Commonly Asked Questions
Guided Backcountry Skiing
Can I join an organized group to lower the fees of the day?
No, we only offer guiding to private groups. In the educational context of avalanche safety and other backcountry skiing, climbing and canyoneering courses joining a mixed group is possible on posted dates.
Does elevated avalanche danger make guided backcountry ski outings dangerous or susceptible to cancellation?
When avalanche danger rises we shift operations to areas with moderate slopes. When off and away from slopes less than 30,° avalanches are generally not possible. We rarely need to cancel trips but we often shift venues that are more suitable for daily conditions. One situation which can limit a trip’s departure for individuals who are staying in Little Cottonwood Canyon, is if Inter-lodge is declared as the result of a large snow event, which prevents all individuals from going outside.
Do I need to take an avalanche course to participate in a guided backcountry ski tour?
No, we are able to brief participants to an acceptable level of competence for touring on the day of the outing. The terrain which guides choose to utilize on the day may be due to, or at least partly, the competency of the participant overall though. For more committing objectives participants may need to display competency prior.
What is involved in ski touring? Can I use my resort ski set-up?
Ski touring requires the use skis with touring bindings and skins to travel uphill. Alpine ski equipment, as is most commonly used at ski areas, is not suitable. None of our tours are suitable by boot-packing or using snowshoes as a means of travel.
Do you run ski tours that start from the lifts?
We can use ski lifts to start some of the ski tours we do. We only ride the lifts up once, for access purposes. We can access tours from Alta and Brighton. At Alta we have access passes available at a discounted rate and at Brighton, single-ride lift tickets are sold some days. Backcountry ski runs that are accessed from the ski areas using gravity only are limited at Utah resorts. For those that only want to ski/ride downhill we recommend a Cat or Heli ski trip.
Do you guide and instruct snowboarders?
Absolutely, as long as a split-board is used. Split-boards are available for rent locally.
Do you rent equipment?
We rent avalanche safety (beacon, shovel, probe) and ski touring equipment to our guided clients only. If you need equipment provided, simply select what you need in the online booking process. Of note, we do not rent split-boards.
Do you need to use ski touring equipment on your Snowmobile-Accessed ski tours?
Yes. On these trips we use snowmobiles to get to remote areas to ski tour. We do not use snowmobiles as a means of taking skis runs by shuttling people to the top of slopes for ski runs.
Do I need ski touring experience to take a Level I Avalanche Course?
At a minimum, recommend individuals become familiar with the use of touring equipment prior to starting a course. Our Backcountry 101 course makes for a perfect introduction to skinning but we can also set up a private session if that is preferred.
Do I need to use touring equipment on an avalanche course?
Yes. Alpine ski and snowboard equipment, or the use of snowshoes is not sufficient