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Trip Details

Date Saturday  3/17/2018
End Date
Group Fort Collins
Event Title Backcountry Ski Skills Seminar Field Trip
Start Time 7:00 AM
Status Complete
Leader John Raich
Member Price Free
Available Participants No tickets left
Type Trip
Trip Type Ski
Pace Moderate
Classification Moderate II
Trail Mileage 6
Elevation Gain 2000
Driving Distance 140


Cameron Pass
Meeting time: 7 a.m. Please arrive 5 minutes early to allow participants to arrange car pooling.
Meeting location: Parking lot near Shell station at the junction of highways 14 and 287 about 10 miles NW of downtown Fort Collins. This is where highway 14 leaves 287 to enter the Poudre Canyon.

For more info Contact

John Raich,


Backcountry ski tours provide realistic settings to practice a decision-making framework in avalanche terrain. The best way to practice skills learned in avalanche courses is to apply them consistently on all ski tours where all participants share responsibilities for trip planning, working as a team, assessing weather, snowpack, and terrain risks, choosing terrain for ski ascents and descents, and formulating travel strategies. All participants practice small group leadership. The emphasis is on trip planning, snowpack and terrain assessment, and decision making. Ski descents are still a priority, but secondary. This is not a ski mountaineering course nor is it an avalanche training course. There is no fee for the seminar. Seminar director: John Raich,

Several field trips are scheduled over a period of 5 months, January through May, at different locations on gradually more challenging terrain at Cameron Pass and RMNP. Field trips are conducted in one or more groups of 4 with overall coordination by the seminar director. Participation on the last two field trips may require completion of an earlier field trip. Those registered for the seminar have priority. Tentative future field trip schedule:
March 17 - Nokhu Ridge or Seven Utes Mtn
April 7 - Richthofen Saddle or Mahler Couloir or Nokhu Couloir
May 19 - Hallett Pk or Tyndall Glacier or Flattop Mtn
Map: Trails Illustrated #200
Be aware that trip dates may be changed later because of high avalanche risk, poor weather, marginal driving conditions, availability of trip leaders, or other reasons.

Registration options

(1) If you are already signed up for the seminar:
The seminar director will contact you via e-mail to ask you to register for the field trip a week or two prior to the field trip date. Contact the seminar director at After that date, we'll open the trip to other qualified participants.

(2) Space available basis/register with leader: Qualified CMC members not already signed up for the seminar may register with the director for specific field trips prior to the field trip start if there is room.


Participant expectations

Avalanche training and gear: completion of a level 1 avalanche course with avalanche rescue prior to the start of the seminar. Beacon, shovel, probe. AIARE 1 courses are offered locally:
CMC (Denver and Boulder Groups - see activity schedule),
Colorado Mountain School (Estes Park and Boulder),
Never Summer Outdoor School (Fort Collins).
Skiing ability: You should be able to ski "blue" runs at ski areas with considerable confidence and be able to get down "black" runs competently at moderate speed, although perhaps not elegantly. You should have some experience skiing ungroomed snow in the backcountry on slopes up to 30-35 degrees.
Fitness: You should be able to ascend a good ski track at a rate of 750' vertical and 1 mile distance in about an hour. You should be able to alternate ascents and descents with short breaks between and keep it up for up to 6 hours.
Basic first aid training: Recommended.
Individual gear: AT, telemark, or splitboard gear, avalanche rescue gear, helmets recommended, air bags optional.
By signing up for this trip, participants agree to allow the trip leader to share contact information with other participants.

Sorry it is past the registration deadline for this event.