Advanced Winter Skills

As low as:

$995.00 / person

(at 4:1 ratio)


Avi Kit rental $75.00

Avalanche kit rental includes transceiver, shovel and probe. If you are bringing your own avi kit, this must include a modern, digital, 3-antenna transceiver, and a solid shovel and probe. If you do not have all three of these things then you must rent a kit from us to take part. Avi Kits once rented are non-refundable.

Mountaineering Kit Rental $75.00

Ice Axe, Crampons, Helmet, Harness, Carabiners, Cords and Sling. All these items are required to participate in the course. See the precise technical gear requirements in the 'Gear List' tab within this course information webpage. Once purchased - our rentals are non-refundable.

Island Turns and Tours Guidebook $69.00

Save on postage and have this indispensable trip planning guide delivered to you at your course. With well over 500 Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale rated Island tours, this guidebook allows you to apply the learning from your IAG/HVI course to doing real trips in the mountains.


The Island Alps are unique in snowpack and topography, and require that backcountry travelers are well-versed in route finding, navigation, rope management and avalanche hazard evaluation. On this five-day advanced course, we’ll teach the skills necessary to travel safely and efficiently through complex island winter terrain. Intimate group sizes allow us to maximize time spent learning, practicing, skiing and exploring.


  • Detailed trip planning
  • Ski/snowboard mountaineering
  • Higher level avalanche hazard management (including the interaction of avalanche and other hazards)
  • Snow climbing
  • Rope management (protecting, belaying and lowering) 
  • Glacier travel and crevasse rescue
  • White-out navigation

Included in the price:

  • 5 days with an ACMG guide
  • Group technical gear

Not included in the price:

  • Transportation to and from trip starting point
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Personal equipment
  • Avi Kit (available as a rental add on)

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details about our booking and cancellation policy, and other commonly asked questions.


This trip can be done as an extended winter camping expedition or traverse on routes such as the Augerpoint Traverse (among many others). It can also be done with roofed accommodation from locations such as Mount Cain, the Prince of Wales Range, or the 5040 hut.

The location of individual trips will be listed on the booking tab with the corresponding date. If you would like to request a specific location, please reach out.


The day-to-day itinerary for this kind of course is dictated entirely by weather, conditions, group wishes and various other factors. Your instructor will facilitate group trip planning that aims to achieve course objectives optimally given all these changing factors.

We will be in touch one-week prior with exact meeting times and details.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or send us an email. 


This is an advanced-level course. As such, we have a more rigorous set of requirements to ensure participants are able to complete this course safely.  Experience in technical terrain in summer is considered an asset, but is not required.

To take this course, participant should:

  • Be familiar with common climbing knots (see list provided)
  • Hold a AST1 certificate (AST2 encouraged)
  • Feel comfortable traveling for extended days in a backcountry winter environment 
  • Be strong intermediate to advanced level skiers or boarders (in this case, it means that you should be able to easily ride the equivalent of black diamond runs in natural and variable conditions at a minimum)
  • Have a high level of fitness (able to cover 5-15 km a day and 1500m elevation, or move for 8 hrs a day (with a heavy pack if on an expedition, or a day pack if the course is based out of roofed accommodation)

Pre-course homework: 

We ask that you are able to confidently tie the following knots prior to attending so that we can make efficient use of everyone’s time: 

  • Figure 8 (follow through and on a bight)
  • Overhand
  • Double overhand
  • Double fisherman's
  • Clove hitch
  • Prussik 
  • Munter or Italian hitch

We recommend checking out the “Animated Knots” website for instructions. 

Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or send us an email. We are happy to help you find a suitable course or customize something to suit your needs whenever possible.

Gear List 

Please be sure that all clothing and equipment is in good repair and functioning properly with boots fitted properly to bindings. If you have any questions about gear, please reach out. 


  • Touring skis/board, boots, skins, poles 
  • Avalanche beacon, probe, shovel (available for rent)
  • 60+ litre backpack (or something large enough to fit personal gear, group gear, and food)

Technical Gear

The following can be provided by IAG as a “Mountaineering Kit” add-on for $15 when you book.

