Join us for this new offering in the heart of the rugged and remote San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado through our unique partnership with the prestigious Silverton Avalanche School.
Throughout this 4-day course, students will gain instruction with the advanced skills involved in choosing and carrying-out summit ski and split board descents in semi-technical terrain. We will practice the skills to manage risk and travel efficiently in a more complex backcountry and mountaineering environment.
The specific objective of the ski mountaineering course is to climb a mountain on skis or carrying them, and descend using techniques appropriate to the terrain.
Skills covered include:
- Personal gear selection for ski mountaineering
- Tour planning and group profile
- Uphill tracksetting and turning techniques
- Off-piste downhill skiing techniques
- Snow and ice climbing movement basics with crampons and ice axe(s)
- Snow, rock, and ski anchoring techniques
- Avalanche hazard awareness and avoidance techniques for the ski mountaineer
- Crevasse rescue systems
- Basic rope work for technical ascents and descents on skis or snowboard
We also require all participants have taken and completed an AIARE Level 1 Recreational Course (or equivalent) as a necessary prerequisite.
- Advanced to expert resort skiing / riding skills.
- Ability to ski / ride in control in various snow conditions while wearing a pack.
- Previous backcountry skiing / riding experience, including skinning on various terrain features.
- Familiarity with the use of a mountain axe and boot crampons.
- Familiarity with basic climbing knots, rope work, and rappelling techniques.
- AIARE Level 1 (or equivalent).
Day 1: Technical Skills Day – Learn how to build and use snow, rock, and ice anchors; movement and rope skills for traveling in crampons and ice axe on steep snow, ice, and mixed terrain.
Day 2: Steep Skiing Skills & Ropework – Learn techniques specific to ascending and descending semi-technical and technical terrain on skis; skins and ski crampons; and in ski boots and crampons. Learn various methods of steep track setting and ascending followed by applied practice using ski anchors; rappelling; and various steep skiing hazard management techniques for the way back down.
Day 3: Steep Skiing Skills (con't) & Navigation / Route Planning – Continue to refine / practice techniques for ascending and descending steep technical ski terrain. In the PM learn the intricacies about mountain navigation techniques and planning skills specific to skiing.
Day 4: Big Ski Tour / Traverse / Ski Mountaineering Route – Time to head out and put all the skills to practice on an area classic big ski mountaineering route. We'll utilize all the skills we learned over the past 4 days and implement them in a variety of scenarios while applying them to a specific ski mountaineering objective.
Lodging Options available through: