Women’s Backcountry Ski Camp

We’re thrilled to offer our second annual Women’s Backcountry Ski Camp in collaboration with Telluride Helitrax!

This weekend, based out of the Helitrax Bridal Veil Basin Ski Camp, is a treat! The camp features Arctic Oven heated tents set in a stunning location, high in Bridal Veil Basin above the town of Telluride. This weekend will take place March 10-12, 2023. Our camp is surrounded by a variety of ski options allowing us to take the best advantage of snow conditions. It’s a great opportunity to start your progression into ski mountaineering—if that is where your interest lies. If you have never winter camped before, this is a light introduction into what will become an important skill set for you as you explore mountaineering objectives. From here, we encourage you to pursue a spring ski mountaineering course in the San Juans, followed by a likely life changing experience in Alaska on the Pika Glacier for an Alaska oriented ski mountaineering course. We also want to make this weekend about taking the next step in decision making. Learn skills to asses terrain, dig snow pits, and advance your touring technique. We will offer this as an adaptable curriculum based on group goals.

While this is a helicopter-supported camp, we will not be utilizing that resource to access the camp. Our day will begin on the Telluride Ski Resort, so purchase of a one-day ski pass (not included with this trip) is necessary. From here we will ski out the gate to ski/skin over to Bridal Veil Basin.

Both skiers and splitboarders are welcome to join this course, but it’s intended to be an exclusively women’s and female-identifying weekend (sorry, fellas).

To register, you should ideally feel comfortable skiing most resort terrain up to double black diamonds, and maintaining good control and confidence on that terrain in a variety of snow conditions. We recommend a minimum of one to two years of backcountry skiing experience. All participants should have basic familiarity with their touring equipment, baseline uphill skinning technique, and the fitness to tackle two back-to-back days in the mountains at high altitude.

To join, reserve your spot below or contact the Mountain Trip office at [email protected] or (970) 369-1153.

Women's Backcountry Ski Camp - Register

Maddie Crowell


Maddie grew up in the San Juans in an off-grid log home, where she learned to love and understand life in the mountains from a very young age. Maddie is on track to become an AMGA Ski Guide. She is currently an Assistant Ski Guide and Apprentice Alpine + Rock Guide. She has pursued avalanche education through the Canadian Avalanche Association and has taken a Level 2 Operational, Avalanche Advanced Search and Rescue and Mountain Weather courses. She currently holds certifications for Wilderness First Responder, Outdoor Emergency Care, Leave No Trace, and she’s also a member of the Salomon Ambassador Team. She guides locally for Mountain Trip, Helitrax and Cimmaron Mountain Club, among others. She has guided on Mount Shasta, Denali, and organized women’s trips to Japan. Maddie is a big line sensei and has a creative eye for looking at the mountains. She’s also the master of snacks!

Kaylee Walden

Kaylee has been skiing in the San Juans and working for Mountain Trip for more than six years. She started skiing before the age of two in her home state of Montana, and has been chasing that passion ever since. She first apprentice-guided a mountaineering course in the Alaska Range in 2016. She has successfully guided two expeditions to the top of Denali, climbed to over 20,000 feet in Nepal, and skied all around the mountain west. Kaylee has taken up to a Professional Level 1 Avalanche Course, AMGA Alpine Skills and AMGA Ski Guide Course. She also teaches avalanche courses for Mountain Trip and Silverton Avalanche School.

Itinerary

Arrive in Telluride. Team meet and gear check.

Day 1: Ski out the gate from Telluride Ski Resort and traverse to base camp in Upper Bridal Veil Basin, weather and conditions permitting. Arrive at camp, settle in, enjoy a hot dinner.

Day 2: Ski some of the amazing and varied terrain accessible from Bridal Veil Basin, beginning your tour at 12,500 feet. 

Day 3: Ski out of base camp through Bear Creek or Bridal Veil Basin, weather and conditions permitting.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Tour planning tools.
  • Steep skiing techniques and terrain management.
  • Advance your ability to make decisions.
  • Dial in your snowpits.
  • Learn skills to asses terrain.
  • Intro to winter camping.
  • Adaptable curriculum based on group goals.
  • Navigation, route-finding, and track setting.
  • Mountain weather and avalanche considerations.

Access to the Bridal Veil Base Camp starts at the top of the Revelation Lift on Telluride Ski Resort. From there, a number of backcountry gates can be used to ski into the upper Bear Creek Basin. Skiers will traverse (getting some turns along the way!) and climb up to McCarron Junction before dropping into Bridal Veil Basin. Camp is then a quick ten-minute ski away.

Skiing from camp ranges from delightful low angle pow fields to a few steeper summits for the skilled backcountry skier. Multiple tours can be taken from base camp to explore the entirety of the basin, including a fun stop by the historic Lewis Mine. The little ski town of Ophir is just over the ridge and a 3,000-foot run to the valley awaits you—guaranteed to be the best corn run of your life with the right conditions.

