Let's get you into the backcountry feeling safe and stoked with the help of legendary skier, Chris Davenport.Start Course
Chris Davenport is one of the most experienced pro skiers in the industry. A former World Champion, professional ski guide, and author - there's really no one better to get you dialed in for epic backcountry ski days!
Welcome to the Backcountry Skiing course! Let's start with an introduction to the sport and the legend himself, Chris Davenport!
Why? It's a big and important question to ask as we begin this course. In lesson number one, Chris dissects why Backcountry Skiing has become his ultimate calling in life. And spoiler alert: It's about more than just skiing fresh powder.
There are a lot of reasons you might want to consider skiing in the backcountry. Each are personal, and in this chapter Chris will talk about what's important to him and offer a few suggestions to how discover your own why.
We call this lesson, "Things to Keep in Mind Before Traveling in the Backcountry." But you can call it, "Check yourself before you wreck yourself." Because here we talk about realistically evaluating yourself and your equipment before stepping out the door to ski. By taking a good hard look at your ability level, your attitude, your ski partners, your gear, and more, you're becoming a smarter and safer backcountry skier right out of the gate.
One of the most important topics we'll talk about in this course is your own ability. You don't have to be the best skier on the planet to venture into the backcountry. But you should feel comfortable in variable terrain and conditions, especially in powder. Unlike the resorts where terrain is controlled, mother nature has a mind of it's own and you never know what type of snow you'll be skiing in the backcountry, and this requires a certain level of ability to navigate. Let's get started.
Before you step foot into the backcountry, make sure you have the right gear (we'll get into the details later) and test it out. Even if it's on your living room carpet, trying out your touring bindings, boots, etc. goes a long way to making sure your outings are a success.
This is arguably the most technical lesson of the course. And by no means is it a substitute for real-world, in-person avalanche awareness training. But across these 6 chapters, we'll become familiar with a range of key topics—from understanding why most avalanches occur, to what goes into digging a proper snow pit.
Your avalanche beacon is one the most important pieces of equipment in the backcountry. It could literally save your life. In this chapter, Chris will go over some basics of beacons.
Snow pits are how we assess the various layers of the snowpack. They are important to tell us the "story" of a particular ski season (like rings on a tree) so Chris will walk us through the details of interpreting the various layers of snow and what it means for avalanche safety.
Avalanche gear is critical. You'll never leave home without it. Let's take a deeper look into what you should have in your pack and know how to use in the backcountry.
Uphill travel has its own avalanche considerations. We'll cover a few things that are important to remember.
There are a couple of golden rules in where and how avalanches occur. Let's cover each of them in detail.
This course is NOT a replacement for a full Avalanche Course. Use the resources and links below to learn more and find a course near you.
Without the right partner(s) in the backcountry, nothing else matters. Lesson 5 focuses on the importance of this selection process and the consequences of selecting poorly.
Partner selection can be one of the most important aspects of backcountry skiing. Find out why.
Do you know what makes a bad backcountry skiing partner? Let's dig in.
Here a few helpful hints for finding buddies to ski with.
You're only as good as your gear in the backcountry and, fortunately, Chris dove DEEP into his gear preferences for this lesson. Whether you already own a perfect setup or need to dial in the details, the following three chapters are absolutely for you.
Gear! One of the funnest parts to the sport. Tune in as Chris dissects what's in his pack and all the essentials for having a good outing.
Here it is - your opportunity to nerd out on ski gear with Chris ;-)
What oh what will it be? And why?
Like everything in the backcountry, walking uphill isn't as simple as it sounds. Here, we break down the best skinning technique, as well as accompanying situations like breaking trail and executing the perfect kick turn.
Skinning is one of the most important skills you'll learn as a backcountry skier. Here Chris will give you the low down!
Kickturns are an efficient way to change directions on the skin track. In this lesson, Dav shows the best way to perform a kickturn in a step-by-step process.
Before every safe and smart backcountry adventure comes a lot of homework. And a big part of that homework is nailing your route. In this lesson, Chris explains his process—from the early stages researching at home, to executing on the mountain with proper GPS tools.
It's very important to have a plan far before your ski trip. Find out the best ways to stay prepared!
In this chapter, we discuss the importance of knowing the weather and avalanche forecasts, and where to find them!
The Gaia GPS App can be a very helpful tool when finding the right slope and terrain in the backcountry. See how Dav uses it in the Aspen backcountry below!
While backcountry skiing absolutely makes you a fitter skier, it can't stand alone as your sole fitness source. Truly enjoying the backcountry requires workouts on and off the hill. And when you're in the right shape, that's when the sport gets extra fun.
Backcountry skiing is an exhilarating sport, but like other sports, your fitness levels can contribute to how fun and how long of a day it can be. Learn more about the required endurance, flexibility, and core strength below!
It's also important to keep cross training as a part of your routine. See how these skills can transfer from the gym to the mountains.
So much goes into the perfect backcountry day, and it's a shame to waste all that preparation by rushing into a line. This lesson delves into this decision-making process and why communication with your partner becomes extra important.
Communication with your partner is imperative before and throughout the day. Find out below why you and your partner should always be on the same page.
The community of backcountry skiers is a passionate one, not to be messed with. Be sure to understand etiquette to ensure everyone's having a good time and feeling welcome.
Backcountry skiing can be a very popular activity. Next, we'll talk about how to stay respectful on the skin track when it is crowded.
Being responsible while skiing can be just as important as the preparation steps. Here are Dav's tips for staying safe and responsible.
Backcountry skiing is becoming more and more popular every winter. And as the sport grows, it's important to understand the many paths available to you as a skier. Take it from Chris; he's done it all.
Congratulations! You've reached the end of the course! Take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments. Then get out there and put your knowledge to work because the backcountry is waiting.
Browse all the links and downloads mentioned in the course. If you would like us to include any other resource, please let us know by contacting us here.