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The feeling and sound of your skis swishing down heavenly champagne powder is second to none. But gliding through the backcountry comes with its own set of challenges and inherent risks—luckily, they can be minimized by understanding avalanche dynamics and mountaineering techniques. This 6-day winter skills course in the famed Lake Louise and Rogers Pass area gives you just that, providing you with a deep dive into glacier travel, avalanche skills training, and an intro to ski or splitboard mountaineering. Work side-by-side with professional Mountain Guides, put theory into practice, and by the end of the course you’ll feel more comfortable, confident, and independent navigating the backcountry.

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  • Safely navigate the backcountry

    Acquire in-depth knowledge of snowpack evaluation and leave with AVCAN AST 2 Certification

  • Lake Louise and Rogers Pass

    Learn and glide in one of Canada’s most coveted and renowned skiing locations

  • Three in one

    Learn about glacier travel, avalanche skills, and intro to ski mountaineering

Itinerary

Learn the essential mountain knowledge for safely excelling in winter ski touring and splitboarding by joining a 6-day winter skills course in Lake Louise and Rogers Pass. Your mentors are very experienced, professional Mountain Guides who will go over glacier travel, avalanche skills training, and intro to ski or splitboard mountaineering in detail. Use your days to the max by getting up early in the morning, going over theory, and then putting it into practice. The risk of being in the backcountry is never zero, but these skills will allow you to mitigate the risks, enjoy the wilderness responsibly, and have a secure outdoor experience.

  • Meet your guide and your team at 8 am at the Lake Louise Alpine Center. This morning will be focused on the intro glacier travel component and technical equipment introduction. In the afternoon, you will practice rope skills. Wrap up the day with a debrief and an in-depth look at an online avalanche forecasting tool to prepare for the upcoming days.

    Backcountry skier in Banff

  • Gather at 6:30 am and take advantage of the wonderful Lake Louise area! Apart from some ski touring, you’ll be going through complex companion rescue practice (multiple burials and site leader practice), focus terrain use, gathering snowpack data, up-tracking, downhill lines, and group management. At the end of day three, travel to Golden BC to begin the Rogers Pass component of the trip. Settle at your accommodation at Dreamcatcher hostel or some other local accommodation.

    Learning in the field in Banff

  • Once again, meet your team at 6:30 am. Today you’ll be ski touring in the Rogers Pass zone and glacier travel will be top of the list of objectives. Go over terrain use, up-tracking, gathering snowpack data, downhill lines, and group management. Wrap up your days with a debrief and a team meeting for the upcoming days.

    Crevasse rescue course Banff

  • For your last day of the trip, gather at 6:30 am and get some ski touring in. Discuss and review any details—or simply shred some lines. Plan to be in the field BC area within Yoho National Park. Have a course debrief and discuss the next steps

    Multiple skiers in Banff

  • Glacier travel

    • Rope management for glacier travel
    • Understanding the ice dynamics & how to avoid crevasses
    • Snow and ice anchors
    • Load transfer
    • Crevasse rescue techniques, 2:1, 3:1 hauling advantage
    • Rappelling
    • Self rescue

    Avalanche Skills Training—leave with AVCAN AST 2 Certification

    • Terrain management
    • Ongoing risk perception discussions
    • Steep skiing theory
    • Group management
    • Snowpack analysis

    Intro to Ski Mountaineering

    • Trip Planning
    • Equipment
    • Mountain Weather and Navigation
    • Ski Techniques in Steep Terrain
    • Ski Mountaineering Ascent
    • Participants leads
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Meet your guide

Alpine Air Adventures
5.00
Alpine Air Adventures
You’re never on your own in the Banff wilderness because the experienced professionals from Alpine Air Adventures are here to guide you. While they know how to have a great time, they’re always mindful of advanced safety practices. They’re committed to showing each of their guests the best of the Rockies while protecting them every step of the way.
5.00 (4 reviews)
Mark Herzog (source: Google Reviews)

Our field instructor (Jeff) was knowledgeable, patient and fun to be around. I would highly recommend this course to any outdoor enthusiast wanting to learn more about snowpack and terrain. Unbelievable value.

Chris Pantazi (source: Google Reviews)

Very informational course and the leaders do it very well. cool to get out in the field and learn about avalanche safety and snow packs!

Alex Danzinger (source: Google Reviews)

I’m so glad I took the course with Alpine Adventures. Jeff was an amazing instructor and very thorough in his lessons. I’ll definitely be reaching out again if I am looking for guided trips or additional training + certifications.

