If you are interested in taking your downhill skiing skills and experience to the backcountry and into the mountains, the Ski Mountaineering School offered by the Colorado Mountain Club may be for you. The Ski Mountaineering School is intended to develop the skills, attitudes, and awareness needed for ski mountaineering tours, such as 13'er and 14'er ski descents in Colorado and ski traverses and ski mountaineering routes in Europe and Canada. Some of the topics covered include planning and preparation, ski gear and equipment, ski techniques, route finding, and avalanche assessment.
Prerequisites include completion of first aid and avalanche awareness training. Participants using alpine touring, telemark, or split snowboard gear are welcome. This school is designed for CMC members with a good level of fitness (should be able to hike 1,000 vertical feet in an hour), the ability to ski black diamond slopes at downhill ski areas, some familiarity with backcountry skiing, and basic mountaineering skills and experience. The emphasis of this course is not on teaching ski techniques but to integrate ski equipment and skills into the mountaineering experience.
The course consists of 3 weekday evening lectures and 5 weekend field trips; the last field trip will be a multi-day peak climb and ski descents. The lectures will be held at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden 7:00-9:30 p.m. on 3/8, 3/15, and 3/22. Field trips will be on 3/19, 4/2, 4/16, 4/30, and 5/13-15.
Registration is by application. The cost of the school is $125, regardless of CMC group affiliation.
The school is also looking for instructors and assistant instructors with previous ski mountaineering experience. Those interested in serving as instructors or assistant instructors should attend the instructor session on 2/23.