Intro to Ski Mountaineering in Rocky Mountain NP

Rocky Mountain NP | Colorado
Trip Highlights

Top reasons to ski mountaineer in Rocky Mountain NP

  • Trip Highlight

    Learn ski mountaineering skills in real context

  • Trip Highlight

    Familiarize yourself with rappelling and belaying strategies

  • Trip Highlight

    Improve your movements skills on steep, exposed terrain 

Learn the fundamentals of ski mountaineering in Rocky Mountain National Park! Find out how to step into more exposed territory and master various steep skiing skills with the supervision of your AMGA-certified guide. Get familiar with technical descents and climbing skills, as well as avalanche safety in extreme terrain. Over 2 days of the course, the focus will be on providing the-real-deal ski mountaineering environments, while keeping you maximally safe. Join your guide on this advanced ski mountaineering tour in Rocky Mountain and take a leap from a seasoned backcountry skier to a beginner ski mountaineer! 


January and February

Nearest city

Denver, CO is 2 hours away


2 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced


Book this adventure

Intro to Ski Mountaineering in Rocky Mountain NP

2 days

Get more confident with tackling steep slopes and exposed terrain during your 2 day ski mountaineering tour in Rocky Mountain National Park. Learning objectives of this course  include managing challenging ski descents, covering various ropework and climbing skills, using mountaineering equipment, and staying safe in backcountry terrain. That said, everything that will be covered can be tailored to your needs and goals once you get in touch with your expert guide!

Trip Highlights

Learning Outcomes

Here’s what you’ll learn:

This program will be a chance to learn about ski mountaineering strategies by actually doing it. During 2 days, your guide will cover a variety of ropework and climbing skills:

    • Tips and tricks for adding some safety and enjoyment to committing terrain
    • Rope management strategies
    • Strategies for rappelling and belaying in a skiing context
    • Belayed skiing
    • Introduction to climbing tools like crampons and ice axes
    • Managing avalanches in steep exposed terrain
    • Skiing movement skills for steep exposed skiing and variable snow
    • Conceptual approaches to tackling bigger more consequential lines
    • Interacting with shallow surface instabilities
    • Managing slough and loose snow in steep terrain

Reviews (3)

Dante Ferrante about Ben Markhart on Google

Go ski with Ben! I have taken both an avalanche education course and a ski mountaineering course. For the avalanche course I learned avalanche safety in the real world – how to ski great powder and minimize risk – not the kind of stuff you can learn in a book. In the ski mountaineering course we learned how to use ropes in ski situations on day one and skied an epic couloir on day two. Again GO SKI WITH BEN!

D Clancy about Ben Markhart on Google

I had an incredible experience with Ben. I cannot recommend him highly enough.  He takes a close personal interest in clients, and applies talent, expertise, and a human touch to helping them develop plans, and execute on them safely, efficiently, and enjoyably. I owe a successful Emmons ascent of Rainier to Ben, I trust him, and I am looking forward to another adventure with him.

Thomas Meiser about Ben Markhart on Google

Did a great job communicating the fundamentals in addition had a lot of other great insights you are not going to get from a course or your buddies.  Hoping to do some more courses with him in the future.

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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 traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Rocky Mountain National Park, please refer to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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, AMGA-certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • Avalanche safety lessons
    • 2 days of ski mountaineering courses
    • Technical ski mountaineering equipment

What’s not included:

    • Personal ski touring equipment
    • Transportation
    • Accommodation
    • Food and snacks

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have an advanced level of fitness and backcountry skiing experience. The terrain in the Rocky Mountain NP will be very steep, ungroomed, and treed. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while hiking uphill for 4000-6000 vertical feet every day.

What if I’ve never ski mountaineered before?

This adventure is suited for advanced skiers with previous skiing and riding experience in the backcountry. In order to keep up with your guide’s pace, you should be comfortable hiking uphill for 4000-6000 vertical feet every day and navigating steep, ungroomed and treed terrain. 

If you’re not an advanced skier, we recommend checking out these beginner and intermediate backcountry options in Rocky Mountain National Park you can choose from.

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)
    • Technical ski mountaineering equipment: ice axe, crampons
    • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel
      • Avalanche probe
      • Harness for glacier travel (for advanced touring) 

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 30-40L backpack)
    • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent: 

Ski rental locations are in Boulder, CO 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.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A $300 deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

  • If you cancel your participation 61+ days before the trip, a full refund is given. 
  • If you cancel 60 or less days before the trip for any reason, such as injury, illness, family emergency, or travel delays, no refund will be given.

All trips offered are subject to inherent risks and hazards including, but not limited to inclement weather, avalanche conditions, route conditions, and your own abilities or fitness. Your guide reserves the right to change the location or itinerary of any trip as necessary to reduce risk. 

No refund will be given for changes in the itinerary due to weather, conditions, or circumstances within or affecting your group such as fitness and technical ability. 

In the unlikely event that your guide is forced to cancel a trip due to inadequate booking, guide cancellations, or for any other reason, a full refund will be given. In such cases, your guide is not responsible for expenses incurred by the client in connection with the trip such as airfare, car rental, equipment purchases, etc.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes:

    • For this group course, max client-to-guide ratio is 5:1. 
    • Costs per person doesn’t decrease as the group grows. All prices are per person.

Ski mountaineering courses in the Rocky Mountain National Park can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to the Rocky Mountain National Park, most people fly into Denver International Airport, which is about 2 hours from the entrances to the national park. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.

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—usually close to Estes Park or Grand Lake. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain depending on conditions and the ability of the group.

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