Introduction to Backcountry Skiing and Riding: Rocky Mountain National Park

Location Colorado

Season Winter-Spring

Difficulty Easy to Intermediate

Duration 1 Day


Backcountry travel in the Wintertime can be intimidating. Jackson Hole Mountain Guides takes the Introduction to this activity seriously and wants to teach you important skills to stay safe and enjoy the mountains. This class gives the novice backcountry traveler a solid foundation to move forward from, introducing participants to proper planning and preparation, safe travel in the mountains and vital strategies for implementing a tour. With a large focus on instruction and skills, the day will be filled with learning as well as an opportunity to practice the fun part. Those individuals hoping to make the transition from area skiing to the Backcountry will find this trip invaluable to their progression. We encourage those hoping to take an AIARE Level 1 course with us, who are new to Backcountry skiing, to consider this trip before their course.

Season Winter-Spring

Elevation Gain 2000-3000

Minimum Age 18

Trip Planner


The day starts early in Estes Park, where the guests will go through a quick gear check as well as a quick avalanche beacon refresher.  From there the group will head into Rocky Mountain National Park where we will quickly get into the instruction from your guide on considerations when planning a ski tour.  The groups will spend the entire day out backcountry touring with a heavy emphasis on education.  We will begin with an introduction to the avalanche forecast and our day’s tour plan. Instruction on uphill travel and proper technique will be covered, as well as basic navigation and group travel. Decision making will be emphasized on this trip, with the Guide facilitating an appropriate decision making process for the group throughout the tour. A descent from a conservative high point will provide participants an opportunity to practice skiing the current conditions, and receive feedback on technique. Participants can expect 2,000-4,000 vertical feet of gain over the course of 5-7 hours in this trip.

Price: Private $450 1:1/ $275 per person 2:1/$200 per person 3:1

Boulder is located 25 miles northwest of Denver, and about 43 miles from Denver International Airport. Meeting locations vary depending on the time of year and the class/trip, your guide will provide you with this information. There are plenty of accommodations and amenities located in Boulder, however camping is not readily available. If you have any additional questions your Colorado climbing adventure, please contact our call (303) 532-5184.


Conditions can be favorable for climbing at nearly any point during the year, but for most objectives, better climbing conditions occur in spring, summer, and autumn. Spring has a higher likelihood of precipitation. Summer afternoon temperatures can climb into the 90’s and isolated afternoon thunderstorms are common. In the autumn, climbers tend to find the most reliable conditions. Winter has many spells of great climbing weather, but it is difficult to plan in advance, as the Front Range can also receive full Rocky Mountain snowstorms and cold fronts. Because cliffs are dramatically affected by sun and wind exposure (or lack thereof), please refer to your JHMG guide for route or area recommendations. Suggestions are to provide our guests with the most enjoyable experience.

During summer months, even if the day dawns clear, all climbers should pack a rain jacket for the occasional surprise afternoon thundershower. Synthetic clothing is strongly advised at many times of the year, and is almost always preferable to  cotton. Comfort levels can vary quite a bit depending on where you are climbing within a given climbing area, so please ask us for our clothing recommendations based on your planned climb/class and if you are unfamiliar with the area. It is common for us to suggest an early start to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.



  • Bottom Synthetic or Wool Long Underwear Bottoms
  • Shell Pant: full side zips and built-in gaiters
  • Socks: (1 to 2 pairs) synthetic or wool. Sized for your boots and blister protection. Liners recommended.


  • Gloves 2 to 3 pair: 1 medium, 1 heavy pair
  • Hat: medium weight ski hat
  • Hat: baseball or visor for sun
  • Balacava/neck gaiter


  • Back Pack: 30 to 40 Liter ski pack, Guide Pick: Mammut Pro Short Removable Airbag System Backpack
  • Water & Food: Thermos or insulated water bottles are best. Lot’s of snacks.
  • Sunglasses/ Sunglass Case
  • Ski Goggles
  • Extra Prescription Glasses/Contact Lens
  • Sunscreen/Lip balm
  • Headlamp-Extra batteries
  • First Aid: minimal-blister kit


  • Boots: Alpine Touring, Telemark, or Snowboarding Boots
  • Skis or Splitboard with compatible binding for boots
  • Climbing Skins (fit to skis)
  • Ski Poles
  • Helmet (optional)

SNOW SAFETY EQUIPMENT (REQUIRED and available for rent at JHMG)





  • Top notch guide service with enormous experience. I love the educational aspect as well. I always learn a ton.

    — Dirk Friel
  • Words cannot convey the experience of a winter day out with a JHMG guide taking you on a safe tour of the Tetons. Slow and steady up for a few hours rewards you with an exquisite view of the Tetons in all their majesty. Then, instead of an exhausting, bone-jarring hike back down, take the skins off your skis and ride down in powder that is almost impossible to find in a ski resort. Even a week after the last snowfall, you will still find good snow to ride down on. Even if it’s not a clear and sunny day, it’s a wonderful day out and you’ll want to keep going back until you are rewarded with those magnificent views. If the price for a ride on the Virgin Galactic rocket is $200,000, I’d say a day in the Tetons with a JHMG guide is the most undervalued ticket you can buy!

    — Victor Haghani
  • Amazing Back Country Ski day with JHMG. Our Guide knew exactly where to find the best pow! I wouldn’t hesitate to book again.

    — Rob Barton
  • These guys really know the mountain. We found powder to make fresh tracks while the whole of Jackson Hole had been skied out! Thank you Brian!

    — Mark Disney

Talk To Us

Here you’ll find online tools and information about joining us for a trip of a lifetime! To sign up for a trip, or if you have any questions, please call us. Listed on the left side of these pages are links that you may find useful, including printable forms and policies concerning a trip with JHMG. We encourage ALL prospective climbers to read our Preparation advice. Our office can help place you with others who are looking to climb.

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