Your Intro to Backcountry Skiing

This course is designed for those who want to transfer their alpine skiing background to the backcountry or want to improve on their existing backcountry skills. The venue will be near Anchorage, where the weather and snowpack are best. The skills taught are set at an international standard by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and the American Avalanche Association.

Skill Level

Intermediate to advanced alpine (ski area) ability, no backcountry experience necessary


November through June, one to three days

Introductory Course

  • Selecting and wearing gear

  • Interpreting weather forecasts

  • Interpreting the avalanche advisory

  • Conducting a beacon check

  • Avalanche companion rescue

  • Using your skins

  • Uphill skinning technique

  • Kick turns

  • Smartphone navigation apps

  • Recognizing avalanche terrain

  • Recognizing red flags for unstable snow

  • Travel techniques in avalanche terrain.

Intermediate Course

  • Tour planning

  • Reducing pack weight

  • Avalanche companion rescue review

  • Recognizing the avalanche problems

  • Conducting stability tests

  • Making a stability assessment

  • Decision making techniques

  • Transition efficiency

  • Track setting technique

  • Group management

  • Survival skiing technique

  • Smartphone navigation plan



  • AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide Joe Stock. Up to eight clients. A second guide may be added.

  • Navigation, first aid and repair kits

  • Emergency communication and shelter

Does Not Include

Photos of backcountry ski skills and courses