Outdoor Courses and Certifications Available In and Around Calgary

Getting certified in various safety and survival courses greatly increases your knowledge and confidence in the outdoors. (Meaning you get to explore more, and more safely!)  A few organizations within the Calgary area offer courses including:

  • Wilderness First Aid 
  • Avalanche Safety Training
  • Wilderness Survival 
  • Wildlife Awareness
  • Rope Rescue Training
  • Swift Water Safety and Rescue 
  • Ice Safety Awareness

More information on each course, including where to get certified, is provided below:

Wilderness First Aid

What is it?

Wilderness first aid focuses on adaptive first aid and rescue skills suitable for backcountry and other remote locations. 

These skills are fundamental for efficient initial first aid care and stabilization in locations with limited physical access and access to emergency and medical resources.

Where to get it:


Avalanche Safety Training

What is it?

Avalanche Safety Training is a long, in depth process – there’s truly always more to learn.  At a recreational level, however, Avalanche safety training consists of two levels; AST 1 and AST 2.

 They cover fundamental skills including: 

  • Understanding avalanches; formation and release
  • Identifying avalanche terrain
  • Proper tool and resource usage
  • Avalanche forecasts 
  • Planning and travel techniques
  • Terrain & danger ratings
  • Companion rescue

Where to get it:

FYI: Above AST-1 and AST-2 there are additional courses including:

  • Managing Avalanche Terrain 
  • Companion Rescue Skills
  • Teaching Avalanche Skills 
Avalanche Canada is the best source for other Canada-wide courses and up to date avalanche conditions, safety and news. 

Wilderness & Outdoor Survival

What is it?

Wilderness survival courses review and enhance skills that are necessary to survive the outdoors with limited to no equipment. These skills are highly useful in unexpected, threatening scenarios as they help eliminate fear by replacing it with confidence.

Some of these skills include, but are not limited to signalling methods, building shelters and fire building techniques.

Where to get it:

Wildlife Awareness

What is it?

Animal encounters are one of the risks associated with outdoor adventure. When we put ourselves in their territory, we are putting the safety of both us and the animal(s) at risk. 

These courses encompass specie identification, how to avoid confrontation and what to do if a confrontation does occur. 

Where to get it:

Unfortunately, wildlife awareness courses are currently offered as private group bookings only (RMAM and Bear Safety & More)

That being said, MEC offers FREE bear awareness session every friday afternoon! 

Rope Rescue Training

What is it?

This course covers skills on how to complete both self rescue and peer rescues in high angle environments. 

 Although designed with climbers in mind, rope rescue training is equally useful for other sports!  Not a bad skill to have if you find yourself scaling, shredding or scrambling those mountains!

Where to get it:

Currently, RMAM is the only organization offering rope rescue training relative to outdoor sport and recreation.

–> Rocky Mountain Adventure Medicine 

 (Various other companies offer rope rescue training but are focused around industrial workplace training and safety)

Swift Water Safety & Rescue

What is it?

Swift water rescue courses encompass both proactive and reactive skills. Beyond learning how to properly execute rescues in various scenarios, you learn skills such as reading and reacting to water currents, obstacles and volume.

 (Afterall, there’s no better way to get yourself out of a situation than not letting yourself get in it in the first place!)

Ice Safety Awareness

What is it?

Ice safety awareness goes beyond recognizing ice types and their capacity load. These courses also teach people how various ice types form, how to test them, how to travel on them and what equipment you should have with you during these risky times. The Rocky Mountain course even goes over knots, anchor systems and mechanical advantage  – which is super useful for reasons we don’t think need explaining.

Above awareness and accident prevention, these courses also teach you how to execute both self and peer rescue, as well as how to respond to dangerous situations (such as treating frost bite or recovering from a near drowning experience). 

Where to get it:

(Rescue Canada also offers more advanced programs for ice rescue) 

The Canadian Red Cross has also provided tips for ice safety. This is a great resource for an intro and basic overview. 

(The courses however, are a lot more in depth. Especially with Rocky Mountain Adventure… they cover more material and the physical application and practice makes it a lot more effective and memorable!)

1 thought on “Outdoor Courses and Certifications Available In and Around Calgary

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: