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Intro to Ski Touring and Backcountry Skiing
Intro to Backcountry Skiing
Home » Courses » Ski Touring » Ski Touring Courses » Intro to Backcountry Skiing

Custom dates available


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Group Size
Maximum of 6
Skill Level
Beginner Back country Skiers or New to Back country (must be competent skiers)

Intro to Backcountry Skiing

Discover the rewards of safely earning your turns...

This comprehensive course is an excellent introduction to backcountry ski touring. Participants will learn a great deal about trip preparation, gear use, touring skills and hazard awareness required for safer and enjoyable ski touring.

The main objective of this one or two day course is to give participants basic tools and confidence to safely get started with backcountry ski touring. It is also a great opportunity to discover some of the local Kootenay Backcountry and enjoy some fine powder skiing while learning from a seasoned ski guide.

To further increase you knowledge and confidence, the next logical step is a second backcountry day on our Nelson Classics Daily Guided Ski Tours or our Avalanche Skills Training courses (AST 1 & 2)

  • Meet your guide at 7:00 or 7:30 am at predetermined location to check weather and conditions, sign waivers & check gear
  • Drive up to ski touring destinations
  • Thorough avalanche training, skin up form car or take ski resort lift, instruction with alpine equipment, use, care and tips for ascent and descents
  • Full day programs, back from last run one hour before sunset.

Day 2: Field Day. We will meet at 7:45 or 8 am and drive directly to ski touring destinations (either skin up from the car or take the ski resort lift)

Here are some of the areas we may visit on this course:

Whitewater Backcountry

The backcountry near Whitewater ski resort is stunning, deep and accessible. There are many options to explore, using lifts or road access, including Ymir Peak, Five mile basin and Evening ridge.

Kootenay Pass

At 1780m, perched between the snowy little towns of Salmo and Creston, Kootenay Pass is the highest road accessible mountain pass in British Columbia. Here we will ski some of the best tree skiing in the southern Selkirks along with fantastic sub-alpine ridges boasting a great variety of open terrain. This destination is a must to all visiting ski tourers.

Mount Brennan or London Ridge

The Kaslo-New Denver highway gives quick access to some of the bigger alpine ski tours in the area. Both Mt Brennan and London Ridge offer vast and exposed alpine terrain, fantastically long ski descents and some of the most impressive local mountain scenery. To optimize your experience, these tours are best done in the Spring when the days longer, the snowpack deeper and temperatures warmer.

Rossland and Red Mountain area

The Rossland area offers fantastic lift and road access backcountry powder ski touring. It is infamous for outstanding tree skiing along with a consistently deep snowpack. The area offers a variety of possible tours, ridges and peaks for the keen ski tourer visiting the area.

Though this is a beginner touring or boarding program, participants must be intermediate to advance ski resort skiers and riders. Guests are responsible to self evaluate their skills as groups need to be matched together based on prior experience and ability. Please contact us to discuss your background and what kind of tour would suit you best.

Contact your guide by phone or email the evening before for meeting location.

Kootenay weather can vary drastically. In winter you expect temperatures to be from -15C to –5C in the day while in spring daily temperatures could rise well above zero. Visibility may be poor or whiteout conditions when snowing heavily or clear on bluebird days. Ensure you are dressed for all variations as temperatures, wind, precipitation can change within the day.

  • Pre-trip planning support
  • Fully certified IFMGA guide and/or ACMG Ski Guides service
  • Group safety equipment (communication device, rescue kit, first aid supplies, GPS, maps)
  • pre-trip session with guide learning how to use touring equipment, go over route and set up for backcountry day, avalanche training session
  • avalanche probe, shovel, transceiver

Not included in price:

  • 5% gst
  • Lunch, snacks, water bottle
  • Personal ski touring boots, skis & skins or snowboarding touring set up
  • personal clothing/equipment, see equipment list
  • Transportation to touring location
  • lift fees if applicable, one way Whitewater fee is $21; Red Mtn $25 fare
  • Trip cancellation, adventure travel insurance, medical insurance

Where can I rent Ski touring and safety equipment?

Summit Mountain Guides has a limited amount of winter safety equipment available for rental. Contact us for availability. Here are some outdoor stores Western Canada that supply good service, quality outdoor equipment and gear rental. Please ensure you rent gear well in advance.


Valhalla Pure Outfitters: (250) 354-1006
Rivers Oceans and Mountains: (250) 354-2056
Sacred Ride: (250) 354-3831
Gericks: (250) 354-4622
Whitewater Resort Rentals: (250) 354-4944


Red Mountain Resort Shop: (250) 362-7124
Powderhound Sports: (250) 362 5311


Revelstoke Powder Rentals: 1(866) 604-SNOW
Valhalla Pure Outfitters: (250) 837 5517


Higher Ground Sports: (250) 344-7980

Lake Louise:

Wilson Mountain Sports:


Mountain Equipment Coop:
Outdoor Center (University of Calgary):


Mountain Equipment Coop:


Mountain Equipment Coop:


Skis, Telemark or Split Boards?

Which should you use? If you are a downhill skier then you should use Alpine Touring gear. Only if you are already an advanced Telemark skier or Snowboarder should you bring Telemark or Split Board gear. All types of gear can be rented in Nelson prior to your day trip.  There are three types of backcountry systems you can use:

Alpine Touring skis are essentially downhill skis with a special touring binding which allows the heel to lift whilst going uphill or across the flats and then ‘locks down’ to become a regular downhill safety binding. We recommend this system to anyone with a background of downhill skiing who is not already an advanced telemark skier.

Telemark skis. These should only be used for this program if you are at least an advanced-intermediate telemark skier with some backcountry experience. This system is more difficult and less forgiving than the others.

Snowboarding with a Split Board is the most effective way to snowboard in the back country. We recommend this system to advanced snowboarder over snowshoeing.

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