If you are a backcountry skier who happens to be in the Northeast this weekend, there’s a cool festival going on in New Hampshire

From February 8th to 11th, the Mt. Washington Backcountry Ski Festival is taking place. Some of the activities will include guided tours, avalanche education courses, gear demos, and social events, which will be situated across the Mt. Washington Valley.

The festival will feature skier Caite Zeliff, who is originally from. She’s known for being the 2020 Queen of Corbet’s. Since then, she’s starred in films from Teton Gravity Research, Warren Miller, and MatchStick Productions. She’ll be making appearances at two of the courses and will be a keynote speaker on Saturday night for the High George Jamboree.

For more information, check out the press release below.

Image Credit: Oskar Enander

Caite Zeliff Comes Home for the Mt. Washington Backcountry Ski Festival

Attendees will enjoy courses Feb. 8 – 11, nightly social events, and a chance to win a trip to Iceland. 

North Conway, NH; February 1, 2024: Caite Zeliff is going back to her roots as the featured athlete for the Mt. Washington Backcountry Ski Festival, sponsored by The North Face and presented by Backyard Concept and Synnott Mountain Guides. Taking place around Mt. Washington Valley February 8-11, 2024, the Backcountry Festival offers guided tours for all ability levels, avalanche education, demos, friendly competition, live music, social gatherings, and more, attracting core skiers and riders as well as general outdoor enthusiasts. 

Zeliff, 29, will return to her hometown of North Conway to join two backcountry courses and be the keynote speaker on Saturday, February 10, for the Festival’s High George Jamboree at the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center in Fryeburg, ME. Hosted by Kate Sullivan of New Hampshire Life, The Jamboree is the pinnacle evening event of the Backcountry Festival and will include a backcountry expo, giveaways, and the chance to win a guided trip to Iceland April 2 – 8, 2024 with Northeast Mountaineering in the event’s large raffle. 

During her keynote presentation, Zeliff will share her journey from a high-energy kid speeding down the slopes of Cranmore Mountain with the Eastern Slope Ski Club (ESSC),  to Division 1 ski racing at the University of New Hampshire, to rising through the ranks as a world-class athlete and ski film star. Her career spans the Freeride World Qualifying Tour, back-to-back wins of the famous ‘King and Queens of Corbets’ competition in Jackson Hole, WY, and a number of ski films with Teton Gravity Research, Warren Miller, and most recently Matchstick Productions. After a life-changing back injury in 2021, Zeliff reevaluated her relationship with professional skiing and the immense physical and psychological pressures athletes experience. She has since redirected her focus to work with brands and partners that support her goals to ski for a lifetime, not just for the camera, and is pursuing projects in her new homebase: Girdwood, Alaska.  

“The love of skiing that was fostered while growing up in Mt. Washington Valley gave me direction in my life that I am forever grateful for. Who knew learning to ski at Cranmore with ESSC would set in motion a life of my wildest dreams?” said Zeliff.  “Getting the opportunity to come back and share my experiences with the community where it all began is such an honor and I am really looking forward to the Backcountry Festival!”

The Backcountry Festival is the premiere backcountry event in the Northeast that brings together skiers and riders seeking first-class knowledge in the legendary terrain of the White Mountains. First held in 2017, the Backcountry Festival offers an extensive course library for skiers, riders, and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as uphill races, film screenings, evening programs, and vibrant après parties. Four days of courses include options such as introduction to backcountry, avalanche education, ski mountaineering, yoga, and Outdoor Office, a unique immersive program that focuses on adventure writing, photography, and videography. This year, there will be two courses offered centered around the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), sponsored by Arc’teryx and led by outdoor activist Mardi Fuller and Inclusive Ski Touring.

“Mt. Washington Valley and surrounding communities have significantly contributed to the growth in popularity of backcountry skiing in the Northeast through sustainable terrain development, community building, and the services provided by local guides and retailers,” said Tyler Ray, Festival Director and Principal of Backyard Concept. “The Backcountry Festival celebrates the past, present, and future of the sport in what we consider the mecca of backcountry on the East Coast.  We’re proud to help preserve backcountry skiing as a passionate pursuit for outdoor enthusiasts and an economic engine for rural areas.” 

In addition to courses and Saturday night’s High George Jamboree, there are several opportunities to further engage with the Backcountry Festival: 

·      Beacon Check Festival Opener (Thursday, Feb. 8): Thursday’s evening program will take place at Ledge Brewing from 5-9 PM with free entry and a suggested donation to the Mt. Washington Avalanche Center Foundation. Attendees will enjoy a “Your Brain on Stoke” panel focused on backcountry decision making, snow trivia, and a great après scene. 

·      SnowComing (Friday, Feb. 9): Friday night is SnowComing at Tuckerman Brewing to celebrate Caite’s trip back home from 5-9 PM. Enjoy a screening of the new hit female-driven ski comedy “Weak Layers,” live music from Rek’Lis, and win prizes. It is free entry with a suggested donation to ESSC.

·      Early Bird Uphill Race (Saturday, Feb. 10): A new event at Cranmore Mountain powered by Stan and Dan Sports. Early risers – racers and recreationists alike – can sign up for a fun uphill event at Cranmore that will start at 7 AM Saturday. Racers will take two laps on the beloved local ski mountain, covering 5 miles and 2,200 vertical feet. Folks interested in a more casual experience can sign up for one party lap. 

The Mt. Washington Backcountry Ski Festival is presented in partnership with Backyard Concept, Synnott Mountain Guides, and title sponsor The North Face. Additional support comes from Blizzard-Tecnica, La Sportiva, Stan and Dan Sports, Arc’teryx, Stio, DPS Skis, Backcountry Access, Scarpa, Appalachian Mountain Club, NEMO Equipment, Granite Backcountry Alliance, Nav Camper, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, and Mammut, among others. 

For more information on the Mt. Washington Backcountry Ski Festival, visit www.skimtwashington.com or email festival@skimtwashington.com.

Image Credits: Cait Fitzgerald (Featured Image), Mt. Washington Backcountry Ski Festival, Oskar Enander

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