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Intro To Ski & Splitboard Mountaineering – Breckenridge/Vail CO

Intro To Ski & Splitboard Mountaineering – Breckenridge/Vail CO


Location -

April 15, 2023 - April 16, 2023


This course is for the backcountry skier or splitboarder who wants to expand their horizons! Increase your avalanche safety knowledge, learn how and when more adventurous lines are appropriate, and learn basic mountaineering skills.

During an online evening meeting we’ll review the mountain weather forecast, avalanche hazard, route options, what gear to bring, and get to know our group!

The weekend course includes 2 field days! On the first field day we’ll look at the basics of snow condition analysis, route-finding, how and when to use boot crampons, and practice self-arrest techniques with an ice axe on a SMALL slope. We’ll demonstrate basic mountaineering skills such as rope work, building snow anchors, and belaying and practice these skills as well as discuss how to properly plan for a trip. All while outside on a tour!

The second day we will get an early start to attempt a ski mountaineering objective that is appropriate for the weather, conditions, our group, and have fun throughout.

Build skills on this course to apply it to your future mountaineering objectives in an encouraging and supportive learning environment.

Duration: 2 Field Days + Evening Meeting Online
Activity Level: Moderate
Required Skill Level: Proficient rider on ungroomed black diamond terrain. Some avalanche safety training such as an Avalanche Level 1 or Rescue Course is encouraged, but not required. Having a good fitness level is essential with the ability to exercise at 9,000+ ft. and handle inclement winter weather.

Course Dates: 

April 15-16th.  8am – 3pm on the first day, 6:30am – 2pm on the 2nd day, timing depending on weather and conditions.  We plan to include an evening meeting online on April 13th to get everyone on the same page before our field days.

About the Intro To Ski & Splitboard Mountaineering Course


First Field Day

Online Evening Session Pre Trip: Learn ski mountaineering techniques, introduction to gear, avalanche and snow conditions review, route selection, and trip planning. Snow School: On our first morning we’ll head outside for a practicum of skills. Practice self arrest skills, boot packing, and how to use crampons, and earn some turns!

Second Field Day

Ski Mountaineering Tour: We’ll start touring early in the morning to maximize our time and quality snow conditions.  Today will be all about working as a group and learning and practicing skills along the way to our mountaineering objective.  The afternoon will be spent riding and continuing to practice skills and we’ll save time at the end of the day to review the course, answer questions and share next steps and recommendations.

What to Expect

  • Supportive and fun learning atmosphere with professional instructors/guides
  • Gain knowledge of basic mountaineering skills
  • Learn techniques, skills, and gear needed for ski & splitboard mountaineering
  • Plan and execute a backcountry tour/mountaineering attempt
  • A great adventure with other woman looking to expand their skills!

Gear Needed

  • Skis or splitboard, ski/snowboard boots, ski poles
  • Climbing skins
  • Ski helmet
  • Avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel
  • Backcountry backpack
  • Ice axe and crampons-that fit ski boots
  • Warm clothing for mountain weather
  • We recommend Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge if you need to rent any gear

Field Time

Classroom Time

Getting There

Our exact field location will depend on Spring Conditions. Our field time will take place in one of our permitted areas in Breckenridge, Loveland Pass, Hoosier Pass or Vail Pass.

Backcountry Babes is an equal opportunity service provider and employer. Backcountry Babes operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest Ranger District and Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District.



Absolutely Amazing! I had a great time, with great people, in a great setting. It was helpful and fun, and really taught me a lot about mountaineering and myself.

Kori N.

Thanks in large part to the Babes Intro to Ski Mountaineering course, when I went on my personal ski attempt this past spring, I felt really confident in my decision making/route selection and much more confident in use of the tools. It was a great day and I’m looking forward to getting out there again and again.

Malinda G.Intro to Ski Mountaineering

I learned a lot of new techniques: travel techniques, how to carry skis, how to self arrest with an ice axe and more. It was very good refresher on terrain analysis & avalanche conditions, too!

Juliette H.Boulder, 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

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