Why We’re Special

We provide quality backcountry opportunities for women of different abilities and ages to gain skills in outdoor recreational sports, backcountry safety, and to participate in fun adventures together. Our instructors, coaches, and guides are some of the best. They are all primarily passionate about education– high quality teachers with years of experience honing their craft, sharing knowledge and resources, and encouraging students to develop their own skill sets. All of our avalanche course teachers are qualified by AIARE as AIARE Course Leaders or AIARE Course Instructors.  All of our instructors have extensive leading experience outside of AIARE, including many who have professional ski patrol experience, many have taken AMGA Ski Guide Courses and other AMGA courses, up to the IFMGA level, some are cat ski guides, snow scientists, and heli ski guides.  We also hire highly experienced men who support our mission of mentoring women into leadership roles in the outdoors. All of our instructors are highly qualified and experienced people who are passionate about mentoring other women who want to get outdoors.

We focus specifically on women because we want to provide a positive learning environment where women can learn skills to confidently take on leadership roles in the outdoors.  Our all women’s (and co-ed!) trips foster a spirit of camaraderie, support, in a non-competitive learning environment with opportunities for continued education, friendship, and fun.  We have tons of fun learning and enjoying outdoor backcountry sports together! We hope you join us.

backcountry babes with ice axes

Our Philosophy

Backcountry Babes is an organization that was founded on providing opportunities for women to explore and learn more about outdoor recreation. We know that gender-related dynamics can affect a woman’s potential to experience, learn, and lead groups while participating in outdoor recreation. We understand that sometimes there just isn’t an opportunity or good mentor available to learn from.

Our mission is to be those quality mentors and guides for women in the outdoors. We aim to provide a comfortable, non-competitive atmosphere where we can feel at ease and learning new skills, new experiences, and share in fun adventures that build friendships and camaraderie. We strive to offer skills clinics and trips that provide women with a comfortable and fun outlet to the outdoors, and a place that they can be inspired and empowered by the experience.

We believe in women; our power, our strength, our individuality, and our beauty!

Cait Bourgault

Our Story

Backcountry Babes (formerly know as Babes in the Backcountry) was founded in 1997 by Leslie Ross, a 3x champion telemark skier. In the mid-1990s, Leslie recognized the lack of equality of women participating in recreational activities and outdoor sports. Her own passion for skiing and backcountry travel provoked her to create a business that would provide more instructional opportunities and adventures for other women to get outdoors in a comfortable and inspiring environment. The company was a leader in this movement at the time, and continues to be so.

Since 2014, Backcountry Babes has been owned by Emily Hargraves. An enthusiastic backcountry skier, backpacker, cyclist and river runner who has led outdoor education trips all over the world. She is delighted to have the opportunity to carry on decades of Backcountry Babes tradition and history and also to explore what new possibilities lay on the horizon for the Babes.

Backcountry Babes continues to operate in Alaska, Colorado, California, New Hampshire, New Mexico, British Columbia, Japan, and wherever adventure bring us.  We love sharing the adventures of quality trips, with excellent instruction, adventure, and fun with our clients.

Meet Our Guides
Women's New Mexico Ski

What Our Customers Say

Perfect for learning the basics - I hadn't used my new skis, bindings or skins before the Backcountry Babes Beginner Tour. I learned that and so much more, navigating, reading the avy bulletin, putting a trip plan in place. The course content was just what I was looking for.

Maureen NDenver, CO

I feel way more confident using my beacon, shovel and probe. I feel more confident about making more conservative decisions about routes to take, things to look for, and whether or no to even go out. It also made me realize how much more I have to learn!

Jenny LSan Francisco, CA

I learned a lot about identifying safe/unsafe terrain, analyzing snow conditions, rescue, evaluating the snow and how that impacts if/where/when we can ski. ALL of the was super beneficial to my future backcountry excursions.

Alyssa WColorado Springs, CO

Great base knowledge to practical application being outdoors, doing beacon search, evaluating terrain, digging snow pits to understand layers and the way they interact with each other. I though the instructors were really great at creating an inquisitive environment for us students to ask questions. They prompted us to think creatively and thoroughly about problems as well as prompted us to think more deeply about issues that might not be first in mind for a new backcountry skier.

Lizzie JSan Francisco, CA

Our trip to Japan was phenomenal! As the location becomes more exotic, it becomes more important to have a guide who knows the area and knows where to find the goodness; Check. Combined with fantastic organization and a small group, we spent all of our time in the enjoyment zone. Kudos to Emily for getting all the elements just right, and creating a lifetime memory.

Casey SSanta Fe, NV

This course was a great refresher on avy safety for me. it's been several years since taking AIARE 1!
Both instructors were great - very supportive, explained everything well, and fun to be around.

Gracie SGolden, CO

I appreciated the balance of classroom education and field application. All of the instructors were AWESOME. Approachable, allowing for all of us to ask any question.

Trent KDenver, CO