This day is the perfect step to take when you are ready to leave the lift lines behind. Heading into the backcountry can be daunting—there is new equipment to manage, avalanches to avoid, mountain weather, and a thousand decisions to make regarding all these things where wrong answers can lead to unwanted outcomes. That is where we come in, KMAC’s expert local splitboard guides will break down all of this into manageable topics that will give you the base building blocks that the rest of your backcountry education will be built on, and along the way will show you some really good powder riding.
Location: Hidden Valley, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. Hidden Valley was a ski resort from the fifties until it closed in 1992. Today, with lifts removed and restored to its natural condition, it makes a perfect location for learning to ride in the backcountry. With relatively low avalanche risks, the option of riding all the way back to the trailhead from anywhere on the mountain, and a powerful powder-creating microclimate, HV is hard to beat as a Front Range splitboard schoolroom.
Duration: 8 Hours
Experience Level: Beginner and above. We recommend, at a bare minimum, you can ride confidently on all “blues” at a ski resort. If you ride much harder than this don’t worry, our goal isn’t to teach you how to ride but how to operate safely in the backcountry and use your splitboard.
Cost: $200 per person
Dates: Saturdays from December 15 to March 30th
Weston Snowboards rentals with Spark R&D bindings available for $40 per day
Overview of topics:
- Equipment: general use, storage, maintenance, field repairs
- Introduction to avalanche awareness *
- Avalanche rescue techniques (beacon/shovel/probe) *
- Terrain selection, trip planning, navigation
- Skinning (skiing uphill): track setting, kick turns, pole use, and micro-terrain navigation
- Transitions (changing from ski-mode to ride-mode and back)
- Backcountry considerations: risk management and other backcountry specific topics
- Particularities of using a snowboard in the backcountry and techniques to solve them
- Next steps: avalanche education, recommendations of other areas to check out, apres…
*note: does not replace formal avalanche education