Columbine Lake is a short yet steep skin or boot pack back out of the basin, and offers amazing views toward Red Mountain Pass. If the snow is good in Bear Creek, there are multiple options to ski back into that zone and tour there.

Finally, La Junta Basin can be accessed from base camp, offering another epic ski into an alpine basin or bigger tour to the top of some couloirs. Bridal Veil Basin is also a great place to hone in avalanche rescue skills, as well as practice snow assessment and terrain management.

Inclusions and Exclusions for Women’s Backcountry Ski Camp

Included in the Trip Fee:

  • Unlimited pre-trip access to our office resources.
  • Guidance of our experienced Mountain Trip guides.
  • All food while at base camp.
  • All group equipment (tents, kitchen, ropes, snow pickets, group med kit, satellite phone, GPS tracker, etc.)
  • Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cot, down parka.
  • Assistance arranging for post-ski activities in the area.
  • Beacon, shovel and probe.


Not Included in the Trip Fee:

  • Flights to and from Telluride. 
  • Personal clothing and equipment per our equipment list.
  • Touring skis, boots, skins, poles and airbag pack.
  • Any additional lodging including post-trip lodging.
  • Meals while not at base camp.
  • Travel and/or rescue insurance.
  • Costs incurred due to early evacuation or unplanned departure from the mountain due to illness or other problems.
  • Costs incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Mountain Trip.
  • Costs as a result of force majeure.

Refund and Cancellation Policy/Fee Schedule

Mountain Trip recognizes how difficult and disappointing it can be for climbers who must cancel expeditions which they have planned for a long time. It is important for climbers to recognize that, due to the nature of planning expeditions and dealing with governmental permits and regulations, Mountain Trip also accrues significant expenses in the months prior to expedition departure dates. Mountain Trip must therefore adhere to a strict refund policy for all climbers. We strongly recommend trip cancellation and travel insurance for all expeditions. U.S. and Canadian residents should contact us for more information regarding travel insurance. Our refund and cancellation policy is outlined below. However, as noted, certain trips may require specific policies that supersede those listed below.

By delivering a deposit to Mountain Trip, you hereby agree to the following Refund and Cancellation Policies:

  • Failure to pay expedition fees by the date they are due constitutes cancellation of your spot on the expedition team and forfeiture of your deposit.
  • Final payments for expeditions must be received 14 days prior to the Team Meeting Day.
  • Deposits are non-refundable.

Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel an expedition prior to the departure date for any reason. In the event the expedition is cancelled based solely on an internal administrative decision by Mountain Trip (Internal Cancellation), all monies, except for nonrefundable administrative fees, collected by Mountain Trip from team members for the cancelled expedition shall be refunded within 30 days. By signing below, you acknowledge and agree that Mountain Trip shall bear no additional liability for such cancellations. This Internal cancellation provision shall not apply when external factors that force Mountain Trip to cancel an expedition against its will, including, but not limited to, international political upheaval, terrorism, drought/famine, epidemics/pandemics, and/or cancellations imposed by foreign or domestic governments or permitting agencies (External Cancellation). All External Cancellations shall not be subject to a refund unless such cancellation occurs prior to the deadlines set forth in the Refund and Cancellation Policies, mentioned above.

All Mountain Trip expeditions require a deposit to secure a spot on the trip. Your submission of a deposit constitutes your acceptance of the Fee Schedule, Refund and Cancellation Policy.

Reservation Information

Bridal Veil Backcountry Ski Camps require a 20% nonrefundable deposit at the time of booking. Final payment is due 14 days prior to the trip.

MountainTrip highly recommends that you consider trip cancellation insurance to protect the non-refundable administration fee, if not the entire cost of your climb. If you would like to purchase travel insurance to protect a trip in case of last-minute cancellations, you can do so via Travel Guard HERE.

The following is a list of guide-recommended gear for backcountry skiing with Mountain Trip. In general, you’ll want a selection of warm layers that work together. Clothing designed for a day of resort skiing is fine; however, dedicated touring clothing is better—specifically touring skis or a splitboard, and boots, which differ from a resort setup. Whatever gear you choose, please make sure it fits well so you fully enjoy your experience in the mountains.

All avalanche rescue equipment (beacon, shovel and probe) is included with the cost of the trip. Mountain Trip has a fleet of top-of-the-line Black Diamond touring skis, skins and poles, as well as La Sportiva touring boots and Black Diamond airbag skiing packs available for rent.

In addition to what we provide and have available to rent, there is also a good selection of gear available in Telluride and Ouray. If you have any specific questions about what you might need, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Mountain Trip office.

Alpine touring skis, boots, skins and poles are rented for $100/day, and airbag packs for $30/day.


Print Equipment

Footwear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Ski SocksYou will want ski socks that fit your foot well and are warm. For multi-day trips or ski expeditions, we recommend multiple pairs of socks so you can dry a pair overnight.

Torso Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Base Layer Top(1 or 2 sets) of Wool or Capilene light weight base layers. Long sleeve or short sleeve base layers work well.
Light Fleece HoodyLight/mid weight fleece (or wool) top with a hood. You will wear this over your light weight base layer.
Soft Shell Wind JacketMany high alpine peaks are cold and dry. We are huge fans of very lightweight softshell wind jackets for high, dry, cold peaks. Weighing just a few ounces, these can be carried in your pocket or in the lid of your pack for rapid deployment. This layer is used in addition to your more waterproof hard shell jacket.
Ski ShellWe recommend a gore-tex ski shell that is water resistant but light weight at the same time.
Puffy Jacket SkiingA warm puffy jacket to throw on at the top of the skin track, during breaks, in the early am or on cold days.

Leg Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Base Layer Bottoms(1 or 2 sets) of Wool or Capilene light weight base layers.
UnderwearConsider synthetic or Merino wool for your underwear. Most longer trips, such as Aconcagua or Denali, typically require 3-4 pair, but choose your quantity based on your personal level of comfort.
Ski PantA goretex or softshell ski pant with ventilation is recommended.

Head and Hands

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Heavyweight GlovesWarm, insulated gloves are the day-to-day workhorses on cold peaks or for cold days of ice climbing. We prefer gloves with removable liners for ease of drying.
Medium Weight GlovesA Mid-weight glove will generally be a softshell type glove with some light synthetic insulation.
Light Weight GlovesWhen the sun comes out on a glacier, the temperature can soar. Light weight, soft shell gloves are great for keeping the sun off your hands, while still giving you a bit of protection from the wind and cold.
Buff Neck GaiterBuff is a brand of light weight neck gaiters that have grown to become a staple of every guide's kit. These are amazingly versatile, and can be worn as a hat, a neck gaiter or pulled over your face for protection from the wind or sun. They come in many thicknesses nowadays, but we prefer the original weight for its versatility.
Sun HatBaseball type or wide brimmed sun hats are required for protection against the intense sunshine found on many peaks. You can combine a baseball hat with a BUFF for good sun protection or go for a wide brimmed version to protect your face, ears and neck.
Ski GogglesThese are necessary for use while traveling during storms or during really cold and windy weather. These must have double lenses and provide full UV protection. Fogging is a real challenge, so goggles that actively vent are worth the investment. Julbo's Aerospace or Airflux have a slick venting system or Smith makes battery-powered "Turbo Fan" models. Select a general purpose lens that will provide some protection in bright light, but not be so dark as to make them useless on a cloudy or flat-light day.
SunglassesSunglasses are essential in the mountains. Choose a pair that are comfortable and provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.

Ski Gear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Backcountry Ski PolesAdjustable ski poles are fantastic as they allow you to change length for skinning vs. skiing. Any poles with powder baskets will work.
Touring BootsIf you have your own boots some helpful features include; walk mode and pin binding compatibility. Whatever boot you decide to use, make sure it is compatible with your touring bindings. Mountain Trip has a fleet of La Sportiva touring boots if you need to rent.
Climbing SkinsClimbing skins pre-cut for your touring skis. We include skins for our rental skis.
Backcountry SkisA lightweight ski setup with touring specific bindings is a great way to maximize the fun in the backcountry. Mountain Trip has a fleet of Black Diamond touring skis with pin bindings for you to rent for Colorado backcountry ski trips.
Ski HelmetWe recommend skiing with a ski helmet. Any downhill ski helmet will work.

Avalanche Safety Equipment

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Avalanche Transceiver/BeaconWhen traveling in avalanche terrain, whether it is backcountry skiing in the Alaska Range, or Colorado, we will wear avalanche transceivers (beacons). We will have an opportunity to practice at the start of the trip. Beacons are included for Colorado backcountry ski trips and available for rent on other climbs and expeditions.
Avalanche ProbeAn avalanche probe specifically for backcountry skiing.
Avalanche ShovelYou want a shovel that has a removable handle so that you can stow it in your backpack while touring. Metal bladed shovels only.
Backcountry Ski BackpackA backpack specific for backcountry skiing is recommended, these packs will have a separate pocket specifically for avalanche rescue gear. We also recommend skiing with an avalanche airbag, Mountain Trip has a fleet of Black Diamond airbag backpacks for rent on Colorado backcountry ski trips.

Other

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Toiletry KitTooth brush & paste, dental floss, Handi-wipes (1 per day on average), a small bottle of hand sanitizer, perhaps some foot powder… keep it small!!!
Lip BalmBring a tube of quality lip balm with sun protection (SPF).
HeadlampBring an extra set of batteries, as well. Lithium batteries work the best in cold weather!! For some trips (Carstensz, Everest, Cho Oyu) where we will be frequently climbing at night a second headlamp is a good idea, and always bring extra batteries!
Solar Panel/Battery *optionalIf you are planning to charge your iPhone, inReach, or other electronics on the expedition you will need a good, small solar panel. We recommend using the panel to charge a battery and then charging your devices from the battery. This is definitely some extra weight, so keep it light and maybe share a panel and battery with your tentmate!
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