The SSWSC Backcountry Program is designed for skiers and riders looking to develop fundamental skills needed for safe, fun, backcountry travel while exploring the backcountry in our region. The program will be led by an experienced backcountry instructor, Lucas Mouttet, and will include AIARE 1 avalanche training certification and wilderness first aid education both in the classroom and in the field. The season will start with avalanche safety training, then prep for a hut trip during the Steamboat Springs school district holiday break. Weekend backcountry trips after the New Year will include Rabbit Ears Pass, Cameron Pass, and the Hahn’s Peak area. Weekday evening training sessions will be based out of Howelsen Hill with a focus on education and preparation for the upcoming weekend’s adventure. No previous experience is required, but first year athletes will be required to participate in early season avalanche safety training (or have taken an AIARE 1 course previously).
- Minimum skiing requirement: Ability to ski the entire ski mountain and a desire to learn to safely access backcountry ski terrain.
- Equipment requirements: Backcountry ski or splitboard setup with touring bindings (tech/pin bindings recommended for skis), skins, poles, and boots with walk mode. Avalanche safety equipment, including modern 3-antenna beacon (5 years old or less), shovel and probe. Daypack for safety gear along with helmet and goggles, personal first aid kit, and items for day tours. Backcountry equipment discounts may be available, check with coach.
- Season Pass Information: Check with coach
- Competition information:Optional ski mountaineering (skimo) competitions may be available during the winter
2022/23 DATES: November 15th-March 11th
All sessions meet at Howelsen Hill unless otherwise stated
ALL Participants: Dryland session and gear check on November 15
Early season training will split by NEW and RETURNING participants:
- NEW PARTICIPANTS: AIARE 1 Course (first year participants): Evenings (4-7pm) of Nov 29 and Dec 1. Field days (9am-4pm) of Dec 3 and Dec 4. There will also be pre-course work online (3-4 hours total). Must attend ALL sessions for credit.
- RETURNING PARTICIPANTS: Will start on snow on December 10 with AIARE RESCUE training (will have required pre-course work, ~2 hours)
Hut trip: Required prep sessions on Tuesdays, December 6 and December 13, 4-6pm. Hut trip dates are Dec 21-23. Depart at 9am Dec 21 from Howelsen and return ~4pm on Dec 23.
Post New Years training weeks: Tuesday 4:00-6:00 at Howelsen, Thursday 5-6pm via Zoom, and Saturday 9:00-3:00 at tour location. See seasonal schedule for draft dates and locations. Locations are weather/snow condition dependent for training. They are subject to change based on safety of the participants and outcomes of the program.
2022/23 PROGRAM FEE:
NEW PARTICIPANTS: $2,800*, plus $300 refundable work deposit
RETURNING PARTICIPANTS: $2,550, plus $300 refundable work deposit
NEW PARTICIPANTS: $3,500*, plus $300 refundable work deposit
RETURNING PARTICIPANTS: $3,190, plus $300 refundable work deposit
*Additional cost for new participants includes the full AIARE course fees
See the Scholarships page for information on program fee scholarships, including the one-step EZ Scholarship.
For information on the SSWSC work deposit program, click here.
Email Andy Michnay, Freeskiing Program Director