Timberline Canadian Alpine Academy


Timberline Academy is a full-service outdoor adventure college offering unique Gap Year experiences in Banff National Park. Timberline clients engage in skills training programs related to ski/snowboard instruction, mountain rescue, wilderness first aid, avalanche safety and are able to earn industry certifications all while working as paid interns in Banff. Timberline Academy is the only local provider of Gap Year programs in Banff National Park. As a result, Timberline is able to create a truly local experience for their clients that includes trips throughout the rockies, independant housing and industry internships. If you are looking for a unique Gap Year ski season experience choosing a local provider is where you will find the most value and knowledge.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Timberline Alpine Academy

I spent 7 months doing the winter internship and white water course in banff, with Timberline. I had the best time of my life. I learnt so many new skills and met the best people. They have great connections in town, so you are well looked after. The staff are just a lovely as they see on the phone. Not one bad word to say. If you need them for anything they are there and if they can’t help you they will help you find someone who will. I worked up at Mt Norquay, and I had the best time ever. I couldn’t recommend working there anymore for your internship. You get to study subjects such as photography which I learnt so much from and discovered new passions. Timberline organise fun activities for everyone to enjoy such as curling, skating and heliskiing. So much fun to be had. Heliskiing was the best day of my life. I also did my AST 1and 2 and I learnt so much. We also did our 40 hour advanced wilderness first aid certification, which I really enjoyed. I learnt so much during the 6 months skiing and fell in love with the industry. After this, I did the white water course, where we got certifications in swift water rescue, canoeing and rafting. This was the best month ever. My favourite part was going on a 5 day canoe trip in BC on the Kootany River. I learnt so much and made lifelong memories. Weather this is a gap year for you or you want to pursue a career in the outdoor industry Timberline is an experience you will never forget and I am so beyond grateful I got spend 7 months with them. It’s the most magical experience in the most beautiful national park. A big thanks to all of the Timberline Staff for all they did to make our winter the best one ever.

  • New skills
  • Life long friends
  • A winter of fun
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience

My time at the Timberline Canadian Alpine academy was the best Winter I’ve ever had. I decided to go on the Winter Skills Instructor Internship Program. This course was amazing, and I experienced everything that I could have dreamed of on a Ski season. Which included getting my Level 1 ski instructors’ licence and a helicopter tour around the Banff National Park, which is stunning.
All the team who worked at the academy were fantastic, very professional and were on call 24/7 to help you with any problem that you may have. The director James McCutcheon is also extremely hands on and is always ready to take your call if you have an emergency or just need someone to talk too.
While I was in Banff, I worked at the Lake Louise Ski resort as a Ski instructor which was a really great experience, I was working alongside others that had been working in the Industry for over 40 years they all made me feel very welcome. They were also very helpful giving you a hand with your lessons if you ever got stuck or had to many kids to handle.

I would just like to say thank you to James and his team at Timberline, it was never about the money for them it was about taking care of there students and making sure they had the best experience ever.

  • Great team - all from Canada
  • It gets cold !!!!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Timberline Review

Timberline Alpine Academy is an experience of a lifetime. I did the six-month internship program at Lake Louise ski resort. The program provided us with all the required training to become level one ski instructors, and most students became full-time instructors. They also presented a variety of opportunities to us that enriched the main course of the program. These opportunities included avalanche training, touring, ice skating/ hockey, wilderness first aid, cat-skiing, heli-skiing, trips to Calgary and surrounding ski resorts. I highly recommend this program to anyone looking to improve their skiing or is outdoorsy in any sense.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have fun and ski as much as humanly possible. Also, university can wait, don't be afraid to extend your visa.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Timberline Winter Skills Instructor Program

The 2020/2021 season with Timberline was unreal!
It was a time where I met amazing people from around the world, spent every day in the magnificent Canadian Rockies and learned so much about myself!!

Over the winter my skiing changed massively, and I became a much stronger and confident skier than I ever imagined. The training team at Mount Norquay were incredible, and Timberline did an excellent job at organizing our trainings, education and certifications to come out of the program with so much knowledge. The staff were extremely supportive when challenges arose and helped work with you to be able to keep everyone happy and safe.

This year was an incredible opportunity to pursue my passions and challenge myself, when most of the world was in lockdown. And because of my great experience on the course I didn't want to leave Banff and decided to stay in town and continue exploring the connections Timberline helped me establish.

I will be forever grateful for this experience and will cherish the memories & friends I made :)

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Whatever you put into the course is what you'll get out of it! It's a once in a lifetime chance, so push your comfort zone, be social, make friends and train hard (:
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Gap Year Out There

I ended up on the Timberline website the summer before my gap year and registered without really knowing what to expect... the mountains alone had sold me on the experience, and to me that was enough. I never expected to end up with a program like Timberline, and count myself lucky for it every day. From the first day when I talked to James on the phone I felt like a part of a greater family already. I only went on to meet more people on the program where we all connected over our love for the Rockies and formed a bond that was deeper than any of us expected, I'm sure. Although my time with Timberline was cut short do to circumstances beyond their control, I can safely say that these were some of the best months I've ever spent. I can't recommend it enough, and will treasure every moment in Banff for years and decades to come.


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Brett Knox

Job Title
General Manager
Brett was born and raised in Canada's nations capital, Ottawa, Ontario, spending most of his early days ski racing, mountain biking, and camping around eastern Canada. His move to the Rocky Mountains a few years ago was fueled by a childhood dream to live in a mountain town and seek out new adventures and untouched snow. He now is a member of the Timberline team in Banff, Alberta and is helping others around the world realize that same dream.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory has to be when I was around 11 years old and my parents decided to take my brothers and I on a cross Canada road trip starting in Ottawa and ending in Tofino, BC.

It was the first time I had spent a substantial amount of time away from my home town and was shocked to see how beautiful and different the rest of Canada is. We spent a few days riding our bikes around Fernie and I think it was then that I knew I wanted to live near mountains for the rest of my life.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have begun to realize that we have put something amazing out into the world that has the potential to have a profound impact on someones life for many years to come. This is what drives me to continuously work with Timberline to help enrich the quality of the programs and the overall experience.

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

I believe Kananaskis is probably one of the most underrated areas I have ever explored. There is so much untouched, natural beauty packed into such a small area and it rarely gets the credit that it deserves.

In terms of overrated destinations, I think anywhere you go has something to offer, you just have to be resourceful and dig a little deeper in some places more so then others.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Timberline is locally owned and operated. The owners live in Banff year round and are the ones who pick you up from the airport, take you out for dinner to celebrate achievements throughout the season, and play pond hockey with you on your off days.

This kind of customer service cannot be replicated by other companies and creates a superior experience unparalleled to anything else.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We recently took our students on a day trip to Kicking Horse Resort in British Columbia. They were immediately blown away by the stunning beauty of the area and one of our students proclaimed, "I am more excited right now then a kid on Christmas day!" It is little comments and reactions like this that reaffirms you are doing the right thing.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Forward thinking. Putting forth the best possible product and always finding new ways to make it better.

Professional Associations

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