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Navigation for Tourers & Freeriders

Intermediate Level - 2 days | Prices from £295.00

Being able to Navigate on skis or a board is often an overlooked skillset. For most of us it will be  rarely used, we may choose to only tour on fair weather days or may be in the habit of following someone else’s tracks. Being a skilful navigator is often the key skill that unlocks the backcountry, allowing us to tour and explore more remote areas and not simply follow the existing tracks. Good navigation skills are also key to avalanche avoidance. Allain Duclos, the French Avalanche Expert is so convinced about the importance of navigation that his 3 tips for avoiding avalanches are: Maps, Maps and Maps!

This 2 day Navigation course is ideal for any ski tourer or freerider who has a very basic understand of navigating, it is also suitable to repeat this course as a refresher of your existing skill set.

Course grading: guide to the course grading can be downloaded here.

10418-glenmore-lodge-ski-level-technique-2      10418-glenmore-lodge-mountain-skills-2      10418-glenmore-lodge-fitness-1

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Dates & Prices

Cost (with accommodation): £345.00
Cost (no accommodation): £295.00
Cost (with accommodation): £345.00
Cost (no accommodation): £295.00

Is It For Me?

This course would be ideal for an experienced piste/ off piste skier or ski tourer who is looking for the next challenge. You should be a competent skier, skiing in control on steep and bumpy red and black runs in ANY condition and have experience of skiing off-piste with a rucksack. You should have some basic experience of using crampons and an ice axe but this is not essential. A good level of hill fitness is required so that we can explore the Scottish mountains fully and enjoy some long ascents and descents.


Pre Tour Preparation:

Your plan is to get a fit as possible. The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the course.

If you’re more of a skier: Some of the days are quite long, so stamina would be a good asset.

Perhaps try and get out into the mountains carrying a rucksack with a 10/15kg load in it. Doing some

work in the gym or aerobics will certainly help.

If you’re more of a mountaineer: Make sure you get some ski lessons at your local ski slope to

freshen up your technique. It’s useful to have a range of different types of turns you can use to suit

the varying snow conditions encountered off piste. These can range from perfect powder or spring

snow; through to difficult windslab or icy conditions!

If you’re a bit of both: Do a bit of everything.

Course Aims

Navigating effectively in winter on a pair of skis or a board is very challenging. We will breakdown the skills and knowledge of this complex task so that you over the day develop your own set of navigational tools. Mixing classroom theory sessions with on the hill practice is a great way to gain the knowledge required to effectively navigate in all conditions. We will endeavour to conduct a small ski journey that allows us to put into practice as many of the tools and techniques as possible. This will obviously be weather and condition dependant and will be tailored to suit the groups ability level. In order to maximise our teaching time we may plan to use the ski lifts on Cairngorm, please come with your pass or be prepared to purchase a suitable lift ticket.


Course Content

Our course content will be tailored to the individual needs of the group but will also take into account the weather and conditions. Listed below is a range of topics that we will be able to select from to aim to meet your needs and aspirations.

Navigational tools: compass, altimeter, gps, mobile phones etc

Maps and contours

Digital mapping

Strategies for Navigation on skis/boards

Relocation strategies

Coping techniques for bad weather.

Sample Programme:

This sample programme will give you a flavour of how this 2 day might run and is therefore only for guidance as the weather, conditions and student ability/experience will dictate the actual programme delivered.

Day 1: You will meet your at 09.00 hrs. and once everyone has been fitted out with the correct ski touring equipment they will lead a short planning. This is your opportunity to discuss your previous experience and your ambitions for the future. Once everyone is ready we will head up the ski road and most likely stop at the lower ski car park if the snow line is low enough.

Once we have attached skins to our skis  we will leave the car park and head out towards Coire Laogh Mor. This wide open bowl is perfect for you to learn how to use a compass and altimeter to navigate through the terrain. Your instructor will explain various tactics and navigational strategies which will help you venture further away from the obvious features and still remain geographically located! As you head further up the mountain and the snow cover gets thicker the instructor will introduce the use of digital mapping, either on your phone our on a handheld GPS. Mixing all these techniques with the correct strategies is the key to being a successful navigator and the Cairngorm plateau is the perfect practice venue. Of course the reason we are learning to navigate is so we can find the best snow for skiing and that is what you will do, navigate to the top of a great ski line.

Returning back to the Lodge have skied from summit to valley we will , over tea and cakes review the day and plan tomorrows tour.

Day 2: Having planned a ski tour the previous night you will start the day quickly checking the weather and avalanche forecast to check that your plan is still achievable. One of the best day tours local to the Lodge is to ski to the top of Sgor Gaoith from Glen Feshie. This tour has lots of terrain features that will allow you to put in to practice the skills and strategies from yesterday and still get to ski from the summit of a munro.

What Will I Need?

