Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding Instruction  
Course Details Dates and Prices

Cascades Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding Instructional Tours with IMG

Have you ever wondered what the skiing is like beyond the ski area? Crystal Mountain offers some of the best and most easily accessed backcountry skiing in the Northwest. International Mountain Guides and Crystal Mountain have teamed up to offer guided backcountry ski mountaineering and snowboard instructional tours. This is your opportunity to experience this phenomenal terrain and learn the skills with the added security and direction of an experienced, professional guide service.

Questions? Contact Harry Hamlin:

Why Choose this Program?

Our curriculum is designed to give downhill skiers (intermediate or better) the chance to explore and experience the rapidly growing sport of ski mountaineering. You will have an opportunity to ski untouched "wild snow" away from the crowds. Some will want the training to prepare for bigger ski mountaineering trips such as Mt. Rainier or the Haute Route in the Alps. Others will want to develop the skills to do ski mountaineering trips on their own.

One-day Ski Mountaineering Instructional Tour

Forget lift lines and crowds and join IMG for a spectacular day of powder skiing in the backcountry of Crystal Mountain. The Crystal Mountain backcountry offers something for everyone: wide open bowls, steep chutes, and amazing glades. From Three Way to Bullion Basin, an experienced guide will help you optimize your vertical and find the best snow.

A typical day will begin at 7:30am meeting your guide and discussing the curriculum and the day's tour plan. After a review of basic transceiver skills and backcountry travel, we will either use the lifts or begin our tour from the base of Crystal. We can tour to Silver Basin, Bullion Basin, or head out into the amazing ski terrain of the Morse Creek area. We will hone techniques for efficient uphill travel. The guides will help you find the best powder stashes in the area. The amazingly diverse and varied terrain of the Crystal backcountry ensures that there will be something for everyone; from the strong intermediate to the eager expert.

The training curriculum for the day includes the following skills:

  • Use of skins and touring ski/board set-ups; AT, telemark, or splitboard
  • Transceiver function and use
  • Route finding and terrain assessment
  • Skiing variable snow conditions
  • Intro to avalanche hazard evaluation
  • Environmental awareness and LNT principles

Prerequisites: Ability to comfortably ski intermediate runs in a variety of conditions and motivation to "earn your turns."

Client/Guide Ratio: Maximum 6:1

Meeting place: Alpine Inn Restaurant

Two-day Overnight Backcountry Instructional Tours

For those looking to venture a little deeper into the backcountry, our overnight backcountry instructional tours are the perfect option. This two day course will allow us to drop over the Pacific Crest Trail and into the Morse Creek Basin. This program will provide more training solitude and more skiing! With so much terrain to offer, an overnight trip is the ideal way to learn the latest skills and techniques to efficiently and enjoyably experience the Crystal Mountain backcountry.

In addition to all of the skills covered in the one day tour curriculum, participants will also learn winter camping techniques and more in depth avalanche hazard assessment.

The training curriculum for this instructional tour includes the following skills:

  • Skiing with an overnight pack
  • Rescue considerations
  • Extended route finding and terrain assessment
  • LNT principles for winter alpine camps
  • Skiing variable snow conditions
  • Route selection and travel techniques in avalanche terrain

Client/Guide Ratio: Maximum 4:1 (minimum two guides)