Backcountry 101 Avalanche Class

Learn how to travel safely in avalanche terrain. This workshop begins with a three hour evening class followed by a on-the-snow field day.  Taught by a UAC Forecaster, pro observers, and members of Snowbasin Ski Patrol.

January 18 at Amer Sports Winter & Outdoor & January 20 at Snowbasin Resort

Skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry is much safer and much more fun when you have an understand of avalanches. Knowing when you can go big and knowing when you need to dial it back. Nobody wants to be that partner that can't make informed decisions or be counted on in a rescue. Spend an evening in a classroom and a day on the snow with the pros to learn how to get out in the backcountry, have fun and come home ready to do it again.

What: This workshop begins with a three hour evening class followed by an on-the-snow field day. The course will be led by Utah Avalanche Center Forecaster Craig Gordon, assisted by members of the Utah Avalanche Center and Snowbasin Ski Patrol.

Plan to learn the following-

·       Understanding types of avalanches and how they happen

·       How weather affects avalanche risk

·       How to identify and avoid avalanche terrain

·       Using the local avalanche forecast to understand current conditions

·       Identifying dangerous avalanche conditions in the field

·       Safe travel protocol

·       Understanding how we make decisions in the backcountry


On Saturday, we will divide into groups of about 6 and make travel plans based on current conditions.  We will be using Snowbasin lifts to access boundary point. We'll start assess the snowpack, practice safe route-finding and decision-making, and perform a rescue. You will not need skins or other uphill travel modes.‚Äč

Requirements & Logistics

Skills: You need to be an advanced level skier or snowboarder, capable of descending steep slopes in ungroomed, challenging conditions. 

Gear: You will need all of your ski and snowboard gear, plus a transceiver, probe, and shovel, as well as a pack to carry your equipment in.

Lift Ticket: If you do not have your own Snowbasin season pass you will need to provide your own full day lift ticket.

This is not a learn to ski and snowboard class.  If you are unsure of your abilities, please contact us. If you have never skied or rode a snowboard in the backcountry and want an introduction to the sport, we suggest you contact Utah Mountain Adventures.

You will also need a backpack to carry everything you need for a day trip in the backcountry, including:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Warm clothes (we will be out in the backcountry all day in winter conditions)
  • Digital avalanche transceiver (we have some loaners)
  • Shovel (we have some loaners)
  • Probe (we have some loaners)
  • First aid and repair kit

Thursday: 6 to 9pm Location TBD.

Saturday: 8:30am to 4:00 pm at Snowbasin. We suggest arranging to carpool on Thursday night.

Recommended reading: We recommend that you read Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain (Tremper) and Snow Sense (Fredston) prior to class.

Do you have your own personal avalanche safety gear? If not, check out the "Fitting Room" to purchase your own safety gear. Every purchase from the link benefits the Utah Avalanche Center. Click the link here 

Cancellation policy: Our classes generally fill up.  If you can't attend the class, please let us know by 5pm Friday afternoon the week before class for a partial refund- We will refund all but $25. If you cancel after that but more than 24 hours before the evening class, we'll refund all but $65 of your fee. After 5 pm the day before class, there will be no refund. 

The first name of the person attending the event
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We require all students to carry a beacon, shovel and probe which we have a limited amount to loan out. Do you need to borrow an avalanche beacon/transceiver?
Do you need to borrow a shovel?
Do you need to borrow an avalanche probe?
No students under 18 on field day without waiver signed by parent. No refunds without waiver. Click HERE for waiver
Click HERE to read the Liability Waiver
Snowbasin Resort