resort to backcountry cover

More and more people are making the transition from the resort to the backcountry. The urge to explore snow less traveled, combined with lighter and easier to use touring gear, has led to exponential growth in backcountry skiing and riding.  There has also been an increase in the popularity of skinning up ski resort slopes but uphill travel policies vary widely across resorts and uphill travel is not always allowed.

With this increase in popularity comes a need for us, as a community, to set a high bar for safety and responsibility.  Many in the backcountry skiing community have begun to discuss the need for a conversation, and education, about backcountry safety and ethics.  With this in mind Winter Wildlands Alliance has come up with 10 tips for those making the transition from the resort to the backcountry.  We worked with our grassroots partners, the Forest Service, and ski resorts to develop this list.  This is just once piece of the broader education effort and is targeted to the growing demographic of experienced resort skiers who are stepping into the backcountry for the first time.  We hope that these tips will be useful not only for people who are new to backcountry skiing, but also serve as a helpful reminder for those who’ve been earning their turns for years.

Stay tuned as we and our partners continue this conversation, develop additional resources, and work together to ensure that backcountry skiing and riding remains safe and enjoyable for all.





After instructing wilderness mountaineering courses for seven years, Jim was hired for a photo shoot in 2011. Since then, he’s written about and photographed expeditions for National Geographic, Powder, Backpacker, Men’s Journal, and others. He’s found a niche shooting Type II Fun and wilderness trips in places like Mongolia, Bolivia, and Antarctica but loves tromping around his home mountains in Utah. The fact that ski touring in the heavily-used Wasatch mountains can feel more like social outing than a wilderness experience highlights the importance of Winter Wildlands Alliance’s work to guide land stewardship. In an area where touring, chairlift access, and heli skiing often overlap, Jim is an enthusiastic supporter of preserving access for human powered recreation on public land. In his private time, Jim freestyles lyrics to the zip-zop beat his climbing skins make while slogging uphill.