Off-Piste Program in Canada

Into the Wild

The Dream in Canada’s famous powder


Do you get high simply from dreaming of fresh powder? Are you a skier or snowboarder who wants to become an expert in avalanche safety, off-piste skiing, ski touring and be able to plan the perfect line in different snow conditions? Yeah, we thought so.


That’s why Snowminds offers you our popular Off-piste Program for powder hunters like you. Both skiers and snowboarders are welcome – we’re a family, remember! On this program you can take the first step towards becoming an certified off-piste ski guide, by developing a strong understanding of how avalanches occur and the relevant safety measures towards it.




The Training


Our Off-Piste Training Program is designed for both skiers and snowboarders alike. To date, 100% of our Snowminds participants have passed the Canadian Avalanche Association’s (CAA) Avalanche Operation Level 1 course and gotten one step closer to a career as an off-piste ski guide. Now it’s your chance to take the same epic path!

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.  

If you select the Off-Piste Program, you will receive 20 days of intense off-piste training from January to March, in preparation for CAA’s 7-day Avalanche Operations Level 1 course. Your course begins in early January, where you will receive training in avalanche safety and equipment, off-piste technique, first aid, snow profiles, ski touring, and more. With this foundational training you will be prepared to participate in CAA’s Level 1 course in March. Both skiers and snowboarders (with a split board) are welcome!


Meet Bodie


One of our Canadian Instructors, Bodie Shandro, is a highly passionate trainer and ski guide. Bodie holds a level 3 ski instructor certification and is certified ski guide with CSGA. Bodie has also years of experience guiding the white gold as a heli ski guide. In summer he is shredding waves as fiercely as he shreds powder in winter. As a participant at our Snowminds Off-Piste Program, you couldn’t be in better hands. 


"Every student will leave this program looking at the mountains in an entirely different way. With awe, with respect and with a burning passion to return.”

- - Bodie, Snowminds Off-Piste Course Instructor



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:


  • Job Guarantee as an instructor in Canada*
  • Accommodation and season lift pass during your training course*
  • Lift pass during your CAA Avalanche Operation Level 1 training
  • 3-day Avalanche Safety Training (AST) Level 1 certification incl. Companion Rescue Course
  • 2 days of Red Cross Basic First Aid & CPR Certification
  • 15 day off-piste and avalanche safety training
  • 7 day CAA Avalanche Operation Level 1 course 
  • 7 days hostel accommodation during Level 1 training
  • All materials incl. CAA level 1 fee, course materials and certificates
  • Transport from Sun Peaks to CAA Level 1 course
  • Help with visa application and all other practical formalities
  • A total experience where all the practicalities are arranged for you
  • A strong community with fellow Snowminders


What is not included?


  • Diet during training and level 1 training
  • Possible expenses for accommodation, lift pass and uniform during the season (this varies from ski school to ski school)
  • Equipment for the season, such as avalanche equipment, tourski, etc.
  • Pocket money and anything else not mentioned above


Note: This off-piste program 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 certification and training to take the first step to become one. The job guarantee as an instructor applies to all Snowminds Instructors who also take this course as an upgrade.

**Applies to all Snowminds Instructors who take this course as an upgrade.



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:


  • Possess good skiing or snowboard skills
  • For snowboarders, you must bring a split board
  • Outgoing, positive, motivated, and responsible
  • Feel good working with children, young people and adults alike
  • Enjoy teaching and being challenged
  • Speak English at a conversational level
  • At least 18 years old


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.




What are the main goals and learning outcomes of the course?

As specified by the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA), the Avalanche Operations Level 1 course has several key course goals and learning objectives for all course participants. Simply put, the CAA strives to make sure that by the end of the course, all learners will be able to:

  1. State the nature of avalanches
  2. State the hazards of avalanches
  3. Describe and classify avalanche terrain
  4. Describe the properties of the
    mountain snowpack
  5. Describe, collect & record weather data
  6. Collect & record snowpack data
  7. Collect avalanche occurrence data
  8. State the factors and methods used in avalanche hazard evaluation
  9. Apply risk control methods
  10. Conduct avalanche search and rescue
  11. Describe the scope of practice for L1 ski operations


For a complete table of the course goals and related learning objectives, we encourage you to check out this PDF.

What employment opportunities are available for those who complete the course?

According to CAA, “the Avalanche Operations Level 1 is the first professional-level training course for persons seeking employment with avalanche risk management operations such as:

  • ski resorts
  • highways operations
  • guiding*
  • recreational avalanche course instruction

* Please note:* The CAA is not a guiding organization and the Industry Training Program (ITP) courses are not guiding courses. ITP courses provide critical avalanche-related skills training, but these alone are not sufficient for guiding, which in most cases requires additional training and experience. In Canada the Canadian Ski Guide Association and Association of Canadian Mountain Guides are the two well-recognized institutions that can direct interested individuals towards courses that lead to recreational guiding in avalanche-prone settings. Outside of Canada there are several different types of guiding institutions and local requirements or norms, the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations may be a resource to help orient students or clients towards responsible guiding practices or local guiding organizations. 

Is this course right for me?

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

Course Price

Course Icon 4 Week Off-Piste Program in Canada

Course Icon €3.585

Course Icon Next application deadline the 26th of April

Course Icon January - April


Got questions? Call us!