Ladies, are you tired of heading into the backcountry with all the boys? Do you want to start leading your own trips, to feel more confident in your decision making and to explore backcountry areas that once felt out of reach? Well pack your bags and buckle your boots for the Alpine Powder Belles program based at Panorama Mountain Resort. Located in the Purcell Mountains just outside the quaint town of Invermere, BC, this backcountry clinic is a women’s only camp featuring fantastic female guides and coaches. Learn and refine alpine touring skills, gain the confidence you need, and acquire the know-how to make informed decisions in the backcountry! This Signature Series program will introduce you to the fundamentals of backcountry skiing and avalanche skills training.
We’ve partnered with Panorama Mountain Resort to bring you the Alpine Powder Belles program…an amazing all-female, backcountry clinic with a focus on learning, fun and camaraderie. Get ready to meet your new backcountry ski gal pals!
Would you like to discover more about the program and ask questions face-to-face with the Yamnuska team? Come to one of our discovery sessions.
Calgary at Ski West: Sunday, January 12 from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM. (300 14 St NW, Calgary, AB)
Canmore at Yamnuska HQ: Wednesday, January 15 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM. (#100, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore)
Panorama Mountain Resort: Tuesday, February 25 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM. (Venue TBD)
Day 1: Evening Reception
Alpine Powder Belles Welcome Reception and Introduction at the Fireside Café & Lounge. Meet your guide, Erica Roles, and fellow Alpine Powder Belles during our welcome reception. You will have the opportunity to review the program and get to know your fellow ski sisters.
Our morning will begin in the classroom, where we will learn about avalanche phenomena, backcountry ski gear, what is needed, and how to fit and adjust equipment for maximum performance. We will go through adjusting bindings and boots, use of climbing skins and the safety gear used for alpine touring.
Lunch is on your own at the resort.
After lunch, we will begin with an introduction to touring uphill, pacing and track setting techniques. This will be followed by a session on downhill ski techniques, coached by Erica and the finest from the Panorama Ski and Ride School.
The evening is yours to enjoy on your own or together with your group.
We start the day with a short classroom session about avalanche terrain and avalanche rescue. Afterwards, we’ll head outside to practice companion rescue skills.
Lunch is on your own at the resort.
After lunch, we gear up, take a short lift into the alpine, then head out for an afternoon backcountry tour. Our focus will be on touring techniques, terrain recognition and snowpack studies. At the end of the day, we’ll enjoy a long ski back down to the resort base.
Come dressed to ski! We’ll spend a bit of time in the classroom learning about the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale and the daily assessment process for touring in avalanche terrain, before boarding the lifts to get a jump into the alpine. Today we’ll head out on a longer ski tour, so be sure to pack your lunch. We’ll explore the spectacular scenery and aim to make fresh powder tracks in the pristine Purcell Mountains We’ll finish off the day with a group avalanche rescue scenario.
Day 5: Full Day Ski Tour
Grab your skis and a hearty lunch and we’ll head into the backcountry to implement and consolidate all the skills we’ve learned. Even with all the fun we’ve enjoyed, you won’t believe how much confidence you’ve gained over the course of the week. You’ll find yourself with the know-how to make informed decisions and get out and enjoy the backcountry.
You will receive an AST 1 certification endorsed by Avalanche Canada as well as a Yamnuska certificate of completion for the Intro to Backcountry Skiing at the end of this program.
Meeting Time and Place
Panorama Mountain Resort is the base camp for this program. Panorama offers one of the easiest mountain resort vacations you’ll ever experience. Simply check-in, ditch your transportation and step out onto the mountain. It offers a great variety of restaurants, pubs, and cafés. There is also free access to the hot pools for all resort guests, and an on-mountain massage and spa.
A welcome reception and introduction will take place on Sunday Evening at Panorama Mountain Resort at the Fireside Café & Lounge. Exact meeting time will be sent to you before the course start.
Guides and Group Size
Your guide for Alpine Belles is Erica Roles. Erica is an IFMGA/ACMG certified Mountain Guide and CANSI Level 2 ski instructor. Erica is a senior guide and has been with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures for 14 years teaching Avalanche Skills courses and back-country skiing. She is also a guide at RK HeliSki
Group sizes are kept small to maximize learning and instruction. The classroom session will be capped at 10, and the backcountry ski sessions will be run at a 1:5 guide to guest ratio.
For those participants who do not have a season pass, Alpine Powder Belles will receive 50% off a regular ticket price. Tickets are required for the 4 program days.
Participants’ names will be placed on a list and brought forward to Guest Services where they can purchase the ticket there.
Note: an accommodation and lift pass option is available.
You are responsible for transportation to the Resort. Once at the resort, no transportation is needed during the course.
Accommodation and Meals
Accommodation and meals are the responsibility of the participant.
Program participants will receive exclusive food & beverage specials during the week they are here. Details will be provided upon booking.
Alpine Powder Belles Lodging & Lift Ticket Special
Ski back to your room and not the parking lot. Ski & stay slopeside in our condos for the Alpine Powder Belles program for less than the cost of a day lift ticket! No joke!
$110 Per Person / Per Night.*
Includes: Condo accommodations all have cooking facilities, free wifi, underground parking, Panorama Springs Pools access!
Based on availability and group size.
Use these links below to book online depending on your group size.
*Conditions apply to all programs & packages. Rates subject to change and cancellation without notice. All facilities and programs subject to seasonality, availability and change. Not valid with any other discount or promotion. Minimum 2-night stay in two and three-bedroom condos. A $5 RFID card deposit is required per person when you pick up your lift tickets.
