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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 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, CCC tails, and forests in the White Mountains 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 Mt Washington Valley’s forests and surrounding backcountry areas the way we do, we have a terrific selection of ski opportunities: ravines (Tuckerman Ravine, Gulf of Slides, etc.), CCC trails (Sherbie, GOS Trails, Wildcat, etc.), gullies (Hillman’s Highway, etc.), sunrise and sunset tours, frozen river, lake, and waterfall tours, fire roads and closed trails and rail grades, secluded forest tours through pristine woodlands, and so much more. Our Nordic, Alpine Touring, Telemrk, or Splitboard touring 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 extend (9-12 hours) and hyperextend (12-16 hours) the day as needed depending on your objective (ask for pricing). 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 information. When dressing for ski touring you always want to note the following. Please note that 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).
  • Avalanche gear, such as a beacon, shovel, and probe, will be provided to you presently at no extra charge should we ski in marginal terrain. That said, it is our aim to stay out of said terrain altogether unless conditions are low danger range.

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. Please note that 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 any of these applicable Specialty Gear Items, which may be rented…

  • Headlamp, $5/person/day.
  • Trekking poles, Gaiters, Microspikes, $15/set/person/day (ski poles will substitute).
  • Climbing helmet, $5/person/day.
  • Mountaineering harness w/ locking carabiner, $10/set/person/day.
  • Balaclava, Goggles, Mitts, $15/set/person/day (deep cold).
  • Down blend puffy, $25/person/day (deep cold).
  • Gear Insurance, $10/person/day.
  • Plus any outsourced gear items, call for current pricing.

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!

Here is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want to know.

Half Day BC Ski Pricing
For one person $125
For two people $175
Added people $75 each
Full Day BC Ski Pricing
For one person $200
For two people $325
Added people $150 each
BC Ski Premiums
Make it private* Add $75
Sunrise or sunset Add $100
Extensions Ask or Call
Other Information
  • The difficulty of this activity is as requested.
  • This activity has a 1:4 guide/guest ratio.
  • The maximum group size is 4 with 1 guide.
  • For parties larger than 4, please contact us.
  • Gratuities not included; 15-20% is customary for a good job.

Not ready for this? Try out our Backcountry Ski Intro or Winter Skills courses. Otherwise, go ahead and BOOK IT NOW!

* Private premium auto-applied to groups of three or fewer.

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