Camp Highlights

  • Coaching and instruction from ACMG-certified ACC guides
  • Women's and splitboard specific editions available
  • ACC Clubhouse accommodation available for a small additional fee
  • ACC Winter Backcountry Leader Handbook included in course fee

Dates & price

    5 course dates
    •  Dec 7th-8th, 2019
    •  Dec 7th-8th, 2019 (Splitboard Specific)
    •  Dec 28th-29th, 2019
    •  Jan 6th-7th, 2020 (Combine with our Jan 4th-5th AST1!)
    •  Jan 18th-19th, 2020 (Women Only)
    • $250 + Tax / Person

Open the Door to More Powder and Less Crowds

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's-only edition for those looking for an all-female 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. And for those coming from further afield, enjoy our convenient on-site, award winning hostel accommodation for a modest additional fee. 

Camp Objectives

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:

  • Terrain decisions
  • Safe travel practices
  • Hazard assessment
  • Efficient transitions
  • Layering systems 
  • Backcountry equipment and what to pack
  • Basic companion rescue 
  • Trip planning

  • Although some aspects of avalanche safety will be touched on, this is not a specialized Avalanche Safety Training (AST1) course (which we would recommend taking in addition to this course). Our guides will be as accommodating as possible to each individual's unique goals and requirements so feel free come armed with specific questions or learning requests. 
    Day by Day Adventure Itinerary 

    Day 1 

    • Early morning start (to be determined by your guide); carpool to course area
    • Short session on the use of avalanche gear; avalanche companion rescue scenario
    • Lunch & discussion of afternoon objectives
    • Short ski lap: learn to use your skins and travel efficiently uphill; modelling of safe travel and group management techniques in avalanche terrain; tips and tricks for downhill skiing in backcountry conditions

    Day 2 

    • Early morning start (to be determined by the group) and travel to course area
    • Safety briefing and discussion of objective
    • Longer ski lap or laps: focus on efficient and safe travel; guide will model safe travel, be available to answer participant questions, and lead group discussions on gear, planning, conditions, or techniques
    • Course ends

    Evening Sessions

    The evening session will break down the basic trip planning needed for a winter backcountry outing: research and resources, trip planning, weather considerations, hazard evaluation, difficulty assessment, basic backcountry gear systems, emergency gear, and clothing layering systems.  
    Is this Camp For Me?
    Entry Level

    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.

    Food, Accommodation and Guiding

    Food will not be provided as part of the course. So please brink along a packed lunch and some snacks for both days.


    As this course is offered out of the ACC Clubhouse in Canmore, we invite all out-of-town participants to stay with us. Located on a high bench overlooking the Three Sisters, Ha Ling and Mount Rundle, the ACC Clubhouse hostel is the perfect place to relax while completing your course. You can reserve a room for the night between your field days upon reservation. Or if you need to stay longer, call our reservations team on 403 678 3200 ext. 300. 

    For full details on the Canmore Clubhouse accommodation click here.


    Our dedicated on-staff ACC ski Doug Latimer oversees our Intro 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 second season after rave reviews in 2018/19. 

    Charles 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. Our women's-only edition of the camp, you can expect to be guided by an all-female guiding team.

    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 course was very enjoyable and useful. I liked that day one was used to get familiar with equipment, planning and movement and day 2 was an actual touring day.
    • Thank you for providing women's Specific courses.
    • The guide was excellent, professional, very experienced and knowledgeable.
    - Winter 18/19 Course Participants-

    Common Course Destinations

    more information

      Email us
       403 678 3200 ext. 213

      Gear list

    Organizing Fantastic ACC Adventures For Over 100 Years

    • Local Knowledge - based out of Canmore, AB, we know the Rockies region and the best local caterers, guides and porters
    • Dedicated resources - full-time office staff, ACMG guides and group equipment on-hand to ensure your trip runs smoothly
    • Not-for-profit - any money we make on camps and courses is reinvested into providing services for our members and the mountain community

    Cancellation policy and travel Insurance

    Please be sure to review our cancellation policy before registering for ACC Adventures:
    Cancellation Policy
    We sell Tugo® Travel Insurance suitable for both ACC Adventures and personal trips

    Travel Insurance


    • 2 days professional instruction from ACMG certified ski guides 
    • ACC Winter Backcountry Leader Handbook
    • Group gear (emergency equipment, group first aid kit etc.)

    Participants Must Provide

    • Transportation to and from the field locations on Day 1 and 2
    • Accommodation (available at the ACC Clubhouse for an additional $30 per night)
    • Meals and lunches
    • Personal gear (see gear list)

    Your Guides

    Alison Cardinal

    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 apprentice ski guide certified through the ACMG. Alison is an active trip leader with the Rocky Mountain Section and the National office.

    Doug Latimer

    Doug has 20 years of guiding experience behind him as an ACMG ski guide and an ACMG apprentice rock guide. As well as his private guiding he has spent a number of years working for the UoC where he taught a range of instructional programs in avalanche training, crevasse rescue and backcountry ski and ski mountaineering. He also somehow finds time to run a multimedia production company! In 2019, we are excited to announce Doug will be joining us as our on-staff winter guide; the perfect guy to take care of our Intro To, avalanche safety and other ski courses. 

    Chucky Gerrard

    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.

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