This course is for skiers and snowboarders looking for an introduction to the world of backcountry skiing. Here in the White Mountains we're lucky to have some of the best backcountry ski terrain in the east. This course is typically conducted on Mt. Washington, to either Tuckerman Ravine or the Gulf of Slides, but other possible locations include Monroe Brook, Mt. Hale, Bald Face or the Wildcat Valley Trail.
Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. You'll learn how alpine touring bindings work and also how to securely put on your skins. For boots you will have the option of the alpine touring variety or you can also use your alpine boots.
The gear check also includes the issuance of avalanche beacons (BCA Trackers), shovels and probes, and you will be given a quick orientation on their operation and use. Last but not least, we will review printed copies of the days USFS avalanche report before heading out.
The standard tour up in Tuckermans or the Gulf of Slides is around 2.5-3 miles, with an elevation gain of less than 3000 feet. The average party will spend somwhere between two and three hours to arrive in the base of one of the ravines. Once established we may stash our packs and make multiple runs in the various gullies before descending back to the parking lot. The ski out down the Sherburne or the Gulf of Slides Trail usually takes less than 30 miutes.
Snowboarders are also encouraged to take this course. We recommend split boards and skins, but snowshoes (with the boards on your back) is also a good option. Telemarkers are, of course, welcome too.
Along the way and before dropping into anything we'll discuss a number of subjects such as safe route finding, possible avalanche paths, other objective hazards, and the snow condition and stability.
Equipment: You will need either alpine touring or telemark skis and bindings with skins. Snowboarders will need split boards or can can carry their boards on their backs and use snowshoes for their feet. Skiers can also carry their skis and boots on their backs if needed. We no longer loan or rent our ski gear, so if you don't have your own we recommend that you rent from Eastern Mountain Sports. Please call ahead to reserve at 603-356-5433.
Prerequisites: strong intermediate to expert skiers and boarders only. Participants must also be fit enough to spend most of the day hiking uphill with a moderate sized pack.
Other Backcountry Ski Courses: