Learn From a Leader

View larger imageCalculated turn | Photo: Jordy Shepherd

A mentor is someone who has skills and knowledge in an area you want to learn more about. It is someone you get along with, but more importantly, there is trust and respect between the two of you. A mentor has spent years participating in the activity you want to engage in. Safety, both physical and emotional, should be a mentor's #1 concern.

Please remember, however, that everyone going into the backcountry should be informed. Take an AST course yourself and use a mentor to enhance your knowledge. If you ever feel unsafe or don't agree with your companion's or mentor's decisions, turn around and head home. There is always tomorrow to go out and play in the mountains.

Having trouble finding someone who fits a mentor's description but want to get out in the backcountry? Here are some ideas of places to find a mentor. Remember, it takes a while to become comfortable with something new and to build a relationship with someone or a new group. It can be intimidating joining a new group! It takes a bit of courage and gumption but usually results in new adventures and new-found friendships. Dont be discouraged if it takes a while to find a group that works for you.

The internet and your community are great places to explore the following options and make connections. Spend a bit of time doing some detective work and googling sites. Make sure to check out "Links/Resources" of the various sites...they may lead you to what you are looking for! If you are able, go in person to talk to someone from the organization to get a feel if the organization is a good choice for you.

Look To

  • Your parents/guardians
  • Teachers
  • Coaches

Peers are not yet experienced enough to act as your mentor

Join a Club

  • High school outdoor club
  • Local snowmobiling/ski/snowboarding/nordic/snowshoe club
  • Local mountain's racing/freestyle club
  • Girlguides/Boyscouts
  • Outdoor clubs, e.g.: Alpine Club of Canada

Local Centres

  • Community Centres
  • University/College Outdoor Programs
  • Outdoor schools, e.g.: Canada West Mountain School
  • Parks offices (Junior Forest Warden's Programs)
  • Ministry of Tourism/Forestry offices

Professional Organizations

  • Search and Rescue
  • Volunteer ski patrol
  • Teach in the ski/snowboard school at the local mountain
  • Local outdoor shops, e.g..: Mountain Equipment Co-op under their "Connect" tab

related links

  • Fernie- Free Companion Rescue Skills Course! This course is open to all students age 10-18 in the great Fernie Area. Get out there and learn more! The course is a full day March 24th. You need to fill in the application below.

    Fernie- Free Companion Rescue Skills Course!
  • Fernie Companion Rescue Skills Course Application Fill in this quick form to apply for the free Companion Rescue Skills course in Fernie. Applications must be received by March 12th.

    Fernie Companion Rescue Skills Course Application
  • Behind the Lines - Video contest
  • CAC Avalanche Bulletins
  • Parks Canada Backcountry Checklist
  • The Right Gear from AdventureSmart
  • Check Out The Fine Line

    Check Out The Fine Line
  • Behind The Lines - Now on Facebook  is all about teaching you the right place to charge and the right place to ease off, it's about teaching you to pick your pow.

    Behind The Lines - Now on Facebook
  • Friend behind the lines