Backcountry Ski Progression

If you are new to the backcountry scene, this is the place to start! Our backcountry ski progression series starts from the beginning and builds your skills until you are confident planning and executing your own ski tours. We'll work on uphill travel, skiing in avalanche terrain, skiing in the glades, getting familiar with your gear, climbing steep gullies and so much more! This course is tailored to you and your goals. Just tell us what you're hoping to achieve and we'll work alongside you to make it a reality. This is a 3-part progression that involves self-guided tours in between guided days. The three days are not meant to be scheduled back-to-back.


PROGRAM DETAILS

Length: 8-10 Hours
Guide-to-Client Ratio: 1:3
Difficulty: You Decide
When: December - April
Type: Skiing, Ski Mountaineering

PRICING

1 person: $850 per person
2 people: $550 per person
3 people: $400 per person

*All skiers must complete the 3 days together if you register together.

RENTAL GEAR

Most of the required equipment [listed below] is available for rent from our affiliate mtnGEAR. NEM climbers will receive an exclusive discount of 20% discount on all rental equipment and clothing.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Itinerary

Backcountry Ski PROGRESSION
  • Meet at The Bunkhouse at 7am
  • 7am-8am: Check in and gear check
  • 8am-3pm: Ski Tour
  • 4pm: Debrief the tour

What to Expect

This progression is designed to get you skiing and that's what we will do! Along the way, we will work with you on ski skills and coach you toward more effective and efficient touring practices.

DAY ONE: Proper techniques for effective and efficient uphill and downhill travel

*No backcountry skiing experience required before scheduling this day.

  • Packing for a tour
  • Efficient uphill techniques
  • Sound transitions
  • Downhill etiquette and sound decision making

DAY TWO: Ski touring in avalanche terrain

*At least 5 days of self-guided backcountry skiing required before scheduling this day.

  • Introduction tour to skiing in avalanche terrain
  • Improving your observational skills

DAY THREE: Introduction to Ski Mountaineering

*At least 20 days of self-guided backcountry skiing and 5 days in avalanche terrain before scheduling this day.

  • Ski tour into one of our many ravines
  • Ascending steep snow with ice axe and crampons
  • Negotiating ice bulges, rappels or other "technical" terrain if appropriate

We highly recommend pairing this progression with our AIARE Level I Course
 

What To Wear

PLEASE BRING THESE ITEMS WITH YOU FROM HOME

When selecting clothing for your adventure, think layers. Choose synthetic materials, wool, or fleece.
The saying is "Cotton Kills." It will absorb sweat and then freeze - increasing the chances of hypothermia.

 

Please Bring the Following Items.

Guides Pick

[ ] Base Layer Top and Bottom: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top will be used as your base layer. Zip-neck styles will allow for better temperature regulation. Smartwool Men's NTS Mid 250 Top
Smartwool Men's NTS Mid 250 Bottom
Smartwool Women's NTS Mid 250 Top
Smartwool Women's NTS Mid 250 Bottom
[ ] Socks Wool or Synthetic Darn Tough

Snow pants will suffice instead of soft shell climbing pants and if you have insulating layers and jackets we recommend that you bring them. There will be time to sort through what you should bring and what you leave behind.

Mandatory Gear List

RENTALS AVAILABLE AT CLIMBINGRENTALS.COM

Most of the required equipment [listed below] is available for rent from our affiliate mtnGEAR.
NEM climbers will receive an exclusive discount of 20% discount on all rental equipment and clothing.

 

[ ] Ski/Board Crampons Compatible and sized for your skis or board.

Mandatory Items

Guides Pick

[ ] Pack with Waist Strap: A 30-40L pack is the recommended size for one day tours. Your pack MUST have a waist strap and be meant for ski touring. A backpack will not suffice. Black Diamond Dawn Patrol
[ ] Crampons: 10-12 point adjustable crampons compatible with your ski or snowboard boots. Black Diamond Cyborg
[ ] Ice Axe: Designed for mountaineering or ski touring Camp Cassin X All Mountain
[ ] Helmet: A skiing helmet. Smith Vantage
Smith Vantage [W]
[ ] Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. It should be warm and thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet. OR Gradient Hat
[ ] Buff/Neck Gaiter: Buff makes the best option. Buff Merino Wool
[ ] Ball Hat/Sun Hat: Optional. A lightweight ball cap or sun hat.
[ ] Sun Glasses: A pair of dark-lensed sunglasses with side shields or full wrap-type sunglasses. Julbo Tamang
[ ] Goggles: Goggles designed for skiing. Julbo Airflux
[ ] Lightweight glove: One pair of fleece gloves. OR Sensor
OR Catalyzer [W]
[ ] Medium Weight Glove: Wind/water resistant insulated mountain gloves. OR Ambit
OR Ambit [W]
[ ] Heavy Insulated Mitten: Wind/water resistant, insulated mittens for protection against wind, snow and cold. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove. OR High Camp
OR Highcamp [W]
[ ] Light Insulating Layer/Soft Shell Top: A fleece or other insulation layer. Arcteryx Gamma MX Hoody
Arcteryx Gamma MX Hoody [W]
[ ]Hard Shell Jacket with Hood: Wind/rain Proof. Gore-Tex recommended. Arcteryx Beta LT
Arcteryx Beta SL [W]
[ ] Insulated Parka: This item becomes of highest importance when we are faced with poor weather. This should be an expeditionary-type heavy parka that extends well below the waist and above the knees. Goose down is recommended versus synthetic fill. It does not have to be waterproof, but that is a nice feature. The parka is worn primarily at rest breaks and as an emergency garment if needed. When sizing a parka, allow for several layers to be worn underneath; buy it large. The parka must have an insulated hood. OR Incandescent
Arcteryx Cerium LT [W]
[ ] Skiing Pants: Synthetic skiing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them alone on hot days, or in combination with the base layer on cold days. The thickness (insulation quality) should be based on how well you do in the cold. OR Trailbreaker
OR Trailbreaker [W]
[ ] Touring Ski/Snowboard Boots: Designed for alpine touring and backcountry skiing/boarding. Allow for easy walking and click in for downhill travel. Dynafit TLT7 Expedition
Dynafit TLT7 Expedition [W]
[ ] Ski Poles: Collapsible trekking poles. Black Diamond Ergo Cork
[ ] Headlamp Petzl Reactik
[ ] Avalanche Beacon Ortovox 3+
[ ] Avalanche Probe Ortovox 240 HD PFA
[ ] Avalanche Shovel
Ortovox Beast
[ ] Ski Skins Cut and sized for your skis. G3 Alpinist
Visit mtnGEAR for Rental Prices

