December through May
Salt Lake City
Beginner to advanced
The Wasatch Range stretches for 160 miles of pure adventure
Utah’s terrain delivers some of the best backcountry skiing in the country — and fewer crowds — thanks to hidden gems that allow for uninterrupted powder chasing. 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.
Most Popular Itineraries
Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing
Ready to level up from the resort? In this one-day introduction, you’ll learn how to comfortably ski in the backcountry. Gain techniques such as the basics of alpine touring equipment, avalanche safety and route planning. By the end of the day, you’ll confidently carve turns in Utah’s Wasatch Range.
A Customized Day of Private Guided Backcountry Skiing
Prepare for a day of powder chasing in the best locations Wasatch has to offer. Whether you’re looking for gladed trees, steeps or endless turns, your guide will seek out the best conditions for your goals. Each trip is tailored to your ability, safety and expert knowledge of the mountains.
Advanced Tours & Ski Mountaineering
Advanced tours focus on challenging objectives on a wide variety of terrain and aspects — with the best snow. If you’re capable and willing, you’ll be paired with experts to discover bigger routes, safely. Certified guides prepare for more hazard considerations, allowing you to focus on your turns and technique on the snow.
Things you need to know
Covid measures in Utah
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 Utah.gov 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!
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?
Spend less time waiting in chairlift lines and more time skiing! Leave the crowded resort behind and head into the backcountry for some of the best powder you’ll ever experience. Nothing beats the rush you’ll get from laying down first tracks on an incredible route with nothing but endless terrain laying before you. It’s everything you get from resort skiing, only better.
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 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
How fit do I need to be?
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.
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 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)
- 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
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L bag)
- 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
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Wasatch Touring and Outdoor Adventures
- Splitboards can be rented from Outdoor Adventures and Wasatch Touring
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.
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. An average day will include time for lunch and approximately 1,500 – 2,500 feet of climbing over the course of six hours.
Depending on your objectives, full days may start earlier and end later, but in general, your day will look like this:
- 7:00 – 8:00 am: Meet your guide at the guide’s recommended location in Little or Big Cottonwood Canyons
- 8:30 – 9:00 am: Head to the location of your backcountry ski tour
- 9:30 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
What is the minimum age requirement?
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.
What about group sizes 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 Utah’s Wasatch Range 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 an insurance policy?
We highly recommended that all participants carry 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!
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 Moderate 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 a full refund. For cancellations fourteen (14) to twenty nine (29) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations zero (0) to thirteen (13) days in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.
For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.
Getting there and meeting location
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 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.
Guides we recommend
IFMGA mountain guide
IFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski GuideIFMGA/AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski Guide
AMGA Ski Guide, Alpine Guide Course, Assistant Rock GuideAMGA Ski Guide, Alpine Guide Course, Assistant Rock Guide
Wasatch Mountain GuidesWasatch Mountain Guides
The Mountain Guides UtahThe Mountain Guides Utah
Simply put, John is the guy you want guiding you wherever you are in the backcountry. I’ve met many guides during my outdoor career, but John stands out for his ability to make the experience feel fun, intense, educational and relatively safe all at the same time. He takes his job of keeping you safe very seriously, and his years of knowledge and experience have always given me comfort when things get a little hairy.
Really great guide Mike was very accommodating of our family including splitboarder wife and 13 yr old son with varying fitness and experience. Gave us some tips, good conversation and a fun day out.
Great attitude, tons of stoke, and I always felt I was in good hands. He’s the kind of guide who is super chill but who you would absolutely want to have around in a crisis. And he SENDS. I would shred with him again in a heartbeat.
I highly recommend WMG to anyone looking for a heck of a day learning all aspects of backcountry skiing, no matter what your experience level. Willie was respectful, trustworthy and full of great stories; oh and he’s been backcountry skiing a time or two :). We always felt safe and in control and were always greeted with the smiling face of Willie at the each ledge.
He 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.