Do you get high when people talk about fresh powder skiing? Do you dream of touring days, where you find the perfect lines in pristine snow in one of the world’s most idyllic landscapes? Do you still lack the knowledge on how to guide around the so-called ‘backcountry’, as well as to assess avalanche safety?
You are not the only one, but it is important to remember that as soon as you leave a world with groomed slopes, a new world opens up. If this world is something YOU need to explore, then the Snowminds Backcountry Course in Canada is tailored for you! Both skiers and snowboarders are welcome as we storm down the mountain in the Canadian powder snow – we’re a family, remember!
What is backcountry? Backcountry is the area that is not accessible from a lift system. Here you are really out in the wild and get a lot of extraordinary experiences that are not possible from the established lift system. The classic method of the backcountry is to use touring equipment – other extremes are helicopter, catski, or snowmobile.
The 20-day course is spread from January to March, where you will acquire knowledge, insight and not the least an experience beyond the usual. Our coaches, Bodie Shandro and Ron Betts, are both trained mountain guides and some absolute legends.
Snowminds Backcountry Course will be your invaluable side-running program, where you will get approx. 2 days weekly training in avalanche safety, skiing technique in the powder snow, first aid, snow profiles, ski touring, use of safety equipment, navigation, rescue operations, and much, much more. Our skilled Canadian trainers will guide you, act as your mentors, show you the ski area’s coolest places, and guarantee to give you some amazing experiences you will never forget. Your view of the mountains will change completely.
On the course’s total of 20 days, you get a good introduction to the tools that can be used when you go out into the offpiste yourself. An important component of the course is Avalanche Safety Training (AST) level 1, which acts as an eye-opener for avalanche safety, along with ‘companion rescue’. Both courses are recognized worldwide, and in Canada, there is broad agreement among skiers that it is essential. You will be left with a great deal of respect for the people who make this part of skiing their livelihood.
Bodie Shandro, one of our most skilled trainers, is a highly passionate mountain guide. Bodie is an educated level 3 ski instructor and educated CSGA ski guide. If these concepts seem unfamiliar, Bodie is, in short, a shark on skis. He has several years of experience as a heli-ski guide, and is deeply passionate about delivering the best possible training to our Snowminders. Bodie teaches with the philosophy “you do not know what you do not know”, and will no doubt teach you a lot that you have never thought about.
In addition to Bodie’s skilled skiing, he also places great emphasis on creating community, which can definitely be felt. True to tradition, the backcountry team usually meets for a cozy evening at Bodie’s when the course is over.
- - Bodie, Snowminds Off-Piste Course Instructor
“The team meets in the morning where weather observations and the weather forecast are discussed and the daily avalanche report is read. After half an hour, all participants leave, with a clear view of what we should be aware of out in the backcountry.
Over ten centimeters of fresh snow has fallen overnight, so today is a combination of touring and learning. Bodie knows very well how great skiing will be today and where we should go, but still actively asks to hear the rest of the team’s observations and opinions. The decision is made together and we end up with a good ski run through dense trees, and after a large bare area opens up. Several hours of skiing must be spent here, in combination with the topic of the day: Navigation. The theory was reviewed yesterday and it is being applied practically today. After wonderful skiing in the open area, there is a lunch break in the seats that we have dug ourselves. This is followed by more skiing, as well as close study of a the snow profile we dug. The day is coming to an end and we all go home tired and exhausted, but with a huge smile on our face that continues for the rest of the evening.
Had today’s weather offered poor visibility, as well as tracked snow, Bodie would have chosen to do rescue exercises, or show how the ski area assesses their own avalanche safety, and thereby made room for future touring days”.
When you travel with Snowminds we take care of all the practicalities. That way you can pack your bags and good vibes and focus on preparing for your next adventure.
With this course package, you can look forward to the following benefits:
What is not included?
Note: To participate in the program you will need to either participate in our 3-week ski or snowboard instructor training program in Canada in November and December or have a ski instructor education already. We will set you up with a job at the local ski school, where you will work and follow the course during the season. This product can be purchased as an upgrade to the standard ski instructor course in Canada. To learn more, check out our 3 week course in Canada, or the experienced course option for those who are already educated.
* This course does not offer a job guarantee as an off-piste guide. It provides the AST1 certification and training to take the first step to become one. The job guarantee as an instructor applies to all Snowminds Instructors who take this course as an upgrade.
**Applies to all Snowminds Instructors who take this course as an upgrade.
***Especially for the backcountry course, it is expected that you have touring equipment, which includes the following: Ski with touring bindings or split-board (or snowshoes), skins, transceiver, probe, and shovel.
At Snowminds, we take pride in offering everyone with the right passion and attitude the opportunity to become part of our community of ski and snowboard instructors.
Basically, we expect you to:
After submitting your application, we will give you a call and review your candidacy. During this conversation you will also have the opportunity to hear more about our other course options and what it’s really like to be a ski or snowboard instructor in Canada. We’ll then get back to you soon with more information on whether we can offer you a place on our team.
There is great interest in this course and therefore available positions fill-up quickly. Generally, we operate on a “first come – first served” principle. That means the earlier you apply, the greater your chances are to join the team. You can apply here.
We simply strives to make sure that by the end of the course, all learners will be able to:
For a complete table of the course goals and related learning objectives, we encourage you to check out this PDF.
Our team believes it’s always important to ask yourself whether a course makes sense for you and meets your expectations. We encourage you to give us a call to discuss your fitness for the course and your personal goals to determine whether the course is a good fit. To get the conversation started, you can reach us at the following numbers:
UK: +44 113 320 8847
AU: +61 488 844 708
NZ: +64 488 803 20
Backcountry Course in Canada
The next application deadline is 12th of October
January - March
Got questions? Call us!
March or April