Where To Take An Avalanche Course In Big Sky Country This Winter


Whether you’re skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or fat biking, anyone who spends time in the mountain environment will benefit from proper avalanche education. If you play outside during the winter months, we highly encourage you to take an avalanche course in SW Montana this winter. It can save your life.

Yellow Mountain Meadows
Ski Touring Near Big Sky | Photo: D. Lennon

When you head into a backcountry environment covered in wild snow, you’re on your own. You are responsible for every decision you make including where you go and what you do. It’s your responsibility to read the free daily avalanche advisory from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, invest in the proper backcountry gear (beacon, shovel, probe) and learn how to use it, read avalanche books that teach you about avalanches and snow science and then do the most important thing – take an avalanche course.

In an avalanche course you’ll participate in both classroom and field sessions where you will learn about avalanche rescues, beacon searches, snow science, stability tests, mountain hazards, and more from seasoned avalanche professionals and educators. If you recreate in the mountains of Montana it’s time and money well spent.

Are you ready to take an avalanche course in SW montana this winter? The following businesses will offer avalanche education in SW Montana during the 2016/2017 winter season:

Avalanche | Photo: D. Lennon
Avalanche | Photo: D. Lennon

American Avalanche Institute – The American Avalanche Institute (AAI) is one of the premier avalanche education organizations in the United States. They provide snow science courses and avalanche certifications across the western US. Below are the courses they will offer in Montana this winter.

  • Level 1 – 12/28-12/30, 01/05-01/08, 01/19-01/22, 02/09-02/12
  • Level 2 – 01/14-01/17

Beartooth Mountain Guides – Beartooth Mountain Guides is based in Red Lodge, MT. They offer a wide variety of guided mountain experiences in the Beartooths, including avalanche courses out of Cooke City.

  • Level 1 – 02/03-02/05, 02/18-02/20

Beartooth Powder Guides – Beartooth Powder Guides provides hut trips, education, and guided trips in the Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains around Cooke City, Montana.

  • Level 1 – 12/9-12/11, 12/16-12/18, 01/06-01/08, 01/13-01/15, 02/03-02/05
  • Level 1 – Snowmobile – 01/27-01/29
  • Level 2 – 01/19-01/22

Bell Lake Yurt – The Bell Lake Yurt offers camps, guided & unguided trips, and avalanche education in the Tobacco Roots.

  • Level 1 – 12/09-12/11, 12/16-12/18, 01/06-01/08, 01/13-01/15, 01/20-01/22
  • Level 2 – 02/02-02/05

BSAFE – BSAFE is based in Big Sky, Montana. BSAFE offers convenient avalanche education in and around Big Sky.

Avalanche In Beehive Basin | Photo: D. Lennon
Avalanche In Beehive Basin | Photo: D. Lennon
  • Level 1 – 01/20-01/22, 02/10-02/12
  • Level 2 – 02/28-03/03

Hellroaring Powder Guides – Hellroaring Powder Guides provides guided and unguided backcountry hut skiing in the Centennial Mountains of SW Montana.

  • Level 1 – 12/16-12/18

Montana Alpine Guides – Montana Alpine Guides (MAG) is based in Bozeman, Montana. They guide rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and skiing and they provide avalanche education courses in SW Montana.

  • Level 1 – 02/03-02/05, 03/03-03/05

Yellowstone Ski Tours – Yellowstone Ski Tours is based in Cooke City and offers guided skiing and avalanche education in any part of Yellowstone National Park.

  • Level 1 – 01/14-01/16, 01/27-01/29

If the above dates don’t work for you, many of these companies also offer custom avalanche education courses too. Reach out to these businesses to see how they can help you learn the mountain skills you need.

ski mountaineering in big sky
Photo: D. Lennon

If you’re not interested in a full multi-day backcountry avalanche courses, there are always opportunities to take avalanche awareness classes. Learn about these courses at GNFAC where they feature a full calendar of avalanche events in SW Montana.

Boost Your Backcountry Awareness

If you venture into avalanche terrain, you put yourself at risk. The avalanche hazard in the mountains of SW Montana (Centennials, Tobacco Roots, Madisons, Bridgers, Crazies, Absarokas, Beartooths, Gallatins, and other ranges) is a very real thing. It’s up to you to take an avalanche course in SW Montana this winter so that you can stay safe.

Have fun and travel safely in the backcountry this winter.