Top three reasons to upgrade your skills in Whistler
Master essential backcountry skills in Whistler’s stunning wilderness
The ski lifts allow for quick and easy access to the backcountry
Learn the fundamentals of both crevasse rescue and glacier travel in one time-efficient package
In recent years, and especially following the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the name Whistler has become synonymous with world-class skiing. On top of the 8,300 acres of groomed slopes, the Whistler-Blackcomb mountain complex boasts tens of thousands of acres of majestic unmarked backcountry. Extending all the way to the Coast Mountains, Whistler’s slopes boast phenomenal terrain variety, as well as top-tier light and dry powder. However, the backcountry comes with its fair share of risk. Traversing glaciers and avoiding the backcountry’s numerous crevasses is an art form, and coming unprepared could put you or your fellow adventurers at serious risk. This is why you should use this winter wisely and learn how to safely traverse the backcountry. Head to Whistler to see what the hype is about, and become a safer backcountry skier in the process!
November through April
Vancouver, BC, is 1.5 hours away
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your days
Group Winter Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel Course
Become a self-sufficient backcountry adventurer with this two-day winter crevasse rescue and glacier travel course. Join your experienced, ACMG-certified instructor in the spectacular Whistler backcountry and learn essential crevasse rescue and glacier travel skills such as hazard recognition, ratchet use, anchor building, and more.
Group All-Female Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel Course
Looking for a course that will help you become a self-sufficient backcountry skier and alpine climber while you meet like-minded women? This all-female course will help you push your boundaries in the outdoors and gain more self-confidence in the backcountry! Combine the best of both worlds by learning how to navigate ever-changing snow conditions as you explore the never ending beauty of Whistler.
Private Winter Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel Course
Want a more personalized learning experience? Then this private crevasse rescue and glacier travel course is ideal for you. Join your friends and family and master the three essential skills for moving safely in the backcountry—rope ascension, crevasse rescue, and glacier travel. Your seasoned ACMG-certified guide will accompany you, making sure you have a safe and productive learning experience.
Day 1: Briefing and crevasse rescue practice
Join your guide at the Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre at 8:15 am. Following a quick safety briefing and a discussion of the day’s objectives, head to the valley for some crevasse rescue practice. Your guide will take you to an appropriate location to learn and practice essential crevasse rescue skills. Finish the day at around 4:30 pm with a short debrief.
Day 2: Glacier practice
You will once again meet your guide at 8:15 am at the Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre. After a discussion about the previous day, current conditions, and glacier morphology, head to a local glacier using the Whistler Blackcomb lift system. Spend the day learning about and practicing glacier travel, before wrapping the tour up with a course debrief and next step recommendations at around 4:30 pm.
During this course, you will cover many significant topics relating to crevasse rescue and proper glacier travel, such as:
- Glacier kit and equipment checks
- Situational awareness and hazard review
- Arresting the fall, holding the victim, and anchor building
- Crevasse rescue system
- Incorporating a ratchet
- First raise method
- Crevasse rescue scenario
- Glacier morphology, physiology, terminology
- Glacier travel, rope handling, route finding & track setting
- Belaying from an anchor over a bridge
- Downhill glacier skiing safety strategy discussion
Meet your guide
Mountain Skills Academy
ACMG/IFMGA Certified Guides
Eric D went out of his way to ensure the full course syllabus was covered on this complex and potentially lifesaving topic. Repeat MSAA customer and continue to be very impressed with the service.
Over December I spent 3 weekends with MSAA doing some training for ski mountaineering: AST1 followed by a multi weekend Super Ski Course (Crevasse Rescue/Ski Mountaineering). Itineraries were sent out well in advance, the guides were very knowledgeable and experienced and provided awesome tips and tricks. Conditions on the mountain were horrible (strong winds, blizzards) but the guides changed their plan based on conditions. Good service all around and well worth it. Much recommended and reputable company.
Amazing customer service! Knowledgeable guides and overall excellent experience.
Our group completed a 2-day Crevasse Rescue Course last December, however, we were very disappointed at how the course was conducted. When we notified the company about the subpar experience we had, the owner Eric D. unexpectedly offered us an extra day to review skills and scenarios that were left out! Eric was absolutely incredible, very knowledgeable, and went above and beyond to make things right. We are all very impressed how MSA rectified the bad experience we had in December. In the end, we had a positive experience with the customer service, knowledge, and enthusiasm of MSA.
Things to know
Covid measures in Whistler, 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 Whistler, British Columbia, please refer to Canada’s COVID-19 travel requirements and British Columbia’s Travel and COVID-19 info 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
- Two full days of crevasse rescue and crevasse rescue field practice
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring and crevasse rescue equipment
- Food and snacks
- Lift ticket (available for purchase at the Whistler Blackcomb resort’s official website)
How fit do I need to be?
In order to get the most of this course, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for 2 full 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.
This course is meant for strong intermediate skiers and boarders. 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.
What equipment do I need to bring?
For technical backcountry ski touring and crevasse rescue 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)
- Ice ax (can be rented)
- Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
- Harness for glacier travel
- Crevasse rescue kit (can be rented):
- Four locking carabiners and four non-locking carabiners
- Sewn sling — 120cm
- Two 5m (7mm) cordelettes (for ropes 9mm and up, use 5mm
- for 8mm ropes or less)
- One 1.5m (7mm) cordelette
- Auto-block device or ratcheting pulley
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Ski goggles
- Gloves and hat
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Down jacket or vest
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear, and socks
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 1-2L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First-aid kit
- 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:
Your guide has partnered with Escape Route to provide you with rentals at a discounted price.
Ski rental locations are in Whistler 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 pricing:
- For the group course, the max guest to guide ratio is 8:1.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
- For the private course. The max client to guide ratio is 6:1. Costs per person decrease as the group grows.
- These courses are subject to a minimum number of participants. Your guide will give you a 48-hour notice if the minimum number has not been reached.
Courses in Whistler can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 19, 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 19, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Cancellations made within 10 days prior to the course departure will forfeit 100% of tuition price. If you cancel the booking more than 10 days in advance, the guide will keep a $75 rescheduling and refunding fee.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Whistler, BC, most people fly into Vancouver International Airport 1.5 hours away. From there, you can take a local flight, rent a car or take a bus to Whistler.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, which will usually be at the Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre in Whistler. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.