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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.

  • Land at Salt Lake City Airport and be on the slopes within an hour

  • The season is long, and with 500 feet of snowfall annually, there aren’t many non-skiable days

  • The Wasatch Range stretches for 160 miles of pure adventure – the sheer vastness of the area ensures prime conditions and fewer crowds

Available itineraries

Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing

If you’ve never explored the backcountry before, this introductory course is your gateway to a new world of adventure! Utah's gentle rolling terrain is suitable for people of all abilities. The runs vary from lower angle tree skiing on low-visibility days, to easy summits. Explore Little or Big Cottonwood Canyons and upgrade your skills with a private guide!

  • An average day will include time for lunch, and approximately 1,500 – 2,500 vertical feet of climbing over the course of six hours. This introductory 1-day tour includes instruction and tips on technique for learning needed backcountry skiing and splitboarding skills:

    • Making a pre-trip plan
    • The basics of backcountry touring equipment
    • How to pack your backpack for efficient rescue use
    • Demoing and practice of a beacon search and rescue
    • Efficient uphill travel, including kickturns
    • How to avoid avalanche terrain
    • The skiing (safe zones and escape plans)
    • How to debrief after a tour
Powder Skiing for Intermediate Skiers

Some of the best skiing in the Wasatch lies just outside resort boundaries. On this steeper and longer day suitable for intermediate to advanced tourers, your guide will introduce you to some of the places which have made Utah'S backcountry world-famous! Whether you prefer gentle tree runs or steep couloirs, there is ideal terrain for everyone.

  • Usually the night before, your guide will confirm a meeting place and time. Meet at the trailhead and make sure to arrive 15 minutes early so you can get dressed, get your boots, and double check your gear that you prepared the night before.

    Walk to the trailhead, put on your skis or splitboard and do a safety discussion and a beacon check. Finally, head out into the backcountry! Ski uphill to get to the perfect slope, make a plan and discuss lines, escape plan, where to stop and meet, and start shredding. Each day involves approximately 2,500 to 5,000 feet of climbing and skiing over the course of roughly seven hours.

    Once back at the trailhead, exchange high fives and discuss your tour before heading back to town.

  • With the help of a lift, you can 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.

    * For lift-accessed tours, you will have to secure lift passes for your group and your guide.

Advanced Tours and Ski Mountaineering

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. If you are looking to gain some ski mountaineering experience, there are great objectives in the area, such as the South Face of Superior and Pfeifferhorn. Gain backcountry ski planning and weather skills, learn about avalanche concerns and routes, plan Bs, safety plans, camp locations, group dynamics, and plenty more!

  • Usually the night before, your guide will confirm a meeting place and time. Meet at the trailhead and make sure to arrive 15 minutes early so you can get dressed, get your boots, and double check your gear that you prepared the night before.

    Walk to the trailhead, put on your skis or splitboard and do a safety discussion and a beacon check. Finally, head out into the backcountry! Ski uphill to get to the perfect slope, make a plan and discuss lines, escape plan, where to stop and meet, and start shredding. A day will include time for lunch, plus 5,000 to 8,000 feet of climbing and skiing over roughly eight hours.

    Once back at the trailhead, exchange high fives and discuss your tour before heading back to town.

    • Mount Superior (South Ridge)
    • The Hypodermic Needle (a.k.a. The Needle)
    • Pfeifferhorn NW Couloir
    • Coalpit Headwall
    • Y Couloir
    • Y-Not Couloir
    • Monte Cristo (Directissimo)
    • Routes of Toledo Ridgeline
    • Plus much more!
  • Advanced tours focus on covering a wide variety of terrain and aspects with the best snow. These days are for those interested and capable of bigger objectives of a longer duration, with more hazard considerations. Because this type of tour requires solid physical stamina and good skinning technique, clients must be approved beforehand through prior outing(s) with certified guides or WMG. Keep in mind that these routes may also involve crampons, ice axe, harness and technical descents with belayed skiing, rappels, plus more.

    If you have some off-piste experience but yearn to dig into backcountry powder skiing, with greater confidence in route finding and deep turns during longer steeper descents, this is the tour for you. Also, if you have some avalanche training but want to gain the skills to rappel into something more serious, this one-day tour will give you the best insights and lessons for the future.

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Meet your guides

Willie Benegas
Willie Benegas
IFMGA mountain guide
Based out of Sandy, Utah, his home in the Wasatch Mountains, Willie is the co-founder of Benegas Brothers Expeditions. He’s an IFMGA Mountain Guide, AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide and has been to the summit of Mount Everest 13 times. With a stack of accomplishments too long to list, if you’re looking for someone to guide you on the mountain, there’s no person more qualified or experienced than Willie.
Todd Passey
Todd Passey
IFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski Guide
IFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski Guide
Originally from Utah, Todd is a highly accomplished guide with an IFMGA certification along with certifications from the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) as a Rock Guide, Alpine Guide, and Ski Mountaineering Guide. Todd's extensive guiding experience spans numerous countries and all 7 continents. One of Todd's notable achievements is successfully ascending all Seven Summits, including Kilimanjaro in Africa (1 time), Elbrus in Europe (4 times), Aconcagua in South America (2 times), Denali in North America (22 times), Carstensz in Oceania (7 times), Vinson in Antarctica (24 times), and Everest in Asia (2 times). Currently, Todd Passey resides in Utah's Wasatch Mountains.
Wasatch Mountain Guides
Wasatch Mountain Guides
Wasatch Mountain Guides
WMG is dedicated to demonstrating its passionate commitment to workplace sustainability, its deep-held understanding and love for nature, and a dedication to protecting the wilderness areas we all visit is taught on each and every WMG adventure.
The Mountain Guides
The Mountain Guides
The Mountain Guides have been leading mountain adventurers in the Western US since 1968. With some of the most experienced mountain guides in the country, TMG leads hundreds of people every year in the mountain ranges of Wyoming and Montana, the canyons and towers of Utah, on Cody’s South Fork ice falls, the cliffs and crags of Boulder, Colorado, in Red Rock, Nevada, and City of Rocks, Idaho.
Red River Adventures
Red River Adventures
Red River Adventures
In business since 2003, Red River Adventures have hosted over 85,000 guests and spent over 110,000 days in the field. They have extensive knowledge of and certification in whitewater rescue, climbing safety and technique, wilderness first aid, and CPR. Red River Adventures offer services from the top of Denali to the bottom of Grand Canyon, and are happy to take you on a unique trip.
5.00 (7 reviews)
Willie is one of the best mountain guides in the world.
Reagan R.

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.

There's no one I'd rather go out with
Edwin R.

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.

Highly recommended!
Paul K. (source: In the Company of Guides)

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!

In very capable hands
Dustin W. (source: In the Company of Guides)

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.

An amazing guide
Stephanie T. (source: The Backcountry Pros)

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 lots of fun!
Sarah J. (source: The Backcountry Pros)

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.

Willie Benegas is the king on Everest's south side
Bjorn E. (source: Wasatch Mountain Guides)

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

  • What you get in this adventure:

    • An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • 1 full day of backcountry ski touring

    What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment (can be rented)
    • Lift tickets for you and your guide (your guide will advise you on the best options)
    • Transportation to the trailhead
    • Meals and snacks
    • Accommodations
    • Trip insurance
  • 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.

  • Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner friendly, meaning anyone with a moderate fitness level and 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.

  • 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)
    • Helmet
    • 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
    • Sunscreen
    • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L bag)
    • Camera — optional
  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

    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.

  • Groups and pricing:

    • For these tours the max client-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
    • For the advanced tours and ski mountaineering, 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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!

  • Day Trips Cancellations
    Fully refundable within the initial 48 hours from booking, unless the trip date is less than 7 days from the time of the booking.
    Cancellations up to 7 days prior to the trip date are refundable 100%.
    Cancellations within 7 days prior to the trip date are non-refundable.

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