Spring Ski Mountaineering Camp

Spring in the Sawtooths provides the perfect venue to learn ski and snowboard mountaineering techniques.

Based at the famous Williams Peak Hut in the northern Sawtooth Range,  you’ll learn important skills such as steep snow travel, belaying and rappelling, and anchor building  – then apply them on technical tours, classic peak ascents/descents, or in aesthetic rock-lined couloirs. From entry-level ski mountaineering routes to technical steep skiing objectives, we can accommodate a variety of skill levels.

Ski mountaineering presents unique hazards outside of those encountered on the average ski tour. Participants will leave the Camp with a toolbox of skills needed to manage the varied challenges encountered in the alpine environment.

While skill development and pursuing alpine ski objectives will be the theme of the Camp, we won’t forget to enjoy ourselves and soak in the spectacular alpine ambience of the snow-covered Sawtooths!

Backcountry Magazine “Chute School” Article – February 2009
Read a trip report from previous the 2013 Spring Ski Mounaineering Camp

Below is an approximate day-by-day itinerary, but please keep in mind that this may change based on the weather, snow conditions, and the specific needs of the group. While we aim to tackle challenging terrain during the course, ultimately the snow and avalanche conditions dictate what terrain is appropriate.

Day 1

  • Welcome and introductions; course overview; equipment check/issue/review
  • Discussion of avalanche danger and anticipated hazards
  • Approach to Williams Peak Yurt
  • Short warm up ski tour
  • Evening skills session: Stability Evaluation for Ski Mountaineering; Steep Skiing Techniques and Philosophy

Day 2

  • “Snow School” – ice axe and boot crampon use; self-arrest practice
  • Ski objective with emphasis on “Snow School” skills practice and steep skiing technique
  • Afternoon/evening skills session: Basic Rope Work (harnesses and improvised harnesses, knots, basic belaying and rappeling); Ski Anchors

Day 3

  • All day ski mountaineering objective – classics include the South Face of Williams Peak, Profile Basin, Thompson Peak, Round the Block, Marshall/Meadow Loop. Options encompass techy tours with rappels and/or other rope work, classic firm snow ski objectives, and steep, sometimes belayed couloir skiing
  • Afternoon/Evening skills session: Route Planning

Day 4

  • ¾ day ski mountaineering objective
  • Depart from hut
  • Return to trailhead by 4:30pm

 Difficulty: Good fitness, expert downhill ski skills, and previous ski touring experience required:

  • Approximately 20 days of previous ski touring experience 
  • Able to ski tour at least 3000 vertical feet per day
  • Ability to ski slopes 40 degrees in steepness in difficult snow conditions

 Duration: 4 days

 Meeting Time: 8am

 Meeting Location: Sawtooth Mountain Guides Headquarters in Stanley

 What We Provide:

  • Most technical equipment (ice axe, harness, helmet, belay device, carabiners, ropes, etc.) If you have your own equipment please bring it!
  • Avalanche rescue equipment
  • All food and portering of food to hut
  • 3 nights at the William Peak Hut
    • Sleeping bags at the hut – we will provide a compact sleeping bag liner for you to carry in
    • Footwear at the hut

 What You Need:

  • Ski crampons and boot crampons (we have some boot crampons, but they can be boot-specific – please inquire)
  • Alpine touring equipment – rubber-soled AT boots with walk mode required, Dynafit-style bindings strongly encouraged
  • Splitboarding equipment – hard boot, “Dyna-split” style set up strongly encouraged
  • Backcountry skiing clothing and equipment
  • Review the full equipment list

 Dates: 

  • April 18-21, 2019
  • April 25-28, 2019

Ratio: 4:1

 Rates: $990/person