Top three reasons to backcountry ski in Alta and Snowbird
Gain double the backcountry! Side by side, Alta and Snowbird offers two-for-one access for backcountry skiers
A long ski season and world-renowned powder make this the ultimate ski destination
Perfect for family getaways and advanced skiers chasing remote routes
Alta is not only one of the first ski areas in the U.S., but is also next-door neighbors with Snowbird, offering two-for-one access for backcountry skiers. Utah’s renowned power destinations are defined by their vibrant mountain communities, perfect for family getaways and advanced skiers chasing remote routes. Alta is also one of the few ski areas reserved for skiers only. Backcountry beginners will adore the ample terrain. Expert skiers and riders aren’t left out thanks to expansive ski mountaineering, interconnected tours and jaw-dropping descents. Start with easy access at Grizzly Gulch and work up to chutes, bowls and trees. Join a guide and find out why this is one of the best ski destinations in Utah!
December through May
Book as many days as you want
Salt Lake City International Airport is a 45-minute drive from Alta
Beginner to advanced
Most Popular Itineraries
Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing
No experience in the backcountry? This Alta backcountry tour is designed to equip strong resort skiers for a thrilling day off-piste. You’ll gain out-of-this-world backcountry skiing opportunities, just outside Salt Lake City. Learn the foundations while gaining access to some of the best touring on the planet.
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
Design a private tour for backcountry skiing in the unreal skiing conditions offered by the Wasatch Mountains. Backcountry experts will work with you to determine the perfect elevation, access points, long and even fall-lines, pitch, and tree cover. Experience deep, powder bowls to tranquil, glade skiing in an intimate group.
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
Lift Accessed Backcountry Skiing
Maximize your lines with lifts providing speedy access to high-mountain backcountry terrain. You’ll reach the Wasatch upper elevations in order to stack vertical with less hiking or skinning. Grabbing a lift combines shorter hikes and traverses with untracked powder near Utah’s under the radar resorts.
Advanced Ski Tours & Mountaineering Objectives
Capable backcountry skiers interested in bigger objectives for a longer duration will enjoy these thrilling and challenging backcountry tours. You’ll face more hazard considerations but with more reward. Level up with fully customized trips with up to 8,000 feet of climbing and skiing over roughly eight hours.
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
Even though we had not the best snow Todd was able to find some CV untouched Utah powder. Jacob was excellent in providing information beforehand. He provided me with a lot of good tips and advise. He was vey thoughtful to my needs. Would recommend 57 hours.
We had a great day backcountry skiing with Winslow. There hadn’t been any new snow in weeks and she knew right where to find the goods! She is clearly VERY knowledgeable about local conditions, safety and fun. She helped our group with technique when we needed it and had her eye on our fitness and skill the whole time. She took us skiing where we never would have gone on our own and made us feel comfortable when we were hesitant. It was an unforgettable day and I hope to ski with Winslow again soon!
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.
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!
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 Alta/Snowbird
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 the Salt Lake City area, please refer to the Utah Department of Health.
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
- A full day of backcountry ski touring
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Trip insurance
- Lunch, water and snacks
- Full day lift ticket or “single-ride lift ticket” (for lift-accessed tours)
How fit do I need to be?
In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. While there is terrain for all skill levels in Alta and Snowbird, 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 can be rented from your guide
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from the guiding service, REI location in Salt Lake City, or Alta Ski Shop – Wildcat in Alta.
- Splitboards can be rented from REI location in Salt Lake City, Alta Ski Shop – Wildcat in Alta, or Cliff Sports in Snowbird.
Ski rental locations are in Alta, Snowbird and 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:
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Gloves and hat
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-tex recommended)
- Down jacket or vest
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
- 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
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First-aid kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
- Camera — optional
Group sizes and age requirements
Groups and pricing:
- For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 4:1. For advanced ski touring, 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 Alta and Snowbird 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 age 15 and up 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 Alta/Snowbird, most people fly into Salt Lake City International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service the 45 minutes Southeast to Alta or Snowbird.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.