Backcountry Course in Canada

Into the Wild Backcountry


“The mountains are calling and I must go”. Do you dream of blue bird skies stretching forever into the distance, covering pristine untracked powder-covered peaks awaiting your signature? Our Introduction to Backcountry course will prepare you to experience these idyllic landscapes and navigate this natural wonder safely. Whether on skis or a snowboard, we promise that you will never look at the mountains the same way again!

Of the many ways to explore the backcountry, none offer the personal gratification that one experiences by traveling by foot. On skis, split boards, or on snowshoes, you will reach new heights, experience breathtaking descents, and the exhilaration of sharing the stoke with new friends, making memories that will last a lifetime!
This 20-day course runs from January to March, providing you with the fundamental skills to travel safely in the backcountry. Participants will receive training in touring equipment, powder skiing and riding skills, avalanche and tree well safety, snow profiles, route selection, rope rescue, first aid, and mountain rescue techniques. You will receive internationally recognized certifications in the form of Avalanche Canada’s AST1, Avalanche Skills Training, and Companion Rescue.

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 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 the backcountry? The backcountry is the area that is not accessible from a lift system. Here you are really out in the wild and can have extraordinary experiences that are not possible from the established lift system. The classic method of exploring the backcountry is to use touring equipment – other extremes are helicopter, catski, or snowmobile.

The Snowminds Backcountry Course will be your invaluable side-running program, where you will get approx. 2 days of 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.

Over a total of 20 days, you get a solid introduction to the tools that can be used when you go out into the off-piste 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.

"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 Backcountry Course Guide


Meet Your Trainer

Bodie Shandro, one of our most skilled instructors, is a highly passionate mountain guide. Bodie is a CSIA level 3 ski instructor, certified CSGA ski guide, and skilled backcountry snowboarder. He has several years of experience as a heli-ski guide and over 35 years of exploring the backcountry. Bodie instructs with the philosophy “You don’t know what you don’t know”.
In addition to Bodie’s backcountry skills, he places great emphasis on developing mutual trust and friendship among the group that lasts long after the last descent together.




“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 the 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 the 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 a 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”.

In itself, it's wild to "just" be a ski instructor for a season, but I have not for a single day regretted my choice to include the backcountry course.

- Sofie Teglgaard

When you travel with Snowminds we take care of all the logistics, 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:

NEW for 2024, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime field trip to world-renowned Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing. The team will attend a day one post-ski day guides meeting, overnight in Blue River, attend a day two pre-ski guides meeting, helicopter safety orientation, and a heli lift up (and back) for a day of touring on one of the spectacular local peaks!

  • 3-day Avalanche Safety Training (AST) Level 1 certification incl. 1 day Companion Rescue Course
  • 16 days of off-piste and avalanche safety training
  • 1 day of Red Cross Basic First Aid & CPR Certification
  • 1 day Backcountry First Aid Training
  • Hazard recognition, avoidance, and mitigation.
  • Avalanche safety – Tree Well, Snow Profiles, and Companion Rescue.
  • Guidance in touring, equipment, techniques, and route selection.
  • Navigation  – learn to use modern-day digital GPS technology.
  • Rope Rescue – an introduction to rappelling, ascending, and building rescue systems.
  • Help with visa application and all other practical formalities
  • A total experience where all the logistics are arranged for you
  • Job placement as an instructor in Canada*
  • Arranged Accommodation and season lift pass during your training course**
  • A strong community with fellow Snowminders


What is not included?

  • Meals during course
  • Potential Field Trip with 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 skis, 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 placement as an off-piste guide. It provides the AST1 certification and training to take the first step to becoming one. The job placement 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:  This course takes place at the destination where you are working in a ski school, with which you will have a lift pass and accommodation already arranged as part of your travel. Therefore expenses for lift passes, accommodation, etc., and staff housing are not included as in the price.

***Especially for the backcountry course, it is required that you have touring equipment, which includes the following: skis with touring bindings or split-board (or snowshoes), skins, transceivers, probes, and shovels. All of this equipment can be pre-purchased in Sun Peaks to ensure proper selection. You may contact Bodie at [email protected] for details.




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 snowboarding skills
  • For snowboarders, you must bring a split board
  • For skiers, you must bring skis with a touring binding 
  • Everyone must bring avalanche safety equipment 
  • Outgoing, positive, motivated, and responsible
  • 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.





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 From €3.595

Course Icon

Course Icon January - March

Course Icon Sign up deposit €200


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