Backcountry Skiing In Aspen, Colorado: Venture Into The Wild  

Two women going up Tiehack Ski Hill on Buttermilk to Backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado

Backcountry Skiing is becoming one of the most popular activities in the valley for avid outdoor enthusiasts and people looking for some intense physical activity. However, backcountry skiing is not for the faint of heart and is physically demanding, mentally draining, and extremely dangerous. Backcountry skiing implies the lack of comfort usually afforded by most ski resorts. It offers skiers with off-course, no ropes, and no ski patrol intense skiing that is not marked or avalanche blasted. 

Since this type of skiing is dangerous, it should be taken with the utmost respect and care, as you could put your emergency rescuers in life-threatening danger. Therefore, expert ski ability and knowledge are imperative for this type of skiing and emergency survival techniques.  

Backcountry skiing also offers untapped skis and powder runs with unlimited potential for fun. The equipment and skill level can be challenging, but skiing is worth the work. Places worldwide are ripe for backcountry skiing if you know where to look. 

Getting Ready To BackCountry Ski: Preparation Is Key 

Pro Tip

Knowing your skill level and the people you're going with is essential. If you can't trust them, you can't trust your gear to save you. Where you go, the equipment you use, and your fitness level should all be under evaluation on that. Hire a guide through Aspen Alpine Guides or Aspen Expeditions with a local professional outfitter. Introductory avalanche courses are also available, and we highly recommend them. The classes will provide introductions to skinning and avalanche awareness for essential education and meet other enthusiasts.   

Man Backcountry skiing down the backside of Aspen Mountain in Aspen, Colorado with deep snow

The Gear

A variety of gear is available, and some are necessary. However, using these items comes with time, practice, and patience. Ski touring essentials include an avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel. You'll also need the following; 

  • a map 

  • a backpack 

  • a first-aid kit with water 

  • extra layers 

  • light snacks

  • also, a durable and warm ski jacket, ski pants, helmet, goggles, and gloves.  

Introduction to Backcountry Skiing

Skiers can enter their new venture without additional concerns about environmental conditions. Instead, they can concentrate on understanding the basics of backcountry skiing in the Roaring Fork Valley. Aspen Ski Co. wants all levels of skiers to feel comfortable and give ample access to quality conditions.   

  • Government Trail Corridor

  • Upper Hunter Creek Valley

  • Snowmass Creek Trails

  • Maroon Creek

Intermediate Backcountry Ski Tour / Peak

We highly recommend previous ski experience in the backcountry. Skiers must be physically fit and able to perform in stressful situations. Be mindful of terrain, conditions, and avalanche-prone areas. Check ski/snow reports and be informed on safety and proper emergency protocols. 

  • Richmond Ridge Corridor

  • Green Mountain

  • Mace Peak

Man snowboarding in deep snow Backcountry skiing on Snowmass Mountain Snowmass, Colorado

Advanced Backcountry Ski Tour / Peak

Skiers need to be physically fit and have a high sense of technical skills to conquer steep alpine winter terrain. Do not enter alone or without contacting a loved one before tracking out. Navigational skills are required, and all prior gear discussed is necessary. 

  • Pearl Basin/Peak

  • Castle Peak

  • Hayden Peak

  • Sopris Mountain

  • Geissler Peak

Emergency Contact Information

Backcountry Services

Suppose you find yourself in a backcountry situation. In that case, we recommend TEXT 911 because texting uses less cell service than a call.

You should ALWAYS have a BACKCOUNTRY EMERGENCY KIT if you plan to be in the backcountry. The kit will have a backcountry beacon tracker to ensure rescuers can communicate and locate you. All the items in the kit intend to save your life. You should practice and become familiar with the gear in the pack to ensure you know how to use it in the field.    

Ski Patrol & Mountain Services

 Snowmass: 970-923-0530

 Aspen Mountain: 970-920-0723

 Aspen Highlands: 970-544-3052

 Buttermilk: 970-920-0969 

Aspen Fire Marshal 

 (970) 925-2690

Mountain Rescue Aspen  

(970) 429-3400

Aspen Police Non-Emergency

(970) 920-5310

For emergencies, call 911 

Aspen Valley Hospital

(970) 544.1228

For emergencies, call 911 

Flight For Life 

 (720) 321-3900

Want More Aspen Life? 

Are you looking for more challenges than backcountry skiing in Aspen this year? There are plenty of activities to enjoy here during the winter! There's indoor and outdoor ice skating and endless upcoming events. If you still want to get out and enjoy the mountain, the Alpine Coaster on Snowmass is where you can thrill seek. Finally, if you want a relaxing lunch, you can ride the gondola and have lunch on the Sundeck in the Summer or Winter.  

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