The Mountain Institute

The Backcountry Nav Course is an important part of a learning progression for anyone heading into avalanche terrain. Tour planning takes time and practice. While it is introduced in most recreational avalanche courses, most people would probably agree that more time could be spent on practicing applying the avalanche forecast to planning a route. Dave does a great job of introducing participants to some great mapping tools, he provides a repeatable process and checklist and is there to provide guidance while practicing these skills.

Caleb M.


“I have always been really intimidated by maps and entering new zones but after taking the Backcountry Nav course, I feel like I have a really solid grasp on the tools to make better decisions and stay safe when stepping out into the mountains. I look forward to heading into new backcountry zones with more confidence and a whole new perspective thanks to the tools and skills I have learned!”

Caite Zeliff., Professional Skier. Teton Gravity Research


I love how straightforward all the communication was and how the scenarios were realistic and on a realistic slope. I loved how interpersonal and close the group was and how much 1 on 1 attention we all were given.

Madison Rose., Professional Skier. Teton Gravity Research


After the Backcountry Nav course, I felt so much more comfortable with the idea of exploring new areas I had never been to. Knowing how to thoroughly choose a safe route through new terrain will help me every day out in the mountains!

Veronica P. Professional Skier, Teton Gravity Research

“You nailed it! I feel so much more confident and capable coming out of your class. You have a great way of simplifying and helping us focus on what’s important!”

Mountain Rescuer in WFR Refresher Course

“You just gave me the keys to the mountains I have been missing.”

Jerome N.

“The Backcountry Nav course showed me what modern navigation tools are capable of. The skills I learned will enable me to make more informed decisions in the backcountry.”

Josh Vincent, AIARE Instructor

“The online content is spectacular!”

VMRG SAR practioner

Understanding how to read and use maps is a huge piece of the puzzle. The Backcountry Nav class holds the keys to the magic kingdom of mapping and will open doors for you that you didn’t even know existed. His course will help you feel comfortable stepping off the beaten skin track and exploring new terrain. Let your eyes be opened to a whole new world!

Conor P.

“Thanks so much for a great course, I really enjoyed learning from you”

-Pro SAR med training.      AVSAR team member

“Although virtual, it felt as close to in-person learning as I have experienced in the past two years. The class embraces a welcome methodology that worked for me as a learner.”