Eyeing the untracked powder beyond the resort boundary, but not sure how to transition to the backcountry safely and responsibly? Our entry level ski & splitboard course is designed for you! Whether it's deciding where to ride, assessing the snowpack or understanding the gear, our highly trained and experienced ACMG guides will show you the way and a free copy of the ACC's Winter Backcountry Leader Manual will provide valuable reference material once you're ready to go it alone.
As well as our regular course dates, we offer a women & non-binary-only edition for those looking for a gender-inclusive learning environment. And we also offer splitboard-specific editions which are taught by splitboarding guru, Chucky Gerrard.
Whichever, you choose, our fantastic location in Canmore, AB, gives access to the perfect learning environment in nearby Kananaskis and Banff National Park. For those coming from further afield, enjoy our convenient on-site, award winning hostel accommodation for a modest additional fee.
The main focus of this course is giving you the tools you need to start exploring the backcountry independently. Key topics of learning will include:
This camp is designed for those who have little to no backcountry experience. However, an intermediate level of ski experience at a resort is essential - you must be comfortable on ungroomed blue runs and you will have a better time on the course if you have some experience skiing with a daypack (30L) and skiing varied terrain and conditions.
You will spend almost all day outside (up to 8 hours), sometimes stopping for discussion or breaks. Come prepared for cold weather with warm layers and please read the gear list carefully making sure you have everything. It is imperative that you have a basic level of fitness to allow for access and learning.
If you have any questions about your suitability for this course, please contact the office before registering.
Accommodation is not provided on this course
Our dedicated on-staff Ski Guide Doug Latimer oversees all of our winter introductory programs. Doug has almost 20 years of experience in teaching AST and other winter instructional courses, as well as in developing course materials and ski guiding. We are extremely excited to have him on board for a third season after rave reviews in previous seasons.
Alison Cardinal, originally from Northern Ireland, has established herself in the Bow valley as an ACMG Ski Guide, one of the raddest moms around, and now one of our go-tos when it comes to our backcountry skiing programs.
Charles (Chucky) Gerrard, splitboard enthusiast and manufacturer, helped develop and now runs our splitboard specific courses. You can read all about Chucky in this recent ACC blog post.
Erica Roles heads our women's program and we are excited to have her back for our women's only edition of the camp. Erica is focused and thoughtful when teaching and you can expect her to point out every learning opportunity possible during the camp.
We want to provide the best possible learning experience and give you maximum opportunity to ask questions. So participant-to-guide ratios will be kept below a maximum of 8:1.
The ACC hires guides certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). Visit the ACMG website to learn more about what they do!
Don't have everything on the gear list (found on the right hand side of this webpage)? We recommend heading to Gear Up in Canmore to grab any items your might be missing. To ensure availability of items call ahead to book. ACC members get a 10% discount.
We transitioned from collecting the skis and skins from the rental shop on Friday having no idea what to do with them to skiing down fresh powder on a lateral moraine under Crowfoot glacier on the Sunday!
Erica is a phenomenal guide and instructor. She consistently checked back in with us and involved us in the decision making process, allowing us to learn by doing, which really made us think instead of blindly following.
Chucky is hands down the best teacher I have met with ACMG certification. He was positive, patient and did a good job balancing direct instruction and letting people learn by trial and error.
- Winter 19/20 Course Participants-
- Please try to register online before calling. If you are having issues please try to have your emergency contact information and course questionnaire filled out before calling.
Please be sure to review our cancellation policy before registering for ACC Adventures:
We sell Tugo® Travel Insurance suitable for both ACC Adventures and personal trips:
Alison moved to Canmore from Northern Ireland, and has spent a lot of time hill walking in the rain in Scotland as well as climbing and skiing in Chamonix, the Dolomites, the Pyrenees and Kenya. She is a certified backpacking guide and full ski guide certified through the ACMG. Alison is an active trip leader with the Rocky Mountain Section and the National office.
Erica has been working as a guide since 2005 and became Canada's 11th Female IFMGA Mountain Guide in 2018. Born in the UK, she spent much of her childhood in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She moved to Canada with her family in 1998 and fell in love with the mountains of Western Canada. Erica began her ski career as a Pro Ski Patroller at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Wanting to share her passion for the mountains with other people led her to a career in guiding. These days Erica splits her time between guiding, playing in the mountains with friends, and hanging out with her daughter Grace. Erica has worked for a number of different guiding operations throughout the ranges of Western Canada. She loves guiding because she gets to spend time in beautiful places but also because of the people she meets and the experiences she gets to share with them.
Participants and staff at the GMC are probably familiar with Charles “Chucky” Gerrard as the guy who keeps the camp running, can improvise a fix for almost anything with a roll of duct tape and the parts from an old dirt bike, and makes sure that everybody gets to where they’re going. In the winter, he does double-duty as an ACMG guide and a Level 4 snowboard instructor with CASI (Canadian Alliance of Snowboard Instructors). In his spare time, he hand builds his own gear.