Backcountry Skiing

Credit: Brad Christensen

Backcountry Skiing

Start exploring wilderness in winter

Start with two feet of fresh snow. Now imagine the quiet of a winter night and a sky full of stars. This is backcountry skiing. On this course, you’ll learn what you need to know to enjoy living in the wilderness during the winter, including earning a NOLS Recreational Avalanche Level One certification endorsed by the American Avalanche Association.

This course starts with learning the basics at Grand Targhee Resort. Then, you’ll head to the mountains. You’ll find miles of fresh snow and see places most people only visit for part of the year. Each day will have new challenges as you explore remote Wyoming mountain ranges. You’ll build your own snow shelter, learn about assessing avalanches, and practice your movement on snow. And this course won’t just be about technical skills: you’ll also practice leadership every day. You and your group will work through challenging terrain, learn about communication, and practice teamwork.

You’ll go home with the memory of seeing the sun rise from your own snow cave and gliding down fresh powder in the mountains. You’ll make deep connections with this place and the people you meet. And, most importantly, you’ll have a new set of leadership skills you will use for the rest of your life.



2019 Dates

Jan. 4 – Jan. 17, 2019

Tuition: $2,400

Jan. 27 – Feb. 9, 2019

Tuition: $2,400


All course information at a glance


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Equipment Deposit



14 days

Minimum Age

17 yrs.

Academic Credit

2 College Credits
  • 2 Skills Practicum

0.50 High School Credits

  • 0.50 Physical Education
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Recreational Level 1 Avalanche


Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics


Driggs, Idaho

Fly in/out

Idaho Falls, Idaho or Jackson, Wyoming

Skills learned


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What Our Grads Say

“I really enjoyed learning about the native plants, animals and ecology of the mountains in winter. I have been interested in scientific research for a while and this course helped to focus my desired areas of study.” 

— Laruel M., NOLS Backcountry Skiing grad

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