Equipment List:

Glenmore Lodge is in a unique position of being to offer clients equipment at no extra charge. We do however, strongly encouraged clients to have their own equipment especially suitable ski mountaineering boots, please ensure that your boots have been fitted to your feet by a competent professional. If you have any questions about kit or you are about to buy your own then please contact Glenmore Lodge and we will try and answer all your questions and offer advice where possible.


Personal Equipment (* Starred Items are available to borrow from GL Stores – see equipment request form)

*Skis with touring bindings, skins.

* Ski Crampons/Harscheisen – essential for all ski touring copurses.

*Ski Poles – ideally fixed length.

*Ski Mountaineering Boots – for example Scarpa Maestrale or Maestrale RS

*Helmet – Recommended

*Ice Axe 45cm– for example Petzl Snowracer

*Light weight Crampons – for example Petzl Vasak  (leverlock)

*Avalanche Transceiver – for example Peips DSP Sport or Pro

*3m Probe and Shovel

Personal Clothing

Waterproof Jacket with hood

Waterproof  Ski Trousers

Thermal Bottoms or fleece trousers

Thermal Tops  – long sleeves

Mid Layers – Fleece or synthetic

Soft Shell or fleece Jacket

*Lightweight Belay Jacket

Warm Hat


Ski Googles

Head Torch

Warm Gloves or mitts: Thick and Thin

Ski Socks

*Altimeter and GPS – please bring these items if you have them already.

*Compass (Silva type 4) and whistle.

*Ski Touring Rucksack – 35 – 45 litres – ideally with a separate pocket for shovel and probe.

Rucksack liner and/or dry bags.

Vacum flask

Waterbottle – 1ltr Nalgene, camblebacks tend to freeze.

Suncream and Lip Slave – SPF 30 minimum

Personal first aid – some tape, Compeed, plaster for blisters and your own pain relief (aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol)


Course Pre-Requisites

Course grading: guide to the course grading can be downloaded here.

10418-glenmore-lodge-ski-level-technique-2      10418-glenmore-lodge-mountain-skills-2      10418-glenmore-lodge-fitness-1

Ski 2: You have been skiing for several weeks/years and are now confident on blue and red runs, controlling your speed by changing the size of your turns. Black runs are challenging but you are capable of skiing them under control by using skiddy turns perhaps with the occasional step or jump. Skiing off piste is a normal part of a days skiing but you are very much learning how to cope but mostly remaining upright. Your turns shape and size off-piste are very much dependent on the type of snow and terrain.

Mountain 2 – Experience of using touring bindings and skins is necessary. Some experience of ice axe and crampons may be necessary. For skiers, coping techniques such as side slipping and stem turns are essential and should be well practiced and reliable. Uphill and down hill kick turns may be familiar but require further practice.

Fitness 1 – As a skier you are capable of skiing all day with regular rests without noticing a significant drop in your technique through fatigue. You are capable of hiking in soft snow with skis on your back or skinning uphill for 2 – 3 hours (600 – 800m). A moderately heavy rucksack 5 – 8kgs will be carried during your course.


What’s included on your course

  • Instruction
  • Use of kit
  • Shuttle bus to Glenmore Lodge (departs Aviemore station 5:20pm on Friday and Sundays)
  • Packed lunch and afternoon tea each day
  • In-course transport

What’s included if you choose the residential option – As above PLUS

  • Bed in shared en-suite room – available from 4pm on day before your course starts *

(Single rooms may be available for a supplementary charge, please ask at reception when you arrive)

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner for each course day (except one day and back-to-back courses)
  • Use of the facilities at Glenmore Lodge
  • Linen is provided along with a towel, you may wish to bring an extra towel if you would like to use the facilities or are on a paddlesport course

Arriving at Glenmore Lodge

  • For more information on travel to the Lodge click here
  • Your first inclusive meal is breakfast (7:45 -8:30am) An evening meal is not provided on your arrival night, but bar meals are available in our Lochain bar 5pm to 9pm (5-7pm on Mondays and Tuesdays)
  • Packed lunches are collected at breakfast
  • On Mondays and Saturdays only there will be a 10 minute welcome talk at 8.15am, on other days you will meet your instructor at 9am. The daily programme of your course will be discussed with your instructor when you first meet, taking into account aspirations and prevailing weather conditions

On your last day

  • Check out time is 10am on the final day of your booking, we have changing areas, showers and left luggage facilities on site
  • All courses will finish by 5pm
  • On Fridays and Sundays we offer a drop off to Aviemore station, leaving Glenmore Lodge at 5pm, please contact us at least 24 hours in advance if you would like to book this service

*some exceptions – see detailed course notes

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check our FAQ’s here or contact us on [email protected] or 01479 861256

Can't find exactly what you are looking for?

Design your own course

We are happy to create it for you. You can hire one of our instructors or guides from as little as £280 a day, including any equipment. If you’re a group, all of our courses are available on a date that suits you or if you would prefer we can tailor a course to your requirements. Simply give us a call to discuss your requirements.

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