Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Course - Everett - 2020

Backcountry Skiing Course

Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Course

Introduction to backcountry travel for alpine skiers and snowboarders.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

Everett Backcountry Ski Course - “Exploring the Cascades” The course offers a great introduction to safely meeting the challenges of travelling in the Cascades backcountry on snow.

This course is designed for alpine skiers, telemarkers, and splitboarders of advanced intermediate level or better. A prerequisite for the course is having completed an AIARE or AAA Level 1 course within the last 3 years. You need to show your completion certificate at the first course lecture.


  • Become a competent and engaged group member on Mountaineers day touring trips rated M1-M3 (no glacier travel) 
  • Plan and execute day tours in the backcountry by evaluating important safety factors such as weather, terrain, avalanche risk, and group fitness
  • Demonstrate correct use of the equipment necessary for backcountry touring
  • Demonstrate mastery of backcountry touring skills such as kick-turns, ascending with climbing skins, skiing downhill on touring gear with a heavy pack, and transitions
  • Demonstrate ability to build an emergency shelter in the snow
  • Demonstrate successful practice of avalanche safety skills including route planning, observation, identification of avalanche hazards, beacon use, and companion rescue


This course includes 3 required lectures and 3 required day field trips. It also includes an optional overnight snow cave camping weekend with day tours. The field trips are tours where we put it all together, from planning where to go (tour planning) to making decisions on how to travel uphill and downhill (route finding). Everybody will get the chance to practice skills they have learned while receiving coaching and feedback.

Note: Field trip locations and dates may change depending on weather, avalanche forecasts, road closings, or other conditions.

Registration Instructions

  • You must register for all 3 lectures.
  • You must register for 3 field trips: Feb 29, Mar 7 and one of the two options on March 14. 
  • The snow camping weekend at Mt Baker on Mar 27 - 29 is optional. 

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment
  • The Ten Essentials
  • Metal-edged alpine touring (AT) or telemark skis or splitboard (nordic/XC skis may not be used; snowboarders may not bootpack or use snowshoes for travel)
  • Appropriate alpine touring boots with a ski/walk mechanism, telemark boots, or snowboard boots that work with splitboard bindings
  • Appropriate  ski touring, telemark, or splitboard bindings. Non-frame "tech" bindings are preferred.
  • Climbing skins that are trimmed to fit the skis/snowboard
  • Poles (adjustable length preferred)
  • Avalanche safety tools (all required)
    • Modern 3-antenna beacon
    • Collapsible probe (minimum 240cm length; ski poles that convert to a probe are not acceptable)
    • Metal shovel
  • Repair kit
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency kit
  • Touring-appropriate clothing
  • Ski helmet
  • Pack that can comfortably carry all of the above equipment (including your skis/snowboard). Your pack must be able to carry all critical equipment, especially the avalanche safety tools (probe, snow saw, shovel), in a manner that is both secure and easily accessible, ideally inside the body of the pack, not strapped to the outside of it. The first lecture will demonstrate and review proper packing and carrying of equipment.
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.