If you are an adventurer, you might be interested in getting started with backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Telluride, Colorado. These activities are both challenging and rewarding.
Whether you are a beginner, or you have some experience in the areas of backcountry skiing and snowboarding, it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the winter sports before you embark on your skiing or snowboarding adventure in Telluride.
Practice Backcountry Skiing or Snowboarding Before Venturing Out
Before you go on an extensive backcountry skiing or snowboarding trip, you should first hone your skills by practicing in an easy location with guides and other experts around. It is important for you to feel comfortable in a wide variety of conditions and terrain. You will need to be able to avoid obstacles in your way (like trees) and also be ready for poor weather conditions (wind and snow storms). With practice, you will have better control of yourself while backcountry skiing, and you will also be ready to face challenging weather and terrain conditions.
Backcountry skiing and snowboarding require you to learn new skills, such as managing the terrain, using touring bindings, turning uphill, and skinning uphill. There are classes you can take to learn these new skills before you go on your adventure trip. With a little practice, you can get the hang of it, especially if you are familiar and comfortable with downhill skiing or snowboarding.
Evaluate Your Skiing or Snowboarding Ability and Fitness Level
There is no need to be an experienced elite athlete to have a successful time backcountry skiing or snowboarding. However, you do need certain athletic skills for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. If you are out of shape, it will probably be pretty difficult for you to climb uphill in the snow and maintain your stamina. Before you go on your adventure, evaluate your fitness level and skiing or snowboarding ability realistically, that way you do not end up traveling too far out of your comfort zone and lose out on a fun and exciting experience.
A general recommendation for skill level is that you should feel comfortable skiing intermediate level slopes before attempting the average backcountry skiing and snowboarding terrain. Even if you are at a lower skiing skill level, you can practice before booking your backcountry skiing and snowboarding adventure to get better at the sport. Also, if you hire an adventure guide, be upfront and honest about your skill level, and they may be able to take you on an easy route if you do not feel comfortable with a more difficult one.
Equipment Needed for Backcountry Skiing
Let’s get started with the equipment that you will need to go backcountry skiing. First things first, you will need some skis. With a wide variety of different types of skis out there, it may be a bit confusing to decide what skis are right for you. You will want to balance both uphill performance and downhill performance for backcountry skiing. You should look for skis that are lightweight and narrow, but not too narrow so that they diminish your ski’s ability to float. You do not want to be sinking into deep snow. It is a good idea to try on different options to get a feel for what is best for you.
You will also need a special set up for your skis such as an alpine touring setup. With the AT bindings, you will be able to lift your heels when you climb and lock them down for your descents. The tech bindings are the best choice because they are efficient for climbing and are lightweight. Another necessary piece of equipment you will need for backcountry skiing is lightweight, alpine touring boots. These boots will need to attach to the pins in the tech bindings and will have two different modes—walk and ski. You can adjust between modes as needed for when you are going uphill or downhill.
Ski poles are also necessary, of course, but there is not a special set you need for backcountry skiing, so there is no need to over think it. It can be helpful to have adjustable poles so that you can adjust them as needed depending on the type of terrain you are on.
Another piece of equipment you will need is “skins.” Skins are faux-hair strips that are attached to the bottom of your snowboard (or skis), and they glide in one direction. This allows you to “skin,” or more easily climb or glide uphill.
It is also important to bring safety gear with you such as a basic first aid kit, beacon, a shovel and a probe. These things will help you in the event of an avalanche. An optional additional piece of equipment you should consider is an airbag backpack that you can inflate if you end up caught in an avalanche.
Equipment Needed for Backcountry Snowboarding
You will need some of the same equipment for snowboarding that you would need for backcountry skiing. This includes your safety gear, first aid kit, beacon, shovel, and probe to help you in case you end up having to deal with an avalanche.
For snowboarding it is recommended that you use a splitboard to use for backcountry touring. If you do not have access to a splitboard it is possible to use snowshoes for uphill travel and ride a regular snowboard for the down hill. Another piece of equipment you will need is “skins.” Skins are faux-hair strips that are attached to the bottom of your snowboard (or skis), and they glide in one direction. This allows you to “skin,” or more easily climb or glide uphill.
Educate Yourself About Avalanches
One of the risks of backcountry skiing and snowboarding is encountering an avalanche. For your Colorado adventure, you should learn how to recognize avalanche terrain so that you can avoid it when you need to. Sometimes it may be hard to identify a potential avalanche, so one way you can protect yourself is to take an avalanche course. There are many short courses that are offered for this purpose, and once you have completed it, you will likely feel a little more comfortable with the safety risks associated with backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
There are many avalanche education opportunities here in Telluride, Colorado. Throughout the winter season, the Telluride Avalanche School offers one 4-day avalanche course, along with two 3-day courses and one 2-day avalanche course. In addition, you can check out the free Avalanche Awareness Forum Series on Monday nights. These courses follow the curriculum recommended by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), and once you have completed a course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion. The course content includes field sessions, which are conducted in real avalanche terrain.
