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  Phone: 403 678 4164 - 1 866 678 4164

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Why choose a private program?

You would typically choose a private or custom program when your objectives, schedule and expectations are not matched by those offered on our scheduled programs.

You can hire a guide to do trips from as short as one day. In addition to backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering and avalanche awareness we offer ice climbing, mountaineering, rock climbing and hiking / trekking. As Canada's premier mountain guiding orgranization we are certain that we can meet your expectations like no one else.

Yamnuska guides and instructors are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. In addition to certification, which only relates to a guide's technical competence, all of our guides have access to Yamnuska's staff training and guide mentoring programs which help to develop many other key qualities required of a professional guide. They need to be endowed with patience, empathy, and a sense of humor as well as being effective communicators and great coaches. We are in the very fortunate position to only hire the best guides.

How does it work?

If you would like to consider a private or custom program you would contact us directly, by email ( or phone (403 678 4164) and describe what you are interested in doing. We would discuss your objectives, experience and expectations and in turn outline a program or itinerary that would meet your needs. You may already know what you want to do or one of our experts can give you options.

Private Ski Guiding

Planning your own backcountry ski program on a private basis can be extremely rewarding in terms of what you achieve. This is because the pace of the skiing depends on you and your group, there is no compromise involved as the sole aim is to satisfy your backcountry skiing goals.

Our depth of knowledge in the Canadian Rockies and surrounding mountain ranges is unmatched. Ski touring, backcountry skiing, or ski mountaineering are all popular private ski guiding activities that we have years of experience planning single and multi day trips. We can organize rental gear, accommodations and food so all you need to do is focus on the skiing.

Backcountry ski guiding is very popular with people who are in town resort skiing but want to experience the beauty of our backcountry environment for a day or two.

Options and Program Ideas

Single day or multi day we are the experts in this area. We invite you to read some of our suggested trip ideas or bring your 'To Do' list with you!

Backcountry Skiing Split Boarding

Day tours in the Rockies:

The highways that traverse the Rockies provide easy access to a wonderful variety of terrain and make rewarding day tours possible. From Canmore, Banff & Lake Louise you can book ski tours for one or several days. Kananaskis Country and the Rocky Mountain National Parks (Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho) are all possible day destinations (Jasper is further away and you may be better staying at one of the hotels or hostels along the Banff-Jasper Parkway).

Private Day tours the are easiest to organize and involve the fewest costs, typically just guide fee plus gear rentals, if you are supplying transport.

Rogers Pass in the Selkirk Mountains (Glacier National Park)

Due to its heavy annual snowfall, challenging terrain and easy access from the Trans Canada Highway, Rogers Pass has justifiably become a Mecca for backcountry skiers. If you are looking for steep treed terrain and lots of powder this is probably your best option in December to early March. Due to the travel time involved in getting there (3 hours from Canmore) we suggest you book for at least 2 days. You can stay at the Best Western Glacier Park Lodge (skier packages available) and ski right from the Hotel, or you can stay in the Alpine Club's historic Wheeler Hut which is located 2 flat kilometers from the road. You can even daytrip from Golden and include a day touring from Golden's fabulous Kicking Horse Resort. We highly recommend Rogers Pass for experienced backcountry skiers and split boarders.

Multi-day Trips

There are several backcountry huts which we can use on private programs. Some are Alpine Club Huts with basic facilities and others are well-appointed chalets with running water, saunas etc. Let us discuss possibilities with you. These cabins are often booked months in advance so must be booked very early. We would suggest this option for larger groups. Hut based or backcountry winter camping are options for some of the famous ski traverses in the Canadian Rockies.

Ski and Board Mountaineering

Day Tours

In late March, April & early May it is possible to ski high into the alpine zone in Kananaskis Country and off the highway near Lake Louise and Bow Lake.  Banff National Park offers some incredible ski mountaineering opportunities as day trips.

Wapta Icefields

With its linked huts this area is one of the best for glacier ski mountaineering in North America. Using these huts we can organize programs where you either stay based in the same hut or move between huts. We can organize a private Wapta Traverse for you and your group (see Wapta Traverse). This is perhaps one of the most popular private options and best for beginners.

