Top three reasons to backcountry ski in Wasatch
Land at Salt Lake City Airport and be skiing in an hour
The Wasatch Range stretches for 160 miles of pure adventure – the sheer vastness of the area ensures prime conditions and fewer crowds
The season is long, and with 500 feet of snowfall annually, there aren’t many non-skiable days
Utah’s terrain delivers some of the best backcountry skiing in the country. Located on the western edge of the Rockies, the Wasatch Mountains neighbor Salt Lake City, leading you to champagne snow within an hour of your arrival. Every level of skier will find routes, including relaxed tree skiing, steep couloirs and low-angle meadows. Whether you’re new to the backcountry, looking for an expert-level challenge or want to tackle a multi-day adventure with friends, Wasatch has it all. If you want to learn more, find out why the Wasatch Mountains hold some of the best backcountry skiing in Utah from Willie Benegas, IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide with 13 Mt. Everest summits.
December through May
Book as many days as you want
Salt Lake City
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
Backcountry 101: Intro to Backcountry Skiing
Ready to level up from the resort? In this one-day introduction, you’ll learn how to comfortably ski in the backcountry. Gain techniques such as the basics of alpine touring equipment, avalanche safety and route planning. By the end of the day, you’ll confidently carve turns in Utah’s Wasatch Range.
Not sure if you should hire a guide? Listen to our ambassador Greg Hill debate the ultimate question: To be guided or not to be guided?
Powder Skiing for Intermediate and Advanced Skiers
Prepare for a day of epic backcountry skiing in the best locations the Wasatch Mountains have to offer. Whether you’re looking for gladed trees, steep chutes or endless turns, your guide will seek out the best conditions for your goals. Each trip is tailored to your ability, with guides bringing safety and expert knowledge to your mountain adventure.
Depending on your objectives, full days may start earlier and end later, but in general, your day will look like this:
- 8:00 am: Meet your guide at the guide’s recommended location for introductions and going over the day’s plan
- 8:30 am: Head to the location of your backcountry ski tour
- 9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Gear up, go over safety considerations, and spend the day backcountry skiing on routes selected to best suit your group, stopping for lunch and breaks as needed
- 4:30 pm: Back to the cars for debriefing and high fives
Advanced Tours & Mountaineering Objectives
If you’re looking for steep and technical terrain, look no further than Wasatch. Paired with an expert guide, you’ll safely discover bigger routes. Whether you’re taking on some of Mt. Superior’s biggest challenges, Wolverine Cirque for gravity-defying chutes or skiing the East Face of Lone Peak, expect between 5000 and 8000 feet of climbing and skiing over roughly eight to ten hours with a private guide. Let certified guides prepare for more hazard considerations while you focus on your turns and techniques.
Lift Accessed Skiing
Some of the best skiing in the Wasatch lies just outside resort boundaries. Hop on a lift and access the high mountain terrain in no time. Make lap after lap to your heart’s content and stack up vertical with considerably less skinning and hiking. Combining lifts with backcountry skiing is a great option for beginners or anyone that wants to spend as much time as possible going downhill.
Meet your guides
IFMGA mountain guide
IFMGA mountain guide · 30 years of experience
IFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski GuideIFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski Guide
IFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski Guide · 21 years of experience
Wasatch Mountain GuidesWasatch Mountain Guides
Wasatch Mountain Guides
The Mountain Guides UtahThe Mountain Guides Utah
The Mountain Guides Utah
Red River AdventuresRed River Adventures
Red River Adventures
He has the highest level of formal guide certification as an IFMGA guide. Willie is an expert in all climbing, skiing and mountaineering disciplines. However, it is Willie’s passion for the environment and for teaching that really separates him from other guides. Willie is a wealth of knowledge and skill, and he can help any adventure seeker have an epic trip in deep powder, on any rock or on any mountain.
Todd was very professional and extremely knowledgeable. We had an amazing time even though the weather did not cooperate. Todd made sure we got to ski and made the experience unforgettable. I’m glad someone like him exists in the skiing community to share his experience and skills. I would highly recommend him as a guide.
I have ice climbed and skied with Todd. He is a great teacher and great company. A couple of years back we climbed the Great White Icicle in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah , which was a 5 pitch WI 2/3 climb with my wife Maria and Todd. It was a great experience and a nice introduction to water ice. Hope to get back to SLC sometime soon to do some climbing with a Todd – rock, ice or alpine. Todd and Winslow run a great outfit. Highly recommended!
A few years ago I was keen to start backcountry skiing but didn’t feel comfortable going by myself. I called INTOG who assessed my skill level and took me to an area of the Utah Wasatch that I’d have never dared go on my own. But I felt like I was in very capable hands with Todd Passey. I could tell he was assessing my fitness and skill the entire time we were out to ensure I could handle the terrain he was taking me into. He taught me lessons before leaving the parking lot right up until we were back at the car. He showed me how to use my beacon, how to skin with the least effort, how to kick-turn without falling over, and most importantly how to judge the snow to ensure we were staying in areas that were safe. I’ve gone out with INTOG several times since then. I’m comfortable doing it on my own now but still enjoy going out with Todd and team because each time I learn more, get more comfortable with the technical aspect of BC skiing, experience new hidden areas of the Wasatch, and…I simply enjoy being around the guides. They’re just great folks who push you to do things you didn’t think you could do, and they do it in a safe and comfortable way. My skiing has improved because of my time with them, and you can bet I’ll be back for more as soon as the snow starts flying.
John was an amazing guide & we had the most amazing time with him. We can’t thank him enough for ending our vacation on the biggest note ever! The experience was not only professional but one we will never forget. Thank you again John!!!
Had an epic 2-day tour. It was my first experience in the back country. We skied with John, he was extremely knowledgable about terrain and snow. Tons of experience. Saw beautiful country and had lots of fun.
He is extremely strong, experienced and he cares about you at all times. It is impossible not to feel happy and confident in Willie’s team and I would without hesitation go anywhere in the world with him.
Things to know
COVID-19 measures in Utah
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Utah, please refer to Utah.gov website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- 1 or 2 full days of backcountry ski touring
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Lift tickets for you and your guide (your guide will advise you on the best options)
- Meals and snacks
- Trip insurance
How fit do I need to be?
In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have a moderate to high level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. While there is terrain for all skill levels in the Wasatch Mountains, you will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on blue level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.
For the enjoyment and safety of everyone involved, participants must be approved to participate in advanced backcountry skiing tours either through a previous trip with the guiding service or through recommendations.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner friendly, meaning anyone with blue level resort experience can have fun in the backcountry. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.
What about required equipment and rentals?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
- Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Wasatch Touring and Outdoor Adventures
- Splitboards can be rented from Outdoor Adventures and Wasatch Touring
Ski rental locations are in Salt Lake City and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
- Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
- Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-tex recommended)
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
- Down jacket or vest
- Gloves and hat
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 1L of water
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- First-aid kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L bag)
- Camera — optional
Group sizes and age requirements
Groups and pricing:
- For Backcountry 101, Powder Skiing, and Lift Accessed Tours, the max client-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
- For the Advanced Tours, the client-to-guide ratio is 2:1.
- The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to backcountry ski with friends and family.
Ski touring in Utah’s Wasatch Range can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this backcountry skiing adventure.
- Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.
If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to the Wasatch Range, most people fly into Salt Lake City International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or hire a shuttle.
Expect to drive about 45 minutes to get to Park City, if you choose to stay in the mountain resort area. Skiing destinations are bordering the edge of SLC and located in the mountains on the way toward the resort area.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. You’ll meet your guide at the Little Cottonwood Park and Ride lot, Big Cottonwood Park and Ride lot, Alta or Brighton—depending on your destination. To get to Little Cottonwood Park and Ride lot, take UT-209/Little Cottonwood Road to the parking lot. Big Cottonwood Park and Ride lot is easily located off UT-190 E by taking FR021 before reaching Park City resort.