Need help booking your lodging? Call 1.800.663.2929
Please note that there are many other additional accommodation options in the area near and around Invermere. Panorama Mountain Resorts have a vast array of accommodation packages available. Village accommodations include a variety of Lodges, Inns, condominiums and townhomes. We recommend staying in Panorama Village to maximize your time and enjoyment in the program. There is a multitude of restaurants and eateries to choose from at Panorama Mountain Resort.
Equipment and Clothing
You will need to bring your own clothing, alpine touring skis, alpine touring boots, poles, climbing skins and daypack. If you have your own personal avalanche safety equipment, please bring this along. However, we will provide you with avalanche safety equipment if you do not have your own.
The equipment and clothing you bring will have a significant impact on the quality of your experience. Please be sure to bring all the items listed. If you are unsure about anything, please don’t hesitate to call and ask us!
There are two backcountry ski systems you can use: System 1: Alpine Touring skis are essentially downhill skis with a special touring binding, which allows the heel to lift while going uphill or across the flats and then locks down to become a regular downhill style ski binding. We recommend this system to anyone with a background of downhill skiing who is not already an advanced telemark skier. System 2: Telemark skis. These should only be used for this program if you are at least an advanced-intermediate telemark skier with some backcountry experience. This system is more complicated and less forgiving than the other.
Which should you use? If you are a downhill skier, then you should use Alpine Touring gear. If you are already an advanced Telemark skier, you can bring Telemark gear.
Both types of gear can be rented in Canmore or Calgary before the course. We recommend reserving your equipment in advance.
You need to bring:
- Skis with alpine touring bindings We recommend a short wide ski designed for powder. Please see note under rental information if you are renting ski equipment.
- Climbing skins ‘Stick-on type’
- Ski Poles
- Ski/Board boots (Alpine touring boots)
- Ski Helmet
- Daypack (large enough for spare clothes, lunch & equipment – all content should fit inside a 35 -40L pack)
- Sunglasses and ski goggles
- Thermos and water bottle.
- Sunblock and Lip Cream
- Headlamp with fresh batteries
- Small Blister and Personal First-Aid Kit
Additional gear info:
- Skis There are two viable backcountry systems, Alpine Touring, or Telemark.
- Alpine Touring: Essentially downhill skis with a special touring binding, which allows the heel to lift when going uphill and then locks down to become an alpine binding for the downhill. Bindings are (tech/pin type or A-Frame Type)
- Telemark: Free-heel Telemark Skis should only be used for this program if you are at least an intermediate/advanced telemark skier with backcountry experience.
- Boots: Backcountry boots are different from regular alpine ski boots. In the backcountry, boots need to have an uphill mode that allows a free range of motion in the upper part of the boot. You should not use your regular ski boots for touring and walking uphill.
- Climbing skins: The glue on the base of the skin should be in good condition, and the skins need to be correctly fitted. Try the skins on your skis to make sure they are the right length and width before you arrive.
- Ski poles: Backcountry poles need powder baskets on the tips.
- Avalanche beacon: A three antennae transceiver is required. Yamnuska uses the Backcountry Access Tracker 2 or Tracker S for all of our winter programs. (Yamnuska provides)
- Avalanche Probe: A minimum of 240 cm in length. (Yamnuska provides)
- Avalanche Shovel: A metal blade shovel is required. (Yamnuska provides)
We suggest bringing light clothing of varying thicknesses that can be ‘layered’ to achieve comfort and versatility. The most important consideration for clothing is the ability to regulate temperature as you change from periods of activity to periods of rest and from the ascent to the descent.
- Long underwear top and bottoms (lightweight synthetic or wool)
- Warm pants (nylon blend, insulated or fleece)
- Warm shirt (synthetic or wool)
- Medium weight fleece sweater
- Fleece Jacket
- Light insulated jacket or vest
- Waterproof jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or nylon)
- Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex or nylon, with side zippers)
- Socks – ski socks (wool or synthetic), several sets
- Wool or fleece hat
- Waterproof ski mountaineering gloves or mitts
- Sun hat
- Bathing suit (optional)
- Casual wear for evenings
Yamnuska supplies but feel free to bring:
- Avalanche transceiver – digital transceiver with a triple antenna
- Collapsible avalanche probe
- Avalanche shovel: Collapsible metal shovel designed for companion rescue
- Snow study kit
Skis, Boots, Skins and Poles can be rented from:
- Canmore: Gear Up – (403 678-1636)
- Calgary: M.E.C. – 830-10 Ave. S.W. Calgary (Tel: 403 363-0122)
- Lake Louise: Wilson Mountain Sports – (1-866-929-3636)
*Please note that your ‘DIN’ or ‘Release Value’ settings on your ski bindings are critical to your safety while skiing. Our expectation is that everyone arrives on programs with their ski binding’s release value correctly set. We have noted that some ski rental shops will not set release values on touring bindings. We advise you to rent from a shop that will set release values on your ski touring bindings unless you are proficient and comfortable setting your own DIN/release value. Failure to have Release Values correctly set could result in a serious injury.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require full payment on booking.
We ask that you familiarize yourself with our detailed booking instructions and conditions.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the program. Please view our sample waiver copy.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travellers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the national and provincial parks, however, costs such as air or ground transportation, long term care and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities, the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure’s trip.
$1499 CDN includes guiding and instruction, avalanche safety equipment and evening reception. GST is extra.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Is it for you?
In this course, we introduce participants to backcountry skiing through a better understanding of their gear plus the basic skills and practices required for a safer and more enjoyable backcountry experience. Participants will also receive the AST 1 certification upon completion of the course.
Participants are required to be at least intermediate skiers on alpine or telemark gear (i.e. must feel comfortable on blue runs in most conditions). Participants should be ‘hiking fit’. This course is appropriate as your first backcountry skiing experience.
PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO CONTACT US IF YOU NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM!
Toll-Free North America: 1.866.678.4164