Are you fit, experienced, and the type of person that seeks out black and double back diamond runs at your favourite resort? Do you peer out the car window while driving through the mountains eyeing up potential lines to be shredded? Then you have come to the right place. Join 2-time Olympian and ACMG splitboarding guide Justin Lamoureux for three days of chasing down these sought-after lines. What once was a dream through your car window can now become a reality.
Over the course of this Canmore backcountry ski trip, you will receive expert tuition in steep splitboarding skills such as learning how to handle all types of terrain, how to perform jump turns on steep faces, and how to control your speed on icy snow, and much more. You will not only gain confidence and strengthen your technique to tackle steeper and more challenging terrain than you’ve ever splitboarded before, but you will be able to approach those narrow gullies and steeper chutes with a lot more control making some of those more remote or mountainous ski traverses comfortably achievable.
Video Credit: Dan Whelan
Day 1: 6:30 am (MST), Meet at the Yamnuska Office
- Interpretation of avalanche and weather forecasts alongside actual snow conditions to decide where is safe and good to splitboard
- Companion Rescue
- Uphill travel techniques in steeper terrain
- Transitions in steeper terrain
- Splitboard techniques for steep terrain: Stance, Poles, Movement, Side slipping, Turns
- Tactical, Technical, Psychological and Physical elements of the descent
Feedback will be specific to the individual so that you have personal top tips to take forward into the following day.
Day 2: 6:30 am (MST), Meet at the Yamnuska Office
- How to carry a splitboard when boot packing
- Evaluation of the splitboarding and potential hazards
- Techniques for cornices, narrow terrain, and entrances
- Managing the mental game
- Additional ski techniques
Day 3: 6:30 am (MST), Meet at the Yamnuska Office
- Plan a trip with a large objective in mind
- Take the skills from Day 1 and 2 and apply them to Day 3
- Trail breaking and traversing, techniques for efficiency on a splitboards
Meeting Time and Place
The course begins Saturday morning at 6:30 am at the Yamnuska office. The Yamnuska office is located at #200 – 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore. See this map for location.
Guides and Group Size
Our instructors are certified professional ski guides or mountain guides who are licensed to teach and guide in the backcountry. There will be a maximum of 6 participants per guide and a maximum of 12 participants on the course. There will be a minimum of 4 participants in this program.
About Justin Lamoureux
Justin spent 13 (or so) years as a member of the Canadian halfpipe team (and a few on the boardercross team as well) and competed in halfpipe, slopestyle, big air, and boardercross. He had the privilege to represent Canada through 2 Olympics (2006 and 2010) competing in the halfpipe. In between competitions, he spent a lot of time freeriding and being in the backcountry. Since his last competition (World championships in 2013, Stoneham Quebec), Justin has focused a lot of energy on splitboarding and becoming a splitboard guide. In 2014 he produced and released “The Backyard Project” web series where he attempts to ride all 30 mountains you can see from his house in Squamish. Since 2014, he has focused on becoming a backcountry snowboard guide and is currently an Association of Canadian Mountain Guides splitboard guide and a Canadian Ski Guide Association Level 2 guide and can be found guiding throughout BC.
Justin has also recently started Spline Snowboards, which has a focus on freeride-oriented snowboards and splitboards. He designs and makes each and every board from start to finish.
- 7th 2010 Winter OlympicsHalfpipe, Vancouver, BC (Canadian record for men’s halfpipe)
- FIS World Cup Overall Halfpipe Champion 2010 (first Canadian male to win the overall halfpipe title)
- 2nd FIS World Championships Halfpipe, Whistler, BC 2005
- 2nd Sims Championships Halfpipe, Whistler, BC 2000
- 21st 2006 Winter Olympics Halfpipe, Turin Italy
- 3 Time Canadian Halfpipe Champion
Participants are responsible for their own transport to Canmore which is a 1hour (100km) drive west of Calgary. Guests are responsible for their own transportation during the program.
