Intro To Backcountry Skiing

We're lucky to have some of the best backcountry ski terrain in the Northeast. Photo: Skinning towards the top of Mount Chocorua in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

This course, offered seven days per week, is for skiers and snowboarders looking for an introduction to the world of backcountry skiing in the White Mountains. We’re lucky to have some of the best backcountry ski terrain in the Northeast. This course is typically conducted in Tuckerman Ravine or the Gulf of Slides on Mount Washington.

Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. The gear check includes the issuance of avalanche beacons, shovels and probes, and you will be given an orientation on their operation and use. Last but not least, we will review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out.

This course is available as a private, pre-existing group, or via our Flexible Booking option (we’ll try to match you with other skiers/boarders).

  • Choose whether this is a private (1 on 1) or an existing group. Prices are per person per day.
  • Please choose the number of days.
    Please enter a value between 1 and 7.
  • $0.00
  • Online booking is available 4 days from today (please call or email to inquire about earlier dates; we can often accommodate last minute requests). If you are booking for multiple days, this will be your starting date.
  • We'll be in touch to work out specific details, but please briefly describe your outdoor background (relative to the course or guiding objective) and goals.
  • Please read and check the box if you agree to the policies.

    Online Bookings
    Online bookings are subject to guide availability and other factors such as weather and climbing conditions. After receiving your online booking, we will get back to you within 1 business day via phone or email to confirm your booking. In the event that we cannot accommodate your booking, you have the option of having your payment refunded or applied to a future booking.

    Payment
    SMG accepts credit cards, PayPal, checks, and cash. Payment is due in full 7 days before a booking (or at time of booking confirmation when a course/trip is less than 7 days away). An exception is made for payment by check or cash...in these cases, payment is due in full at or before the course/trip.

    Cancellations
    If you have to cancel your booking, please give us as much notice as possible. If you cancel 30+ days before the booking, we’ll apply the deposit/payment towards another booking at a later date or you can request a refund. If you cancel from 14-29 days before the booking, we’ll apply the deposit/payment towards another booking at a later date. If you cancel 13 days or sooner from the booking, for any reason, the deposit/payment is forfeited.

    Weather & Winter
    Winter courses/trips are rain or shine. If SMG cancels a booking due to weather, we will reschedule you for an alternate date of your choice.

Pay a 50% Deposit

Course Information

Other possible locations for the Intro to Backcountry Skiing course include:

  • Monroe Brook in the Ammonoosuc Ravine on Mount Washington
  • Mt. Hale
  • Wildcat Valley Trail

The standard tour to Tuckerman Ravine or the Gulf of Slides is around 2.5 to 3 miles, with an elevation gain of less than 3000 feet. The average party will spend somewhere 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. 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. The ski out down the Sherburne or the Gulf of Slides Trail usually takes less than 30 minutes.

Snowboarders

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.

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. Please contact us for recommendations on where to rent backcountry gear.

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

Mountains, Cliffs, & Routes

Mount Washington or other backcountry skiing destinations in the White Mountains.

Difficulty

This in an introductory backcountry skiing course, but skiers should have at least intermediate skiing skills.

Length

One to Multiple Days

Season

Winter to Spring (as conditions permit)

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