Intro to the Backcountry in Crested Butte

Intermediate
1 day
All ages
2–4 people
Overview

Come explore backcountry skiing in Crested Butte, Colorado. Going by splitboard, telemark or alpine touring, you’ll learn the essentials on your two day trip in the Colorado backcountry. 


Say goodbye to lift lines and crowds and let us guide you through untracked, backcountry powder and teach you about ski touring. With fewer crowds and thousands of vertical feet to explore, your winter months just got more exciting! Learn what it takes to make it up the slope and how to make the right decisions when going back down.

Our guides will take everyone’s skills into consideration when planning the itinerary for the course. You can count on learning essential outdoor skills and doing a lot of backcountry skiing. Book this course privately or join up with other likeminded enthusiasts. This course is also great to take in conjunction with an Avalanche Level 1 or an AIARE Avalanche Rescue class.

What you’ll learn
  • Preparation for winter backcountry travel
  • Equipment needs and skiing options
  • How to use your equipment
  • Avalanche forecast comprehension
  • How to distinguishing avalanche terrain
  • Route planning
  • Uphill technique and track setting
  • Basic rescue and 1st aid planning
After this class you’ll
  • Be more confident and comfortable in the backcountry
  • Understand all the considerations and challenges that arise when out in the open
  • Have skied in some beautiful, gorgeous powder
  • Be ready to try the next step, like a hut-to-hut tour
Prerequisites for backcountry skiing

All participants need to be competent and comfortable skiers on variable packed snow and untouched terrain. The skiing is a ton of fun, but it demands some experience.

Where we are
Class Location
Crested Butte, CO
Meeting Location
Irwin Guides
What's included
  • Professional ski guide (max 4:1 student to guide)
  • 2 person minimum per class
  • Avalanche safety gear (beacon, shovel, probe), Mammut RAS air backpack
What's NOT included
  • Food, lodging*
  • Backcountry touring set-up**

*Inquire about lodging discounts when making your booking
**Backcountry touring set-ups can be rented for an additional fee.

Why book through 57hours?

We’re an adventure loving, rock climbing, tech company that loves all things outdoors-y. Why spend days looking for the right guide and adrenaline rush, when we can (and already did) do it for you? Want a serious guide for a challenging backcountry tour? We know a bunch. How about a guide to show you around the Alps? Check. Maybe your kids want to ski and won’t stop going on about it until you book them a trip. Yes, we know guides who are great for beginners, too. Oh, yeah, every guide we know prioritizes SAFETY and FUN. Book with 57hours, we’ve done your work for you. You’re welcome.

Guides running this program

Steve Banks

Steve is a fully certified AMGA/IFMGA licensed mountain guide. This is the highest level of international guiding certification in the world and is held by only a handful of American guides. Steve has lived in the Gunnison Valley since 1995, but is a frequent traveller climbing, skiing and guiding all over the world. Steve is an EMT, AIARE Level 1 & 2 avalanche course leader, has been a forecaster and the Executive Director for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center, worked for the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol and is currently helping to train the next generation of AMGA mountain guides. Steve is a Mammut sponsored athlete and the Global Guide Director for Irwin Guides. Check out his website at www.stevebanksmountainguide.com. Specialties: Rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, cat skiing, backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering, ice climbing, winter mountaineering, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and avalanche education.

Ian Havlick

Ian is a Colorado native who has been playing in mountains all his life. After learning what true powder skiing was while captaining the University of Utah Nordic Ski Team in Salt Lake City, Ian decided to retire from ski racing around groomed gerbil loops and become an avalanche professional and mountain guide. Ian comes to Irwin Guides with extensive backcountry experience across the Western United States as well as the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Norway, and Iceland. He has been guiding since 2001. Ian has guided several trips on Denali in Alaska for Mountain Trip International and has worked for Telluride Helitrax. Ian is an AMGA Certified Ski Guide and is pursuing IFMGA certification in Rock and Alpine disciplines. Ian holds AIARE Level III avalanche certification and forecasts for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center and is a Professional Member of the American Avalanche Association. Ian also guides fly fishing trips for Irwin Guides here in Crested Butte, and for several outfitters in central Idaho. Specialties: Fly fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, back packing, mountaineering, rafting, cat skiing, ski mountaineering, ice climbing, winter mountaineering, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and avalanche education

Donny Roth

Donny is solely focused on sharing human-powered skiing. His primary passion is guiding, which he does, as a AMGA-certified Ski Guide, in both the northern hemisphere as well as in Chile, where he has spent every “summer” since 2004. Colorado has been his home since 1993 and the West Elk Mountains are one of his favorite ski destinations. Donny has appeared in the ski films Solitaire and Valhalla by Sweetgrass Productions and is a regular contributor to multiple ski industry publications. In 2013 he was nominated as Avalanche Instructor of the Year at the Outdoor Retailer Show and has presented at the Snowsports Industry Association show about the importance of responsible backcountry travel. He is an ambassador for the Winter Wildlands Alliance. Donny is an AIARE Level III Avalanche Forecaster and Level I Course Instructor; he was an examiner for PSIA and a heli-ski guide earlier in his career. He is sponsored by Dynafit, Zeal Optics, Skratch Labs and Backcountry Access. You can follow his adventures on his personal website www.independent-descents.com.

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