young persons winter skills courses (16-20 years)

course preview

Many young people are taking part in more adventurous mountaineering either with friends, through a club / youth group / scouts / DofE / or with family and friends. In the nature of things – in our shrinking world – there are now more easily accessible mountain adventures open to younger folks – as part of a gap year or simply a progressive interest in the outdoors. What better way to spend part of the Christmas, New Year, February half term, or Easter break with friends or like minded other young people learning the basics of winter skills. This could be in preparation for a summer expedition or a first trip to the Alps, a DofE Gold Residential Course,  or an ideal way to extend summer hill walking into an all year round activity.

Maximum Ratio | 1: 6/8

Number of Days’

2 Day week end or 3 day mid week or 1 day private guiding. The minimum course duration is 2 days. Given the progressive nature of the course we only accept bookings from the first day. We do not accept younger folks on 5 day courses and would always suggest a couple of shorter courses rather than a longer course.

Course Summary

Designed for younger folks with experience of summer hillwalking  our introduction to winter mountain walking programms offer an ideal, cost-effective opportunity for younger novices to learn the requirements of winter mountain equipment and clothing – before investing heavily in buying specialist gear.

There is an emphasis on | developing navigational and route finding skills to confidently navigate in poor visibility in more variable weather conditions : the effective use of winter equipment & clothing. : winter skills using ice axe and crampons are taught intensively – without roped climbing, the use of a hill rope for confidence or safety only.


Dates & Prices

Course Title : | introduction to winter skills for young persons, clubs & student groups 16 – 20 years

Course Overview

The overall course programms are based on our Introduction to Winter Skills – Winter Mountain Walking and Winter & Munros and is those who wish to brush up on, refresh skills learned previously or extend their hill walking seasons safely into autumn & winter conditions with like minded friends. See our course itinerary & gear list

Previous Experience & Fitness : | Applications are invited from members of Scottish student mountaineering, climbing and hill walking clubs or registered mountain club  members aged between 18 and 22 years old at the start of the course who are already  fit and active hill walkers: who are happy to spend 6 hours on the hill, carrying a heavy rucksack to an altitude of 1000m.  Familiarity with map & compass navigation is required. Depending on the level of the course applicants should also have some summer rock climbing experience and be in a position to pass on their newly acquired skills to other students, young people or club members

Number of Days’ Instruction Max
Group Size
(Course only)
Dates Booking
2 Day weekend 1:6 £117 The dates for these courses will be online shortly  Enquire
3 Day mid week 1:6 £ 175.50  Enquire
4 day Pre Christmas, Christmas 2013; New Year & Easter 1:6 £ 234  Enquire
One Day Private Guiding – Introduction to Winter Skills/ Winter Walking  1:1 – 1:6 £150/1:1 to
 At any time subject to availability  Enquire

What is included                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Our winter mountain prices include: – All technical gear is supplied but if you do not have them ice axe, crampons will need to be hired at extra cost from us along with suitable stiff winter boots. We provide harnesses; helmet; all technical climbing gear such as karabiners; belay plates etc; all survival and safety gear; ropes. Please see our Winter Kit List                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Not included in our standard basic prices: -suitable winter boots; ice axe or crampons; map & compass; rucksack; any personal clothing – however most of these items can be provided or hired economically from us on site from our stores. Gondola uplift tickets at Nevis Range are also required for possibly the first one or two days – depending on the weather conditions.

Programme Itinerary

Except for an initial briefing & essential Winter Mountain Safety talk the course will all take place out “on the hill”.

The Itinerary will follow that of either the Winter Skills – Winter Walking or Winter Munros programs. Except for an initial briefing & essential Winter Mountain Safety talk the course will all take place out  “on the hill”. Depending on the length of the course the priority on these high input courses  will be given to:-

  • Winter Mountain Navigation, proper use of ice axe and crampons for safe travel through the Scottish mountains in winter. The assessment and prediction of avalanche and winter weather conditions will also be covered along with survival techniques.
  • Where a more technical programme is required for maybe a part or whole group who already have some winter experience the course is based on our Winter Mountaincraft Course. Here a lower ratio of instructor / student will apply along with a higher daily rate.
  • Winter equipment and clothing – choice, selection
  • Winter mountain navigation – pacing and timing; aiming off, trans sections; boxing, doglegs; relocation techniques
  • Route finding techniques in white out / deep snow conditions to minimise energy output.
  • Survival and rescue techniques along with safe choice of routes and planning.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Digging emergency snow shelters
  • Basic safety and nutritional techniques, which can be applied to a Scottish, winter, a first Alpine walking season or High Mountain Trekking holiday.
  • Recognition of and avoidance of hypothermia
  • Use of ice axe and crampons – ice axe arrests – self arrests without an ice axe.
  • emergency braking; step cutting, kicking steps; fitting crampons; walking in crampons; using crampons for ascent / descent; moving together; glissading. Use of ski poles
  • Safety on steep ground in winter with the use of a hill rope without becoming too involved in technical rope work.
  • Emergency rope work
  • A daily assessment of weather
  • Assessment of snow pack conditions along with avalanche awareness and prediction.
  • Ascent of winter munros & easy ridges.

Times & Meeting

We normally meet at 09.00 hrs at our meeting / lecture room at Snowgoose Mountain Centre. On weekend courses you need to be with us latest by 19.00 hrs on the Friday evening for the briefing / Winter Mountain Safety Talk / fitting of boots & crampons so that we can all maximise a full day on the hill on Saturday. We usually come off the hill by 17.00 hrs. Please plan your travel arrangements around these times.


Depending on the wishes of the group, the prevailing weather conditions & the length of the course the first day at least will normally be spent at Aonach Mor using the gondola up lift to maximise day light hours & snow conditions.

join a group of friends aged 16 + years, ideal as a DofE Gold Residential course or get the skills required for other great adventures.