Backcountry Skiing: The Alchemist
Red Mountain Pass, CO

February 1-5, 2017

backcountry skiing alpenglow

Catching the last rays. Photo: Angela Hawse

Photo by: Angela Hawse

Welcome to the world of backcountry skiing and riding!  Join Chicks at Colorado’s famous backcountry skiing mecca on Red Mountain Pass and learn how to find your own fresh tracks.  This clinic offers three full days of backcountry instruction with AMGA Certified Guides and PSIA Ski Instructors. We designed this clinic to give you a solid foundation of winter travel skills, avalanche knowledge AND skiing skills.  You will stay at the Mountain Belle, a comfortable backcountry ski hut, with all your dinners and breakfasts prepared by the guides, plenty of time to re-hash the day by a cozy wood stove, and the perfect place to enjoy the camaraderie and opportunity to network with other women.  This event a is backcountry skier’s dream, allowing you to learn and ski in a real mountain environment.

If you are in intermediate/expert skier or rider and are looking to head out into the side country of a ski resort, or explore the backcountry, this clinic is for you!  Spending time out in the amazing ski terrain on Red Mountain Pass will be an invaluable opportunity to practice your winter mountain sense:  In this comprehensive backcountry skiing clinic, we will cover everything from avalanche awareness, winter navigation, and terrain management to skiing in variable conditions and uphill skinning technique.

Mountain Belle backcountry skiing hut

The Mountain Belle Hut. Photo by Angela Hawse

Photo by: Angela Hawse

Using the well-equipped Mountain Belle ski hut as our classroom and basecamp, you will learn basic avalanche terminology, understand how the mountain snowpack is formed and how weather affects the snowpack, learn to interpret the avalanche forecast bulletin, and plan your backcountry tours.  Out in the backcountry, we travel with skins and skis or snowboards, and you will get to apply your classroom knowledge to real situations under the guidance of a professional.  You will learn to recognize avalanche terrain, practice safe travel protocols, and perform beacon rescue.  You’ll gain confidence skiing in variable snow and making strong turns. And, most importantly, you’ll leave with a huge grin on your face, after skiing powder on our backcountry tours in the beautiful San Juan Mountains.

This course will provide you with a solid foundation of important tools and knowledge that will make you a good ski touring partner and give you the confidence to explore the backcountry.  Your guides are AMGA Certified Ski Guides and recognized avalanche instructors.  Don’t miss this opportunity to ski and ride on Red Mountain Pass.  Find out why Sarah Carpenter, owner of the American Avalanche Institute and ripping ski guide says: “Skiing is Life”.

Pre-requisite Experience:
Level 1 


  • 3 days guided skiing, backcountry and avalanche instruction
  • 2 nights lodging at the Mountain Belle backcountry ski hut (just under a mile from the parking at Red Mountain Pass)
  • 2 nights lodging at the Victorian Inn located in Ouray, CO at the start and end of our course
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • Avalanche safety gear (shovel, beacon, probe)
  • Welcome bag

Not included:

  • Personal ski equipment (AT set-up available for rent)
  • Transportation
  • Personal or trip insurance

A special thanks to Peak Mountain Guides who, in partnership, makes this trip possible.


All inclusive w/ Double Occupancy Room in Ouray        $1,299.00

Add on a private room on the first and last day of the program for an additional $100.00. Be sure to add that option upon checkout.


What to Bring

Travel logistics


Backcountry skiing

Skinning up to earn their turns! Photo by: Angela Hawse

Photo by: Angela Hawse

DAY 1: FEBRUARY 1, 2017

Arrive at the Victorian Inn, and check into your room.  Plan to arrive by 4:00pm.

4:30 pm:  Welcome meeting at the Secret Garden.  Meet your instructors, get to know your other participants, demo gear, gear check, how to pack your pack, and more.

6:30 pm:  Catered Dinner

DAY 2: FEBRUARY 2, 2107

7:00 am:  Breakfast at the Vic

8:00 a.m.:  Depart the Victorian with all our gear and carpool to RMP

9:00 am:  We will put our backcountry kit together and ski and skin into the Mountain Belle Hut (less than 1 mile from the Highway) and get settled at the hut

10:00 pm:  Classroom session: Intro to Avalanches and Mountain Weather

1:00 pm:  Head out for afternoon field session of rescue and beacon practice

5:00 pm:  Return to the Mountain Belle

6:30 pm:  Guide-prepared dinner at the hut with evening avalanche lecture on mountain snowpack

DAY 3: FEBRUARY 3, 2017

7:00 am:  Guide-Prepared breakfast at the hut

8:00 am:  Learn about the Avalanche Forecast and how to plan your backcountry tour

10:00 am:  Head out for a ski tour practicing terrain assessment and skiing skills

5:00 pm:  Return to the Mountain Belle

6:00 pm:  Guide-prepared dinner followed by evening navigation lecture

DAY 4: FEBRUARY 4, 2017

7:00 am:  guide-prepared breakfast at the hut

8:00 am:  After planning our route as a team, we head out for a full ski tour and work on uphill skinning technique, ski turns in variable snow, safe travel protocols and more

4:00 pm:  Finish our ski tour, grab our gear from the hut and return to the Highway to carpool back to the Victorian Inn

6:00 pm:  Closing Ceremony and Dinner at the Secret Garden

DAY 5: FEBRUARY 5, 2107

7:00 am:  Breakfast at the Victorian and depart on your own schedule

backcountry skiing

Crowds? What crowds? Photo by: Angela Hawse

Photo by: Angela Hawse