Becoming a Snowshoe Trip Leader

Learn about becoming a snowshoe trip leader and find leadership resources

The look on people's faces when you get them outside and show them places they've never seen is often cited as one of the best rewards for our volunteers. If you are interested in contributing to the mission of The Mountaineers by organizing and leading snowshoe trips, we invite you to submit your leadership application today!


Before you can sign up to lead a Mountaineers snowshoe tour, you must be on the leadership roster. Leadership qualities, group and individual safety, experience, and level-headed decision-making are four major components to successful leadership. Therefore, we have minimum requirements for those interested in becoming a volunteer trip leader (see below). 

trip rating Easy & Easy+   moderate & Strenuous
Current MOFA/WFA equivalent certification
Snowshoe Instructor experience




Backcountry or Scramble Snow

At least one year’s experience as a trip leader in other Mountaineers activity (min. 3 trips)


Led mentored snowshoe trips (min. 2 trips) 


At least two years’ experience as a Snowshoe trip participant, including Intermediate level trips*

min. 6 trips



min. 8 trips including min. 3 Intermediate trips

Current Wilderness Navigation certification
AIARE Level 1 Avalanche certification
Winter Camping grad or equivalent
Assistant Leader experience

 • = recommended, ★ = required

*A Winter Scramble is equivalent to an Intermediate trip on the experience chart.

For the level you would like to lead, if your experience appears close to (or exceeds) these guidelines, please email the Chair for an application and/or discussion.

Note: Depending on the season and volunteer availability, the review process may take weeks to complete. All applications are subject to Snowshoe Committee approval. The Committee reserves the right to hold or reject any application for any reason. 


Trip leaders are expected to follow certain protocols to ensure safety and preparedness of the group for the designated trip.


  1. Determine the need for group and special equipment (crampons, beacons, shovels, etc.) and notify/coordinate with party members in advance.
  2. If original trip must be changed (weather or avalanche conditions) notify the clubhouse and persons signed up for the trip.
  3. Find and note the SAR or Sheriff rescue phone number for the area you are going.


  1. Check in party members and verify from the sign-up sheet that each member has a waiver on file and please comply with the 12 person party size.
  2. Determine any special medical or physical concerns.
  3. Check individual gear, conduct introductions, and assess each party member’s condition and skill level, for trip.
  4. Assign an assistant leader, First Aid leader, and rear guard.
  5. Describe trip and route as well as establish and announce a turn around time.
  6. Describe your philosophy of leadership (pace, breaks, etc.).
  7. IMPORTANT - Snowshoe trips usually have members that have a wide variety of experience levels and technical skills. Make sure each party member is aware of the physical and technical demands of the trip as well as the expectations of their performance, physically and technically. Party members may be excused from trip if they don’t meet expectations.
  8. IMPORTANT - Develop a contingency plan and inform group, in the event, party members become separated from the group, include meeting place and time, making sure they will adhere to the plan. Please keep the group together.


  1. Monitor participants and group needs for breaks and limitations.
  2. Deal with and assess conditions throughout the trip and day (weather, snowpack, weird behavior, etc.).
  3. Maintain the level of the trip as listed. Do not increase the difficulty even if all party members agree. Some members may feel intimidated to go along with the group.


  1. Take a final head count and make sure all party members have returned.
  2. Review incidents, if any.
  3. Dismiss the group and make sure that all party members get on their way.


  1.     Complete your Trip Report online in a timely manner – i.e. within a few days.

 CONTACTS FOR EMERGENCIES (in order of notification)

  1. Have copy of current available Mountaineers Emergency Contact Procedures and Call Tree
  2. Foothills Snowshoe Committee Chair(s)