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Reserve spots for 5 or more people, and get $16 off for each
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3 day
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Colorado Mountain School
  • Join this 3-day backcountry skiing course in Estes Park and become a confident skier outside the resorts. You'll gain essential skills for off-piste adventures, covering efficient uphill and downhill travel, avalanche rescue training, and exploring diverse terrains in Rocky Mountain National Park—all under the expert guidance of our experienced instructors. Get ready to elevate your skiing experience and create lasting memories in Colorado's snowy wilderness.

    • Some of the skills and topics that will be covered during your Estes Park backcountry skiing course are:

        • Complete avalanche rescue course and interpreting avalanche and weather bulletins
        • Backcountry ski equipment
        • Layering for uphill and downhill skiing
        • Use and care of alpine touring binding and climbing skins
        • Getting into skis in deep snow, or steep, icy slopes
        • Techniques for efficient uphill travel
        • Appropriate downhill skiing/riding turns and Making kick turns
        • Techniques for managing a group uphill and downhill
        • Efficient transitions to uphill from downhill skiing and to downhill skiing from skinning
        • Foot care
        • Maintaining adequate hydration and nutrition
        • Planning ski tours balancing safety and good snow conditions
    • Begin your journey with a solid foundation in efficient uphill and downhill travel skills. You’ll delve into track setting, honing your ability to navigate through various backcountry conditions. As the day progresses, you’ll gain essential insights into basic route finding, understanding the terrain, and finding slopes with the best snow. This day sets the stage for your backcountry skiing experience, guiding you towards the art of traversing untamed landscapes and discovering where to find the finest snow, turning your exploration into an exhilarating and educational experience.

      Backcountry skiers learning how to ski uphill on a slope near Estes Park, Colorado.
    • On this pivotal day of your backcountry skiing course, you delve deep into the essential art of avalanche rescue. You’ll receive comprehensive training in companion rescue within an avalanche scenario, guided by an experienced instructor who adheres to the American Avalanche Institute (AAI) recreational curriculum. This curriculum is recognized and approved by the American Avalanche Association (A3), setting the highest standard for avalanche training in the United States. As you venture into the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll learn navigate and respond effectively in potentially life-threatening situations (as wll as how to avoid them).

      A backcountry skier learns how to use an avalanche probe during their avalanche rescue training near Estes Park, Colorado.
    • The pinnacle of your backcountry skiing course takes place in the breathtaking expanse of Rocky Mountain National Park. This natural wonderland offers an array of terrains catering to all skiers and splitboarders, whether you seek the tranquility of mellow glades, the vastness of open bowls, the challenge of steep couloirs, or the heights of lofty summits. It’s a full day of adventure that seamlessly integrates all the skills you’ve acquired, allowing you to confidently navigate the diverse landscapes.

      Backcountry skiers on top of powder-laden slopes and among magnificent mountain landscapes of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
    • What you get on this adventure:

        • An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
        • 3-Day backcountry skiing course
        • Avalanche safety equipment

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation to Estes Park
        • Accommodation and meals
        • Clothing, backpack and non-technical personal items
        • Ski touring or splitboard Equipment
        • Park entrance fees (where applicable)
        • Eldora Mountain Resort Uphill Ticket ($25 daily or $149 annually)
        • Rescue and travel insurance
        • Guide gratuities — optional
    • To enjoy this Estes backcountry skiing course, you need to be in very good physical shape. Engaging in aerobic activities in the weeks leading up to the course is highly recommended to build stamina and endurance. Generally, a sports-oriented lifestyle is beneficial. This adventure demands the ability to confidently navigate controlled descents in standard resort skiing conditions and feel at ease tackling challenging blue-level resort runs. It’s important to note that this course is thoughtfully designed with beginners in mind, meaning you don’t need any prior ski touring experience. Your instructor will provide the guidance and support necessary to ensure you build the skills and confidence required for a successful backcountry skiing journey, starting from scratch.

    • For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

        • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboards with skins (can be rented)
        • Touring boots and ski or trekking poles (can be rented)
        • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented for no additional fee):
          • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
          • Lightweight snow shovel
          • Avalanche probe

      For personal items, we recommend bringing:

        • Helmet
        • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
        • Softshell jacket and fleece jacket
        • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
        • Hardshell ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
        • Sunglasses and ski goggles
        • Lightweight gloves, midweight softshell gloves, and heavyweight waterproof gloves
        • Sun hat and neck gaiter
        • 2 Water bottles (1L capacity)
        • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
        • Food you can eat on-the-go
        • Sunscreen
        • Backpack (20-40L capacity)
        • Camera — optional
    • 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 from your guiding service (for no additional cost, just leave a note during booking)
        • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Estes Park Mountain Shop
        • Splitboards can be rented from Estes Park Mountain Shop.

      Ski rental locations are in Estes Park, Colorado 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 accommodation, we recommend the Estes Park Adventure Hostel, which is owned by your guiding service. The affordable hostel offers a comfortable and communal experience with 16 beds in 3 rooms, along with amenities like bathrooms, showers, a fully equipped kitchen, Wi-Fi, a ping-pong table, and a lounge area. Contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

    • Group sizes and prices:

        • For this group adventure, the maximum client-to-guide ratio is 6:1.
        • The cost is per person and doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

      Backcountry skiing courses in Estes Park can be arranged for larger and for private 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.

    • To get to Estes Park, most people fly into Denver International Airport, which is 1.5 hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.

      You will meet your Estes Park backcountry skiing guide and fellow backcountry skiers at CMS Lodge, 341 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO in the morning on Day 1. We suggest that you arrive the day before so that you can get enough rest before the course.

    • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency rescue and travel insurance. With rescue 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.

      Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

      We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to.

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

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