Backcountry December Newsletter

Our season officially kicked off this week!  We have a great crew of 15 athletes in the 4 month program.  There is no snow to skin up snow king yet but the athletes are spending time dialing in their equipment, training with their beacons, and getting to know each other.  Dont forget we have our avi awareness night Tuesday, December 7 from 5:30-7:00!  Avi night is open to anyone and everyone and parents are encouraged to attend!


Coaches have put together the following outline of what to expect as the season goes on.  Each month we will be posting a newsletter to highlight athletes and what has been going on in the program.  

Athletes dial in their skills and build some endurance on Tuesday and Thursday after school Snow King Sessions

-This is where the fun begins!  In addition to the after school sessions, full 8 hour touring days in the backcountry start to kick in.

-Touring days are put on in partnership with Exum Mountain Guides.  

-We also have a hut trip heading to Downing Mountain Lodge in Hamilton, Montana where athletes will spend 3 days in a remote backcountry hut together.  This will be a stepping stone for some bigger trips later in the season


-In addition to the Snow King sessions and GTNP touring days, athletes will have completed their Avalanche Level 1 course through the American Avalanche Institute.  

-February also marks the start of the "Mini Mountaineers".  The Mini Mountaineers program is a 6 week intro level program for athletes ages 10-13.  

-Another added bonus in February is the athletes will get lessons from Teton County SAR, and some will get to check out SAR hanger and helicopter!


-Our regular season runs through the end of March for the Minis and the 4 month program.  At this point all athletes will be accustom to and in good fitness for long days in the backcountry.  By now advanced athletes will be aiding in the guiding, trip planning, and route finding process.  

-Certain groups will even "mock guide" full touring days in the backcountry.

-This year select athletes have been invited on an awesome trip to the heart of the European alps - Chamonix, France.  Chamonix is thought of as the epicenter of ski mountaineering.  Athletes will spend over a week based out of a mountain chalet skiing with coach Blake, and local French mountain guides.

-We will learn the basics of glacier travel, the use of crampons and ice axes, and if conditions are right we will get to plan and execute some amazing ski tours bouncing between the borders of France, Italy, and Switzerland.  

-May is typically a transitional period for the snow pack in the Tetons.  Things start to melt and while high level ski mountaineering objectives are still feasible there is not much for the 4 month program to do this time of year.

-We are back at it for some corn snow! June 11 - 15.  We will be hosting a climb and ski of Cascade Volcano, Mt. Baker.

-Mt. Baker is a glaciated peak located in NW Washington state just a couple miles from the Canadian border.  This will be a multi day summit climb / skills seminar style course.  Athletes will be camped on the mountain for three days and summit on day three after two days of skills. 

-June trip will be open to all athletes 14 and over in the backcountry program.  We will learn the basics of setting up a base camp, snow camping, expedition planning, and glacier travel.  Sign ups will be open online soon and please reach out to Blake if you are interested in this course. 

June, July, and August:
-Details are yet to come but we would like to offer a way for athletes in the backcountry program to keep working together through the summer.  

-This will likely be a once a week dryland training program with a mix of evening, and full day sessions including mountain biking, hiking, and skills practice.  

-Plans are also in the making to offer a trip to build on the June cascade volcano trip - one idea for August '22 is a 7 day volcano mountaineering trip in South America.  Please reach out to Blake if summer plans, or an August trip before school starts interests you.   

Stay tuned for our monthly updates throughout the season!