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backcountry skier skis across mountain side in Vail Colorado





Dec - April

Vail Backcountry Skiing

Backcountry skiing and snowboarding near Vail can be an exhilarating experience full of beauty and wonder. Traveling into Colorado’s undeveloped, snowy terrain is not without risk, however. Every winter season, avalanches lead to injuries and even loss of life.

Backcountry Skiing Safety Tips

Before heading into the backcountry, it’s critical that you have the proper knowledge, skills and equipment to have fun — and, most importantly, keep you and everyone around you safe. Follow backcountry best practices, like having the right safety gear and knowing how to use it, planning ahead and telling someone where you’re going — and, of course, going with a guide.


Booking a private tour with a Vail outfitter is the best way to visit Colorado’s winter backcountry with safety in mind. Local, certified guides understand the risks, and the terrain, so they can deliver you the experience you want with the safety you need.


Paragon’s guides will build backcountry-ski tours around your group’s fitness levels, goals and skills. From their Intro to Backcountry Touring experience to an Avalanche Awareness class, you’ll experience your guide’s favorite places and hidden gems by booking a private experience. Avalanche gear is provided, along with lunch and snacks. Full-day tours last five to seven hours and half-day activities run three to four hours. Splitboarding classes are available, too. Learn more about Paragon Guides


Head out with Apex Mountain School’s expert guides, who’ll share their secret snowy spots and backcountry-safety expertise. Daylong adventures last six to seven hours and are recommended for ages 12 and up. You’ll need to bring your own equipment — like alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboards) — and your own safety equipment, including a beacon, a probe and a shovel. Rental safety equipment is available upon request. Check out other offerings, like their mountaineering, ice-climbing and avalanche courses. Learn more about Apex Mountain School


Explore the wide-open landscape around Vail with a private Vail Nordic School guided tour. Strap on snowshoes, skinny skis or take a backcountry-ski tour for unmatched mountain panoramas in the White River National Forest. Private tours are open to children as young as 5. Learn more about Vail Nordic School

Safety First When You Go Backcountry Skiing

Again, we strongly recommend everyone obtain knowledge by taking avalanche courses and acquiring the essential gear before heading into the backcountry. Check avalanche conditions with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center prior to any Vail backcountry-ski trip. When in doubt, don’t go out!

When in the backcountry, please follow the Leave No Trace principles specifically designed for backcountry adventures.