Backcountry Essentials Montana

Location Whitefish

Season Winter

Difficulty Easy to Moderate

Duration 9 hrs


This one day course is ideal for the resort skier or rider who is looking to transition into backcountry skiing or riding. Our guides will help you to make the intimidating transition from from frontcountry to backcountry feel more approachable by sharing basic fundamental skills.

By the end of the day, participants will have been introduced to the necessary skills to participate in future backcountry tours, either guided or as a well informed recreational partner. This information includes packing, layering, pacing, navigation, terrain management, equipment use and emergency planning, as well as any teachable moments along the way or any custom objectives that you might have.

Participants in the course should be capable of hiking 2000 feet uphill in a day and must be intermediate to advanced skiers who are capable of skiing ungroomed and treed terrain. This course is ideal preparation for taking an Recreational Level 1 avalanche course.

Season Winter

Elevation 6900

Elevation Gain 2000 - 4000

Minimum Age 18 (Minors are eligible if accompanied by responsible adult)

Trip Planner


8:00-8:30 Introductions

Meet at Whitefish Mountain Resort Spruce Lot

8:30-9:00 Tour Planning

Go over the plan for the day, review the avalanche bulletin and establish open, closed and standby terrain for the tour.

9:00-9:30 Equipment Selection

Review packs and talk about why we have what we have.  Participants should bring everything on the winter packing for this portion of the course.

9:30-10:30 Avalanche Rescue

Guide will review avalanche rescue equipment use and function.  There will be an opportunity to run a practice search with our beacon.

10:30-4:00 Tour

The difficulty and duration of the tour will vary.

4:00-4:30 Debrief + Course Close

An opportunity to ask questions and to get a few next step pointers from your instructor.

Click here to check availability and sign up for a course.


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SKI/SNOWBOARD EQUIPMENT FOR THE BACKCOUNTRY (Packages available for rent at Jackson location ONLY)

  • Boots: Alpine Touring, Telemark, or Snowboarding Boots
  • Skis or Splitboard with compatible binding for boots
  • Climbing Skins (fit to skis)
  • Ski Poles
  • Helmet (optional)

SNOW SAFETY EQUIPMENT (REQUIRED and available for rent at JHMG)



Because of The Mountain Guides Montana Whitefish, Montana location in beautiful Flathead Valley and proximity to Glacier National Park our venues for teaching are one of a kind. Flights come into Glacier International Airport (FCA) daily. Amtrak arrives once per day.

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Here you’ll find online tools and information about joining us for a trip of a lifetime! To sign up for a trip, or if you have any questions, please call us. Listed on the left side of these pages are links that you may find useful, including printable forms and policies concerning a trip with TMG. We encourage ALL prospective climbers to read our Preparation advice. Our office can help place you with others who are looking to climb.

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