Backcountry Ski


"The course was packed with awesome experiences and the people were kind and welcoming."
– Jerrica Martin, 2018 MWS Mountaineering Expedition Alumni

Expedition Overview

Dates: March 14-18, 2020
Age: 16-18 years old
Group size: max 10 students/3 instructors
Length: 5 days
Tuition: $1,600 (Includes ski ticket at local ski area)
*Please note: The MWS Scholarship Fund is not applicable for this adventure.
This 5 day intensive adventure emphasizes backcountry skiing techniques, leadership skills, and local conservation knowledge while experiencing one of the West's greatest backcountry skiing locations!

Please note - the deadline to register for this expedition has been extended!
Questions? Send us an email.
Packing List 
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Expedition Highlights

  • Backcountry skiing and split boarding techniques
  • Backcountry navigation and knowledge about the Beartooth Range
  • Opportunities to assess avalanche hazards and Companion Rescue Course
  • Leave no Trace Training
  • Leadership curriculum and opportunities to lead the expedition team
  • Opportunities to challenge yourself in a premier backcountry skiing and split boarding destination

Expedition Description

In partnership with our good friends Beartooth Powder Guides, MWS is super excited to offer an awesome experience this Spring Break in Cooke City at the Woody Creek Cabin! This course starts with a 'get to know your team' and ski and ride skills day at a local ski area. After a day in the front-country, you and your group will head to the mountains for 4 days and 3 nights! You’ll find miles of fresh snow and new challenges each day as you explore a gorgeous remote mountain range with instructors and teammates. You’ll learn to assess avalanche hazards, conduct a companion rescue and practice movement on snow, both uphill and downhill. Along with avalanche and backcountry ski training, the course will include place-based conservation lessons, opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills, and navigation, risk management and wilderness based decision making! More information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression see Expedition Life.

Please note that this expedition has a course specific application which you can find here!

Expedition Objectives and Learning Outcomes

Teamwork and communication skills

  • Learn positive communication skills with diverse group members to create a healthy community, build trust, and make sound decisions in the backcountry together
  • Develop an expedition philosophy, apply it to the course, and understand how it can transfer back to the student’s home environment

Safety and wilderness based decision making

  • Backcountry hazard evaluation and risk reduction guidelines and tools
  • First aid awareness for backcountry settings: identification and treatment of common backcountry illness and injuries
  • Learn to collaboratively make decisions in remote environments that prioritizes individual and group safety

Conservation Ethic

  • Use basic observational and interpretive skills to demonstrate an understanding and respect for the natural environment
  • Discuss the history, facts and potential solutions to pertinent environmental and social issues affecting the wilderness in the expedition area
  • Reflect upon and discuss the conveyance of wilderness conservation ethics into personal life and build a capacity for commitment and stewardship to wild places
  • Develop comprehensive understanding of Leave No Trace© ethics and apply them during the expedition

Backcountry camping and navigation skills

  • Use safe backcountry kitchen practices to cook nutritious meals on a camp stove or fire
  • Demonstrate an ability to select an appropriate campsite and set up a shelter while minimizing the impact on the ecosystem
  • Understand and demonstrate how to stay healthy, warm, and comfortable in the backcountry
  • Understand and demonstrate techniques for camping and traveling in bear habitat
  • Use various navigation and route-finding tools and methods for on and off trail travel
  • Travel efficiently in the alpine environment using map and compass skills

Technical Skills

Backcountry Skiing and Split Boarding Skills
  • Understand and apply best practices while uphill traveling across snow
  • Learn and practice advanced backcountry skiing and split boarding movement skills
  • Assess avalanche hazards
  • Learn and conduct companion rescue skills
  • Consistently display effective avalanche assessing techniques using appropriate methods for varied circumstances
  • Learn and practice movement on snow, both uphill and downhill
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Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771
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