2020 Registration

A gathering in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for backcountry skiers & riders of all abilities.

2020 registration is now available, please contact us if you encounter any registration issues. Stay up to date with festival news by joining our Email List or connecting on FacebookCurrent discounts and registration giveaways:

  1. Early registration sale through January 31, 2020. Save from $5 to $15 depending on registration level.
  2. Register for the festival by 02/29/2020 at the One Full Day Course & Weekend Pass level or above. On 3/1/2020, we'll choose one person to get a free night for 2 ($90 value) at Hub North in Gorham, NH.

Registration Menu

AIARE I & Weekend Pass (Register Now)

This is a 3 day course beginning Friday March 13th at 9am. There is limited availability and it's a popular course, so sign up early. Includes:

  • AIARE 1 (3 days, course materials included).
  • Beacon, probe and shovel rental during course.
  • Tickets to Friday and Saturday evening events.
  • Access to vendor camp and demo equipment (subject to availability) at Ragged Mountain Equipment on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Access to après ski on Saturday and Sunday, hosted by Friends of Tuckerman Ravine and Granite Backcountry Alliance at Ragged Mountain Equipment.
  • Access to private Facebook group to connect with other participants.
  • Festival t-shirt (optional add-on, available through February 15, 2020).

Full Day Course & Weekend Pass (Register Now)
Two Full Day Courses and Weekend Pass (Register Now)
Three Full Day Courses and Weekend Pass (Register Now)

Choose to take courses on one, two, or three days, includes:

  • Full day guided course(s) of your choice.
  • Tickets to Friday and Saturday evening events.
  • Access to vendor camp and demo equipment (subject to availability) at Ragged Mountain Equipment on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Access to après ski on Saturday and Sunday, hosted by Friends of Tuckerman Ravine and Granite Backcountry Alliance at Ragged Mountain Equipment.
  • Access to private Facebook group to connect with other participants.
  • Festival t-shirt (optional add-on, available through February 15, 2020).

Weekend Pass (Register Now)

  • Tickets to Friday and Saturday evening events.
  • Access to vendor camp and demo equipment (subject to availability) at Ragged Mountain Equipment on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Access to après ski on Saturday and Sunday, hosted by Friends of Tuckerman Ravine and Granite Backcountry Alliance at Ragged Mountain Equipment.
  • Access to private Facebook group to connect with other participants.
  • Festival t-shirt (optional add-on, available through February 15, 2020).

Evening Events (Buy Tickets)

  • Tickets available to Friday and/or Saturday evening events.
  • This ticket does not include access to the vendor camp, demos, courses, après ski, or t-shirt.

Festival Policies

2020 Registration & Cancellation Policies

Payment is due in full at the time of registration. Payment for Evening Events and the Weekend Pass is non refundable. For course cancellations 30 or more days from 03/13/2020, you have the option of a refund minus $20 admin fee or a credit (with Synnott Mountain Guides or future festival). For course cancellations 29 to 14 days from 03/13/2020, you will receive a credit with Synnott Mountain Guides or future festival minus $20 admin fee. For course cancellations 13 days or less from 03/13/2020, there will be no refunds or credits due to the advanced planning necessary to run the festival.

Course, Weather, & Snow Conditions Policies

Winter weather in the White Mountains can be harsh and variable, please plan ahead for the variety of weather and snow conditions that might be faced. In most cases, we can hold all types of courses despite conditions...but please be prepared to take an alternative course if we need to cancel specific courses. The festival and courses will be held in all types of winter conditions rain or shine.

Demo Policies

Equipment demos are on a first come first served basis and are limited availability. Demos will be lent out on a single day basis and damage waivers will have to be filled out in order to partake in demo usage.

Course Descriptions

Please read through the description of any courses that you're interested in to learn about terrain, ability levels, and required equipment. Don't hesitate to contact us if you'd like personal advice on which course is best for you.

Course Notes

Course Notes

  • Courses are approximately 6-8 hours, but times will vary based on course level, weather, and other factors.
  • Participants should be comfortable spending a full day outside in the mountains.
  • Final course itineraries and locations will depend on weather, snow conditions, avalanche ratings, group ability, and guide judgement.
  • Some advanced level courses have a smaller ratio of 4:1 (participants to guide) and higher cost.

Gear Notes

  • Backcountry skiers and snowboarders are welcome.
  • The best mode of uphill travel would be skis or split boards with skins.
  • A limited amount of demo & rental gear will be available from sponsors, but course participants are encouraged to bring their own gear to ensure availability.
  • Keep in mind the weather in the White Mountains is variable; conditions could range from mild & sunny to frigid & dumping snow.

 

Intro to Backcountry Skiing

This course is for skiers and snowboarders looking for an introduction to the world of backcountry skiing in the White Mountains. We’re lucky to have some of the best backcountry ski terrain in the Northeast. Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. You’ll learn how backcountry skiing & snowboarding equipment works and also how to securely put on your skins. Last but not least, we will review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • identifying avalanche terrain and other objective hazards
  • snow stability
  • skinning and downhill technique
  • staying comfortable in the mountains during winter

The location of this course will depend on weather/snow/avalanche conditions, the group ability level, and guide judgement. Possibilities include:

  • Sherburne Trail (possibly into lower angle areas of Tuckerman Ravine) on Mt. Washington
  • Gulf of Slides Trail (possibly into lower angle areas of the Gulf of Slides) on Mt. Washington
  • various backcountry ski trails and glades in the Mount Washington Valley such as the Black Mountain Ski Trail, Doublehead Ski Trail, Maple Villa Glade

Ability Level

While this is an intro backcountry course, it's not an introduction to skiing/snowboarding. Participants looking to take this course should have previous resort skiing/riding experience and feel comfortable on "blue squares" in the Northeast. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6+ hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 2-3 miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel).

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

Women's Intro to Backcountry Skiing

This course is for skiers and snowboarders looking for an introduction to the world of backcountry skiing in the White Mountains. We’re lucky to have some of the best backcountry ski terrain in the Northeast. Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. You’ll learn how backcountry skiing & snowboarding equipment works and also how to securely put on your skins. Last but not least, we will review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • identifying avalanche terrain and other objective hazards
  • snow stability
  • skinning and downhill technique
  • staying comfortable in the mountains during winter

The location of this course will depend on weather/snow/avalanche conditions, the group ability level, and guide judgement. Possibilities include:

  • Sherburne Trail (possibly into lower angle areas of Tuckerman Ravine) on Mt. Washington
  • Gulf of Slides Trail (possibly into lower angle areas of the Gulf of Slides) on Mt. Washington
  • various backcountry ski trails and glades in the Mount Washington Valley such as the Black Mountain Ski Trail, Doublehead Ski Trail, Maple Villa Glade

Ability Level

While this is an intro backcountry course, it's not an introduction to skiing/snowboarding. Participants looking to take this course should have previous resort experience and feel comfortable on "blue squares" in the Northeast. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6+ hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 2-3 miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel).

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

Intro to Backcountry Skiing w/ No Avalanche Terrain

This course is the same as Intro to Backcountry Skiing, but we will not be traveling into avalanche terrain and you will not need a beacon/shovel/probe. This course is a good fit if you want to check out backcountry skiing/riding in the White Mountains, but aren't interested in avalanche prone terrain or don't plan to have avalanche rescue gear.

This course is for skiers and snowboarders looking for an introduction to the world of backcountry skiing in the White Mountains. We’re lucky to have some of the best backcountry ski terrain in the Northeast. Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. You’ll learn how backcountry skiing & snowboarding equipment works and also how to securely put on your skins. Last but not least, we will review the latest Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • skinning and downhill technique
  • staying comfortable in the mountains during winter

The location of this course will depend on weather/snow conditions, the group ability level, and guide judgement. Possibilities include:

  • Sherburne Trail on Mt. Washington
  • Gulf of Slides Trail on Mt. Washington
  • various backcountry ski trails and glades in the Mount Washington Valley such as the Black Mountain Ski Trail, Doublehead Ski Trail, Maple Villa Glade

Ability Level

While this is an intro backcountry course, it's not an introduction to skiing/snowboarding. Participants looking to take this course should have previous alpine skiing/riding experience and feel comfortable on "blue squares" in the Northeast. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6+ hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 2-3 miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel).

Intro to Backcountry Snowboarding

This course is for snowboarders looking for an introduction to the world of backcountry snowboarding in the White Mountains. We’re lucky to have some of the best backcountry terrain in the Northeast. Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. We will review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out.

Outcomes

  • Gain basic route-finding and navigation skills.
  • Improve ability to snowboard in backcountry terrain.
  • Learn how to stay warm and comfortable.
  • Learn and practice efficient touring and transition techniques.
  • Feel confident planning day outings - know where you're going and what resources are available, basic awareness of how to avoid avalanche terrain.

Locations

The location of this course will depend on weather/snow/avalanche conditions, the group ability level, and guide judgement. Possibilities include:

  • Sherburne Trail (possibly into lower angle areas of Tuckerman Ravine) on Mt. Washington.
  • Gulf of Slides Trail (possibly into lower angle areas of the Gulf of Slides) on Mt. Washington.
  • Various backcountry ski trails and glades in the Mount Washington Valley.

Ability Level

While this is an intro backcountry course, it's not an introduction to snowboarding. Participants looking to take this course should have previous resort riding experience and feel comfortable on "blue squares" in the Northeast. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6+ hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 2-3 miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel).

Equipment

Acceptable means of uphill travel would be a splitboard with skins or snowshoes.

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

Intermediate Backcountry Skiing

This course is for skiers and snowboarders looking to take the next step into backcountry skiing in the White Mountains. For experience level, this course is appropriate if you've already backcountry skied on trails and possibly in some higher terrain on Mount Washington.  Your day will start with an orientation, gear check, and we'll review backcountry skiing/riding basics if needed. Last but not least, we will review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • identifying avalanche terrain and other objective hazards
  • snow stability
  • skinning and downhill technique
  • staying comfortable in the mountains during winter

The location of this course will depend on weather/snow/avalanche conditions, the group ability level, and guide judgement. Possibilities include:

  • Sherburne Trail and exploring moderately steep areas of Tuckerman Ravine on Mt. Washington
  • Gulf of Slides Trail and exploring moderately steep areas of the Gulf of Slides on Mt. Washington
  • backcountry ski trails and glades in the White Mountains such as the Doublehead Ski Trail, Maple Villa Glade, Crescent Ridge Glade, and Baldface

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have extensive resort experience (feeling comfortable skiing variable conditions on "black diamonds" in the Northeast) as well as intro or intermediate backcountry experience. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 3+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel).

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

Intermediate Backcountry Skiing w/ No Avalanche Terrain

This course is the same as Intermediate Backcountry Skiing, but we will not be traveling into avalanche terrain and you will not need a beacon/shovel/probe. This course is a good fit if you aren't interested in traveling in avalanche prone terrain or don't plan to have avalanche rescue gear.

This course is for skiers and snowboarders looking to take the next step into backcountry skiing in the White Mountains. For experience level, this course is appropriate if you've already backcountry skied on trails and glades.  Your day will start with an orientation, gear check, and we'll review backcountry skiing/riding basics if needed. Last but not least, we will review the latest Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • skinning and downhill technique
  • staying comfortable in the mountains during winter

The location of this course will depend on weather/snow conditions, the group ability level, and guide judgement. Possibilities include:

  • Sherburne and Gulf of Slides ski trails on the lower slopes of Mount Washington.
  • Backcountry ski trails and glades in the White Mountains.

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have extensive resort experience (feeling comfortable skiing variable conditions on "black diamonds" in the Northeast) as well as intro or intermediate backcountry experience. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 3+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel).

Advanced Backcountry Skiing

This course is for more experienced backcountry skiers and snowboarders looking to ski steeper and/or above treeline terrain in the White Mountains. Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. We'll review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • identifying avalanche terrain and other objective hazards
  • snow stability
  • skinning and skiing/snowboarding techniques in steep ski terrain

The location of this course will depend on weather/snow/avalanche conditions, the group ability level, and guide judgement. Possibilities include:

  • Mt. Washington: Tuckerman Ravine, Gulf of Slides, Oakes Gulf, Ammonoosuc Ravine
  • steep gullies on Mount Webster in Crawford Notch
  • backcountry ski trails and glades in the White Mountains such as the Doublehead Ski Trail, Maple Villa Glade, Crescent Ridge Glade, and Baldface

Ratio

This course has a 4:1 ratio of participants per guide. The course cost is higher (+ $40/day) compared to intro/intermediate courses due to the lower ratio.

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have previous backcountry skiing experience and feel comfortable making controlled turns on steep and/or gladed terrain in variable conditions. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 3+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel and possibly checking out multiple locations). 

Backcountry Equipment

Participants taking advanced courses are welcome to try the demo equipment, but it's assumed (based on your experience level) that you already have your own backcountry skiing/snowboarding setup and know how to use it.

This course also requires ski/snowboard boot compatible crampons and an ice axe. You may not end up needing this equipment based on terrain/snow, but it's important to have it when traveling in steep or alpine terrain.

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

White Mountain Splitboarding

This course is for more experienced splitboarders looking to ride more difficult terrain in the White Mountains. Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. We'll review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • identifying avalanche terrain, snow stability, and other objective hazards
  • steep transitions (skin to climbing and climbing to riding)
  • ice axe and crampon use
  • self care in the backcountry

The location of this course will depend on weather/snow/avalanche conditions, the group ability level, and guide judgement. Possibilities include:

  • Mt. Washington: Tuckerman Ravine, Gulf of Slides, Oakes Gulf, Ammonoosuc Ravine
  • steep gullies on Mount Webster in Crawford Notch
  • backcountry ski trails and glades in the White Mountains

Ratio

This course has a 4:1 ratio of participants per guide. The course cost is higher (+ $40/day) compared to intro/intermediate courses due to the lower ratio.

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have previous backcountry splitboarding experience and feel comfortable making controlled turns on steep and/or gladed terrain in variable conditions. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 3+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel and possibly checking out multiple locations). 

Backcountry Equipment

This course requires snowboard boot compatible crampons and an ice axe. You may not end up needing this equipment based on terrain/snow, but it's important to have it when traveling in steep or alpine terrain.

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

Avalanche Awareness & Rescue

The Avalanche Awareness & Rescue course is for backcountry skiers & snowboarders looking to take the first step towards learning about avalanches, what causes them, how they can be avoided, and how to respond to an avalanche incident. You’ll start with some handouts & discussion before heading into the mountains. We will cover the following subjects:

  • mountain weather including checking out the Mount Washington Observatory forecast and Mount Washington Avalanche Center advisory
  • how to identify avalanche terrain
  • basic route finding & safe travel in avalanche terrain
  • basic snowpit & snowpack analysis
  • transceiver training & mock rescue

Course locations will be condition dependent, but are often a tour into either Tuckerman Ravine or The Gulf of Slides on Mount Washington. Other possibilities include Ammonoosuc Ravine (Mount Washington) or some of the gullies and open terrain in Crawford Notch.

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have previous backcountry skiing/snowboarding experience or resort skiing/snowboarding experience (feeling comfortable in variable conditions on at least "blue squares" in the Northeast). You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 3+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel).

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required.

AIARE 1 (3 Day Course)

This is a 3 day course from Friday through Sunday. The Mt Washington Backcountry Ski Festival AIARE class instructors are able to not only teach the AIARE standard curriculum, but also draw on their own personal experiences and passion for avalanche awareness to prepare you for your own adventures. Upon completion of this class, you will be certified by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education…a globally recognized organization whose mission is to “Save Lives through Avalanche Awareness.” You will also be receiving from us an AIARE Field Book and the AIARE 1 Student Manual. An avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe are provided during the course; however you are encouraged to bring your own if you own it.

The AIARE 1 is a three day (24 hours) introduction to avalanche hazard management. The course is expected to:

  • Provide a basic understanding of avalanches
  • Describe a framework for decision making and risk management in avalanche terrain
  • Focus on identifying the right questions, rather than on providing “answers.”
  • Give lessons and exercises that are practically oriented, useful, and applicable in the field.

Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught). A final debrief includes a knowledge quiz to test student comprehension and to give feedback to instructors on instructional tools. Students are encouraged and counseled on how to apply the skills learned and told that no course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after course completion. A link is made to a future AIARE Level 2 course.

At the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain
  • Recognize avalanche terrain
  • Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain
  • Learn and apply effective companion rescue

Instructional sessions (24 hours including both class and field instruction):

1. Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena

  • Types and characteristics of avalanches
  • Avalanche motion
  • Size classification
  • The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering

2. Observations and Information Gathering

  • Field observation techniques
  • Snowpack tests: rutschblock, compression test
  • Avalanche danger factors or “Red Flags”
  • Observation checklist
  • Avalanche danger scale

3. Trip Planning and Preparation

  • Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
  • Route finding and travel techniques
  • Decision making and Human Factors

4. Companion Rescue and Equipment

No previous experience is required. Appropriate physical and mental fitness is necessary. Participants will be required to perform physically strenuous activities.

Ski Mountaineering - 1 Day Course

The Ski Mountaineering course, like its name, is a combination of backcountry skiing and mountaineering. In addition to searching out good ski runs, we'll focus on mountain travel and reaching summits with skis. Some techniques and topics covered may include:

  • crampon and ice axe use for reaching and traveling in ski terrain
  • transitioning from foot travel to skiing in steep terrain (chopping ledges and making stable platforms in snow)
  • some rope work such as rappelling into steep ski terrain
  • snow and ski/board anchors
  • ski and split board travel on glaciers
  • recognizing avalanche terrain and how to safely travel thought it
  • staying comfortable during harsh winter conditions in the mountains

Depending on conditions, this course will most likely take place on Mount Washington or other Presidential Range peaks. Specific locations may include:

  • Tuckerman Ravine
  • Gulf of Slides
  • Huntington Ravine
  • Ammonoosuc Ravine

Other possibilities include the steep gullies or open terrain in Crawford Notch.

Ratio

This course has a 4:1 ratio of skiers per guide. The course cost is higher (+ $40/day) compared to intro/intermediate courses due to the lower ratio.

Gear Notes

Technical gear such as crampons, ice axe, harness, and ropes will be used for this course. Synnott Mountain Guides will provide ropes and other protection/anchor equipment, but participants are encouraged to bring their own crampons, ice axe, and harness (w/ a belay device and a couple locking carabiners). Please let us know when registering if don't have and need this equipment.

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have previous backcountry skiing/snowboarding experience and feel comfortable making controlled turns on steep and/or gladed terrain in variable conditions. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 4+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel and possibly checking out multiple locations).

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

Ski Mountaineering - 2 Day Course

The 2 Day Ski Mountaineering course will expand upon the one day course, allowing more time for practicing techniques. We will also focus one day on reaching and skiing a peak in the Presidential Range. This course runs on Saturday (3/14/20) and Sunday (3/15/20).

The Ski Mountaineering course, like its name, is a combination of backcountry skiing and mountaineering. In addition to searching out good ski runs, we'll focus on mountain travel and reaching summits with skis. Some techniques and topics covered may include:

  • crampon and ice axe use for reaching and traveling in ski terrain
  • transitioning from foot travel to skiing in steep terrain (chopping ledges and making stable platforms in snow)
  • some rope work such as rappelling into steep ski terrain
  • snow and ski/board anchors
  • ski and split board travel on glaciers
  • recognizing avalanche terrain and how to safely travel thought it
  • staying comfortable during harsh winter conditions in the mountains

Depending on conditions, this course will most likely take place on Mount Washington or other Presidential Range peaks. Specific locations may include:

  • Tuckerman Ravine
  • Gulf of Slides
  • Huntington Ravine
  • Great Gulf
  • Ammonoosuc Ravine

Other possibilities include the steep gullies in Crawford Notch.

Ratio

This course has a 4:1 ratio of skiers per guide. The course cost is higher (+ $40/day) compared to intro/intermediate courses due to the lower ratio.

Gear Notes

Technical gear such as crampons, ice axe, harness, and ropes will be used for this course. Synnott Mountain Guides will provide ropes and other protection/anchor equipment, but participants are encouraged to bring their own crampons, ice axe, and harness (w/ a belay device and a couple locking carabiners). Please let us know when registering if don't have and need this equipment.

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have previous backcountry skiing/snowboarding experience and feel comfortable making controlled turns on steep and/or gladed terrain in variable conditions. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 4+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel and possibly checking out multiple locations).

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

White Mountain Exploration

This course is for experienced skiers and snowboarders looking to explore more obscure areas in the White Mountains. Depending on the objective, you may experience a long approach, trail breaking, and navigating through the dense New Hampshire forest. Like any good adventure, you may spend more time on the approach than actual skiing.

Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. We'll review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • identifying avalanche terrain and other objective hazards
  • snow stability
  • skinning and skiing/snowboarding techniques in steep and variable ski terrain

The location of this course will depend on conditions and the group ability level, but there is no limit to the terrain we can explore in the White Mountains. You may be sworn to secrecy depending on the location!

Ratio

This course has a 4:1 ratio of participants per guide. The course cost is higher (+ $40/day) compared to intro/intermediate courses due to the lower ratio.

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have previous backcountry skiing/snowboarding experience and feel comfortable making controlled turns on steep and/or gladed terrain in variable conditions. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 3+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel and possibly checking out multiple locations).

Backcountry Equipment

Participants taking advanced courses are welcome to try the demo equipment, but it's assumed (based on your experience level) that you already have your own backcountry skiing/snowboarding setup and know how to use it.

This course also requires ski/snowboard boot compatible crampons and an ice axe. You may not end up needing this equipment based on terrain/snow, but it's important to have it when traveling in steep, alpine, or remote terrain.

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.

Two Day Backcountry Photography

Two full days of backcountry skiing & riding photography instruction with photographer Jamie Walter and a guide.

Photography Topics

The course schedule and photography topics will depend on weather, snow conditions, and group preferences. A rough guide:

  • Overview of camera settings and tips & tricks for shooting action and lifestyle imagery on snow.
  • Presentation from Jamie covering some of his work and advice for shooting in the backcountry.
  • Shooting time in the field.
  • Basic photo editing covering imagery captured during the weekend.

About Jamie Walter

Jamie is a professional photographer born and raised in Maine. He specializes in action, adventure, and landscape photography, along with commercial and editorial assignments. Jamie’s work has been published in magazines including Powder and Freeskier and he’s worked with clients including Stio Mountain, Eastern Mountain Sports, and L.L. Bean. Check out more of Jamie’s work: jamiewalter.com | Facebook | Instagram

Participant Requirements, Recommendation & Notes

  • Participants should have a camera with manual controls and a backpack with enough space for backcountry & camera equipment.
  • This is not an introductory backcountry skiing & riding course, participants should have previous experience backcountry skiing, you should feel comfortable making controlled turns on backcountry trails and glades.
  • This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain, avalanche safety equipment is required.
  • Recommended, but optional: laptop or ability to transfer images to your smartphone for editing.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like personal advice on which course is best for you.

Huntington Ravine Skiing Skills

The Huntington Ravine Skiing Skills course is not being offered at the 2020 festival. If you're interested in skiing/riding in Huntington Ravine with a guide, please contact Synnott Mountain Guides.

While not as well known for backcountry skiing as its neighbor (Tuckerman Ravine), Huntington Ravine has great ski terrain. The catch is that much of the ski terrain requires navigating over or around small ice cliffs during the ascent and descent. The size of these ice cliffs changes depending on the season's snowpack; in big snow years, it's sometimes possible to ski a run like Central Gully on all snow.

Your day will start with an orientation and gear check. We'll review the latest Mount Washington Avalanche Center avalanche advisory and Mount Washington Observatory forecast before heading out. Along the way, we'll discuss a number of subjects such as:

  • safe route finding
  • identifying avalanche terrain and other objective hazards
  • snow stability
  • skinning and skiing/snowboarding techniques in steep ski terrain
  • climbing gullies with ski gear
  • snow and ski anchors
  • rappelling to enter steep ski terrain or avoid small ice cliffs

FAQ

Will we ski a gully in Huntington Ravine?

The focus of this course is to practice skills needed to safely ski/snowboard steep exposed terrain like that found in Huntington Ravine. The course will be held in Huntington Ravine pending weather/snow conditions, group ability, and guide judgement.  Gully skiing would likely involve ascending partway up a gully to work on skills and then ski/board down.  For example, you may ascend Central Gully up to the ice bulge, build an anchor to practice rappelling with skis/board on, and then ski down.  A full ski descent of a gully in Huntington is not out of the question, but is unlikely in a group setting like this considering the serious nature of the terrain. If you're interested in making a full descent of a route in Huntington Ravine, please contact Synnott Mountain Guides.

Ratio

This course has a 4:1 ratio of skiers per guide. The course cost is higher (+ $40/day) compared to intro/intermediate courses due to the lower ratio.

Gear Notes

Technical gear such as crampons, ice axe, harness, and ropes will be used for this course. Synnott Mountain Guides will provide ropes and other protection/anchor equipment, but participants are encouraged to bring their own crampons, ice axe, and harness (w/ a belay device and a couple locking carabiners). Please let us know when registering if don't have and need this equipment.

Ability Level

Participants looking to take this course should have previous backcountry skiing/snowboarding experience and feel comfortable making controlled turns on steep exposed terrain in variable conditions. You should feel comfortable being outside in the mountains for 6-8 hours with enough physical ability to travel uphill with a pack for 3+ miles (with enough energy leftover for downhill travel). A climbing or mountaineering background would be helpful.

Avalanche Safety Equipment

This course may travel in or approach avalanche terrain and avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel) is required for participation.