"I thoroughly enjoyed skiing and learning with you. It's always rewarding to be in the mountains with a real pro."
"Thank you for the great skiing adventure. You are a world class guide and instructor."
Carmichael Training Systems
Incredible Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding For All Ability Levels
Our operating area includes the easy-to-access runs off of Red Mountain Pass, the big peak descents in the Sneffels Range including 14,150' Mt. Sneffels, and the full length of the San Juan Hut System on the north side of the range. This vast and diverse area provides incredible backcountry skiing and snowboarding opportunities for all ability levels. There are quiet tree runs that hold powder for weeks after a storm, big open bowls with acres of untracked snow, and long faces that descend from craggy summits. The terrain is big, awe inspiring, and uncrowded. Whether you're trying backcountry skiing or snowboarding for the first time, or if you are a seasoned pro, you just might find the run of your life here.
AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guides
All of our guides are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) as ski mountaineering guides. We are the only guide service in the region to have an entire staff with this level of training and certification. We capitalize on this training and experience to create an exceptional day of ski touring for you. We are up before the sun evaluating the weather, making route plans, considering snow stability, and designing educational opportunities for your development. In the field we provide helpful tips for your improvement, we evaluate snow conditions to maximize your safety, and we make sure you're riding the best snow around! All of this is done so your day flows seamlessly from one turn to the next, and so you can focus on having fun and learning new skills.
Educational Opportunities For All Ability Levels
We work with people of all ages and ability levels. For skiers who are new to backcountry touring we commonly teach the following skills:
- Equipment selection and packing
- Use of skins, touring bindings, touring boots, and splitboards
- Terrain selection using the avalanche bulletin
- Traveling skills: striding, pacing, AVA turn & kick turn
- Tracksetting for safety, efficiency, and observations
- Assessing snowpack stability using snowpack tests, visual clues, and audible clues
- Using avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe
- Locating the best snow for skiing
- Skiing techniques for powder conditions
- And of course, we will make some great turns
Advanced Instruction For Experienced Backcountry Riders
For experienced backcountry skiers and snowboarders who would like to build upon their existing knowledge, our AMGA certified ski mountaineering guides have the experience and knowledge to take your riding to the next level. Whether you are seeking skills for ski mountaineering or a deeper understanding of avalanche awareness, we will create a program to answer your questions and give you definitive skills for your improvement. Our terrain around Red Mountain Pass and the Northern San Juans caters to advanced riders with many steep lines and big peak descents. Some of the techniques we commonly teach to experienced backcountry riders include:
- Tour planning and advanced terrain selection
- Map, compass, & GPS navigation
- Advanced snowpack stability assessment through layer identification, understanding of spatial variability, and understanding direct and indirect weather effects
- Advanced rescue techniques for multiple burials and deep burials
- Advanced skiing techniques for variable snow or steep terrain
- Use of ski crampons, ice axe, and boot crampons for ski mountaineering
- Construction of THINX ski anchors for ski mountaineering
- Ropework, knots, and rappelling for access to steep terrain
Spring Skiing & Ski Mountaineering
During the months of April and May, the San Juans offer tremendous spring skiing and ski mountaineering opportunities. The snowpack becomes more stable, access is greatly improved as backcountry roads get plowed, and the high peaks become easily skiable in a day trip. This combination of good snow stability, easy corn skiing, and great access to the high summits makes the spring season our favorite for backcountry skiing! Join us for an epic peak descent of 14, 150 Mt. Sneffels or another San Juan classic during this special time of year!
Contact us to build your backcountry skills and experience the beautiful skiing in the Northern San Juan Mountains! Whether you are seeking introductory or advanced instruction, and you have a day or a week, our AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guides are ready to create the perfect program for you!
*Peak Mountain Guides Colorado Backcountry Skiing programs are located on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests under priority use permit from the Forest Service, USDA. Peak Mountain Guides is an equal opportunity service provider.*