Guided Backcountry Skiing

Mountain Trip offers guided backcountry ski and splitboard outings for all abilities in the southwest corner of Colorado, around Telluride. The opportunities for steep, aesthetic couloirs, low-angle, powder-filled glades, and beautiful high alpine bowls are endless.  We can craft the ideal day of backcountry ski touring for all levels, hut trips in the area, as well as instructional courses for beginners and experienced backcountry travelers alike. If you’re simply wanting to avoid the crowds of the resort, or you have been eying a technical ascent and descent of a local 14,000′ peak, Mountain Trip can help you get there.

Guided Skiing in Telluride

We provide instruction and guiding for you to navigate avalanche terrain, or to gain the confidence to drop into steep lines and beautiful couloirs beneath towering peaks.

The snowpack in the San Juan mountains is unique in many ways, with cold temperatures and high altitudes, we can find great powder during, or long after a storm. Our local Telluride guides are familiar with the local snowpack and are avalanche professionals with extensive training and experience.  Mountain Trip is accredited by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and our lead guides all have AMGA ski guide trainings and/or certifications.

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.

Contact us today to start planning your backcountry adventure.

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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.

Skis, boots, skins and poles are rented for $100/day and the airbag pack is rented for $35/day.

 

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.
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.
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 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.

Footwear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Touring BootsWe recommend a touring compatible ski boot. If 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.
Ski SocksYou will want ski socks that fit your foot well and are warm.

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.
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.
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.
Ski GogglesThese are necessary for use while traveling during storms or during really cold spells. These must have double lenses and provide full UV protection. Fogging is a real challenge, so the “Turbo Fan” goggles are worth the investment! 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.

Other

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Lip BalmBring a tube of quality lip balm with sun protection (SPF).
Water BottlesThe ability to carry 2 liters of water will help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
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.

 

 

 

We also offer various skills courses, detailed below, and we are happy to work with you to create customized excursions and large group outings.

 

Avalanche Rescue Course 2018-19:

  • A one day course designed to teach and refresh avalanche skills. CLICK HERE to read more.
  • How to react in the immediate aftermath of a partner burial.
  • Multiple beacon searches and burial triage.
  • Mitigating further risk when evacuating an injured partner.
  • Includes one day in the field and scenarios tailored to student’s needs/skill level.
  • 2018-19 course dates: December 15, January 19.
  • Book this online course through our affiliate, Silverton Avalanche School. Contact the Mountain Trip office with any questions.

 

Backcountry Essentials, ‘Beyond Avy 1’ Course:

  • The proper use of backcountry equipment (beacon, shovel, probe, skins, AT bindings, etc.)
  • Route planning, route finding, and mitigating avalanche risk
  • How to ascend efficiently through using proper kick-turn and touring form
  • Travel techniques in the backcountry with an emphasis on avalanche awareness
  • How to handle powder, ice and mixed conditions commonly encountered outside the tracked-out ski area
  • Self rescue and emergency preparedness in the backcountry.  Are you prepared if something goes wrong?
  • Includes three days in the field.
  • Course dates TBD. Contact us for a custom, private course.

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.

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