Snow Safety & Awareness

The yurts are located in avalanche country and we must treat this with the utmost respect. Avalanche beacons, shovels, and probes are mandatory for anyone visiting the yurts. Natural and human triggered avalanches can and do happen in our area, so safe practices are a must. Know your snowpack, dig pits, follow safe routes, ski one at a time and follow your instincts! The following is an excerpt from Snow Sense, by Jill Fredston and Doug Fesler:

'Avalanches do not happen by accident, they occur for particular reasons. Most of the avalanches catching people are triggered by people, and the same mistakes are being made repeatedly. While some accidents are a result of not recognizing potential hazard, most accidents occur because the victims either underestimate the hazard or overestimate their ability to deal with it, often exercising poor route selection or choice of timing. Many of the accidents involve “experienced” skiers or mountain travelers. Nearly all avalanche accidents can be avoided. The clues are there. The key is to learn to read “nature’s billboards.”’

Travel and ski safely in the backcountry!

Check out for local reports.

Avalanche Level 1 Classes

Available Dates for 2017-18 season:  Thanks for thinking of YurtSki for your Avalanche Education!

Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any classes this season. 

Please check out Missoula Avalanche for other education opportunities 


 Women's Only Avalanche Level 1

Currently determining details for the 2018 - 2019 season
Please check out Missoula Avalanche for more education opportunities

Yurtski's all women's  course will cover all the same information as our regular avalanche classes, except it is designed and taught by women for women.  With the Swan Range as our classroom, we'll look at terrain management, decision making, route finding, snow pit analysis, beacon searches, and rescue scenarios.  Class follows American Avalanche Association curriculum and guidelines.  The class includes yurt stay, instructors, all meals, and a gear haul.  The yurts are the perfect environment to be immersed in the snow and avalanche country.  Don't miss out on this great educational opportunity!  Come and be part of an All Women's Avy 1

- Classroom session in Missoula followed by a 2 night/3 day field session at Yurtski.


This course is deigned for backcountry skiers who are seeking avalanche safety education.  We ask that participants have strong skiing abilty, some backcountry skiing experience, and are familiar with their equipment.  Participants can anticipate long days out in winter weather conditions so they must be proficient in keeping warm, and traveling efficiently.  This includes knowing your personal equipment such as bindings and skins or snowshoes and having the ability to skin/snowshoe on steep terrain for several hours each day.

Some great resources for avalanche safety are:
Secret’s of the Snow: Visual Clues to Avalanches and Ski Conditions and Field Guide to Snow Crystals by Edward La Chapelle
Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper
Canadian Avalanche Association’s Backcountry Avalanche Awareness by Bruce Jamieson
Snow Sense by Jill Fredston and Doug Fesler

Other good snow reads:
Snowstruck by Jill Fredston
Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment by Hal Clifford
The Snowflake: Winter’s Secret Beauty by Kenneth Libbrecht and Patrica Rasmussen
Yurts: Living in the Round by Becky Kemery

Permitted by the Lolo national forest, Seeley lake ranger district