The backcountry ski terrain in Hyalite Canyon is a 20-40 minute drive from downtown Bozeman, making it one of the most easily accessible backcountry ski locations to town, complete with peak ski objectives to tree skiing and meadows. MAG’s Level 1 Avalanche Course is for those looking to gain the skills and knowledge for safe backcountry travel. Our three-day course takes place in the backcountry of Hyalite Canyon and areas in Yellowstone NP south of Big Sky for all field sessions. This allows us the opportunity to look at two different snowpacks providing a much more comprehensive environmental classroom than visiting the same general locations each day. Class sessions will take place in Bozeman, MT.

NOTE: Exact locations for field sessions are subject to change.

Course Content
  • Avalanche types and anatomy
  • Basic slab mechanics Terrain
    Terrain evaluation and route selection • Travel protocols & group communication
  • Snowpack and Weather
    Mountain snowpack development leading to instability or stability • Field observations, tests and judging instability • Use of avalanche & snow pit tools: inclinometer, compass, probe, saw • Introduce elementary pit diagrams with hand hardness profiles, basic grain type symbols and stability tests. Expose to recording field notes. • Avalanche & snow climates
  • Decision-support Tools
    Human factors and the need for systematic decision tools • Application & limitations of decision tools • Avalanche bulletins
  • Rescue
    Companion rescue including scene size up, organization, beacon use, probing, shoveling • Recovery of victims not wearing beacons • Common mistakes in avalanche rescue • Single and multiple beacon search techniques • Role of first aid and emergency response in real avalanche rescues

Course Content follows guidelines established by American Avalanche Association

Recommended Reading
  • Snow Sense, Jill Fredston & Doug Fesler
    • Start with this book (130 pages)
  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Bruce Tremper
    • This book has it all and goes beyond our Level 1 Course. It remains a staple text for snow safety.

Course Duration

3 day course

2018/19 Course Dates

  • December 14-16
  • December 29-31
  • January 4-6
  • January 19-21
  • January 26-28
  • February 9-11
  • February 16-18
  • February 23-25



+ 3.5% public land use charge


Maximum 6 : 1 ratio

Don’t see course dates or schedule that works for you?
Visit our calendar for other course dates for you or your group.