01690 720214

International Mountain Leader Training Winter

Course Overview

This course is based in an Alpine region and covers the personal skills required by IML leaders as well as leadership and group care considerations. The course is predominantly practical in nature, supported by some indoor lectures. During the week the aim is to develop the candidate's skills, judgements and knowledge as well as a full understanding of the terrain where an IML may operate. The technical skills covered during this week includes avalanche awareness and snow pack evaluation, transceiver use and search techniques, personal movement skills, use of ice axe, emergency use of rope, winter belays and use of maps and guides for planning appropriate routes.

You are responsible for using your own transport for the duration of this course.

The course fee does not include:

  • Travel to and from venue

  • Transport during the course

  • Maps

These courses are extremely popular. If when you book the courses are already full we will add you to a waiting list and look to add additional places.

Experience Required

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

What we cover

More than just "coping with winter" this course aims to equip you with the skills you need to look after your group on snow - whatever the season. The practical elements of the course will be supported by some short technical lectures. Over the five days we will intend to cover the following broad topics:

  • Winter leadership and group care in winter conditions.

  • Personal movement skills on snow (with and without snowshoes).

  • Route choice, terrain evaluation, and safe travel.

  • Avalanche awareness and snow pack evaluation.

  • Transceiver use and search techniques.

  • Snowcraft, and use of ice axe for safeguarding the party.

  • Emergency winter ropework, including simple snow belays.

  • Dealing with accidents - emergency shelters and cold injuries.

  • Use of maps, guides, and weather information for planning.

As always, the skills of navigating will form an integral part of each day's activities. Throughout the five days, time will be spent developing your knowledge of all aspects of the winter environment.

The Venue

The course will be based at the Auberge Nordique (www.auberge-nordique.com) in the village of Grand Bornand - near La Clusaz in France. This superb venue gives us a perfect base for the week. The accommodation is in comfortable, warm rooms for 3-4 people. The course cost includes an evening meal for Sunday, plus breakfast, packed lunch and evening meal for Monday to Friday, followed by breakfast on Saturday prior to departure. Packed lunches are provided each day but you may wish to bring extra goodies with you. The facilities all add to the enjoyment of the week, these include a gym and a sauna.

The Auberge Nordique allows easy access to ski-lifts (if required) and there are good snowshoeing routes from the door.

Auberge Nordique, BP22 - 74450, Le Grand Bornand, France

Email: info@auberge-nordique.com Tel:0033 4 50 02 31 12 Fax:0033 4 50 02 36 02

Occasionally some group members are accommodated in apartments nearby, so tea bags and a towel can be useful additions.

* Small additional costs may include - use of ski up lift and snow safety equipment

Snow safety equipment is available to hire in the resort. However, it is preferable that candidates come prepared with this equipment at the start of the course.


You will need to arrange your own travel to the Auberge. It is situated 4-5 km outside Grand Bornand at Lormay, next to the cross country ski trail. Plese feel free to refer to our "travel message board" if you wish to share transport.

One option is to fly to Geneva, you could then hire a car at the airport or use public transport to reach the Gite. If you are using public transport then the following websites/contacts maybe helpful in planning your journey,

Swiss Travel System

SBB Online Timetable

Swiss Travel Centre - 0207 420 4934


If arriving from Geneva along the peage "Autoroute Blanche" take exit No.16 to Bonneville. Follow signs for La Roche -sur-Foron where, just a mile along, there is a sign post left for Grand Bornand. Continue along this windy road for 23kms until you reach Grand Bornand. Continue through town, bearing right, following the signs for Les Plans and then keep to the right to the Auberge at Lormay.

Research Required (before you arrive)

Please have prepared prior to your arrival on the training course one 5 minute chat on an environmental topic that interests you. You will be required to deliver this on the hill to your group.

Maps - From the Gite it is possible to visit a variety of areas, however, the IGN 3430ET Map which is available from Stanfords (click here) should cover the majority of the course.

Useful Books

Other literature
  • Snowshoe guide books from any area
  • Environmental information and any crib cards you use
  • Avalanche Card or Snow & Slope cribs
  • Books containing information about Animal track and signs in winter

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.


    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Accommodation the night after your course ends
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Auberge Nordique

All your accommodation (shared) plus meals are included in the course fee. Your evening meal on the night of your arrival and breakfast on the morning of departure is also included. Packed lunches are provided each day but you may wish to bring extra goodies with you. The hotel also has a gym and a sauna which you can enjoy during your stay.

Occasionally some groups members are accommodated in apartments nearby, so a towel and tea bags can useful additions.

Don't forget to bring a towel and foorwear for indoors (hut slippers/flip flops).

You are responsible for using your own transport for the duration of this course.

The course fee does not include:

  • Travel to and from venue

  • Transport during the course

  • Maps

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

You should come fully equipped with suitable clothing and footwear to look after yourself for several full days out in winter conditions. In addition, don't forget the following:

  • Snow Goggles/Sun glasses

  • Sun block and lipsalve (with high UV rating)

  • Ice axe

  • Trekking poles

  • An ample rucksack - 45 litres should suffice

  • 120cm Sling & 2 Screw gate crabs (essential)

  • Flask and/or drinks bottle

  • Sun Hat

  • Notebook

  • Towel

  • Binoculars

  • Snow shoes

  • Snow shovel

  • Avalanche probe

  • Transceiver (or avalanche beacon) - we are able to loan these, please contact us for details.

  • GPS (bring if you have one)

  • Footwear for indoors (hut slippers/flip flops)

Snow shoes can be hired locally if required.


Each course member must have with them and show proof of insurance for the duration of the course on the first morning - i.e. personal accident, rescue and repatriation. You should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card, which will give you reciprocal health care rights. These are now accepted in Switzerland. The form to apply is available from the Post Office.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

Got A Date Available - Need An Adventure To Match?

Contact our team on 01690 720214 or email - they will be happy to help you find something perfect.

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