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Backcountry Skiing in Big Sky

Yellowstone National Park | Montana
5.00
4 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to backcountry ski in Big Sky

  • Trip Highlight

    Close the America’s first national park, experience the magic of Yellowstone’s backcountry

  • Trip Highlight

    One of the most unique backcountry skiing experiences in all the world

  • Trip Highlight

    Terrain that varies from alpine meadows to tree skiing to epic peaks

Yellowstone might be one of the busiest national parks in the summer, but in the winter, it’s all yours. The remoteness of Yellowstone makes for one of the most unique backcountry skiing experiences in all the world. Your certified guide will take you to the deep powder stashes of the park, where you may see fox and wolf tracks along with some amazing frozen waterfalls. With terrain that varies from alpine meadows to tree skiing to epic peaks, there’s something for all interests and abilities. Incredible views, wildlife spotting and grand vistas await on your day of private guided ski touring.

Season

December through May

Duration

Book as many days as you want

Nearest city

Yellowstone is a 30-45 minute drive

Skill level

All skill levels are welcome

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your day

Every day is fully custom. You and your guide will discuss how to tailor your day to your experience and objectives. Here are some examples of the most popular itineraries to serve as a starting point:

Private Intro Class to Backcountry Skiing

Ready to leave the resort behind and experience fresh powder away from the crowds? Big Sky is the perfect place to learn the ins and outs of backcountry skiing. Your guide will show you the basics and spend the day helping you perfect your techniques while earning your turns in one of America’s most famous locations. You’ll learn about backcountry gear, skinning uphill, snow safety and more in this one-day introduction to backcountry touring.

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

Let a certified guide with extensive knowledge of the Big Sky area customize the perfect day of ski touring. Experience the best Montana has to offer with a day catered to your objectives and skill level. Tour through alpine meadows or spend your time crushing steep descents — it’s all up to you.

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 Ski Tours & Mountaineering Objectives

Expect seven to nine hours of incredible backcountry skiing with a private guide. Whether it’s knuckle-biting descents or a marathon ski tour, you’ll be introduced to the best places in Yellowstone to suit your objectives. Your guide will handle the in-depth tour planning, route selection, terrain management and decision making — all you need to do is bring the stoke.

Reviews

Reviews (4)

Read what happy 57hours clients have to say about adventuring with their guide
Super fun day!
Doug R. about Montana Alpine Guides on Google Reviews

Spent a super fun day with Allan of MAG and two buddies new to non-resort skiing. Perfect blend of education, skills development and low angle pow turns. Exactly what we were looking for. Very responsive booking process. Couldn’t recommend Allan and MAG more highly.

A terrific guide
Chester H. about Montana Alpine Guides on Google Reviews

Sam was a terrific guide. Had a really fun day ski touring in Yellowstone. Highly recommended!

Great three days
Porter C. about Montana Alpine Guides on Google Reviews

Ty put together a great three days of ski touring and instruction during our Aly 1 course. He was extremely qualified and was able to draw from his personal experiences in the mountains to add to the class. I would strongly recommend Ty and MAG for an Aly 1 class.

Great course!
Matthew T. about Montana Alpine Guides on Trip Advisor

I completed your Level 1 Avalanche Course and it was a great; incredibly informative, awesome instructor, and super useful hands-on education. It significantly increased my confidence in my ability to ski safely in the backcountry.

Things to know

Things to know

Answers to the most common questions people have about this trip

COVID-19 measures in Yellowstone

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 Cooke City, Yellowstone, please refer to the Montana Office of Tourism.

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’s included?

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
  • Price does not include 3.5% land use charge

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 Yellowstone, 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 ($50/person/day)
  • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Grizzly Outfitters in Big Sky, MT
  • Splitboards can be rented from World Boards in Bozeman, MT

Ski rental locations are in Big Sky or Bozeman, MT and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know during the booking process 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
    • Harness for glacier travel

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 30-45L bag)
  • 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 3:1.
  • 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 Yellowstone can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

  • Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome on 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

Most travellers fly into Bozeman International Airport. From Bozeman, Montana, it’s an hour drive south to Big Sky via US-191. Then, from Big Sky, it’s about 30-45 minutes south to powder backcountry skiing in Yellowstone National Park.

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