‘Pass to the Backcountry’

If you are in Telluride for an extended stay during the winter or live in the area, we are pleased to offer the ultimate in guided backcountry skiing packages: your Pass to the Backcountry. These packages are highly customizable, and can be catered towards either an instructional progression, purely focused on finding the best snow available, or a combination of both. You can use these passes on all consecutive days, or spread out over the course of the season to create flexibility in your backcountry experience. This program is designed for aspiring backcountry users or those looking to improve their skills, and looking to dive deep into the world of backcountry skiing.

Guided Backcountry Skiing Immersion

The San Juan Mountains surrounding Telluride have some of the most inspiring, and often intimidating, ski terrain in the lower-48. Steep valleys and craggy peaks create strikingly aesthetic couloirs, intricate faces and perfectly-pitched glades. The possibilities are truly endless, and every level of skier can find their epic winter playground here. However, these tempting fruits come with their thorns, as we have one of the more complex and unpredictable snowpacks, meaning throughout much of the winter the danger of avalanches is always looming and must be carefully monitored and mitigated at all times. Avalanche awareness, mitigation and rescue will be a part of all of our programs, and

This package should provide you with the framework to comfortably head into the backcountry on personal trips, or progress to more committing guided backcountry missions in Colorado and beyond. In backcountry skiing, there’s simply no substitute for spending time on the snow with a good mentor. Backcountry skiing is an endeavor that requires a lot of time be put in to

We take great pride in creating a family atmosphere for our guides and invest a lot in our in-house training and opportunities to pursue AMGA courses. Your ski guide will

We have created a couple of options for our Pass to the Backcountry program. These packages are for both those completely new to the backcountry but with a passion for resort skiing, or for those with some experience with uphill touring looking to expand their skillset to tackle bigger objectives. Please inquire about additional inclusions that might not be listed here, or if you have any ideas to further customize the package. Avalanche risk and weather conditions will largely dictate our terrain selection. Splitboarders also welcome; let us know in advance and we can provide a splitboard-specific guide. Let us know your tool of choice for the backcountry so that we can provide you with a guide of the same snow-sliding orientation to maximize your specific learning potential.


You have all winter to use your days for both options, but we recommend trying to be consistent to put in the time to gain the fitness and aptitude to


You can choose your dates in advance or wait


  • Guiding and instruction from an AMGA-track or AMGA-certified Ski Guide.
  • Backcountry route-finding and route planning.
  • Slope management and risk mitigation building upon Avy-1 techniques.
  • Instruction on how to use the CAIC forecast to its maximum potential.
  • Daily conversations with your guide about the risk, teaching the appropriate language for discussing risk in the backcountry with your partners.
  • Use of top of the line beacon, shovel and probe.
  • Rental of a Black Diamond avalanche airbag pack.
  • 15 percent off backcountry ski package at Jagged Edge

10 DAY

Includes everything listed in the four day course PLUS

  • Two nights and three days of skiing at the OPUS Hut, a full-service backcountry ski hut with miles of amazing and varied terrain, to be used at the culmination of your pass.
  • Priority booking with your preferred guide throughout the winter.


We have included a full equipment list for you below. We have a great fleet of rental backcountry gear to get you started, but both of these passes also include 15 percent off at Jagged Edge and guidance from your guide to help you find the ideal uphill capable set up to help match your style and goals.


Mountain Trip is the only guide service in southwest Colorado to be accredited by the AMGA and we bring our skills and experience guiding the world’s tallest peaks home to the Telluride area.


The following is a general list of required gear for backcountry skiing with Mountain Trip. Skiers joining us will receive an updated, comprehensive equipment list that may supersede this list.  In general, you want a selection of warm layers that can work together.  Clothing that works well for a day of resort skiing will work fine, but dedicated touring clothing works better. Specifically, touring skis and boots differ from a resort setup.

Many of the items on the list need to fit you well in order for you to fully enjoy your experience in the mountains. Please plan ahead with equipment purchased for your trip so you can be certain that your gear fits you well.  Recommended items reflect the opinions of our guides. We have used and have faith in all of our recommendations, but they may not necessarily fit or work for you.

Please follow this list closely and do not hesitate to call us for clarifications or to solicit an opinion about anything you are considering. There is a good selection of gear available in Telluride and Ouray, and we have a good selection of loaner and rental gear, so just let us know what you might need.

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


Print Equipment


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.
Vest (optional)A lightweight down or synthetic filled vest can be a nice addition and add some warmth with little weight. **This is an optional layer**
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.
Ski PantA goretex or softshell ski pant with ventilation is recommended.

