Backcountry skiing is the most challenging form of alpine skiing. In many cases, it involves hiking up the slopes, otherwise known as earning your turns. Slopes will not be groomed, and there is no ski patrol. However, you will not be plagued by long lift lines or crowded slopes.
Things You’ll Need:
- Backcountry ski gear Avalanche equipment A backcountry guide Snowshoes or skins for climbing A backpack A helmet Warm ski clothes An avalanche probe Snacks A lighter, in case you need to light a fire
- Backcountry ski gear
- Avalanche equipment
- A backcountry guide
- Snowshoes or skins for climbing
- A backpack
- A helmet
- Warm ski clothes
- An avalanche probe
- A lighter, in case you need to light a fire
Develop advanced ski skills. Backcountry skiing is not for intermediate skiers. You will need to be an expert at steep and deep powder skiing. Consider taking an avalanche safety course. Many ski areas that offer backcountry skiing also have these types of courses.
Purchase backcountry safety gear. This includes an avalanche shovel and a beacon. Practice using this gear prior to your trip.
Choose a backcountry ski area. A number of ski resorts now have special backcountry programs, complete with professional backcountry guides. For example, in the Vail, Colorado, area, you can do the 10th Mountain Division hut-to-hut tour. In Utah, the Ski Utah Interconnect Tour allows you to ski the backcountry area of six different ski areas. The new Imperial Express Lift at Breckenridge in Colorado offers some of the only lift-serviced backcountry skiing in North America.
Let friends and family members know where you are going, and what days you will be in the backcountry.