Clemenceau Glacier

Remote and accessed by helicopter or skiplane this area is fabulous for ski mountaineering. You can base from the Alpine Club's Lawrence Grassi Hut or you can camp and move around onto the other nearby glaciers (Apex & Chaba Icefield).

Columbia Icefields

Easily reached from the Banff-Jasper Parkway or by helicopter, these vast icefields offer the possibility of high ascents of peaks such as Mt. Columbia (Highest point in Alberta), Mt. Kitchener, Snow Dome, Castleguard and the Twins. These are multi-day trips which involve lots of elevation gain, glacier travel and winter camping. For some, it is the experience of a lifetime.

Ski Traverses

There are several major multi-day traverses in the Rockies and Interior Mountains of British Columbia that we can organize on a private basis. They include the Cariboo Traverse, the Bugaboos to Rogers Pass Traverse and the Clemenceau to Columbia Icefields Traverse. These are multi-day high camp based trips which are best suited for experienced ski mountaineers.

Avalanche Awareness

Avalanche awareness training can be incorporated into any of the other backcountry ski or board based programs. We suggest basing an avalanche program in either Canmore or Lake Louise where we can use classroom facilities with field trips to nearby mountains. This type of program lends itself to private groups or individuals with a specific schedule.


Yamnuska guides are some of the best in the industry.  Our standards are very high and we are totally committed to providing you with the best possible experience.  Our guiding team benefits from staff training, peer and client review, daily conditions reports, and support from senior guides. We back up all of our programs with a full time, on-call Duty Manager and support network ready to help in any situation.  We also have cutting edge, modern equipment ready to rent or borrow on all of our programs.

When you arrange a private or custom program we will quote you a guide fee plus the expenses incurred in running the program. It is important to understand that should you wish to shorten your trip due to weather or personal reasons will we not be able to offer refunds since resources would have been fully committed by this time.

For your convenience and information we offer an outline of sample costs involved.


Backcountry Skiing Day Trips:  This would include local day trips or avalanche training field days to locations in Kananaskis Country, Banff National Park, and Yoho National Park.  Typical destinations include Bow Summit, Black Prince, Burstall Pass, Tent Ridge, Tryst Lake, and Observation Peak. Avalanche safety equipment can be provided for an extra $18/day (Beacon, Probe, and Shovel). We can arrange backcountry rental gear for you at a local rental shop.

Number in group

Cost / person (Cdn)
1 $525
2 $290
3 $225
5 or more Please contact the Yamnuska Office

Ski Mountaineering & Advanced Ski Trips:  This would include more advanced ski destinations such as Rogers Pass and multi-day Ski Mountaineering or Traverse trips such as a private Wapta Traverse. Avalanche safety equipment can be provided for an extra $18/day (Beacon, Probe, and Shovel).

Number in group

Cost / person (Cdn)
1 $495
2 $280
3 $225
4 $190
5 or more Please contact the Yamnuska Office

These costs do not include Goods & Services Tax (GST) which is 5%. Gratuities are not included.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through Travel Guard.

Guide's Expenses 

Your quote will contain reasonable and modest guide's expenses during your program. These include driving costs (unless you drive the guide), accommodation and meals (doesn't apply to day tours), helicopter costs etc.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Other charges that may apply to a private program are:

National Park Fees: If we ski in Banff or the other National Parks entry fees apply (c. $9/day/person) and if we overnight in a hut or camp a further $10/night/person Wilderness Fee applies.

Helicopter Access: Some backcountry huts (e.g. Fairy Meadows) or areas (Mt. Assiniboine) are accessed by helicopter. Where the fee is fixed, we can include it in our package price.  In some cases this fee can vary and we will give you our best estimate and arrange for you to pay the helicopter pilot or company directly.

Porters: We can arrange for a porter to help on the climb up to a hut to lessen your loads. The charge for a porter is $200/day plus the porter's gas costs. We may recommend this when accessing Bow Hut in the Wapta Icefields depending on your fitness and experience.

Before booking your private program we will give you a final quote as to cost.

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