Trip Report: Backcountry Skills Course 2013

Our Backcountry Skills Course is one of our favorite programs and an excellent way to kick off a new winter season. It strikes the perfect balance between learning and playing, and what better place to do it than at the Williams Peak Hut.

Last weekend we enjoyed the company of a small group of strong skiers from Ketchum, Boise, and even Connecticut! The first day focused on getting to the hut and introductory avalanche skills – understanding the basics of how and why avalanches happen. The day wrapped up practicing beacon skills under a dusky early-winter sunset.

During the next two days, we worked on getting the day started on the right foot through proper trip planning, then headed into the field. Some things – like uphill skinning techniques, route finding, and terrain evaluation – are best learned by doing. As for the downhill, nobody on this course needed instruction on that! Everyone was crushing it in the boot top powder. We climbed to the classic vista of Skiers Summit, and didn’t leave much untouched snow on Jerry Garcia and the Bowling Alley. The third day we did an adventure ski into the Marshall drainage battling blustery winds.

It was a treat to have professional photographer/videographer Jon Mancuso on the trip, and we owe the majority of these great pics to him!