Get Trained in First Aid
If you have no experience with first aid, it is a good idea to attend a first aid learning course before embarking on your Telluride adventure. While no one wants to think about something bad happening on an excursion, the weather and outdoor conditions can be unpredictable. While it is unlikely that you or someone in your group will be seriously injured during your adventure, having basic first aid knowledge will be useful in the unfortunate event that something does happen. With proper training, you may be able to help your fellow group member while you wait for professional help to arrive.
Consider Hiring an Adventure Guide for Your Backcountry Skiing or Snowboarding Adventure
Hiring a Telluride, Colorado adventure guide for your backcountry skiing or snowboarding adventure can help you have a better experience. The local guide will be very familiar with the skiing terrain and can help you and your group curate the adventure experience you are seeking. Your adventure guide will be able to make suggestions based on your experience.
Another benefit of hiring an adventure guide is that they have a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to backcountry skiing or snowboarding in Telluride. Your adventure guide would have the ability to notice unfavorable conditions and can help guide you and your team to safety if necessary. Even in the best weather conditions, there may be hazards on your adventure that your adventure guide will know to watch out for to ensure your safety.
Find a Friend or Group to Go on Your Adventure With
It is generally not advisable to go backcountry skiing or snowboarding alone. Doing so could be extremely dangerous. If you are solo, there is no one around to help you if you find yourself in an emergency situation.
When planning your trip, find one or more friends who also share your dream of adventure and plan your trip together. It is a good idea to go on a backcountry skiing or snowboarding adventure with a group that is at your same experience level, or slightly above. You can help each other learn as you go. Challenging yourself with an outdoor adventure like backcountry skiing or snowboarding can help strengthen your bond and give you exciting stories to share for a lifetime.
Plan Your Adventure Ahead of Time
As with most things in life, it is a good idea to plan ahead. Once you have your adventure group together and have decided what your goals are for your adventure, the next step is preparing everything you can for the event. While many people plan and book their adventures well in advance and therefore, cannot take the weather forecast into consideration, you will still be able to have a general idea of the weather you can expect. If you are unsure, your adventure guide will be happy to help you plan the best time for your adventure according to your skill level and goals.
Another thing to make sure that you plan ahead for is the avalanche forecast. You will want to check out the avalanche forecast prior to leaving on your trip. You can scope it out at avalanche.org, or you can also discuss the forecast with your adventure guide since he or she will have reviewed it before leaving on the trip. You may need to postpone your adventure for safety reasons, depending on what the avalanche forecast is for the length of your trip.
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding in Telluride Colorado
Telluride, Colorado is a beautiful area with gorgeous mountains and scenery. It is located in southwest Colorado, in the San Juan Mountains. These mountain peaks in Telluride reach heights over 14,000 feet, and the city has acres of pristine wilderness environments. There are many things to do in Telluride, including exciting outdoor adventures that include backcountry skiing and snowboarding. This beautiful location is perfect for exploring, with its exquisite views and terrain. Telluride, Colorado has many things to offer its residents and visitors. You will not regret going on an adventure to explore this beautiful location.
Booking Your Backcountry Skiing or Snowboarding Excursion at Telluride Adventures
Once you have fully prepared for your backcountry skiing or snowboarding adventure, it is time to get it booked. At Telluride Adventures, we have a variety of different options for you to choose from. We offer skiers or snowboarders the chance to experience the untracked San Juan Powder. Whether you are a beginner, or you have a higher experience level, we have an adventure that is right for you.
We also have several staff members that are trained adventure guides. Our adventure guides have many different certifications, including wilderness first responder/first aid certifications, as well as professional rescue certifications. Our guides also have completed avalanche courses to ensure they are providing safe guidance for their clients.
At Telluride Adventures, our many tour options give our customers the chance to learn the basics of backcountry travel, including finding routes, equipment use and analysis, avalanche awareness, and travel protocols. We welcome intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers—we offer something for everyone.
We offer private half and full day backcountry skiing adventures for small groups, and even solo adventures, though it is a good idea to consider going with one or two other adventures and forming a group. A peak descent adventure is also available to book.
If you are interested in backcountry skiing and snowboarding, we would love to help you put together the adventure of a lifetime. Contact us today at Telluride Adventures to get started planning your exciting excursion.