Beginner Backcountry Ski & Splitboard Tour – Breckenridge/Vail CO
Location - Colorado, Breckenridge
December 9, 2020 - December 11, 2020
December 16, 2020 - December 19, 2020
January 13, 2021 - January 16, 2021
February 11, 2021 - February 14, 2021
March 4, 2021 - March 6, 2021
This workshop is designed for women who are new to the backcountry! If you’ve never been touring before or only a handful of days and are looking for mentorship and skill building, this course is for you! Our goal is to create a fun and welcoming environment where you can ask questions. Learn to use your Alpine Touring, Splitboard, or Telemark set-up with a professional instructor. We’ll teach you the basics of winter backcountry travel and explain the gear and tools you need. You will also meet other women who are getting into the backcountry! This course is a good introduction to backcountry basics and the next step is to take your AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Course.
During an weeknight online evening session we’ll introduce all the gear, how to pack and plan for the backcountry, and provide an introduction to avalanche safety. The following field day, in a small group including your instructor, will include a full day tour in backcountry terrain.
Backcountry Babes instructors have years of backcountry skiing experience, ranging from professional ski patrollers, AIARE avalanche course instructors, cat ski guides, and AMGA Ski Guides. We love teaching Backcountry Babes courses so we can help more women ski in the backcountry and do so in a supportive, fun, and encouraging learning environment.
Duration: 1 Online Evening Session, 1 Full Tour Day
Activity Level: Moderate
Required Skill Level:
We’ll teach you how to do the uphill part! However, you must be comfortable descending ungroomed black terrain at the resort. Your skiing doesn’t have to look pretty, but we do need everyone to be comfortable skiing and riding in control and avoiding obstacles on the descent. You must also be able to hike several miles, at elevations above 9000ft., and able to spend time outside in inclement winter weather.
Not sure about your downhill ability? We recommend practicing at the resort to boost your downhill skills. Taking a lesson with a PSIA instructor is one of the best ways to quickly improve your downhill technique.
Dec 9th Online Session and Dec 11th Field Day
Dec 16th Online Session and Dec 19th Field Day
Jan 13th Online Session and Jan 16th Field Day
Feb 11th Online Session and Feb 14th Field Day
March 4th Online Session and March 6th Field Day
About the Course
5:00pm - 7:00pm
We’ll meet for an online learning session with your instructor. Learn how to interpret the avalanche bulletin, what to wear in the backcountry, and what gear to pack for our all day tour this weekend.
8:00am - 3:00pm
Beginner Backcountry Ski Tour
At the trailhead, learn how to use your backcountry ski bindings and skins. We’ll get hands-on practice with our beacons, shovels, and probes. Ski together at a casual, comfortable pace. Get tips and tricks for ski touring and learn efficient skinning techniques. Your instructors will explain their route-finding techniques, point out avalanche terrain, and discuss the snowpack. You will learn how to find the best snow, angles, and aspects and enjoy some well-deserved downhill. By the end of the day you will be ready to take your AIARE level 1 course and hit the backcountry as often as you can.
What to Expect
- Learn to use your backcountry gear effectively
- Introduction to avalanche safety
- Comfortable and fun learning atmosphere
- Attentive, experienced, & professionally-certified instructors
- Engaging online classroom and field session
- Appropriate and applicable avalanche safety knowledge
- Edifying practical experience to build confidence
- Joyful self-empowerment regarding safe backcountry travel & decision-making
- A great preparatory course for your AIARE Level 1
- We’ll be skiing downhill on ungroomed snow. Must be comfortable avoiding unmarked obstacles and skiing in control on uneven snow. Your skiing doesn’t need to look good, but we do want you to have downhill skiing skills and survival ski skills (side slipping, wedging, traversing, etc.)
- Backcountry skis or splitboard
- Ski poles
- Ski or snowboard boots
- Climbing skins
- Avalanche beacon, avalanche probe, avalanche shovel in good working order
- Outerwear and warm layers (hand warmers can be nice)
- Appropriate food & drink for the day
This beginner backcountry ski tour is a great time to try out new backcountry gear or demo/rent new equipment. Backcountry Babes offers a beacon, shovel, probe and backpack package for rent on a first-come, first-serve basis which you can reserve at checkout. For your convenience, your instructors will bring it to the field day for you. For additional gear rentals, we recommend Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge or Alpine Quest in Edwards.
FLY: To Denver and take a shuttle or rental car to Breckenridge.
DRIVE: To our trailheads in the Breckenridge area. Our touring location is typically Mt Baldy but it’s possible to meet at any of our other USFS permitted locations. If you are looking to book lodging, Dillon, Frisco, and Breck are all fairly central for this course. Exact touring location is weather and condition dependent. You will receive specific touring location information during our online evening session.
Backcountry Babes is an equal opportunity service provider and employer. Backcountry Babes operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest Ranger District and Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District.
“It was beneficial in so many ways, just getting more time on the mountain uphill with new gear, and being able to ask lots of obvious and non obvious questions in a really educational and fun environment. Abby also offered a lot of content I wouldn’t have thought to ask, and it was all super fun and non competitive. Great prep for my Avi 1 the following weekend, I learned a lot and had a great time. The layering and packing education was key, as well as getting a start on understanding planning and research so I can start to get out on my own.”Julianne G.Intro to Backcountry Skiing
“Built confidence, started friendships, and provided a good level of intro knowledge”Sachi K.Intro to Backcountry Skiing
“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
“This course was beneficial in so many ways – We lived backcountry touring for a couple of days and got to go through the motions of trip planning, avalanche observations, and terrain management. I have a great framework moving forward. Our instructors Kirsten, Casey, and Janine did a great job working together. I really liked hearing different perspectives, experiences and styles.”Nathan LLittleton, CO
“There is an incredibly positive and high energy stoke level of the female-empowered AND co-ed classroom environment. It is cool to hear our students discuss the value of the learning environment–enjoying growth through our women’s empowerment focus and recognizing the reality that future teamwork will consist of co-ed teams in the backcountry.”Anne St. ClairLead Instructor
“This co-ed setup is so cool, as it allows couples to take an AIARE class together in a stigma-free environment where both partners can feel empowered instead of the “token” female among males or vice versa taking an avalanche course. It really flows well with what AIARE tries to accomplish and I think everyone in the group really enjoyed this format and how well the group dynamics worked.”Mike BortnowskiAIARE Avalanche Level 1 Instructor
“It was a terrific introduction to backcountry ski touring – I’d never even tried using the setup before, and this course gave me exactly what I was looking for in terms of introducing me to the fundamentals.”Erica P.Intro to Backcountry Skiing