FAQ

Because it can save lives! Practitioners change, habits change, but avalanche risks don’t, despite all the safety equipment available today. ISTA courses teach you how to manage risk, before or during an accident. They allow mountain enthusiasts to keep enjoying their passion, freely and safely.

The DISCOVERY course is taught by certified IFMGA mountain guides and ski instructors who have received specific ISTA training.
The ST1 course is taught by ISTA-certified IFMGA mountain guides only.

Whatever works best. You can drop by the certified guide office or ski school. Or you can phone ahead – this way, you can find out whether the course is already being held and whether you can join a group that’s taking the course on a date that works for you.

Of course. You can also choose where to take the course. Go to http://www.ista-education.com/en/where-find-us for a list of certified guides and ski instructors, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with them directly.

ISTA courses are for mountain enthusiasts who can travel independently, whether freeriders, touring skiers or snowshoers. In case of doubt, ask your instructor (certified mountain guides and and ski instructors) for advice.

You’ll need standard rescue gear: a transceiver, probe and shovel. If you don’t have any, ask the mountain guide or ski instructor in charge of the course to provide you with this equipment beforehand. And of course, you’ll need proper ski equipment.

Participants just need to bring their rescue equipment: a transceiver, probe and shovel. If you don’t have this equipment, ask the ski instructor or guide to provide it for you for the course.

You can directly start with the ST1 course if you already have some backcountry experience. However, we recommend that anyone who is an occasional practitioner starts with the DISCOVERY initiation course. In case of doubt, do not hesitate to ask your instructor (certified mountain guides and and ski instructors) for advice.

The ISTA program is developed in Switzerland with the help of 40 experts from nine different countries spanning three continents. The organization’s headquarters are in Lausanne. But the program is international, with a universal language that’s standard around the world and its own unique method.

Yes! ISTA courses are currently offered in Switzerland and Italy (Aosta Valley). Course locations are indicated on our regularly updated Where to Find Us page. The ISTA program will be offered in Austria, Germany and Spain as of winter 17/18, followed by Canada and the USA in 18/19.

As a rule, you have to be 18 to participate in an ISTA course. However, minors 16 and up can take the course with the authorization of your legal representative(s).

Course costs depend on the instructor (mountain guide or ski instructor), the location and the number of participants (1 to 8 people) in the course. Don’t hesitate to ask for pricing information from an ISTA-certified ski school or IFMGA mountain guide. A full list is available at http://www.ista-education.com/en/where-find-us.

Of course – and we’re sure they’ll love it! Contact a certified mountain guide or ski instructor to select the course, then ask them for a gift certificate to give to the person of your choice.

Participants take ISTA courses under their own responsibility. They are therefore responsible to verify prior to any course if they are adequately insured. In addition, when registering for the course, participants declare that they understand and accept that backcountry snow sports involve inherent risks that can result in physical endangerment or death.

ISTA certificates are valid indefinitely. However, we recommend that you refresh your skills regularly (every two years, for example), or take a more advanced ISTA course.

Your ISTA membership card will be mailed to you after your temporary certificate has been issued by your ISTA instructor. 2015/16 winter course participants will receive detailed information on how to access rewards in the sports, travel and tourism industry over the course of the year.

The ST2 and ST3 courses are in development and will be offered beginning in 2017.