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Rocky Mountain National Park | Colorado

Backcountry Skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park

57hours Icon season


Mid-December through April

57hours Icon nearest-city

Nearest city

Estes Park, Colorado is a five-minute drive from the park’s entrance

57hours Icon duration


1 day

57hours Icon skill-level

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Get ready for epic backcountry terrain in Colorado’s Front Range

Colorado boasts big terrain and sky-scraping mountains, and Rocky Mountain National Park is no exception. Longs Peak sits at 14,258 feet and there are 18 other mountains within the park that top out at 13,000+ feet. Estes Park, which sits conveniently minutes from RMNP’s eastern border, is the perfect starting point for an epic ski tour within Rocky’s boundaries. Get your skis primed for your big day in the backcountry and enjoy the steep couloirs and beautiful views over the surrounding mountains.

Most Popular Itineraries

A Customized Day of Private Guided Backcountry Skiing

From $425 · Full-day

A privately guided ski tour is the perfect chance to dive into Colorado’s revered backcountry — without the cost of a lift ticket or back-to-back traffic along the usual routes. RMNP’s terrain is vast, and there’s no better way to challenge yourself with new objectives than by touring with a guide. Your guide will customize the perfect day out — whether it’s in Hidden Valley’s mellow terrain or the challenging Tyndall Gorge or The Dream Chutes, you can count on a full day of touring and 2,000-5,000 vertical feet.

Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing

From $425 · Full-day

If you want to get your first taste of backcountry skiing, Rocky is a great training ground. Let a guide introduce you to epic terrain and untouched powder outside of resort boundaries. You’ll learn the fundamentals of backcountry ski touring while staying safe and having fun. Great intro areas include Banana Bowl and Hidden Valley.

Advanced Tours and Ski Mountaineering

From $375 · Full-day

Described as a “steep-skier’s paradise,” RMNP is ideal for advanced skiers willing to test their limits. The snowiest state in the U.S. offers unparalleled serious terrain, like that found on Dragontail, the Dead Elk Couloir, and the South Face of Hallett. Get your adrenaline pumping and let an experienced guide show you the ins and outs of some of the most attractive parts of the Rockies.

Things you need to know

Covid measures in Rocky Mountain National Park

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 Rocky Mountain National Park, please refer to Visit Estes Park or The Official Site of Colorado 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!

Why should I book with 57hours?

With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.

Why should I go backcountry skiing?

Nothing beats the rush you’ll get from laying down first tracks on an incredible route with nothing but endless terrain laying before you. Alpine peaks, open bowls, steep and secluded tree shots, cruisy, mellow runs — it’s all out there waiting to be explored in the backcountry. You’ll spend less time waiting in chairlift lines and more time skiing, so leave the crowded resort behind and head off-piste for some of the best powder you’ll ever experience!

What can I expect from skiing with a guide?

A certified ski guide will take all of the guesswork out of your time in the backcountry. From tour planning to route selection, terrain management, avalanche safety, and gear knowledge, your guide’s expertise and backcountry experience will ensure you have an unforgettable ski touring adventure. It doesn’t matter your skill level, whether you’ve never backcountry skied or you’re seasoned on the slopes, skiing with a guide has its advantages. Your techniques will sharpen, you’ll learn how to navigate terrain safely, make smart decisions, and most of all, you’ll remain safe in unfamiliar terrain.

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’s included in the price?

What you get in this adventure package:

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

Not included:

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 and courses for all skill levels in Rocky Mountain National Park, 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.

What equipment do I need to bring?

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 ski 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)
  • Soft shell or fleece jacket
  • Ski pants (Gore-tex recommended)
  • Helmet
  • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks (liners recommended)
  • Gloves and hat
  • Buff/neck gaiter
  • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-45L bag)
  • 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/thermos and 1L of water
  • Food you can eat on-the-go
  • Sunglasses or ski goggles
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp
  • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

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 ($20/person/day)
  • Alpine touring ski package of skis, skins, boots and poles ($50/person/day)
  • Splitboard package of boots, bindings and board ($50/person/day)
  • Goggles and helmets are also available for rent

Estes Park Mountain Shop has all the rental equipment you’ll need. Gear 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.

What’s the itinerary?

Your backcountry ski tour will be fully customized to match your skill level and objectives. You and your guide will discuss route selection, skills development, and whatever else you’d like to focus on. From there, your guide will plan the perfect day tailored just for you taking into consideration factors such as weather and snow conditions.

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 designated meeting point
  • 8:30 am: Head to the location of your backcountry ski tour
  • 9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Gear up, go over some safety considerations, and spend the day backcountry skiing on routes selected to best suit your group
  • 4:00 pm: Back to the cars for debriefing and high fives

What is the minimum age requirement?

  • Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this backcountry skiing adventure.
  • Children 10 and older 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.

What about group sizes and pricing?

For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 6:1. For advanced ski touring, the max 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 Rocky Mountain National Park can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

What about bad weather?

Mitigating avalanche risk is paramount for any excursion in the backcountry — that’s why it’s best to tour with a guide! Rest assured, your guide will set objectives that are attainable for the weather conditions on that particular day. Of course, inclement weather can always get in the way of backcountry skiing, but your guide will know the best course of action to take if the weather takes a turn.

On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your guide will present you with suitable, safe alternatives. The most common practice is to move to a nearby location if it exists, or to reschedule your backcountry ski tour to a more favorable day.

If backcountry skiing is not possible on your scheduled day and no options presented are viable, you will be issued a full refund.

Do I need insurance?

Accidents can happen anywhere, and we highly recommended that you cover all your bases with emergency medical insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

Cancellation policy

With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.

For this adventure, 57hours offers a Strict Cancellation Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to reschedule their trip or a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund.

For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.

Getting there

Estes Park is a five-minute drive from Rocky Mountain National Park, which is 2 hours from Denver International Airport. If you don’t drive, Estes Park Mountain Shuttle can take you to Estes Park from Boulder and Denver.

On the day of your backcountry ski tour, you will meet your guide in Estes Park. Your guide will let you know the best place to meet after discussing your objectives with you and choosing the best spot for your day of backcountry skiing.

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