Photo (+Cover): Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain

When it comes to ski touring, the learning curve is short but steep. Kick turns, alpine risers, quick transitions– there’s a lot of tricks to the trade that can make a world of difference and ultimately translate to more time spent skiing and less time fussing with equipment.

Related: Coworking + Unlimited Season Pass @Mammoth For $99/Month Is The Best Deal In Skiing

This season, Mammoth Mountain is offering an Intro to Backcountry Ski Touring class to help break down that high barrier to entry while giving its students the confidence to ski tour with ease. Part of that ease is thanks to the course existing within the ski area itself. Instead of being flung into a backcountry zone they’ve never seen before, students get to grow their backcountry skills within the comforts of their of their home hill.

“It’s easy to sign up, hop on the gondola and ski down to our backcountry learning area where we cover all of the basic essentials from AT gear, avalanche equipment, what to have in your pack and layering, to snow transitions and terrain reading, to effective skinning, various types of kick turns, efficient climbing, choosing ideal ski descent lines and SKI technique specific to a Backcountry set-up.” – Dave McCoy, Mammoth Mountain Backcountry Director

The instructors are not only some of the best in the business but the outfit boasts a combination of AMGA guides and PSIA certified instructors that works magnificently, allowing students to get the most comprehensive instruction available for the best possible price.

The program’s director, Dave McCoy says that the course gives skiers the opportunity to find out if backcountry skiing is for them– all the while in safe, non-intimidating environment. Expect supplemental instruction from PSIA and AMGA certified instructors as well. If you’re lucky, Glen Plake might even show up and give you a tip or two!…

About Intro to Backcountry Touring

*For Intermediate-Expert Skiers & Snowboarders

Learn the basics of backcountry touring from our PSIA instructors and AMGA certified guides. Intro classes are limited to 6 students and cover touring & safety equipment, skinning, kick turns, downhill transitions, skating, and downhill ski practice, all with instructor demos, evaluation and feedback. It’s the safest and easiest way to give touring a try, right here on Mammoth Mountain.

Hours: 9AM-12PM Daily

Ages: 13+

Price: $179 (Lift ticket NOT included. A valid season pass or lift ticket for the day of the tour is required).

Location: Main Lodge. Classes meet on the snow, in between the Panorama gondola building and Main Lodge at 9AM.

Provided Equipment: Avalanche safety equipment (beacon, probe and shovel) will be provided in a backpack to each student and is included in the class fee.

*The following items are NOT provided or covered by the class fee and must be secured separately PRIOR TO CLASS. Rentals are available at Mammoth Mountaineering Supply in town (888.395.3951) with a 20% discount for clinic students. Students must have the following items in hand at the beginning of the clinic:

Required Equipment: 

  • Skis with AT bindings (or a Splitboard for snowboarders)
  • AT boots (for skiers)
  • Adjustable touring poles
  • Skins (already fitted to skis or splitboard)

Recommended Equipment: 

  • Sunscreen, chapstick
  • 1-2L of Water
  • Snacks
  • Face mask or Balaklava
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses and Goggles
  • Gloves (2 pair – 1 being a thin liner type)
  • Ski socks, ski pants, ski jacket
  • Long Underwear
  • Upper Body Base Layers – 1 thin, 1 thicker)
  • Down or Synthetic Fill Jacket
  • Emergency hand warmers
  • Emergency blanket

*This clinic is a prerequisite for the sidecountry tours below. A morning intro clinic and an afternoon sidecountry tour can be done in the same day.

Find out more here: Intro to Backcountry Touring

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