***THIS IS NOT A TRIP - THIS IS REGISTRATION FOR THE 2023-24 BITS PROGRAM***
***PLEASE READ ALL INFO CAREFULLY***
Backcountry Intro to Skiing/Splitboarding (BITS) - 2023/2024 Program
Registration/Application/Payment Deadline: December 1, 2023
This is the central sign up for the BITS Program, the ACC Calgary Section’s introduction to backcountry skiing (BITS) program. It is NOT a separate trip (just a placeholder) – you need to sign up here to join the program. BITS trips will be posted by the coordinator and participants will be assigned to a group for each trip. For the December sessions, participants can place themselves on the wait list for their preferred session and will be moved to registered once they have paid.
BITS is a volunteer/peer-led mentoring program consisting of an online introductory online classroom session followed by a series of beginner focused ski tours designed to help you progress as a backcountry skier. It includes learning about terrain, avalanche safety, trip planning, gear and other relevant skills. And a chance to enjoy our wonderful backcountry! Upon completion of the program participants should feel capable of attending a variety of easy and moderate ski trips with the ACC Calgary section. It is open to all adult Calgary section members 19 and older.
If you have questions about the program, the prerequisites and/or how to register, we will be running online sessions October 30 and November 9. We strongly encourage those who have not done the program before to attend one the sessions.
The program will consist of an 2-2.5 hr online session that (Dec 4 or Dec 14), and three weekend day-trips. There will be two blocks of ski trips (one Saturdays, one Sundays) - you can indicate your availability and preference on the application form.
Block A (Saturdays): Jan 6, Jan 27, March 2)
Block B (Sundays): Jan 14, Feb 11, Mar 3)
March 9 and 10 will the designated make up days if a session has to be cancelled due to weather and/or avy conditions.
BITS is NOT a learn to ski program, nor AST1. Participants must have solid intermediate ski skills at the resort (i.e. be comfortable skiing a blue run in all conditions), and - if at all possible - have completed AST1 before the first trip. If AST1 may be an issue, please contact the organizers before signing up – exceptions may be made for the first trip. You are encouraged to book your AST1 course as soon as possible. You can look at avalanche.ca for listings of providers/courses, or contact the BITS coordinator for info (firstname.lastname@example.org). You also need to be fit – able to do a moderate 10km hike with a pack.
You must be an ACC Calgary section member to register. If you are not yet an ACC member or need to add Calgary section membership, you need to apply via the ACC national website. Once the section receives your registration confirmation from national, your calendar access will be activated. This can take a few days, so be sure to leave time in the application process if applicable. Note that since this program is 19+, you need to have your age indicated in your account info to apply -- you can update/add your age by updating your account info at the top of the page.
Please ensure that you have your profile activated in the ACC national's new membership software (you should have gotten an email last May - if not, please contact ACC national membership). This ensures that you have signed the new online waiver and accepted the new Code of Conduct. We will expect all participants and leaders to abide by the Code of Conduct.
There is $50 fee for the program; these funds enable us to provide our leaders and helpers with small subsidies to help with courses to improve their first aid/leadership/avalanche safety skills. Payment can be made via Paypal. The calendar now automatically notifies us of payment, so no need to send a copy of your receipt, but keep the receipt just in case of any IT glitches.
Note that capacity is limited by the number of leaders -- applicants are encouraged to submit their registration as early as possible to ensure a space.
Registration/Application/Payment Deadline: December 1, 2023
1) Sign up here to be placed on the wait list
2) Fill out the application form - should be submitted via Google Forms and register for one of the two online sessions
3) When you receive the notification that you have been approved, submit your payment to link at the bottom of the page (see above note)
4) Once your application and payment are received, you will be moved onto the “go” list
5) You will be placed on individual trips by the organizer. If you cannot make a specific trip, you must remove yourself from the trip and e-mail the organizer to let them know.
6) Trip leaders will communicate with participants to confirm trip locations/times. Participants are responsible for letting the trip leader know ASAP if they cannot make a trip and must withdraw themselves from any trips they cannot make.
7) Have fun!
Everyone who wishes to participate in the program must submit a FULLY COMPLETED application, which can be found here:
The application will be used to group participants into similar abilities for the ski tours.
You will need to have your own ski/split and avalanche safety gear (probe, avalanche shovel and 3-antennae avalanche beacon). Note that rental equipment is likely be limited this season – so book rentals early. Rental options are the University of Calgary, possibly Norseman, and GearUp in Canmore (the latter likely requiring additional trips to Canmore for pick up/return). Splitboard HQ may also rent split-board gear. It is important to be familiar with your gear ahead of time and make sure it is properly fitted/adjusted/DINs set. If need be, head out to the resort for day prior to BITS.
Self Directed Learning
Participants will be asked to complete several self directed learning exercises over the course of the program.
1. Watching a series of Youtube videos with helpful hints on ski touring and powder skiing technique (~30 min)
2. Reading Bruce Trempers book - Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain (~4 hrs)
3. Completing Avalanche.ca AvySavvy online tutorial (~2 hrs)
4. Trip planning prior to your events - navigation, weather, avalanche and group considerations (1-2 hrs per event)
All participants must sign the new waiver before every trip. You are strongly encouraged to read the section guidelines & understand your responsibilities: http://www.acccalgary.ca/calgary-section-protocols. We will abide by any COVID protocols relevant during the time of the program. We very strongly encourage all participants to be fully vaccinated & boosted prior to the start of the program. Trip leaders have the final say in who is allowed on their trips.
A Few Other Notes – Please Read
Please ensure that the e-mail on your ACC Calgary Section profileb= (the one you enter when registering on the ACC national website) is one that you check regularly and that you are receiving automated emails from the section calendar. This e-mail will be used for all automated trip notifications/reminders and send to leaders for contacting participants. Leaders/organizers will not be responsible for communications missed if the e-mail is not up to date.
We are capping groups at a maximum of 8 people (ideally 5-6 persons max). Once you are assigned to a group, you will remain in that group unless there is significant mismatch in abilities, and any changes will be made by the organizers.
If participants in the same household prefer to be in the same group for the purposes of carpooling, please indicate clearly on the application form. We will place household members in the same group where possible, however if the members are of differing abilities, they will be placed in the group appropriate to the lower of the two levels.
Finally, all participants must sign up under their own name – both so leaders know who to expect and for record keeping. As such, if you have a family membership, please ensure that you have separate sign ins for each person who is participating. To have separate log ins created, please contact the section IT chair: email@example.com
Any questions? Contact the program coordinator, Kate Snedeker at firstname.lastname@example.org
Google Drive with Info for Participants: