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Backcountry Skiing

Activity Description

There really is no better way to travel in the backcountry in the winter than by skis (though dog sledders, snowmobilers, and snowshoers may argue this point). That said, people have been using skis to travel in snowy regions for ages. It’s super efficient, a great low-impact workout — which is a more popular concept now than it may have been during other periods in history — and it’s just plain old fun. Moreover, the ravines, gullies, and CCC and other ski trails in White Mountain National Forest are breathtakingly beautiful, especially after a fresh coating of powder. To visit them by skis is one of those ultimate experiences. Seductively sublime. Join us.

Activity Offerings

Knowing the area’s forests and the backcountry the way we do, we have a great choice of ski opportunities: ravines (Tuckerman Ravine, Gulf of Slides, etc.), CCC trails (Sherbie, GOS Trails, Wildcat Valley, Black and Doublehead, etc.), gullies (Hillman’s Highway, etc.), sunrise and sunset tours (add $100), frozen river, lake, and waterfall tours, fire roads, closed trails, rail grades, secluded forest tours through pristine woodlands, and more. Our Nordic, Alpine Touring (AT), Telemrk, or Splitboard offerings begin with a half day, lasting 3-4 hours or so. We can double this to a full day lasting 6-8 hours or so. We can also offer extended tours as needed depending on your objective. Please include any special desires you may have, if applicable, in the comments box of our Booking Form.

What to Wear

To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, we offer this important clothing info. When dressing for ski touring you want to note the following. SPECIAL NOTE: The clothing specifics will vary by the conditions, destination, and specific activity. Thus, not all of this clothing may be needed.

  • Think layers. While a ski jacket, for example, may be warm and waterproof, if the insulation can’t be separated from the rain/snow protection layer, it really isn’t suitable. You will overheat if you need rain/snow protection while touring. Bring independent layers. Having our “Ready Pack” will solve the matter offering all you will need.
  • Never wear cotton, even at the underwear level. Synthetic materials, wool, and especially performance/wicking materials should be your clothing of choice. For ski touring, since cotton won’t dry and doesn’t insulate while wet, it can pose a hazard. You will want to wear the right type of sports or ski clothing and you will want to bring extra.
  • Bring more than you think you need. Mountain weather can be very tricky and unpredictable. While it may be nice in town, the mountains can be very different. Being prepared can save your life.
  • For footwear, you will want a medium to heavy ski touring boot with gaiters meant for a backcountry-rated Nordic binding (specifically NNN/BC if renting locally) or, if alpine touring, you will want an AT-specific ski boot, same for Telemark and Splitboarding. This is part of the local rentals if getting equipment.
  • And your noggin, not a concern unless you’re on an alpine tour with us. Helmets are then required (outsourced gear).

Necessary Gear

For your backcountry ski gear needs, in addition to your own non-cotton base layers, hiking/climbing/skiing pants with shirt, and rentable footwear, as described above, we offer three options. Click to expand. SPECIAL NOTE: The gear specifics will vary by the conditions, destination, and specific activity. Thus, not all of this gear may be needed.

Gear Option 1 - Open
Rent our “Ready Pack” for $55/person/day, “Alpine Ready Pack” for $75/person/day, depending on where you’re touring. This option will satisfy all your gear needs to include all your layers from mid-layer up, everything, even your food and water needs for the duration of the activity, including all specialty gear (but not outsourced gear like skis). This only leaves a need for personal items such as…

  • Personal first aid kit/meds.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Camera/phone (weather-protected).
  • Lip balm, sun block.
  • Sunglasses (goggles are included with Ready Packs).
  • Proper footwear (see information above).
  • Proper clothing layering (see information above).
  • Seasonal specialty clothing (see information above).

SPECIAL NOTE: You may get a “Ready Pack, Lean” or “Alpine Ready Pack, Lean,” depending on your needs, without food and water for $40/person/day, or $60/person/day, respectively.
SPECIAL NOTE: You can also order just food and water for $15/person/day. (Available with any option.)

Gear Option 2 - Open
Bring your own pack containing, in addition to the items above, the gear shown in the list below, as needed per the season and objective, but rent any necessary specialty gear items in the sub-list below that…

  • A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~40-50 liters).
  • Rain jacket and pants, or rain poncho (mountain weather can be quite wet).
  • Mountain-rated insulated layer (mountains are much colder than in town).
  • Winter-rated mid-layer (much colder).
  • Food for the day, plus extra.
  • Water for the day, at least 2 liters, plus extra.
  • Seasonally-rated hat, gloves/mittens.
  • Headlamp with spare batteries (or backup device).
  • Whistle or sound-making device (sternum strap whistles are okay).
  • Tarp, bivvy, or personal shelter.
  • A lightweight emergency sleeping pad.

Plus some of these specialty items available from the master rental list, below. Please note that now all these items are needed or required as it depends on the type of skiing, ski location, and the conditions.

  • AT/Nordic Skis/Snowboard w/ Bindings (Outsourced Gear).
  • Ski/Snowboard Boots (Outsourced Gear).
  • Ski/Snowboard Helmet (Outsourced Gear).
  • Ice Axe and/or Whippet.
  • Ski or Trekking Poles.
  • Avalanche Beacon, Probe, and Shovel.
  • Mountaineering Crampons.

General Rental Gear Pricing
  • Empty Backpack: $15/person/day.
  • Headlamp w/ Batteries: $5/person/day.
  • Trekking Pole Set: $5/person/day.
  • Bushwhack Kit (Compass/Glasses): $5/person/day.
  • Food and Water (Lunch Kit): $15/person/day.

Summer Clothing/Layers Pricing
(NOTE: By “Summer” we mean warmer, summer-like conditions, not the season.)
  • Fleece (Midlayer): $5/person/day.
  • Puffy Jacket (Midweight): $20/person/day.
  • Hardshell Set: $35/person/day.
  • Light Gloves: $5/person/day.
  • Climbing Gloves: $10/person/day.

Winter Clothing/Layers Pricing – Add to List Above
(NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
  • Puffy/Parka (Heavyweight/Winter): $25/person/day.
  • Hardshell Set: $35/person/day (Gaiters Req. w/ Crampon Use).
  • Mitts/Overmitts: $10/person/day.
  • Watchman’s Hat: $5/person/day.
  • Balaclava: $5/person/day.
  • Face Protection (Faceglove/Mask): $5/person/day.
  • Ski Goggles: $5/person/day.
  • Gaiters (Winter): $10/person/day.

Winter Rental Gear Pricing
(NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
  • Light Traction: $10/person/day.
  • Mountaineering Snowshoes: $15/person/day.
  • Mountaineering Crampons: $15/person/day.
  • Climbing Helmet: $5/person/day.
  • Ice/Snow Axe: $10/person/day.
  • Whippet: $10/person/day.
  • Alpine Harness: $10/person/day.

Winter Technical Gear Pricing
(NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
  • Ice Climbing Crampons: $15/person/day.
  • Technical Ice Tools: $15/person/day.
  • Climbing Harness: $10/person/day.
  • Mountaineering Boots: $25/person/day.
  • Avalanche Beacon: $25/person/day.
  • Avalanche Probe: $10/person/day.
  • Avalanche Shovel: $10/person/day.
  • Avalanche Kit: $40/person/day.

Summer Technical Gear Pricing
(NOTE: By “Summer” we mean warmer, summer-like conditions, not the season.)
  • Climbing Helmet: $5/person/day.
  • Alpine Harness: $10/person/day.
  • Rock Climbing Shoes: $15/person/day.
  • Climbing Harness: $10/person/day.
  • Chalk Bag w/ Chalk): $5/person/day.

Backpacking Gear Pricing
  • Sleeping Bag (Rated): $20/person/night.
  • Sleeping Pad (Foam): $5/person/night.
  • Sleeping Pad (Inflatabe): $15/person/night.
  • Tent (1-2 People): $20/person/night.
  • Tent (3-4 People): $30/person/night.
  • Stove w/ Fuel: $15/person/night.

Other Gear-Related Pricing
  • Gear Insurance (Regular/Hiking): $10/person/day.
  • Gear Insurance (Alpine/Winter): $20/person/day.
  • Gear Insurance (Backpacking): $30/person/day.
  • Outsourced Gear (Pick Up Fee): $40/person/day.

SPECIAL NOTE: If any outsourced gear such as Nordic or Alpine Touring (AT) backcountry skis is needed, we can rent it ahead of time for you for $40 plus the applicable rental fees.

Gear Option 3 - Open
Bring everything and rent nothing. In which case, you will need everything from the above lists appropriate to your activity, time of year, and expected conditions. Contact us if you have questions, mention it on the booking form, or simply note it when we call to finalize your booking.

Okay… Let’s Do This!

What follows below is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want or need to know.

Half Day Backcountry Skiing Pricing
For one person $175
For two people $125 each
For three people $110 each
For four or more $100 each
Full Day Backcountry Skiing Pricing
For one person $275
For two people $200 each
For three people $175 each
For four or more $150 each
Backcountry Skiing Premiums
Sunrise/sunset summit Add $100 to total
Make it private INCLUDED
Extended day Info Popup
Extended day Winter Info
Other Information
  • The difficulty of this activity is as requested and will vary.
  • This activity has a 1:4 guide/guest ratio.
  • The maximum group size is 8 with 2 guides.
  • For parties larger than 8, please contact us.
  • Gratuities not included; 15-25% is customary for a good job.

Not ready for this quite yet? Test yourself on our Backcountry Ski Intro or try a Winter Skills course. Otherwise, go ahead and BOOK IT NOW!

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Book today to begin your outdoor experience. Use the button to the right to go to our booking form page...