Avalanche and Backcountry Skills Workshop

Location Whitefish

Season Winter

Difficulty Easy - Intermediate

Duration 12 Hours


This class is step one for the competent resort skier who would like to become more knowledgeable about backcountry skiing and explore the mountains away from the ski area boundary. Many resort skiers have the fitness and skiing ability necessary for backcountry touring but lack the basic fundamental skills, so they are intimidated. They should be.

This 2 day class will introduce you to the skills necessary to participate in future backcountry ski tours, either guided, or as a well prepared and informed member of a non-guided party. The camp starts with an evening session: learning about clothing and equipment selection, the contents of our backpack, and a discussion about the current snowpack conditions. Day 2 will be spent in the field, learning to travel across the snow-covered landscape. Along the way you will be learning about route selection, track setting, terrain management and survival in avalanche country.

The field session of this workshop takes place at Spiritworks Herb Farm and Farmstay. This camp would be a great prep for our AIARE 1 Avalanche Course. Take a break from the worn out boot pack and come join us.

Season Winter

Minimum Age 18

Trip Planner



Risk management discussion

Planning and prep

  • Backpack
  • Equipment
  • Clothing

Backcountry travel techniques

  • Layering systems
  • Route finding
  • Track setting
  • Skinning
  • Uphill pacing
  • Descending

Seasonal snowpack discussion

Terrain options based on snowpack and current conditions

  • Traveling in avalanche terrain
  • Open/closed terrain concept
  • Snowpack assessment (on ski tour)

Backcountry tour

Going forward

  • Mentorship

Avalanche and Backcountry Skills Course: $150/person

Check back in the fall for our 2019/2020 shedule

Shop for this stuff 






  • Boots: Alpine Touring, Telemark, or Snowboarding Boots
  • Skis or Splitboard with compatible binding for boots
  • Climbing Skins (fit to skis)
  • Ski Poles
  • Helmet (optional)

SNOW SAFETY EQUIPMENT (REQUIRED and available for rent at JHMG)




  • JHMG knows there stuff! My instructors provided a wealth of knowledge for us to learn from and an awesome attitude that kept everyone stoked.

    — John Howland
  • Knowledgable instructors and in a setting that inspires.  I learned a lot during my course and look forward to putting my new knowledge to use exploring on snow in the Tetons and beyond.

    — Ben Weaver
  • Very professional! Excellent instructors with a wealth of knowledge and most importantly, they know how to facilitate growth of one’s mountain sense.

    — Clinton Culp

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