Part of the Wasatch range, the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are known for some of the best champagne powder in the world! Shaped over centuries, the Cottonwood Canyons are a spectacular setting for backcountry skiing. Encompassing four world-renowned ski destinations and thousands of acres of backcountry terrain, they’re the perfect place to explore with a guide. With wide-open bowls, steep chutes, long-scenic runs, and spectacular views, there’s a lifetime of possibility. Spend your day deep in the remote backcountry or skip most of the skinning and save your energy for the way down with plenty of lift-accessed terrain. Head out for the day and let a guide show you the where to find the best powder in Utah!

  • Part of the Wasatch Range known for the best champagne powder in the world

  • The area encompasses thousands of acres of backcountry terrain

  • Discover challenging and unforgettable backcountry terrain in one of Utah’s most sought-after areas

Choose itinerary

Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing
Jan 30 onwards
Powder Skiing for Intermediate and Advanced Skiers
Feb 01 onwards
Advanced Tours & Ski Mountaineering
Jan 30 onwards

Meet your guides

Willie Benegas
5.00
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 acc...
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Todd Passey
5.00
Todd Passey
IFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski Guide
IFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski Guide
Guiding since 2000, Todd is an IFMGA/UIAGM licensed Mountain Guide living in Utah. Todd guides all over the world and has climbed and guided the Seven Summits. Although Todd has guided on every continent on the planet, the Wasatch Mountains are still h...
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Wasatch Mountain Guides
5.00
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.
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The Mountain Guides
5.00
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 canyon...
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Red River Adventures
5.00
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....
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5.00 (2 reviews)
Willie is one of the best mountain guides in the world.
Reagan R. about Willie Benegas

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. about Todd Passey

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.

Things to know

  • 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 Cottonwood Canyons, please refer to the State of Utah official 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
      • A full day of backcountry ski touring

    What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
      • Trip insurance
      • Lift tickets (if needed)
      • Food and snacks
      • Transportation
  • 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 Cottonwood Canyons, 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 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.

  • 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 may be rented from your guide if needed
    • Alpine touring or telemark skis and poles may be rented from Voile Retail Store 
    • Splitboards can be rented from Voile Retail Store
    • Touring boots and helmets can be rented from REI

    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 from the guide if needed):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel
      • Avalanche probe
      • Harness for glacier travel (for advanced tours)

    For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet
    • 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
    • Sunscreen
    • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-45L backpack)
    • Camera — optional
  • 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 Cottonwood Canyons 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 Cottonwood Canyons, most people fly into Salt Lake City International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to the Canyons. SLC is less than 30 minutes away from the Big and Little Cottonwood Park and Ride Lots. Utah Transit Authority (UTA) offers Ski Bus with trips going up and down Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon each day.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. The usual meeting points are Big or Little Cottonwood Park and Ride Lot, Alta or Brighton depending on objective. 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.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,
Download backcountry skiing gear checklist
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From $540
/ 1-5 days
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