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Whether you’re an experienced backcountry skier or a first-timer in the backcountry, we will cater a custom course to your group to fit all levels!

We offer custom Avalanche Basics, Avalanche Rescue, and Intro to Backcountry courses at a 4:1 Student to Instructor Ratio. Looking to get a more advanced education? Talk with us to build a custom avalanche course that fits exactly what you are trying to get out of it!

Get More Time Spent Practicing Skills with the Snowcat

Our courses benefit massively from the use of the snowcat. Many courses spend less time learning terrain and more time approaching terrain. The use of the snowcat allows us to interact in a classroom environment while we approach and climb uphill. Saving time and getting you on snow to practice the skills you are learning about. Don’t worry, you will still have the opportunity to practice skills like skin-track setting to the top of our descent after our snowcat drops you off mid-mountain.

Learn from Experienced Instructors

Your education depends on the quality of your instructors and ours are the best. Course leaders are all AMGA Certified Ski Guides (the highest level of certification available to ski guides in the US) and all instructors have previous ski guide experience. These courses will be based out of the yurt and will include classroom and practical fieldwork. The snowcat will be used to access great terrain, the best snow conditions, and facilitate learning with an onboard AV system. All meals will be cooked by the guides.

Combine Education with a Guided Day of Skiing!

No need to keep things strictly educational. Have a 3-Day trip coming up and want to both learn and have a few great days of skiing with the crew? Consider combining your Avalanche Rescue Course or Intro to Backcountry Course with two days of guided skiing! What a great way to get your crew dialed in the backcountry and experience some high-quality snowcat-assisted riding in the Eastern Sierra.

Intro to Backcountry Course Information

Our Intro to Backcountry Course is designed to get you and your crew up to speed and start being competent backcountry users and part of a team.

The course costs $4,000 per day for up to 8 people ($500 per person with 8 people).

Learning Objectives Include:

    • Basic Partner Rescue Information
    • Gear Familiarization
    • How to pack your pack
    • Skinning technique
    • Basic bootpacking techniques
    • Layering strategies for temperature control
    • Best practices to switch uphill and downhill modes with your touring gear
    • How to move safely and efficiently uphill and downhill

Course dates

Custom Avalanche Safety Basics Course

This three-day course is aimed to develop a solid foundation in how to prepare for and execute a winter backcountry trip, basic decision-making in avalanche terrain, and learning rescue techniques required to find and dig up an avalanche victim. The course involves one day online followed by three days on snow, based out of our Virginia Lakes Yurts. There are no prerequisites for this course.

This three-day course costs $12,000 for up to 8 people ($1,500 per person with 8 people) and includes AMGA Certified Ski Guide as Course Leader, certification fee, textbook, yurt lodging, and meals.

Student Learning Objectives:

At the end of the Avalanche Safety Basics, students will be able to:

    • Access the local avalanche bulletin and learn to understand & apply. 
    • Describe where and why avalanches occur and key components for formation.
    • Understand Human Factors. Identify & apply simple decision tools to prepare for traveling in avalanche terrain.
    • Apply risk management tools: safety equipment, trailhead checks, and communication.
    • Learn procedures for Basic Companion Rescue.
    • Make key observations of snowpack and weather.
    • Practice appropriate snowpack tests for the current avalanche problems.
    • Identify avalanche terrain in the field.
    • Choose terrain appropriate for the current avalanche forecast & safe travel. Link participant objectives to terrain and avoiding Avalanche Problems.

Course Dates:

Custom Avalanche Rescue Course

What makes our Avalanche Rescue Course unique is that we can use the snowcat to do multiple top-down avalanche scenarios that are closer to real-life scenarios! It is a way better learning environment than a flat meadow.

The Avalanche Rescue certification course is a single-day, 8-hour deep dive into avalanche gear, rescue techniques, and basic patient care. While there are no formal prerequisites, this course is intended for students with an understanding of basic avalanche awareness and aspiring avalanche professionals. Students who will proceed to the Pro Avalanche Training Program will be evaluated on Avalanche Rescue Skills during the Pro 1 course.

This Avalanche Rescue course is $4,000 for up to 8 people ($500 per person for up to 8 people) and includes the the educational day, snowcat access, lunch, and apres snacks.

Student Learning Objectives:

At the end of the Avalanche Rescue course, students will be able to:

    • Understand and describe the importance of anticipating and knowing when you are entering into avalanche terrain.
    • Group Plan communication
    • Apply risk management tools like Trailhead Checks and Travel Protocols.
    • Understand and demonstrate priorities and actions to take if involved in an avalanche as a victim or responder.
    • Demonstrate effective application of search techniques in rescue for one and two beacon burials within specified times in search areas.
    • Understand and demonstrate strategies used in locating burials without beacons.
    • Describe likely medical issues to anticipate once buried victims are excavated.
    • Understand how to request EMS resources and what to expect with larger ICS responses.

Course dates: