Backcountry March Newsletter

After a slow start to the winter in December and January, February was filled with powder, fresh tracks, and avalanche education for the backcountry program. The Mini Mountaineers team got rolling, and we even had one senior athlete compete in a backcountry skiing or rando race.  


4 Month Program


Athletes in the 4 month program all received avalanche level one certification from the American Avalanche Institute.  During this combined training made up of classroom and field sessions athletes are taught the basics of snow science, avalanche mechanics, avalanche rescue, and route finding.  Students also get to practice some snow stability tests that are regularly used by professionals such as the Extended Column Test, and Compression Test.  Our athletes were very engaged during the training, learned a bunch, and are on track to be safe and competent backcountry skiers!



Mini Mountaineers


This February, the Mini Mountaineers kick started the 3rd season of our intro to backcountry program. This team went from never putting skins and Dynafit skis  on to learning how to transition from uphill to downhill mode. By the end of the month, the crew had spent a full day in the backcountry on Teton Pass, enjoying 40cm's of fresh powder. Part of the team made it to the top of Snow King last practice. The members also practiced leading the way down the mountain and finding safe places to stop to recollect the group and look out for one another.

They continue to learn how to care for themselves in the backcountry and get to know one another as they skin uphill. Some of the things they enjoy most is chatting on the way up and taking breaks to enjoy snacks. We celebrate with our last practice on March 7th!


Wasatch Powderkeg Ski Mo race


A Ski Mo race, also known as Randonaee race, or backcountry skiing race is a race that takes place on a ski resort where athletes are put to the test, racing both up ski runs, back down, and again for multiple laps - uphill skinning, boot packing, downhill skiing, transitions, and flat sprints / skate skiing all combine for one very challenging event.  Rando racing has been growing in popularity in America, with many ski clubs and highschools having rando racing specific teams. In fact, rando racing will be in the 2026 Olympics for the first time.  


This is the second year in a row the backcountry program has had athletes compete in the closest to home race, the Wasatch Powderkeg in Utah.  Last year Niamh Keating broke ground as our first ever athlete to compete.  This year, Ava Tozzi took a swing at it and got herself a podium finish at her first ever rando race.  She finished 2nd in her category of U18 Rec Women, and 5th overall in Rec Women.  Nice work Ava!!