  • Helmet (UIAA approved and adjustable)
  • Ice axe* (50-80cm, general mountaineering tool)
  • 4 locking carabiners (one “pear” shaped)
  • 3 non-locking carabiners (two should be matching flat stock)
  • Harness
  • 7mm accessory cord (2 x five-meter lengths)
  • Double shoulder length sewn sling (120cm length, rated to 22kn)
  • Boot and ski crampons if a spring trip


  • Warm socks, 2 pairs
  • Base layers (top and bottom)
  • Mid-insulation layers
  • Waterproof jacket and pants (Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable material)
  • Warm outer jacket (down or synthetic)
  • Warm toque
  • Face warmer (scarf, neck tube, face mask, buff)
  • Light gloves, 2 pairs
  • Insulated gloves or mitts, 2 pairs 

Camping gear

These items can be shared between contiguous groups to cut down on weight

  • 4-season tent
  • Winter sleeping bag (warm to -15 depending on time of year and forecast)
  • Sleeping pad (something that gets you off the ground and is rated for winter)
  • Lighters/matches
  • Pot, stove and fuel (available as a “cook kit” add-on)
  • Food (please note that all lunches should be ready-to-eat, and will likely be consumed on the go). For tasty, nutritous and locally pre-made meals check out


  • Sun protection (sunscreen, glasses, and hat)
  • Goggles
  • Camp booties or shoes
  • Small general repair kit (e.g. for bindings, thermarest, stove, tent. Bring any parts specific to your bindings/equipment)
  • Small personal first aid (medication, blister kit, etc.)
  • Personal toiletries (keep to minimum)
  • Bowl, cutlery, thermos
  • Water bottles (minimum 2L capacity)
  • Camera or phone
  • Headlamp
  • Water purification 
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Map and compass (compass available as a rental add-on, bring your own map for the trip location)
  • Altimetre (optional)
  • Notebook (Rite in the Rain recommended) and pencil

Your guide will bring communication and emergency devices and gear, a group first aid and repair kit, along with any shared technical gear.


Avalanche Kit: We offer rental transceivers, shovels and probes as an add-on kit when you book or by request pre-trip. If you do not have your own modern, digital, three antenna transceiver, collapsible shovel, and/or probe - please request a rental kit prior to your course/trip.

Mountaineering Kit: includes all items listed under "technical gear" and available for $75 ($15/day) as a rental add-on . These can be purchased when you book or requested later as an add on.

Cook Kit: includes a pot, stove and fuel. Available as an "add-on" for $15/day. If you require other items from the personal gear list, perhaps check out Sports Rent based out of Victoria, Blue Toque Sports based in Courtenay, and/or on social media to name a few.

Touring Gear: 'Ski Tak Hut' in Courtenay ( offers backcountry ski and splitboard rentals. Clients on IAG courses and trips are eligible to receive a unique 25% discount code towards their gear rentals from Ski Tak Hut - for the duration of their course/trip with us. These discount codes are distributed directly by IAG to our clients upon request. Rentals from Ski Tak Hut can be ordered online using the unique discount code. Note you will be asked to show the booking confirmation you received from us when you pick up your gear.

Winter 4x4 Vehicle(s): 'Far Out Wilderness' ( is a 4x4 vehicle rental service in Victoria that offers clients access to a fleet of rugged, reliable, and fully-equipped vehicles designed to conquer the most challenging winter terrain. Their vehicles come with snow tires with the 3 peak mountain symbol, chains, and ski racks. They also provide emergency equipment, including SOS, SPOT messenger systems, GPS, tire pump, toe rope, tire pressure gauge, a map to BC's backcountry roads, and a first aid kit. Everything you need to get safely to the ski slopes! Upon request, IAG clients can receive a 5% discount code towards their rentals from 'Far Out Wilderness'.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for information about gear fitting, rentals, add-ons, and /or other commonly asked questions, or send us an email.


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