 

FAQ's

Please read through the following frequently asked questions and answers. These will help you prepare for your trip and get a better understanding of what to expect.

Do I need any prior experience?

No, but to make the transition to the backcountry you must be a black diamond skier at the resorts minimum.

What happens if the weather doesn't cooperate?

We usually will go out in tough weather. Rain will reschedule or end our course. Please plan for all weather conditions. We may alter the plan based on the weather forecast.

Am I supposed to tip my guide(s)?

Tips are never expected, however if you think your guide did a great job, tips are welcomed and appreciated. A normal tip is 20% of the guide fees or $20 per guide per day.

Can I rent the gear that I do not own?

Most of the required equipment is available for rent from our affiliate mtnGEAR. NEM climbers will receive an exclusive discount of 20% discount on all rental equipment and clothing. We also rent AT skiing setups.

What are 'Touring Boots'?

These are ski boots designed for ski touring and backcountry skiing. They have functionalities that make skinning more enjoyable.

Where should I stay?

We recommend The Bunkhouse at Northeast Mountaineering. For your convenience, we offer co-ed, hostel-style accommodations on site. The cost is $30 per person. To maximize your skiing experience, we recommend that you stay in the area the night before your tour.

How do I find out when and where to meet?

Upon completion of your registration you will get a confirmation email with a link to all the pertinent information. You will be asked to secure your rental equipment and read through the welcome information to be prepared and on time for your course.

Book Online Now

 

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GENERAL POLICIES

NEMs Adventure itineraries are subject to change or be adjusted based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, group dynamics and many other factors. NEM has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including the discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.

We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, an NEM credit for the full value is given; however, NEM cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).

NEM reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip at any time if NEM determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program. This includes being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

SUMMIT ATTEMPT

Northeast Mountaineering cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit or complete the objective you have signed up for. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities or the abilities of others may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire party will have to turn around without reaching the summit. Your program fee entitles you to one mountain experience on your specified dates.

MINIMUM REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

For our adventures to run as booked, we must have 50% enrollment of the maximum participant allotment. As an example, if the program has a maximum of 6 people then we must have 3 registered participants for the adventure. In the case of low registration, you may be asked to postpone or join another group on a different date. Exceptions may be made but it is at complete discretion of Northeast Mountaineering, its guides and agents.

RISK MANAGEMENT

Safety is NEM’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in the mountains but they cannot eliminate them. NEM guides draw from their wealth of experience and training to make sound decisions that maximize your experience without compromising the necessary margin of safety. Please clearly understand that mountaineering and all other mountain adventures are inherently hazardous sports. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of these sports, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in these activities.

NEW ENGLAND ADVENTURES

Payment in full is due at the time of booking. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check.

BEYOND NEW ENGLAND INCLUDING MOUNT RAINIER

A non-refundable deposit of $200 per person secures your reservation but may vary - please check your specific adventure. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check. Final payment is due 1 month [30 days] before departure. For your convenience, we can work out a monthly payment plan.

INTERNATIONAL ADVENTURES

A non-refundable deposit of $200 per person secures your reservation but may vary - please check your specific adventure. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check. Final payment is due 1 month [30 days] before departure. For your convenience, we can work out a monthly payment plan.

CANCELLATION

Up to 30 days before your adventure: Full Refund will be issued 29 days - 72 hours before your adventure: Full Refund in the form of NEM credit Within 72 hours of your adventure: No refund will be issued* In the event that you have a positive COVID-19 test and need to cancel within 72 hours, you will be issued an NEM credit for your adventure. If NEM cancels your adventure due to weather or another unforeseen reason, you will receive an NEM credit.

CHANGE OF DATE

Date changes are subject to availability. Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 7 days prior to your adventure without incurring a date change fee. Date changes may be requested between 7 and 3 days prior to your departure date for a $25 fee per person. There are no date changes allowed within 72 hours before your adventure.