Intro to Backcountry Skiing Course (1 day)

Introduction to Backcountry Skiing Course with Pacific Alpine Guides

Introduction to Backcountry Skiing Course with Pacific Alpine GuidesCOURSE DESCRIPTION

The goal of this one day course is to build proficiency in the art of ski touring techniques, including equipment selection and gear management, uphill and downhill movement skills, basic terrain selection, navigation, and decision making.

Using Hurricane Ridge as our classroom, we’ll set off on a day tour and practice a variety of skills along the way. Our goal will be to make multiple transitions between uphill and downhill mode, and travel through as much different terrain as possible. High on our list of priorities will be finding good skiing – the reward for our efforts!

SKILLS COVERED:

• Equipment selection
• Gear management
• Uphill movement skills: Track setting, rounded, AVA, and kick turns
• Downhill movement skills
• Transitions
• Terrain management
• Decision making

If you’re interested in a more in-depth course that takes place over two days, check out our Ski Touring Skills Course.

Introduction to Backcountry Skiing Course with Pacific Alpine GuidesWe meet at the Olympic National Park Visitor’s Center in Port Angeles for introductions and car pooling arrangements. Once up at Hurricane Ridge, the skills progression begins with topics including packing for a tour, basic companion rescue, and the trailhead 3-fuction check.

The zone we choose for this tour will depend on snow and weather conditions. As we set off we’ll focus our attention on uphill movement skills, perfecting the motion of skinning, setting a track, and making various turns including the much revered kick turn.

As we arrive at the top of a pitch we’ll transition to downhill mode, discussing various methods of terrain management and group management as we go.

After a few laps and full day of touring, we’ll return to our vehicles and head back down the road. This is an addicting sport – generally within 10 minutes of taking our boots off we’re already planning our next tour!

Need rental gear? Items with the RENT link are available through us. Information on where to rent other gear (such as AT or tele gear) is available on our Rental Gear page.

Specific examples of items on this list (guide favorites) can be found on the Gear Recommendations page.

SKI EQUIPMENT
SKIS with TOURING BINDINGS – AT, TELE, or SPLITBOARD: Your setup needs to be suitable for uphill touring and downhill skiing/riding.
BOOTS: AT, tele or snowboard boots.
POLES: Adjustable poles with powder baskets.
CLIMBING SKINS: Fit to skis.

AVALANCHE SAFETY GEAR
☐ TRANSCEIVER: Modern, digital transceiver, preferably less than 5 years old. A 3-antennae model is highly recommended. RENT
SHOVEL: Avalanche shovel with a metal blade. An extendable handle is recommended. RENT
☐ PROBE: Dedicated probe, ski pole probes are not sufficient. RENT
DAY PACK: 25 to 40 liters, with some method of attaching skis or a snowboard.

HEAD
☐ SUNGLASSES: Glacier glasses or dark tinted wrap-arounds, should have full UV protection. Consider bringing an extra pair. RENT
☐ GOGGLES
☐ WARM HAT: Fleece, wool or synthetic.
☐ SUN HAT: Baseball cap, visor, etc.
☐ FACE PROTECTION: Buff® recommended.

HANDS
☐ LIGHT GLOVE
☐ MEDIUM GLOVE: Should be wind and water-resistant; think ski glove.

UPPER BODY
There are many layering combinations for your upper body that will work well. Use the following recommendations as guidelines:
☐ BASELAYER TOP: Light to medium weight synthetic fabric.
☐ LIGHTWEIGHT INSULATING LAYER: Fleece or synthetic.
☐ SOFTSHELL OR SHELL JACKET WITH HOOD: For wind, snow, rain, etc.
☐ SYNTHETIC OR DOWN INSULATED JACKET

LOWER BODY
☐ BASELAYER BOTTOMS
SKI PANTS: A lightweight, well ventilated soft-shell or hard-shell ski or climbing pant that fits over the cuff of your ski boots.
☐ SOCKS: Wool or synthetic, keeping in mind that warmth comes from good circulation, not necessarily heavier socks.

MISCELLANEOUS
SUNSCREEN
LIP BALM
WATER BOTTLES(S) or HYDRATION SYSTEM: Hydration systems should have an insulated tube.
THERMOS (OPTIONAL)
LUNCH FOOD
CAMERA
WATCH (OPTIONAL)
NOTEBOOK & PENCIL (OPTIONAL)

OPTIONAL ITEMS
The following gear is not required for this course, however if you have any of the following items please bring them.
AIRBAG PACK RENT
AVALUNG
SNOW SAW
SKI STRAPS: Orange, Voile style.
REPAIR KIT: We suggest carrying a small repair kit with items specific to your ski or splitboard equipment. Extra binding parts (including mounting screws), an extra tip loop for your skins, an extra pole basket, etc. Other great MacGyver items are bailing wire, zip ties, and duct tape.
WAX: For skis and skins.


EXPERIENCE

    • No previous experience is required for this course.
    • Intermediate skiing or riding ability is required.

FITNESS

    • Good physical fitness is required for this course.

OTHER

    • Participants should be prepared to spend full days in winter weather conditions.


COST INCLUDES

    • Guiding & instruction
    • Group equipment
    • Permit and insurance costs

NOT INCLUDED

    • Food, lodging & transportation

WHERE TO MEET

Olympic National Park Visitor’s Center, in Port Angeles, WA.

TRAVEL

Flights

Option A: Fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From here the drive to Port Angeles takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Option B: Fly into Port Angeles. Kenmore Air flies daily from Sea-Tac and is an Alaska Airlines partner (domestic flights can be booked with Port Angeles as the destination).

Car Rental

Many options exist in Sea-Tac. There’s also a Budget Rent-A-Car in Port Angeles.

Shuttle Services

ACCOMODATIONS

Many options exist in Port Angeles including hotels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels.

REGISTRATION

RESOURCES

Check out our Weather & Avalanche Resources page.

Books


Location
Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Duration
1 day

Ratio
4:1 (5:1 max)

Dates
Custom, email us or give us a call at (888) 674-8492

Cost
$165 per person

+Custom Cost
1:1 – $325
2:1 – $165
3:1 – $165
4:1 – $150

 

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