Please note that program venues may be within National Parks and/or Kananaskis Country. For programs where transportation is not provided by Yamnuska/Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska, guests will be required to purchase their own pass.
National Park passes are available both online at https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/admission and in-person at National park gates and some information centres.
Kananaskis Country conservation passes are available online at https://www.alberta.ca/kananaskis-conservation-pass.aspx
Accommodation and Meals
Accommodation in Canmore is not included. A variety of accommodation options exist in both Canmore and Banff. We recommend that you book your own pre and post-trip accommodations well in advance as all levels of accommodations in the Bow Valley fill quickly.
Food is not supplied. Each day bring plenty to drink and lunch plus energy snacks. We particularly suggest bringing a Thermos and hot drink.
Equipment and Clothing
You will need to bring your own clothing, alpine touring skis, and boots, poles, climbing skins, and daypack. If you have your own personal Avalanche Safety equipment, it is great to bring this along as well as some beacons have different features which we can explain during the Avalanche review session.
The equipment and clothing you bring will have a big 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!
You need to bring:
- Climbing skins ‘Stick-on type’
- Ski Poles
- Splitboard boots
- Ski Helmet (required)
- Splitboard crampons
- Avalanche transceiver – digital transceiver with a triple antennae
- Collapsible Avalanche Probe
- Avalanche Shovel
- Daypack (large enough for spare clothes, lunch & equipment)
- Sunglasses and ski goggles
- Thermos flask and water bottle.
- Sunblock and Lip Cream
- Pocket knife
- Headlamp with fresh batteries
- Small Blister and 1st-Aid Kit
- Hand Sanitizer
- Small repair kit for bindings, splitboard (this may include straps, nuts, bolts, small leatherman)
Additional gear info:
- Climbing skins: The glue on the base of the skin should be in good condition and the skins need to be properly fitted. Try the skins on your splitboard to make sure they are the right length and width before you arrive.
- Ski poles: Backcountry poles need powder baskets on the tips.
- Avalanche Transceiver: A three antennae transceiver is required.
- Probe: A minimum of 240 cm in length.
- Shovel: A metal blade shovel is required.
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 (light weight synthetic or wool)
- Warm pants (nylon blend, insulated, or fleece)
- Warm shirt (not cotton)
- 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 (wool outer & polypro liner), several sets
- Wool or fleece hat
- Waterproof ski mountaineering gloves or mitts
- Face Mask
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.
Risk is an inherent part of all mountain activities. We strive to manage and reduce it however, it is impossible to totally eliminate. Learn more about our safety and risk management approach here. 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, 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 trip.
$799 CDN includes instruction. GST is extra.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Please note you will be required to sign the Yamnuska Release of Liability, and Waiver of Claims prior to commencing the program. Please review the sample waiver prior to booking and call us with any questions.
Is it for you?
This complex backcountry ski program is limited to participants 19 years and older unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and in which case approval must be given by Yamnuska Mountain Adventures’ chief guide.
Signature Series riders must have backcountry splitboarding experience and be advanced or high intermediate riders in very good physical condition. In the Yamnuska context, a minimum would be prior participation on ‘Intro to Backcountry Skiing‘, or ‘AST 2‘ or equivalent training and experience.
‘Advanced or high intermediate’ means that you are comfortable making parallel turns on most terrain at a ski hill and that you have enough riding skills to deal safely with all but the most extreme terrain found at a ski hill (that is to say you can stop, turn around, then traverse out of areas you can’t handle).
You must be in very good aerobic shape, as you will have to ‘skin’ up everything you ride down. You will get a good workout each day from touring uphill, so you need to be ready for big elevation days. You will be riding with a daypack containing your lunch, water, avalanche gear, and spare clothing. This program is not suitable for those new to splitboarding touring. There may be steep uphill turns and traverses that the novice rider will no doubt find challenging.