The backcountry can provide some of the most inspiring experiences you’ll ever have on snow.
Exploring the mountains with a crew of friends to hunt steep lines, tour for untouched powder or build a jump to session into soft landings opens your eyes to a new vision of the sport. It’s easy to understand why more skiers are venturing into the backcountry each season, but the mountains always demand respect. When you enter backcountry terrain, you’re responsible for the decisions you make and for the safety of yourself and your ski partners.
But what is the backcountry?
It’s any terrain outside the boundaries of avalanche-controlled resort terrain. That includes resort-adjacent terrain you might be able to see or access from the top of a chairlift, commonly referred to as sidecountry or slackcountry. If there’s a sign or gate that says you’re leaving controlled resort terrain, you are entering backcountry terrain and need to be prepared.
Backcountry terrain doesn’t undergo avalanche mitigation, and ski patrol or other rescue crews may not be able to quickly and safely respond to an accident there. It’s essential to have the knowledge and skills to assess and navigate avalanche terrain and to always carry appropriate rescue and safety gear. It’s up to all of us to take care of ourselves, our partners and each other. No matter how epic the snow looks, it’s never worth dying for. The mountains will be there tomorrow.