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Backcountry Skiing in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park | Montana
5.00
3 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to backcountry ski in Yellowstone National Park

  • Trip Highlight

    Explore uncharted territory in Yellowstone National Park

  • Trip Highlight

    Known as a backcountry skier’s paradise with limitless terrain

  • Trip Highlight

    Thousands of acres of ski-only access and options for all skill levels

Once a snowmobiling and sledding paradise, Cooke City is now known as a backcountry skier’s paradise. This Yellowstone hidden gem offers limitless terrain — thousands of acres of ski-only access — and options for all skill levels. Let a guide show you Yellowstone like you’ve never seen it before and experience the park like few others get to. Whether you’re looking for exciting couloirs, technical descents, or want to improve your newfound backcountry skills, it’s all waiting for you in Cooke City.

Season

December through mid-March

Duration

Book as many days as you want

Nearest city

Cooke City is minutes from Yellowstone’s NE entrance

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

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

Want to take your resort skills into the backcountry? Let an experienced professional guide offer you private instruction while looking out for your safety. Your guide will take you to the best beginner areas and show you the techniques and skills that will help you conquer more advanced slopes and couloirs. In one day, you’ll fasttrack your progression and be ready for more challenging descents.

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

Cooke City offers so many skiable areas that it’s hard to decide where to go. Whether you want a maximum challenge or just want to enjoy laps on mellower runs, your experienced guide will make sure you make the most out of your day with touring to suit your objectives. See why this is one of the top backcountry skiing destinations in the U.S.

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

There are loads of high alpine touring options in the Beartooth mountains that surround Cooke City.With thousands of acres to explore, your guide will show you the best places in Yellowstone to conquer steep chutes and tight couloirs. This privately guided day is suited for advanced backcountry skiers looking to push the limits in America’s first National Park.

Reviews

Reviews (3)

Read what happy 57hours clients have to say about adventuring with their guide
Excellent Backcountry Hosts
Tony F. about Beartooth Powder Guides on Trip Advisor

I recently spent four days and three nights at the Woody Creek Cabin operated by Beartooth Powder Guides. Ben and his team took excellent care of us and ensured that all of our needs were met. Not only was their hospitality top-notch, but their snow safety was second-to-none. Lastly, and most importantly, Ben and his team absolutely came through with the goods, finding us some excellent powder and tree skiing. I would not hesitate to book a trip with Beartooth again.

Great environment for backcountry skiers
Kathy R. about Beartooth Powder Guides on Trip Advisor

We are so glad that Ben has created such a great environment for backcountry skiers, If you want a very far out of the way experiencing wilderness from 360 degrees, check out the Yurt!!

These guys know where it's at...
Imaginelle about Beartooth Powder Guides on Trip Advisor

We are backcountry skiers and we aren’t from the area- heck not even from the same country- so it pays to have good guides in the snow in an area you dont know. These guys know the terrain, the conditions and the stashes. Loved going up to the cabin with the zen Beau and ski touring Yellowstone amongst the wolfprints with Jesse. We will be back next year.

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 package:

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

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 Cooke City and 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 can be rented from your guide
  • Helmets, alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Grizzly Outfitters in Big Sky, MT

If you rent ski touring equipment in Big Sky, MT, it 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

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

  • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-tex recommended)
  • Down jacket or vest
  • Ski pants (Gore-tex recommended)
  • Helmet
  • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
  • 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 30-40L bag)
  • Camera — optional

Group sizes and age requirements

Groups and pricing:

  • For this adventure, the max client-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
  • 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 Cooke City can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us prior to booking 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.

Getting there and meeting location

Most travellers fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. From Bozeman, Montana, it’s an hour drive south to Big Sky via US-191 where you can pick up your rented gear. Then, from Big Sky, it’s about 3 hours south to Cooke City just outside Yellowstone National Park’s NE entrance.

Note: If you were planning on flying into Billings Logan International Airport, keep in mind that the roads to the east of Cooke City close for parts of fall, spring and all of winter. This means that the road from Billings has seasonal access only to your destination, and won’t be open during winter.

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.

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