CSGI Level 1


To have candidates attain a basic understanding of mountain awareness and guiding principles. To become proficient with the technical and practical skills needed to work as apprentice ski guides within a mechanized backcountry operation.


  • Canadian Avalanche Association Level 1 course
  • Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance Level 1 course or equivalent
  • Current 80 hour First Aid Certificate
  • Resume showing previous industry or related experience
  • Back country ski touring resume or trip log documenting experience

evaluation criteria

These are the criteria that participants will be evaluated on for successful completion of this program.

  • Basic proficiency demonstrated by finding 4 transceivers buried 60 cm deep in a 30m x 30m area within ten minutes. Transceivers can be turned off. Probe targets are to be used. The targets can measure up to 30cm x 30cm.
  • Demonstrate ability to build anchors, perform a lower, rappel a fixed line and ascend it.
  • Understand the fundamentals of a crevasse rescue system and be able to assist in an organized rescue. To be able to demonstrate a single rope system in the field within a timed period. The timed period will be at the discretion of the instructor/examiner depending on the site.
  • Understanding the fundamentals of a self rescue and be able to take charge, organize and participate in a search.
  • To be able to interpret basic terrain features in the field onto a map and from the map into the field.
  • To use a compass to shoot bearings for resection and route planning
  • To dig snow profiles and make observations within the time constraints of a mechanized skiing operation.
  • To adequately assess significant terrain features.
  • To identify hazards and hazard potential.
  • To route-find through terrain identifying safe and suitable routes.
  • To identify the safest routes in any given piece of terrain
  • To understand the fundamentals of guest management and be able to effectively communicate directions.
  • To understand the application of specialized guiding techniques.
  • Document daily observations and activities for reference and liability using a blank paged field book.
  • Demonstrate back-country awareness and the fundamentals of safe decision making.
  • Ability to work on a team, be open to new concepts, strategies, and demonstrate good leadership qualities.

Example of Level 1 schedule

The present outline is dependent on the weather and specific local details. Some changes will be necessary; the Instructors will announce daily scheduling.

Arrival, 5:00pm
Introductions and Overview
Course Outline, Manuals, Evaluation Criteria
Field Books (observations & info)
Transceiver Orientation and Practice
Helicopter Orientation

Morning Meeting
Navigation Basics
Terrain & Hazards
Review Day
Discussion – Snowpack Observation

Morning Meeting
Snowpack Observation
Information Gathering
Avalanche rescue – Demo
Review Day
Discussion – Decision Making 3×3

Morning Meeting
Rope Rescue;
Equipment and Knots
Crevasse Rescue
Avalanche rescue
Review Day
Discussion – Introduction tMechanized Skiing

Morning Meeting
Mechanized Ski Guiding;
Route Selection
Guest Instruction
Avalanche Rescue
Review Day
Discussion – Mechanized Ski Guiding

Morning Meeting
Mechanized Ski Guiding / Tail Guiding;
Route Selection
Group Management
Hazard Evaluation
Review Day
Practice Session – Skill Development
Mid-course Evaluation

Morning Meeting
Ski Tour
Terrain Assessment
Hazard Evaluation
Avalanche Rescue
Review Day
Discussion – Avalanche Case Study

Morning Meeting
Mechanized Ski Guiding
Tail Guiding
Group Management
Client Care
Avalanche Rescue
Discussion – Mountain Sense

Morning Meeting
Rescue Practice
Lost Skiers
Injured Skier Evacuation
Bivi Sac
Improvised Sled
Review Challenging Concepts


Morning Meeting
Transceiver Scenario
Rope Rescue Scenario
Avalanche Rescue
Review Day
Discussion – Rescue Gear

Course Evaluation Questionnaires
Candidate Evaluations