Tips for Your First Ski or Snowboard Backcountry Tour

Okay, the day has arrived and you’re geared up and ready to experience the beauty of the backcountry on skiis. You’ve done the prep, your bag is packed, but what else should you be thinking about on your first ski tour?  Here’s a couple of pointers for you to keep in mind. 

Group of skiers heading out on their first ski tour in the Canadian Rockies

Proper education and group teamwork are essential in the backcountry.

1. Be aware of your surroundings

Yes, you might like chatting with your friends on the way uphill to keep your mind off the leg burn, but it’s crucial to always remember where you are and keep your mind on the mountains. The mountains are always telling you something, so listening and respecting them are a crucial part of being in the backcountry. You can read more about the mountain mindset in our previous blog, here

2. Speak Up, Listen, Ask Questions

Use your voice, be receptive to others, and always ask questions. Just because you’re new to backcountry touring, doesn’t mean you need to stay quiet when decisions are being made. If you feel uncomfortable about something, say something. You might not have all the terminology perfect, but that’s okay. Even as the newbie of the group, you have every right to speak up and ask questions. Not only does this make you feel more safe, knowing where you’re going and why it’s a safe route, but this helps you build on your base knowledge for future ski tours. 

3. Food and Water

Always make sure to have enough food and water for yourself for a full day on skis. Fuel up with a good breakfast, and take a proper lunch and plenty of snacks to keep you filled up throughout the day. We recommend taking something like a large Nalgene to carry your water. You can also use a Camelback, but pay attention to the hoses that can freeze throughout the day. You can periodically add snow to your existing water to melt it and keep your water levels up. Another one of the benefits of booking your first ski touring experience with us at Mallard Mountain Lodge is that you can have your trip fully catered where all of the right kinds of nutritious food will be available for you. You can learn more about these options here.    

4. Pace Yourself

Another one of the benefits of going with a guide for your first touring experience is because they’ll be able to monitor and keep an eye on the entire group. If you’re worried about falling behind, or being slower than everyone, a guide won’t let the group get broken up. Staying together is crucial in the backcountry, and your experience guide knows this and won’t let ego or ambition get in the way of keeping the group safe and together. 

5. Have Fun

While the general tone of these tips are serious, you also need to remember to have fun. It won’t be hard to do when you’re surrounded by gorgeous mountain peaks, fresh powder, and friends. The pure joy you’ll feel when you’re surrounded by the deafening silence of snow and feeling the champagne powder beneath your skiis is an experience like no other. 

Happy skier at the end of a ski touring run - a great accomplishment

Having fun in the backcountry is why we go there, and always in a safe way.