Explorers Connect

Powering the Adventure Revolution

Scottish Winter Skills & Snowholing Weekend
Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th March 2018

Learn the skills for safer travel in the mountains during winter, and dig your own snowhole to sleep in overnight! This course runs over three days and is designed to give you the skills needed for the winter environment.


Our fully qualified and experienced winter mountain leaders will run the course to your needs giving plenty of time to practice and learn new skills. The first day of the course (from 09:00am on Friday morning) will be spent both indoors and outdoors learning and practicing the skills outlined below. Our second full day on the mountain will give us time to solidify these skills before we attempt to either construct our own snowholes for the night or experience some wild winter camping! On Sunday morning we will eat breakfast together before making our way off the mountain to get back to Aviemore for around 12:00 noon.

What's covered?

  • Choosing suitable equipment and clothing for winter
  • Developing efficient footwork for winter
  • Use of ice axe/ ice axe arrest
  • Use of crampons/ movement techniques
  • Avalanche awareness and avoidance
  • Introduction to winter weather and winter navigation
  • Managing safety on steep ground
  • Planning a day out in winter
  • Constructing emergency snow shelters and emergency procedures
  • Route choice in winter conditions

We will be based in the high mountains of Scotland around Aviemore. Our Chief Instructor, Paul, holds the Mountain Instructor Certificate and has been teaching winter skills in Scotland for many years so you will be in safe and competent hands.

To receive the greatest benefits from this course you should have a good fitness level and some previous experience of hill walking in summer (or winter). Continuous days in the winter mountains carrying an overnight rucksack requires reasonable fitness levels. If you can walk uphill for 2 or 3 hours at a sensible pace with a few short rests you should be fit enough. A typical winter day will see us out in the mountains for over six hours. Please also inform us in advance of any medical details that could affect your performance in the mountains.

If you've never come on an EC Adventure before, they're informal, friendly and great fun. We generally have singles, couples and small sets of friends coming along, from complete beginners to adventure professionals - what we all share is a love for adventure.  Ages tend to range between mid 20s and mid 40s but anyone over 18 years old, young at heart and fit to take part is welcome.

What’s included

  • 2.5 days of winter skills theory and practical training, both inside and outside with highly qualified instructors
  • 2.5 days' use of specialist equipment (helmet, ice axes and crampons)
  • 2 nights' shared accommodation in YHA Aviemore (we will only sleeping inside on Saturday if conditions are unsafe)
  • 1 night out on the mountain digging and sleeping in a snowhole OR 1 night camping outside in a local wilderness accompanied by our instructors on Saturday night
  • All transfers to and from Aviemore Youth Hostel to the training areas in the mountains

What’s not included

  • Travel to / from Aviemore - this is relatively straightforward from most major UK cities however the earlier you confirm your place the easier and cheaper it will be to coordinate travel arrangements. The nearest airport is Inverness which is approximately 45 min drive. There are also both day and overnight bus and train connections to Aviemore itself (notably from London but some other major cities also).
  • Food - no food is included but the hostel's proximity to the town centre makes it easy to pick up last minute groceries, self-cater or eat out. We'll book a table at a local restaurant for the group on Friday night but on Saturday night you'll need to have your own food handy!
  • Personal winter activities travel insurance (it is strongly recommended you have cover for this course)
  • Personal equipment and kit - you can download our kit list using the link below, which also contains advice on winter boots.
  • Winter boots - we can arrange winter boot hire for you at a price of £30 for the weekend, so when you make your booking if you want boots please check the tickbox and state what size you need - we recommend going up one size from your normal shoe size (payment for boots must be made in full before the course starts and is non-refundable)


Download our recommended and comprehensive kit list and boot advice HERE.



We'll be based out of Aviemore Youth Hostel. Surrounded by woodland and situated on the boundary of the Cairngorm National Park and a short walk from Aviemore town centre, it's the ideal place to stay for outdoor activities or for visiting the surrounding area.

The hostel provides a great range of facilities including multi-share and private rooms, a well-equipped self-catering kitchen, a spacious dining area, a large drying room and ample parking for cars and buses.

There is also a large open lounge which provides stunning views of the Cairngorm Mountains and surrounding woodland where red squirrels and other wildlife are often spotted.  


I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to push themselves and get a good grounding in mountaineering
The instructors were great - really knowledgeable and supportive
The instructors were excellent - I’ve learnt a lot and feel much more confident in winter weather


  • Price for EC CLUB members - £285
  • Price for non EC CLUB members - £299
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If you'd like to know more about this weekend or have a particular question about this or any of our adventures, please email enquiries@explorersconnect.com or call the office on 0117 405 7497 during normal office hours and we'll do our best to help you.