CARDA Courses

CARDA holds training courses several times per year for members, and people who meet our dog and handler prerequisites. If you are interested in one of our courses, and meet the prerequisites, please contact

Spring Course

Generally held around the first week of May, before or after the Canadian Avalanche Association conference. The Spring CARDA course has recently been held in the Penticton, BC area, and will be for the foreseeable future

This three day weekend has several goals:

1. It is the AGM for our CARDA members, usually on the Saturday morning

2. It serves as the initial assessment of new dog teams. Dogs between the ages of 6 months - 2 years of age, with the handler meeting the prerequisites, will be assessed for their suitability in the CARDA program. No prior search training on the dog’s part is required. It is generally a pass / fail course at this level, with passing teams getting permission to attend a winter course the next January as a potential Team-in-training.

3. There is also a group of “In Training” teams that attend the spring course. It is a place that intermediate teams come to get a “look see” from CARDA instructors to make sure that they are still on track in their training and get tips as they progress to their first validation attempt the following winter.

General Winter Course

This course is held at a ski resort in Western Canada usually each January (generally the second week of the new year). There are three groups of teams that participate:

1. Teams that were assessed and passed at the spring course come to their first winter course and form the “puppy group” or “beginner group”. Successful teams will receive an “In Training” certificate at the end of the week and will learn the skills needed to progress on their way to becoming a validated avalanche rescue dog team.

2. The “intermediate group” are teams that already hold an “In Training” status and are hoping to validate for the first time at this winter course.

3. The “advanced group” is made up of teams that have previously validated as an avalanche dog team with CARDA. These teams come to “re-certify” and to work on professional development, as required by the CARDA standard.

Advanced Course

This course is reserved for experienced teams, and usually involves a large backcountry component. The focus is on developing advanced mountain skills for handlers, and more complex search scenarios for dog teams to work through. Glacier travel, alpine winter camping and multi-dog searching is usually involved. The course location varies, as do dates. This course is generally held in late March or early April.