Avalanche Education at Bell Lake Yurt

There is no skill more important for backcountry skiers and riders than recognizing and assessing avalanche hazard, and using well-gathered information to make safe decisions. Let our team of friendly, experienced avalanche educators help you master the strategies to make the backcountry a rewarding place to play--for an entire lifetime of powder turns. All of our courses adhere to current American Avalanche Association (AAA) standards.

Level 1 Avalanche

Get a Level 1 avalanche course and a fully guided, catered yurt trip! Bell Lake Yurt's immersive, high-country environment takes avalanche education where it belongs: into the backcountry. Spend three days and two nights learning in the mountains--not a classroom.

3 Days/ 2 Nights

$575/person all inclusive

  • Price includes professional instruction, three days and two nights at beautiful Bell Lake Yurt, all meals, a certificate of completion, and plenty of turns! Compare at $400+ for town-based courses, and Bell Lake Yurt provides amazing value.             
  • With a maximum class size of eight (vs. up to 24 in other courses), and a maximum instructor ratio of 4:1 (vs. up to 7:1 in other courses) students receive personalized attention and the best quality experience possible.
  • Guests will need touring bindings and skins or a splitboard (no snowshoes, please), and an avalanche transciever, shovel, and probe. Gear rentals are available at very reasonable prices at local shops and through Big Sky Backcountry Guides. Please call 406-581-5754 for details.

This course focuses on the following:

  • Basic avalanche terminology
  • Recognizing avalanche terrain
  • Travel procedures in avalanche terrain
  • Formation of the mountain snowpack
  • How weather affects snowpack
  • Human factors and how they influence decision-making
  • Interpreting the avalanche forecast bulletin
  • Tour planning
  • Avalanche transceiver use and rescue skills
  • Field observations of terrain, snowpack, and weather
  • Basic use and interpretation of stability tests
  • Next steps

NOTE: Bell Lake Yurt Level 1 avalanche courses take place in the backcountry. The approach to our yurt is 2.6 miles and 1,600 feet, which usually takes around three hours of skinning with a daypack and sleeping bag. Please be physically prepared.


2017-18 Course Schedule:

(Click Dates Below to Register)

1.) Dec. 8-10, 2017 (FULL!)

2.) Dec. 15-17, 2017 (FULL!)

3.) Dec. 29-31, 2017 (FULL!)

4.) Jan. 5-7, 2018 (FULL!)

5.) Jan. 12-14, 2018 (FULL!)

6.) Feb. 2-4, 2018 (FULL!)


Please read important payment details at bottom of page.

Custom course dates available for groups of four or more!

Here's what people are saying:

Being in the real backcountry rather than lift-served terrain made it far more real, and I learned a LOT. Highly recommend.
The Bell Lake Yurt courses are an incredible value. WAY better than the town-based course I took before. A great experience!
The small group size and super personable instructors really made me comfortable asking questions.
Very well-organized and professional—and the setting can’t be beat!

Important Payment and Booking Info

  • Courses and camps require full payment at time of booking.
  • Courses are non refundable, unless your position in the class can be filled. An $80 administrative fee will be assessed to all refunds.
  • Payments may be made via MasterCard or Visa--sorry, checks are no longer accepted. Rates do not include 3% CC processing fee or guide gratuity.