Guided Utah Backcountry Ski Tours
Guided Utah Backcountry Ski Tours

Skiing in the Wasatch Mountains


The backcountry skiing of Salt Lake City’s Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons is among the best on the planet – famous for the “Greatest Snow on Earth.”

Our Salt Lake district NFS permit allows us to offer guided ski tours to the very best powder that these world-class canyons offer. From lift-accessed backcountry touring, to skiing and riding selections from the “Chuting Gallery,” we will show you the way to the most memorable day of skiing.

We’ve lined up some of the world’s best ski guides including, Noah Howell of “Powderwhores,” named one of the “50 icons of backcountry skiing,” and Andrew Mclean, the man that wrote the “The Chuting Gallery”, to lead these amazing tours. Our guides have more experience in this terrain than just about anyone. They know where the best snow is and will ensure that you get to experience it.

We have a level of difficulty and type of terrain for everyone!

Backcountry Ski Tours in the Cottonwood Canyons


Classic Introductory Tours


Backcountry skiing the wasatch

  • Difficulty – Easy  | 1,500 to 2,500 vert.
  • Days – 6 Hours
  • Minimum age – 10
  • Venues – Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons
  • Meets – 8 AM
  • Dates – December to March
  • 1 Person $450 | 2 People $275 each | 3 People $200 each

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If you’ve never skied or snowboarded in the Wasatch Mountains before, these classics will get you up high to the best views of the mountain range with the shortest approach. These guided backcountry tours will take place in either Little or Big Cottonwood Canyons depending on the snow and where the best skiing for the day will be. These tours are suitable for first time tourers and will also include instruction and tips on using the equipment and skinning techniques as needed.

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The skiing features gentle rolling terrain suitable for a wide range of abilities, low avalanche danger slopes and hopefully, a taste of the famous Utah powder. A day will include a lunch, drink and approximately 1,500 – 2,500 feet of climbing over the course of six hours.

Classic Intermediate Tours


Guided ski touring in Utah

Dropping in for fresh tracks

  • Difficulty – Moderate to Hard | 3,000 to 5,000 Vert.
  • Days – 1
  • Minimum age – 12
  • Venues – Big & Little Cottonwood Canyon
  • Meets – 7:30 AM
  • Dates – December to March
  • 1 Person $450 | 2 People $275 each | 3 People $200 each

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Days Fork, Silver Fork, Cardiac, White Pine & Red Pine – these are just some of the places which have made backcountry skiing in Utah world famous due to their relatively short, moderate approaches to access this classic powder terrain. Specific tours will vary based on conditions and clients requests, but the focus will be on experiencing the Central Wasatch and going where ever the best snow can be found.

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Many of these tours feature starting in Little Cottonwood Canyon, then skiing down into Big Cottonwood before eventually working our way back up and over into Little Cottonwood again. The tours will provide a drink and lunch if needed and approximately 3,000 to 5,000 feet of climbing and skiing over the course of roughly six hours.

Classic Advanced Tours


Utah ski touring

Topping out

  • Difficulty – Hard | 5,000 to 8,000 Vert.
  • Days – 1
  • Minimum age – 12
  • Venues – Big & Little Cottonwood
  • Meets – 7:30
  • Dates – December to March
  • 1 Person $500 | 2 People $300 | 3 People $250

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One unmistakable beauty of ski touring in the Wasatch Mountains is the ability to link multiple peaks, drainages and slopes in the same day. Advanced Tours will focus on covering a wide variety of terrain and searching out wherever and whatever the best skiing of the day may be. Options might include skiing a tree circuit during a snow storm or skinning ridgelines and skiing the steeps when conditions permit.

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Because this tour requires solid physical stamina and good skinning technique, clients must be approved beforehand either through a prior outing with Red River Adventures or by the guide. A day will include lunch and a drink, plus 5,000 to 8,000 feet of climbing and skiing over roughly six to seven hours.

The Chuting Gallery with Andrew Mclean!


Ski mountaineering in the Wasatch, Salt lake City skiing

Ski mountaineering in the Wasatch

  • Difficulty – Hard | Vert. Varies
  • Days – 1
  • Minimum age – Varies
  • Venues – Big & Little Cottonwood
  • Meets – 7:30
  • Dates – December to March
  • 1 Person $500 | 2 People $300 each

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Chute to thrill, play to kill, have your boards at the ready and shred the coolies at will! The Chuting Gallery tours, lead by Andrew Mclean, are for advanced skiers and riders who want to see the best slots the Wasatch has to offer. These lines are covered in “The Chuting Gallery – A Guide to Steep Skiing in the Central Wasatch Mountains” and a complimentary signed copy of the book is included in the price. Potential lines include the Y-Couloir, the South Face of Superior, Coalpit Headwall, Tanners and Little Pine to name a few. Requests are welcome, but route selection will depend on the day and conditions. Given stable conditions, it may be possible to combine couloirs or do multiple descents in one day. Due to the advanced and serious nature of couloir skiing, all clients must be pre-approved by Red River Adventures or the guide.

Lift Access Backcountry Skiing and Riding


brighton-sidecountry

Brighton lift access backcountry blower!

  • Difficulty – Easy-Hard  | Vert. varies
  • Days – 6 Hours
  • Minimum age – 10
  • Venues – Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons
  • Meets – 8 AM
  • Dates – December to March
  • 1 Person $500 | 2 People $300 each | 3 People $250 each
  • Includes lift ticket

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Some of the best backcountry skiing and riding in the Wasatch lies right outside the resort boundaries. Lifts provide fast access to this high mountain terrain and allow us to reach the upper most elevations of the Wasatch Mountains and stack up vertical with considerably less hiking or skinning. By combining lifts with short hikes and traverses we can ride untracked powder adjacent to the resorts lap after lap or get a bump when heading to more remote peaks. Leaving the resort is not for those without the skills and equipment. Let us guide you through this terrain to provide a day that you will not forget.

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Lift ticket is included. Gate policies vary by resort.  

AIARE 2 Avalanche Education


brighton-sidecountry

Brighton lift access backcountry blower!

  • Difficulty – Easy-Moderate  | Vert. varies
  • Days – 4 days
  • Minimum age – 10
  • Venues – Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons
  • Meets – 8 AM
  • Dates – February 17 -20
  • 1 Person $550

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The AIARE 2 course is a 4-day program that provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. This course also includes the introductory and prerequisite components for the professional progression: the AIARE 3 certificate.

The AIARE 2 builds from the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the level one and adds to it the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation.

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Learning Outcomes.
Advance understanding of avalanche terrain, particularly from the perspective of stability analysis.
Discuss how the snowpack develops and metamorphoses over time; and discuss the factors that contribute to spatial variability.
Learn standard observation guidelines and recording formats for factors that influence or indicate snow stability. SWAG MODULE.
Advance understanding of avalanche release and triggering mechanisms.
Introduce a snow stability analysis and forecasting framework.
Improve companion rescue skills including multiple and deep burials.


Questions??? Call (877) 259-4046 or Send us an email


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