Backcountry Course in Canada

Into the Wild Backcountry

INTRODUCTION TO BACKCOUNTRY

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!

 

 

The Training

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.

Meet Your Trainer

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.

 

"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

A DAY ON THE COURSE

“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”.

WHAT DO YOU GET FROM SNOWMINDS?

 

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:

 

  • 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
    • Hazard recognition, avoidance and mitigation.
    • Avalanche safety – Tree Well, Snow Profiles and Companion rescue.
    • Navigation  – lær basic map og kompas skills.
    • Rope Rescue – an introduction to rappelling, ascending, and building rescue systems.
    • Guidance in touring, equipment, techniques and route selection.
  • Overnight camp in the backcountry (depending on the weather)
  • Help with visa application and all other practical formalities
  • A total experience where all the practicalities are arranged for you
  • Job Guarantee as an instructor in Canada*
  • Accommodation and season lift pass during your training course**
  • A strong community with fellow Snowminders

 

What is not included?

 

  • Diet during course and exam
  • Field Trip til Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing – tour of operations, guide meetings and SOP’s
  • Possible expenses for accommodation, lift pass and uniform during the season**
  • Equipment for the season, such as avalanche equipment, touring skies, etc.***
  • Pocket money and anything else not mentioned above

 

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.

 

WHO CAN APPLY?

 

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.

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

We simply 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.

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 Backcountry Course in Canada

Course Icon €2695

Course Icon The next application deadline is 12th of October

Course Icon January - March

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Got questions? Call us!