Backcountry Skiing and Split-Boarding through the ACC Calgary Section

Last updated on Mar 5, 2024

The ACC Calgary Section offers a wide variety of backcountry ski & splitboard activities, ranging from single or multi-day tours and ski-mountaineering trips through to local cross country ski trips. The focus is to provide members with as many opportunities as possible to get out backcountry skiing and splitboarding, to develop and strengthen skills and enjoy the backcountry safely. In addition to day trips close to Calgary, multi-day winter camping or hut-based trips and lodge-based trips are typically offered each year. Trips are open to all section members who have completed AST1 and have both the uphill and downhill fitness and skills required for the trip. People who are new to the Section, the local area or backcountry skiing and splitboarding can take advantage of the Calgary Section BITS program, which offers skiers and splitboarders the opportunity to learn from experienced members and to become more familiar with local destinations. The Calgary Section Ski & Splitboard Committee supports leaders organizing section trips and works closely with the Training & Leadership Committee to offer skills and leadership courses put on by qualified professionals (e.g. ACMG Guides), such as avalanche safety and ski and splitboard mountaineering.

Note that unaccompanied minors (those not yet 19 at the time of the trip) are not permitted on Section backcountry ski and splitboard trips or any trips in avalanche terrain.  Minors may be permitted on trips where a parent/guardian is present at the discretion of the trip leader.  In that instance, the parent must also sign the Consent of Minor Release Waiver available on the ACC national website:

BITS (Intro to Backcountry Skiing Program, January – March)

The Backcountry Intro to Skiing (BITS) program provides an entry point to Section ski and splitboard activities and is a flagship program of the Ski and Splitboard Committee. BITS is a volunteer-led mentorship program that provides new (or new to the Section or area) backcountry skiers and splitboarders the chance to get experience in the backcountry.  The program includes an online session in December and three one-day trips with experienced section leaders running on weekends from January through March.  Skills and knowledge covered can include packing for trips, trip planning, terrain assessment, transceiver skills, avalanche safety and backcountry specific ski/splitboardskills.  The program is open to all Calgary Section members who are comfortable confidently skiing or snowboarding at least intermediate/blue runs at Rockies resorts in all conditions.  Online information sessions on the program are offered in October/ November, and registration opens in November and runs to early December.

Powder Review (Annual Section Ski Trip to Rogers Pass)

The Powder Review is a volunteer-run weekend in Rogers Pass each winter, typically in late February. Based out of the ACC’s Wheeler Hut.  , trips are organized by leaders for objectives in the area.  There is a fee to cover the cost of hut accommodations and a discounted fee for those who lead trips during the weekend.  All Section members with AST1 and sufficient (generally intermediate or higher) skills for trips in Rogers Pass can sign up for the weekend of fun activities in the hut and trips during the day.  In some years, the section also runs a concurrent trip using the Asulkan Hut in the area.


The Section organizes a variety of courses, based on member interest, skills development helpful for participation in Section trips and leadership opportunities, often at a discounted rate.  These can include avalanche safety (e.g. AST1, AST2), ski-mountaineering, winter crevasse rescue, backcountry ski leadership, ski leadership refresher courses and avy skills refresher courses.  The Section works with qualified professionals, typically local area ACMG guides, for their courses.  Cost varies depending on the type and length of course and the guide to client ratio, with minimum participant numbers required to run the courses.


Throughout the ski and splitboard season, that typically runs from November to May each year, a variety of backcountry ski and splitboard trips, and at times cross country ski trips, are posted on the Section Events Calendar.  It is recommended that members add ‘email alerts’ under their profile for the types of trips that are of interest, so that you get notifications of new activities posted to the events calendar. AST1 is required for all backcountry ski trips and AST2 is strongly suggested or required for trips into complex terrain, multi day trips and some courses.   Trips may be posted far in advance (e.g. hut or lodge trips, courses) or close to the day but are usually quite popular so sign up promptly and be sure to withdraw if you can no longer make a trip. Please be sure to read trip descriptions to ensure trips are appropriate for your ski/board & backcountry skill levels — and read the description and details fully.  If a leader is not familiar with you, please be ready to email (even better if you proactively send) a brief backcountry ski/split ‘resume’ that covers the types of trips you’ve done in the past, Section trip leaders you have been out with (e.g. BITS), your relevant courses and skills and other information that is helpful to determine if the trip and the group are a good fit for you. You can also be sure that your member profile in the calendar system is complete and up to date to provide a quick reference for trip leaders.  Note that the trip participant roster and the number of participants on a trip is at the discretion of the leader/coordinator and where there is a waitlist participants are not necessarily added in the order that they were placed on the waitlist. All trips participants must have signed the electronic, annual ACC waiver on the national club membership system ( and have agreed to the ACC Code of Conduct there ( If you are a current ski/splitboard leader, note that the Section has advance (up to one-year) booking privileges for Section trips at ACC huts. Please contact the Ski & Splitboard Chair if you would like to request an advance ACC hut booking for a Section trip you’d like to lead.

Trip Leaders

We always welcome new ski and splitboard leaders and support the ongoing development of leadership skills through annual course subsidies for leaders and leadership courses offered by the Section.  The demand for ski and splitboard trips is always high at all levels so a healthy group of active leaders is needed.   The requirements for ski and splitboard leaders are AST2 and valid standard first aid credentials (preferably wilderness first aid) along with the range of skills required to successfully lead the types of trips you intend to lead.  As a part of the leadership development and approval process, you will have the opportunity to take part in Section courses (when offered), to volunteer as an assistant with BITS program trips (note that BITS volunteers get an additional course subsidy) and/or to get out with the Section Ski & Splitboard Chair and other experienced trip leaders to shadow lead or help as a co-leader. When you are ready to become a leader, you will need to complete an application detailing your skills and experience, types of trips you intend to lead, your reasons for wanting to lead trips and the names of two Section trip leaders who can serve as references. You will be asked to demonstrate your leadership skills on a Section trip under the oversight of an experienced Section leader or the Ski & Splitboard Chair. Please look for ‘leader days’ or trips posted by the Section Ski & Splitboard Chair that invite aspirant and new leaders to develop or demonstrate their ability to lead trips independently – or contact the Ski & Splitboard Chair to make arrangements with another experienced leader.

Ski and Splitboard Committee

The Section has committees for each of its main activity areas and the Ski & Splitboard Committee, headed by the the Ski & Splitboard Chair, helps to facilitate a full calendar of ski and splitboard trips, courses (in collaboration with the T&L Committee), hut bookings, the BITS program and leadership development activities. Committee membership is open to anyone who is interested; a diversity of members and perspectives is welcomed and the time commitment is based on what you are interested in getting involved in, apart from the occasional meeting. Please contact the Ski & Splitboard Chair if you are interested in joining.  


The ski committee is working with the section and the national safety committee to ensure that trips and courses run in line with best practices based on ACMG & ACC standards.  Waivers must be signed for all trips – paper waivers are currently accepted, but are being phased out by summer 2024 and will only need to be signed by non ACC members and for guided courses.  Current waiver and liability documents are found here:
Trip leaders and participants are expected to report incidents as per the ACC policy listed here:


Contact the ski chair (, and for BITS, contact the BITS coordinator (