Jorre W (source: Google Reviews)

Jeff knows his stuff and makes even the coldest of days more enjoyable. I will definitely be booking more trips through these guys.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • Experienced, certified guides with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 6-day winter skills training in the Banff area (Lake Louise and Rogers Pass)
      • Pre-course package with learning tools
      • Pre-course logistics and planning
      • Group equipment

    What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
      • Transportation to Lake Louise
      • Food and snacks
      • Accommodations
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • To make the most of this winter skills course in Banff, you should have a good level of endurance, good fitness for skiing or snowboarding, and AVCAN AST1 Certification (or equivalent experience). This winter skills course offers 6 days of training and has been carefully designed to develop your existing skills, as well as to teach you new techniques crucial for exploring the mountains safely and independently.

  • To participate in this tour, you need to have previous backcountry skiing experience. This winter skills course stretches over 6 days and there are three main portions of the course: glacier travel, avalanche skills training, and intro to ski/splitboard mountaineering.

    If you’ve never backcountry skied before, we suggest joining a guide for a day of backcountry skiing in Duffey Lake.

  • 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 with your guides):
        • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
        • Lightweight snow shovel
        • Avalanche probe
      • Harness, axe, and accessories — can be rented with your guides
      • 1x60cm-120cm sewn sling w/ 2 non locking carabiners
      • 2x5m 6 or 7mm prusik cord w/ non locking carabiners
      • 1×1.5m 6 or 7mm prusik cord (personal prusik)
      • 4x locking carabiners (2 lighter-weight carabiners and 2 self-locking carabiners which are larger in size, they can be used for a munter hitch and master carabiner)
      • Any new mechanical device, i.e., micro traction from Petzl

    For personal items, we recommend bringing:

      • 40L daypack
      • Food
      • Helmet — optional
      • Sunglasses & Goggles
      • Sun and lip cream
      • Camera — optional, but recommended
      • 1L of water or Tea
      • First aid kit
      • Food you can eat on-the-go
      • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
      • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)

    This is a list of clothing we recommend you bring:

      • Gloves or mitts
      • Woor and/or synthetic socks
      • Mid-insulation fleece or puffy jacket
      • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Warm outer puffy jacket
      • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Down jacket or vest
      • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
      • Extra warm clothing
      • Face mask
      • Toque — wool or synthetic
      • Hat and sunhat
      • Sunhat
      • Face warmer — scarf, neck tube, face mask, buff, etc.
      • Light gloves & insulated gloves or mitts
  • During the course of these 6 days, you will have hands-on mentorship from professional Mountain Guides, which is the most effective way to build a strong foundation. Skills will be explained, demonstrated in the field, and then put into practice during field days. There will be team meetings twice daily—in the afternoon, you will discuss the conditions and objectives for the next day including debriefing the current day’s tour, while in the morning the team will analyze the day ahead and avalanche conditions to make the appropriate terrain choices.

    You’ll have the chance to put your skills into practice with technical leads including companion rescue and rope rescue leads, ski ascent and descent leads, and overall group management. The objectives will be determined by the overall group skill level and current conditions.

    You will also receive a pre-course package containing many details to get you ready for the course.

    To find out more about what you’ll cover, scroll down below the FAQ.

  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent an avalanche safety pack (including beacon, shovel and probe) from your guides in the booking process.

    If you’d like to rent alpine touring or telemark skis (or splitboard), touring boots and poles, you can rent it with the Lake Louise Ski Resort, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Rental Shop or Wilson’s Winter Rentals.

    Ski rental locations are in the Lake Louise and Banff area 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:

    • For this winter skills course in the Banff area, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 6:1.
    • The cost is per person and doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

    Winter skills course in the Banff area 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.

  • To get to Lake Louise, the starting point of your tour, most people fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC). From there, you can take a 2-hour drive, either by renting a car or by a shuttle. You’ll meet your guides and your group on Day 1 of the tour at Lake Louise Alpine Centre.

  • 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 Canada, please refer to Canada’s COVID-19 travel advice.

    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!

  • A 20% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 1 month (30 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

      • If Client cancels the Booking any time prior to three weeks (21 calendar days) prior to the trip start date, Client is entitled to a refund minus the deposit, which is non-refundable.
      • If availability exists Client can transfer to another course or program date, an administrative charge of $30 will be applied to transfer.
      • 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.
Have more questions? Read our FAQ, or Talk with us
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