The backcountry snow can be extremely variable. In the morning it can be hard and icy but by afternoon be soft and sloppy. On a backcountry trip there is not the option to go back to the Lodge and have a beer, nor is getting off the skis and walking an option in a lot of cases.

We want to make sure that your ski skills and ability and the trip match.

We have our own way of rating trips and divide them up by a Ski Skills and a Ski Tour rating.

For ski trips we also want you to fill out our Ski Skills Questionnaire again to make sure that your chosen trip is appropriate.

Ski Skills Rating

Ski skills can be difficult to assess but we prefer to be conservative and to rate skills according to the following scale:

Beginning: This skier has some skill and experience, can balance and glide on skis, do wedge turns, and stop on demand.

Intermediate: This skier can ski intermediate groomed runs on telemark or alpine touring gear. Necessary skills include basic survival skiing, kick turns, traversing, side slipping and getting down any slope efficiently, maybe by walking…

Advanced: This skier can ski advanced alpine runs with a pack and in all kinds of snow, has strong survival skiing skills, including a solid kick turn and confidence on icy traverses.

Ski Tour Ratings

We rate our overnight ski trips according to the following scale. (Keep in mind that weather or poor conditions can make an easy trip into a far more difficult one.)

Level I: These trips are for skiers with beginning ski skills and no prior winter camping experience.

Level II: These tours require intermediate ski skills and the ability to ski with a pack. Prior winter camping and mountaineering experience is suggested but not essential.

Level III: These are difficult tours requiring advanced ski skills, winter camping and mountaineering experience, and some experience at high altitude.