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Learn how to safely explore Colorado’s backcountry with your family

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With all the uncertainty of COVID (and if Colorado’s resorts will remain open), why not head into the backcountry with your family? Of course, safety is of the utmost importance and we’re very fortunate to have these awesome companies that are teaching us how to be confident in our ability to use our equipment safely and competently by seeking education and training. 

  • 2021 Family Mountaineering Weekend at YMCA of the Rockies, February 12-15, 2021: Include the whole family for special sessions on winter survival and backcountry skiing, and keynote presentations by Chelsea Murphy about what it means to be a Black mother with a passion for adventuring in the outdoors, and Len Necefer, a professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona, who will discuss the history of Indigenous peoples and their ongoing relationship with the environment.
  • Colorado Adventure Guides (CAG) in Breckenridge offers up on-snow, full-day Introduction to Backcountry Skiing workshops for those interested in getting into backcountry skiing and not sure where to start. Workshop goers will learn what gear to have and how to use it, an intro to avalanche awareness, a demonstration of beacons, shovels, and probes, and much more. Once ready, Breckernidge outfitters like CAG and Backcountry Babes take learning and exploring to the next level with beginner classes and American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) certified training offered throughout the winter.
  • The Colorado Mountain School in Estes Park offers action-packed avalanche training courses combining classroom and field instruction to provide participants with a solid introduction to avalanche awareness and travel skills. They also offer backcountry skiing and splitboarding courses. Watch their FREE avalanche awareness course online, which is a great first step in avalanche education and is a useful regular refresher course for more seasoned explorers.
  • Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center (RMOC) in Buena Vista is a leader in backcountry trips and instruction. This winter, travel safely in the backcountry with a ski or snowboard trip with RMOC. Courses include Intro to Backcountry, Touring in Avalanche Terrain, Intro to Ice Climbing and more.
  • Organized by Weston Backcountry, the Stay At Home Speaker Series gives outdoor recreation enthusiasts the opportunity to bone up on backcountry education from the comfort of their own home. The virtual speaker series includes a variety of topics including backcountry basics, gear recommendations, avalanche education and more.
  • Colorado Mountain Club offers an Intro to Backcountry Skiing & Snowboard course. This course is designed for those that are “new to the backcountry,” who plan to travel on all-terrain skis, splitboards or telemark skis. The curriculum is designed to help those new users get into the backcountry and make decisions on their own that result in safe and enjoyable trips. Sessions begin in January 2021.
  • Buena Vista Mountain Adventures (BVMA) is a hub for outdoor education and adventure. Learn how to recreate safely in one of their AIARE courses. Hone your backcountry skills or technical abilities in a ski and ride course. If you prefer an adventure, they offer guided backcountry skiing and splitboardingsnowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. From beginner to advanced, BVMA leads tours and courses for all backcountry enthusiasts.
  • Snow Mountain Ranch, part of the YMCA of the Rockies, in Granby, will offer Intro to Backcountry Skiing courses at their Nordic Center this winter. The classes will focus on how to use modern A/T (Alpine/Touring) equipment, touch upon the basic principles of avalanche safety, terrain management, backcountry travel and preparation.This program is perfect for those who have always wanted to see what it’s like to ski on their own outside of the resort. In addition, Snow Mountain Ranch’s Nordic Center has more than 120 kilometers of world-class terrain for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking.
  • Join Cripple Creek Backcountry at their Aspen Highlands location for a monthly backcountry skill-building session. This guided half-day experience is to bridge the gap from resort skiing to safe and fun backcountry travel. This is a great chance for skiers of all levels to develop their skills such as setting the perfect skin track, kick turning efficiently, practicing safe terrain selection and route-finding while simultaneously learning proper use of ski touring equipment and tricks to have an enjoyable day in the backcountry. (Featured photo).

Visit to explore backcountry safety class offerings.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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