Snowshoes provide a simple, inexpensive way for Canadians to enjoy the winter backcountry. Although most snowshoers don’t seek out steep terrain where avalanches are most likely, they can still find themselves in avalanche terrain,
Many snowshoe routes follow popular summer hiking trails; however, in the winter, these trails can easily be in avalanche terrain. Snowshoers traveling through valley bottom need to be conscious of overhead hazard and the risk of natural avalanches coming from above. In forests, they need to be aware of large, steep openings and terrain traps, where even a small avalanche can have devastating consequences.
Avalanche safety resources for snowshoers
Training courses for snowshoers
Many AST Providers offer Avalanche Canada Training courses for snowshoers. You can find a list of courses here, in a database that allows you to filter by activity here.
Online introduction to avalanche safety
Head to our Start Here page for a good introduction to avalanche safety, with a brief explanation of some of the most important things to know before you set out.
Mount Harvey case study
On April 8, 2017, five snowshoers hiking on Mount Harvey fell to their death when a cornice collapsed close to the summit. We have two videos available that summarize the incident, takes a closer look at contributing factors, and provide some lessons learned from the accident.
You can watch the condensed version:
Or the more detailed presentation from our 2020-21 webinar series:
How to snowshoe safely: 8 tips from an expert in the field
Whether you’re new to snowshoeing or seeking to build your knowledge, here are eight tips from an expert at the Northwest Avalanche Center to help you make sure it's a safe day in the mountains.