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Beginner Backcountry Ski & Splitboard Tour – Breckenridge/Vail CO

Beginner Backcountry Ski & Splitboard Tour – Breckenridge/Vail CO


Location - Colorado, Breckenridge

December 1, 2023 - December 1, 2023 December 8, 2023 - December 8, 2023 December 30, 2023 - December 30, 2023 March 31, 2024 - March 31, 2024


Learn the basics of backcountry travel and how to to use your backcountry ski and splitboard equipment! This course is for never-ever beginners AND women who have been touring once or twice before. Learn better and faster from our professional instructors, who have lots of experience teaching women about how to get into the backcountry for the first time! We’ll show you how to use your alpine touring or splitboard set-up. We’ll show you what to pack in your daypack, how to use the beacon, shovel, and probe, how to put on your skins, how to put your equipment into uphill mode, how to walk efficiently to save energy, how to transition to downhill-mode, red-flags to look out for, trail etiquette and common practices, weather and avalanche bulletin resources, and maps for future backcountry tour plans! If we’re lucky, we’ll get some good turns on our descent, too :).

This is an excellent course to take before your AIARE Level 1 so that you are familiar with the basics of how to travel in the backcountry and use your touring equipment. After taking our Beginner Backcountry Tour, come join us for an  AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Course to get a deeper understanding of the avalanche hazard. Make a weekend of it, and take our Beginner Tour on Friday followed directly by our Saturday and Sunday AIARE Level 1 Course!

During an online evening session on the Wednesday before your course, we’ll cover how to pack and plan for the backcountry, and provide an introduction to avalanche safety. In this meeting we’ll meet our instructors and tour group, review the current avy & weather forecasts, and discuss our tour plan and trailhead meeting location.  Friday is our Beginner Tour Field Day! Go out for a full tour day with your Backcountry Babes instructor and small group!

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 group lesson with a PSIA instructor is one of the best ways to quickly improve your downhill technique.

Course Dates:

Nov 29 Online Session and Dec 1 Field Day (Wed/Fri)

Dec 6 Online Session and Dec 8 Field Day (Wed/Fri)

Dec 27 Online Session and Dec 30 Field Day (Wed/Sat)

Dec 28 Online Session and Mar 31 Field Day (Wed/Sat)


Private Course Dates: Schedule your own private course for $435 for 1 person, or $295 ea per 5 people. Details and signups:

About the Beginner Backcountry Ski & Splitboard Tour


Online Classroom Session

6:00pm - 7:00pm

We’ll meet for an online learning session with your instructor.  Learn how to interpret the avalanche bulletin, info on how to recognize and avoid avalanche hazards, good sources for mountain weather info, what to wear in the backcountry, and what gear to pack for our all day tour this weekend.

All Day Field Day

8:00am - 3:00pm

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 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, & professional instructors
  • Engaging online classroom and field session
  • Appropriate and applicable avalanche safety knowledge
  • Edifying practical experience to build confidence
  • 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.)

Gear Needed

  • Backcountry skis or splitboard
  • Ski poles
  • Ski or snowboard boots
  • Climbing skins
  • Avalanche beacon, avalanche probe, avalanche shovel
  • Backpack
  • Outerwear and warm layers
  • 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 Alpine Quest in Edwards, or REI in Dillon.

Field Time

Classroom Time

Getting There

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 we may 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, so we won’t schedule our meeting location until the week of the course. You will receive specific touring location information and we’ll cover our touring plan 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