2015/16 Hakuba Avalanche Courses

Learn more with professional & enthusiastic instructing!

All courses are taught in Hakuba by Canadian Avalanche Association Professional Member, Damian Banwell. We have taught 50 Avalanche Skills Training (AST) courses and are are known for our professional organisation, effective instructional technique and personal enthusiasm. Please see below for what some of our very happy customers have said.


Entry level training that provides a structured and consistent approach to avalanche risk decision making


5-days of intermediate level training with trip planning and slope assessment coaching. Lots of skiing.


1 day of avalanche rescue training using the latest techniques and technology.

Customer Testimonials

MountainLife.jp is very fortunate to receive such supportive feedback from customers. I really enjoy instructing avalanche courses and I think this benefits my customers greatly. Please see what they have to say:

"I really enjoyed this course. The content was very insightful and so well organised and presented. Our instructor, Damian, conducted himself very professionally. My wife in particular appreciated his approach to accommodating everyone on the course"

"I really enjoyed the course and found it covered a lot over the 2 days. The information was not overwhelming which made it easy to absorb, understand and apply. Damian's instruction both in the classroom and on field was really professional. He had real life experiences to apply to all of his teachings and I have taken a lot away from this introduction course. I highly recommend it to all skiers and boarders who want to access the backcountry, in particular those who "duck" under the ropes of ski fields without the right equipment!"

"After what I have learned in this course it has not only changed my life it has saved it as well or will for that matter"

"Damian was very professional and thoughtful in his approach, and had a lot of experience in avalanche terrain which he shared very effectively. The AST Level 1 course opened my eyes to a new way of seeing the mountains which I would highly recommend to all sidecountry and backcountry skiers."

"I am a professional instructor and wish I could do my job as well as Damian does his. This course is very well taught."

"Damien was a fantastic instructor! So pedagogical and devoted to sharing his knowledge. Very well structured, which made it easy to get the big picture. I would recommend everybody who's interested in back country skiing to take Damien's course!"

"Well worth it for anyone even thinking about heading into the backcountry. Fills you with cautious confidence :) thanks Damien."

"Awesome content, loved the local examples which made it relevant. Prac day was great and I would much more confident travelling with a group and performing a rescue."

"What a super course - it's both interesting and informative and has given me enough confidence to start to get out in the backcountry whilst keeping me aware there is still a lot to learn. Damian is extremely knowledgeable and able to explain things clearly and effectively. Thank you very much!!"

"I strongly recommend everyone who skis/snowboards etc in the side or backcountry to take this course. 2 really valuable and fun days."

"Awesome course. A definite for any seasonaire or anyone thinking about skiing outside the boundary rope makes you think twice about ducking that rope."

"Very happy with the course. Picked up some good skills and sound backcountry knowledge."

"Excellent well run course. Would recommended it to anyone interested in learning more about avalanches and staying safe in the backcountry."

"You won't realise how valuable this course is until you have done it."

"The course structure exceeded my expectations and we covered more subject matter than I anticipated. This was largely due to Damian's time management and ability to deliver the material in a way that was both efficient and engaging. Highly recommended to anyone looking to improve or start their knowledge base on this topic."

"Damian is a wealth of knowledge about how to ski safely in the backcountry. His passion and enthusiasm for the sport combined with a sensible, rational awareness of its risks make him the perfect person to learn this important information from. Thank you Damian for giving me confidence (but certainly not over-confidence) to understand avalanche risks!"

"I found the course content interesting, relevant and presented in a manner I understood. I felt comfortable asking questions, and they were answered in a clear concise manner. No question was looked upon as a 'dumb' question. My ski ability was taken in to consideration in a professional manner that did not make me feel 'inferior' to those with far greater experience. I feel I gained knowledge that will allow me to increase my skills (back country) with safe, enlightened decision making."

"Damian will make sure you learn what you need to know and learn it well. He isn't just running through the program, he is teaching and he cares about doing it right. I highly recommend his course."

"So much great information in this course backed up by Damian's personal knowledge and experiences."

"Damian your teaching style is a perfect balance of creating a relaxed environment whilst still maintaining enough seriousness to pass on the course content. cheers."

"I could not be happier with the course when the level 2 course is ready I will be doing it."

"I thought the day in the classroom and out on the field was well balanced. The content was just the right amount. It provided a really good introduction to both avalanche awareness and avalanche rescue. The price was good and I definitely received value for money."