Backcountry ski touring clinic - managing terrain and improving efficiency

Backcountry Skiing Course

Backcountry ski touring clinic - managing terrain and improving efficiency

After learning the basics of ski touring, managing terrain and improving efficiency may allow you to cover more ground and reduce effort, resulting in a more enjoyable--and safer touring experience.

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.

Backcountry ski touring clinic - managing terrain and improving efficiency

Cost: $450

(fee not collected by Mountaineers. Please see below for more information)


The skills focused on in this clinic include:

Track setting: How to balance safety, efficiency and speed?  Trouble shooting the pitfalls of track setting.

Transitions from skinning to skiing, skiing to skinning, and skinning to booting.  What does it mean to make efficient transitions? How do you do it?

Skinning in difficult conditions: cold and powdery, warm and sticky, deep snow, frozen or uneven snow.  What techniques can be used  to save energy and manage risk?

Clinic format:

Three consecutive Fridays in the mountains with instruction from Pro Guiding Service guides (4:1 student to guide ratio).  Each day will consist of a complete day tour in the Snoqualmie Pass back country, providing participants an opportunity to take turns leading and applying the above concepts, with a debrief after each day. 

Tour destinations may include, but are not limited to, Chair Peak circumnavigation, Kaleetan Peak, Snoqualmie Mountain, Red Mountain.  The tour destination for a particular day will be determined by the guide service based on the conditions. All guides are either a UIAGM mountain guide or an AMGA ski guide. 


Advanced skiing ability and prior ski-touring experience required: You should be able to ski black diamond ski slopes at ski areas in just about any condition, and be able to ski ungroomed slopes of intermediate difficulty.

Very good physical fitness: You should be able to hike or climb for 5 to 6 hours with a pack varying from 20 to 40 lbs. and ascend 3,000 to 4,000 feet of vertical gain per day.


Cost: $450


Registration instructions:

Register on this page, no fee, with the Mountaineers

Payments will be collected directly through the guiding service.  A link for payment will be provided after the first three registrations.  (Note: At least three participants are needed for the clinic to run)

For questions, please contact Bill Forristall at


Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Required equipment:


Skis  - Alpine Touring or Telemark

Snowboard – must be a Splitboard or supplemented with snowshoes

Ski Boots - Alpine Touring or Telemark

Ski Poles - telescopic poles work well, but not required

Climbing Skins


Ski Brakes




Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred

Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice

Course Materials

There are no materials for this course.