Backcountry Skiing 101

🏔️ Learn and practice the skills needed for Alpine Touring.

Learn from the pros.

If you are just getting started in the backcountry world, we strongly recommend taking this course before taking an AIARE 1. The Backcountry 101 course is a 1-day introduction to the basic skills and knowledge needed to go for a backcountry tour. You will learn and practice the use of alpine touring equipment, climbing skins to go uphill, route finding and technique. You will also get navigation and trip planning tools, a basic understanding of avalanche safety equipment and learn how to assess avalanche terrain and the avalanche forecast.

If you've already got the basics down, take your skills to the next level with Avalanche Education.

Book Courses

Snowbird Mountain Guides.


Backcountry Skiing 101 | Ages 16+ | Backcountry

Master the kick turn and learn the basics of avalanche education during Snowbird Mountain Guide's Backcountry Skiing 101.

Group pointing at where to ski during a backcountry skiing 101 course

  • Dates: Ski - December 23; Splitboard - January 20
  • Skill Level: All participants should be advanced skiers in physical condition for high altitude exertion and must be able to hike with touring skis. This course is intended for the beginner backcountry traveler, but it is still necessary to have an advanced skiing or snowboarding ability in order to travel safely off-piste and outside of the resort.
  • Time: 7:30 am. Meet outside The Forklift (Snowbird Center, Plaza Deck, Level 3).
  • Required Equipment: Alpine touring skis or splitboard, climbing skins, transceiver, avalanche shovel, probe and backpack. Mammut transceiver, backpack, shovel and probe are included, but guests may also use their own gear if preferred. Touring skis and skins are available to rent at Snowbird. 
  • Pricing: $310/person, max group size of 6 students per instructor.

Book Backcountry 101

Snowbird Mountain Guides.


Backcountry Trip Planning & Digital Navigation | Ages 16+ | Backcountry

Learn the ins-and-outs of planning a trip into the backcountry using digital GPS web programs and apps, taught by the experts at Snowbird Mountain Guides. Participants will learn how to use CalTopo, or another application of their choice, and utilize its features to assist with navigation, decision making and problem solving. The course consists of a 3 hour Zoom session and a 5 hour in-person session.

skiers using phones to route find

During the online session, students will learn how to utilize CalTopo and its features. The in-person session will focus on instructor-assisted exercises focused on completing a planning session. Exercises can be worked on independently or in small groups.

  • Dates: November 10 & 11; November 15 & 18
  • Schedule: 
    Day 1 (Zoom Session) 5:30 - 8:30 pm
    Day 2 (Classroom) 9 am - 2 pm
  • Location:
    Day 1 - Virtual
    Day 2 - Powderbird
  • Required Equipment: Laptop or Tablet 
  • Prerequisites: This course has no prerequisites, but it is a great complement to AIARE 1 and AIARE 2 courses
  • Pricing: $210 (includes a 30-day trial to CalTopo)

Book Digital Navigation

Snowbird Mountain Guides.


Guided Backcountry Skiing

If you're looking to enjoy the best backcountry terrain the Wasatch has to offer—where your guide will assist you in equipment use, route finding and risk management—check out Guided Backcountry Skiing.

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Booking/Cancellation Policy

Guiding & Lessons

Snowbird Center
Plaza Deck, Level 3

Closed for the Season