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Advanced Backcountry Course – Zinal, Switzerland

Advanced Backcountry Course – Zinal, Switzerland - Description

To keep our course calendar new and exciting we change the location of certain courses each year. The Advanced Backcountry Course will be running in La Grave for winter 2021/2022. Click here for our Off Piste Freeride Course in Zinal.


The Advanced Backcountry Course is for experienced snowboarders looking to explore challenging & exciting terrain at a fast pace. New for 2019 we are taking you to one of our favourite alpine ski areas, Zinal and the surrounding Val d’Anniviers valley in the Swiss alps. We’re not surprised if you’ve not heard or Zinal, as it is Switzerland’s best kept freeride secret!

Located just 2 hours from Geneva, Zinal is a traditional town with no mass tourism meaning that the slopes are quiet throughout the winter season. The Val d’Anniviers ski area, which includes Grimentz, is renowned for the vast scope of its off-piste terrain along with a reputation for excellent snow cover. The terrain is varied with plenty of 1000+ m descents and hidden backcountry bowls where there are always fresh lines to be enjoyed.

From steep lines to long powder descents far away from the piste, expect an exciting & challenging week! The aim is to pack in as much riding as possible with a combination of lift accessed routes and hiking out to adventurous backcountry lines.

This course is run by David Gladwin, one of only a handful of professional snowboard instructors to hold the BASI Level 4 ISTD, French Carte Pro as well as the UIAGM Mountain Guide qualification. Dave has the qualifications, knowledge and experience to take you further, deeper and steeper than pretty much anyone else in the world.

This is a sensational trip for adventurous, advanced level riders.


6 nights accommodation & 5 full days of backcountry guiding


Group size: Max 6 (Min 4)


This week is all about riding incredible backcountry terrain in the quiet off piste gem of Zinal. On top of that you will develop a greater awareness of risk management with respect to snow conditions, choosing approach and decent lines and avalanche rescue. All of this will add to your knowledge to gain greater confidence in approaching backcountry snowboarding.

Is this for me?

This course is for advanced snowboarders who can ride fluidly in all snow conditions and on all terrain. You have significant off-piste experience, including riding steep slopes and gullies. You can ride fast and have no problems in tighter areas such as trees or technical terrain. You are happy to hike to reach the best snow and terrain and have a good level of fitness to enable this. Your aims are to continually challenge your snowboarding, whilst further progressing your mountain safety awareness.

A good level of fitness is required for this course. You are happy to snowboard off piste all day with potentially limited stops and able to do this for several days in a row. You fitness level allows you to hike in snow to allow you to reach good lines.

For those less advanced riders wanting a weeks off piste riding then either the Off Piste Freeride or Off Piste Freeride Intro courses would suit you.

Travelling alone? Not a problem! Our snowboard courses are designed with solo-travellers in mind. They are a great way to progress your snowboarding, learning in a small group with others of the same level… and you will end the week with a bunch of new snowboard friends!

Read an independent review of MINT Snowboarding Backcountry Course in the Portes Du Soleil.


This course has no set itinerary for the week. Your Mountain Guide, David, will decide on a daily basis where to head depending on weather and snow conditions along with some input on preferences from the group. Between the ski areas of Zinal and Grimentz there is a huge amount of choice in terrain available, with all slope aspects covered, so always somewhere perfect for that days conditions.

Expect a fun and exciting week of snowboarding!



Accommodation is in the fantastic Chalet Edelweiss, well known as THE place to stay in the area! Chalet Edelweiss, run by keen skiers Penny & Eric, is located in the hamlet of Mottec, 2km from Zinal and is served by free local buses to the lifts. This luxurious chalet offers great facilities for your stay with ensuite bedrooms, a ski-room with boot dryers and warm booting-up space. The large living room on the ground floor has a huge fireplace open on both sides and everything you need for a cozy evening. Mealtimes are another highlight of Chalet Edelweiss… you can look forward to fantastic 4 -course evening meals and local wines as well as lavish breakfasts to set you up for the day ahead.

  • 6 nights half board accommodation in shared twin rooms
  • Three course evening meal for five nights per week
  • Choice of house wine or beer during dinner
  • Nourishing breakfasts
  • Homemade cakes & biscuits ready for your return from the slopes
  • Honesty bar with beer

Whats included

  • Accommodation

    6 nights half board chalet accommodation

  • 5 full days guiding

    With fully qualified BASI ISTD Snowboard instructor & UIAGM Mountain Guide, David Gladwin

  • Backcountry skills coaching throughout the week
  • Avalanche awareness, search & rescue training

Whats not included

  • Travel to / from Zinal

    A 2 hour drive from Geneva airport or 3 hour travel on public transport (we will send you all travel details required)

  • Ski pass
  • Personal insurance
  • Personal snowboarding equipment
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