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Colorado Mountain Club
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Home » Classes » CMC Classes and Schools » Intro to Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding

man hiking up on skis to the top of a mountain

 

Introduction to Backcountry Skiing & Splitboarding

 

We want to help our Colorado community learn the skills necessary to get started on their backcountry ski or snowboard journey! This course is designed for those that are “new to the backcountry,” who plan to travel on AT skis, splitboards, or telemark skis. This course gives students the tips and tricks necessary to get comfortable and be confident in the backcountry. Backcountry skiing and snowboarding is basically a different sport than the resort equivalents, and it takes a lot of knowledge to get out there. While it takes most strong skiers and snowboarders years to feel comfortable and confident in the backcountry, we saw our students make this same progress in one season!

This course is designed for strong skiers and snowboarders who comfortably go down black runs at a resort.

This course is also designed to complement avalanche safety training (i.e., AIARE Avalanche Level 1). Introduction to Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding is not a replacement for avalanche safety training.

Format

The course is composed of two lectures focused on what to do in the backcountry as an individual and how to operate in the backcountry as part of a team. This is followed by a mandatory field day where we go over more of the nuances of traveling in the backcountry, and, hopefully, we will lap some pow.

Students will also get access to special discounts exclusive to students of our course! These are from our classes donors and sponsors:

  • Arc'teryx Denver (in store only)
  • Bentgate Mountaineering (TBD)
  • Rocky Talkies (TBD)
  • Black Diamond Beacon/Shovel/Probe Sets

However, the biggest benefit to this all is getting introduced to dozens of new partners to ski with in the backcountry! This includes our instructors, fellow classmates, and past students. Having a lot of partners in the backcountry is the best way to ski a lot.

Schedule 2021

 

Informational Gear Talks

A virtual lecture to go over all the gear you will need for your backcountry adventures. This lecture is a free preview to the content in the course. Registration is open for these free gear talks:

 

 

REGISTRATION OPENS NOVEMBER 1

Section A — January 19-29, 2022

  • Lecture 1 — January 19, 2022
  • Lecture 2 — January 26, 2022
  • Field Day — January 29, 2022

Section B — February 2-12, 2022

  • Lecture 1 — February 2, 2022
  • Lecture 2 — February 9, 2022
  • Field Day — February 12, 2022

Section C — February 16-26, 2022

  • Lecture 1 — February 16, 2022
  • Lecture 2 — February 23, 2022
  • Field Day — February 26, 2022

 

Course Prerequisites

 

Skiing/Snowboarding Ability

Students will be required to be comfortable on black terrain in a resort. This needs to be true for the gear on which you plan to participate in the course. If you ski blacks, but do not snowboard blacks, please do not attend the course as a splitboarder. If you snowboard blacks, but want to pick up skiing, please attend this course as a splitboarder, not a skier.

 

Avalanche Safety Knowledge

Instructors generally avoid avalanche terrain for the course. It is highly recommended that students get their AIARE Avalanche Level 1 training this season. We will reinforce good habits on the course and it is not an avalanche course. 

Many students found that taking Intro to Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding prior to an AIARE Avalanche Level 1 course helps them focus on the avalanche material during their AIARE course. If an AIARE Level 1 course is not a reality for you this season, please reach out to the CMC. The school directors can help guide you appropriately.

 

Equipment

The CMC does not provide any equipment to students for the course, and the list of equipment is extensive. Beyond all necessary clothing, layers, outerwear, and pack, students need the following equipment:

Ski and Snowboard Equipment

  • Skis with pin, frame, or hybrid bindings and compatible ski boots
  • Splitboards with appropriate bindings
  • Climbing skins fitted to skis/snowboards
  • Ski poles (for both skiers and snowboarders)

Avalanche Safety Equipment

  • Beacon
  • Shovel
  • Probe

 

Discounts and rentals are available through our donors and sponsors. Instructors may also help direct students on rentals at other local shops. Please expect around $100 additional expense for renting the gear you need. While skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports, we do our best to make sure this class is accessible as possible. 

 

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