratuities — optional
How fit do I need to be?
In order to get the most of this adventure, you need to be in excellent physical shape. You will be on your feet for 5 to 8 hours for 8 days. 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.
An AIARE 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent Level 1 training is required, as well as an AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course. Although it is not required, it is suggested that you have had at least a year of backcountry travel experience after the Level 1 course before taking the AIARE 2 course. Participants must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
The AIARE Level 2 course is not suitable for beginners. You should have several seasons of ski touring experience, have completed a level 1 avalanche course as well as the AIARE Companion Rescue course, and have strong fitness.
What do I need to bring?
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
- Touring boots and 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:
- Ski helmet
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Sun hat and a beanie/ fleece hat
- Face mask and neck gaiter
- Synthetic lightweight gloves, midweight softshell gloves, and heavyweight waterproof gloves
- Wind and waterproof softshell and fleece jacket with hood
- Synthetic or down puffy jacket
- Waterproof shell jacket
- Lightweight and midweight synthetic or wool base layer tops and bottoms
- Hardshell pants
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 2L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First aid kit — optional
- Sunscreen and an SPF lip balm
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
- Camera — optional
Can I rent equipment?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
Ski rental locations are in Golden 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:
- Mistaya Lodge can accommodate up to 12 skiers with a 6:1 guest-to-guide ratio.
- The cost is per person and doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
AIARE Level 2 avalanche course at Mistaya Lodge 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.
- Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.
If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Deposits and cancellation policy
A deposit of 30% of the total price is due upon booking. Once your guide confirms your booking, your trip departure is guaranteed and the second payment is due 90 days before the trip.
If you need to cancel a reservation, please do so in writing (best by e-mail). Once your booking is confirmed, you and your Guides enter into financial obligations and they cannot refund payments or release you from your contractual obligations. Therefore, it is highly recommended to buy cancellation insurance to cover your losses in case you can’t participate or have to interrupt your trip “for any reason”.
Your Guides do reserve the right to change guides, particular lodging, or the itinerary or venue should unforeseen circumstances (guide sickness, hut or route closing, etc.) force them to do so or should the physical condition of the participants, weather or mountain conditions make a continuation as planned too risky. Your Guides will not be deemed to be in default for any delay or failure to perform their obligations under this agreement resulting from acts of God, the elements, war, acts of government, civil or military authorities, natural calamities, catastrophe, fire, flood, accidents, epidemics, shortage of transportation, or any other like events beyond our reasonable control.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Golden, BC, which is the starting point of this tour, most people fly into Calgary International Airport three hours away. Calgary International Airport has many direct flights and connections to major cities throughout Canada, USA, Europe, Australia, and Asia. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus to Golden.
You’ll meet your guides in Golden on day one of the tour. We recommend arriving a day early, especially if you’re renting equipment. After a quick briefing, a helicopter will take you and your guides to the Mistaya Lodge, marking the official start of your adventure.
Covid measures in British Columbia
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 British Columbia, please refer to Canada’s COVID-19 travel guidelines and the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 travel advisory.
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!