Head and Hands

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
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.
Hand WarmersBring 4 -6+ sets of these disposable insurance policies, depending on where you are climbing. Make certain that your hand warmers are relatively new, as they do go bad over time.
SunglassesSunglasses are essential in the mountains. Choose a pair that are comfortable and provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.
Midweight Ski GlovesLight to mid-weight glove for warmer ski touring
Warm Ski Glove or MittensA warm pair of ski gloves or mittens.
Ski GogglesSki Goggles

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.
**These are included with our touring rental gear package
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 available to rent
Climbing SkinsClimbing skins pre-cut for your touring skis.
**Skins are included with the touring gear rental package
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. These are provided for all ski programs, but you are welcome to bring your own.
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.


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Two (2) One-Liter Water BottlesYou will need two, 1-liter plastic water bottles. Please bring wide-mouth bottles, such as those from Nalgene, as these are much easier to fill than bottles with small openings.
Lip BalmBring a tube of quality lip balm with sun protection (SPF).
SunscreenThe sun can be intense in Colorado, so please apply high SPF sunscreen prior to your trip and bring a small tube along to reapply during the day.
Snacks and Lunch FoodPack enough food for snacking while on the skin track, in-between rock pitches or on the trail in the summer. We recommend a combination of energy bars, dried fruit and nuts and/or a sandwich. Bring something that you like to eat!

Refunds and Cancellations

Mountain Trip recognizes how difficult and disappointing it can be for skiers who must cancel days which they have planned for a long time. Skiers must also recognize that, due to the nature of planning touring days and contracting guides for specific dates, Mountain Trip also accrues significant expenses in organizing a day of backcountry skiing. We must therefore adhere to a strict refund policy for all skiers. Trip cancellation and travel insurance is generally available 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.

• We require payment in full for all of our Colorado backcountry ski trips.  Submission of payment constitutes your agreement to our Refund and Cancellation Policy.

• Any cancellation 7+ days before your scheduled date to ski will receive a 50% refund of all fees paid to Mountain Trip.

• No refunds will be provided for cancellations occurring within the last 7 days prior to your scheduled date for backcountry skiing.

• All requests for refunds must be made in writing and received in our Colorado office.

• Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel a ski day prior to the departure date for any reason. In such an event, all monies collected by Mountain Trip from team members for that ski shall be promptly refunded. This is the extent of our financial liability.


Inclusions and Exclusions

Included in the Trip Fee:

• Unlimited pre-trip access to our office resources

• Guidance of our experienced Mountain Trip guides

• Local transportation in the Telluride and Mountain Village area

• All avalanche rescue equipment (avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe, avalanche shovel)

• Assistance arranging for post-ski activities in the area


Not Included in the Trip Fee:

• Personal clothing and equipment per our equipment list (please, just ask us if you need anything!)

• Touring skis, boots, skins, poles and airbag pack. **This equipment is available for rent**

• Food and snacks

• Travel and/or rescue insurance

• Costs incurred due to evacuation or unplanned departure from the skiing area due to illness or other problems

• Costs incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Mountain Trip

• Customary gratuities for guides


General Agreement Concerning Services to be Provided And Responsibilities of Team Members

When registering for skiing with Mountain Trip we want to help make sure you understand the services we are providing and the services you are responsible for.

Transportation is incidental

The main purpose of becoming a team member is to join us skiing in the mountains. As such any transportation we provide or that you may contract for on your own is incidental to the trip. We suggest that you make sure you have time built into your itinerary for delays.

Transportation to and from your destination

We will designate a specific Team Meeting Day for your ski. Transportation to the meeting point on your Team Meeting Day is to be provided by you, unless otherwise arranged with Mountain Trip. You must arrive in time to be ready to participate in a team meeting at the appointed time on the Team Meeting Day for your ski. This probably means you will need to arrive the day before, as it is often prudent to get an early start in the morning.  Skiing is very dynamic and we will provide you with a recommendation as to when you should book your flights to and from your destination or how you might best arrange your travel to SW Colorado. If flying, we suggest you book a ticket that allows you to change your flight with little effort or cost.

Lodging off the mountain

Mountain Trip will provide lodging per the Inclusions and Exclusions section above. Any additional lodging is your responsibility.

Responsibilities of Team Members

You are ultimately responsible for your own well-being, including making all necessary preparations to ensure good health and physical conditioning. You are responsible for understanding the conditions that may exist while skiing and choosing a ski that is appropriate for your abilities and interests. You are responsible for having knowledge of all pre-departure information and for assembling the appropriate clothing and equipment for your ski experience.

While in the field, team members are responsible to maintain basic levels of hygiene and to conduct themselves respectfully with other team members and members of the local population. If a guide feels that a team member is putting other members’ health or safety at risk, the guide has the discretion to remove a team member from a ski day.

Use our office staff and your lead guide as pre-trip resources to ensure that all your questions are answered. Travel insurance may help recoup expenses if you need to leave the field due to an illness.



Mountain Trip operates under a special use permit in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests. We provide services and employment opportunities regardless of an individual’s ethnic or cultural heritage, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or physical handicap.

Share Button