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!

Check out video of our lift accessed skiing from Brighton Resort

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

Book Now!

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 cab be found.

These tours are suitable for first time tourers and will also include instruction and tips on using the equipment and skinning techniques as needed.
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.

more details

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

Book Now!

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 the best snow can be found. 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.

more details

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

Book Now!

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 search 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. 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.

more details

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

Book Now!

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.

more details

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

Book Now!

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. Lift ticket is included. Gate policies vary by resort.

more details

Utah Backcountry Skiing Photo Gallery

Reviews

FAQ

TripAdvisor 5 Stars

Why Choose RRA? Red River Adventure's online reviews have consistently been excellent. Since 2003 no other company has received such high praise from guests. Land or water our clients rave about the quality of our guides, the depth of their knowledge, their ability to teach and most importantly, how incredibly fun they are. Still wondering who to book with our past guest comments make the decision easy!
Back to top

Your Safety is our number #1 concern

RRA has safely hosted 50,000+ kids and adults on our rafting, climbing, canyoneering, SUP and Ski trips. RRA guides are at a minimum state licensed, insured and hold first aid and CPR certifications. Many of our river guides hold additional certifications in swift water rescue and whitewater instruction. Many, though not all, of our rock, ski and canyoneering guides are AMGA for the terrain they guide.
Back to top

Quality Equipment

When running trips quality equipment is paramount. We are proud to be a 'Preferred Guide Partner" of Black Diamond. RRA replaces its equipment on a regular basis. This ensures all the gear required to keep you safe and having fun is in top-notch shape.
Back to top

Reputation

RRA has earned the reputation of a professionally ran, top quality guide service. We are a tight knit family run business. Once you adventure with RRA we guarantee you'll be back for more.
Back to top

Do I need a reservation

YES! To guarantee space on the trip of your choice, we recommend reservations, especially mid-summer and on holidays and weekends. In order to provide the type of trip the we have become known for we do limit the number of people on our trips and we do fill up. Make a reservation as soon as you have a good idea of when you want to ski or climb with us and you'll avoid disappointment. Feel free to call us about reservations at any time @ 1-877-259-4046 or email.
Back to top

About Age Limitations

Age limits are set for each of our trips to be within industry standards and in accordance with our insurance carrier. In some cases the published age is a guideline and people younger may participate. For trips with youth rate pricing we use the following guidelines. Youth Rate = 15 years and younger!
Adults = 16 years and up!
Some trips are priced on a per person basis regardless of age.
Back to top

Which Trip to Choose

We are thrilled to have the ability to offer such a wide variety or trips. We also realize that this can create confusion. We are a fantastic resource and look forward to helping you choose the trip that is perfect for you and your group. Please feel free to call or email with any questions you might have, we love to help. Often after a brief conversation with one of our staff the the answers become clear.
Back to top

What to Bring

Red River Adventures tries to make your trip with us as easy as possible! We will clearly outline what we will provide and let you know what you need to bring. Generally all necessary group equipment for you to take part in our trips is included. Please NOTE! Skis, ski boots, poles, ice climbing boots and personal clothing are NOT included in the cost of trips. Rentals are available and RRA will assist you in reserving any gear you might need. We will provide trip specific lists to assist you in bringing the right things.
Back to top

What Risks Are Involved

Red River Adventures has an unblemished safety record. We personally screen and train our employees vigorously each year. Our Climbing, skiing and Canyoneering guides are highly trained and many, though not all, are AMGA certified. Our trips take place in rugged, remote "wilderness" settings. You should be in good general health to participate.
Back to top

Charter and Group Rates

Red River Adventures offers a group rate discount of 10% to groups of 10 or more. Additional rates reductions are available for school, club, church, or special-interest groups on some trips. We are happy to, when ever possible, customized trip lengths and itineraries. Please contact us for help in arranging your charter trip or for group rate information.
Back to top

What To Pack

Red River Adventures will provide:

  • Beacon
  • Probe
  • Shovel
  • Pack

For technical outings ice ax and crampons will also be provided.
Full AT set ups are available to rent through our partnership with Black Diamond.
RRA will help co-ordinate rental in advance.

Ski Touring (recommended)

  • Shell – Jacket/pants (soft shell or gortex little to no insulation)
  • Insulating layer – Down or synthetic puffy coat
  • Mid Layer – Synthetic or wool zip shirt
  • Base layers: Synthetic, wool or silk bottom, underwear and top
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • Hat or hats
  • Buff
  • Wool or synthetic ski socks
  • Helmet
  • Google & Sunglasses
  • Bottle/thermos for hot tea
  • Sunscreen
  • Handwarmers/Toe warmers

General

We are always available to answer any questions you may have. A complete packing list will be emailed prior to your trip.

Reservations

Option #1 - Most of our Adventures can be booked by clicking the "Book Now" button for the trip you want.

Option #2 - For those trips that can't be booked online (no online calendar!) Call 1-877-259-4046
or Email us through our Contact Page

Reservations are HIGHLY recommended! Many dates sell out far in advance!
A refundable deposit of 1/3 of trip total is due to guarantee reservation.


Accepted Credit Cards

Cancellations

Full and 1/2 Day Trips

  • A refundable deposit of 1/3 of trip total is due to guarantee reservation.
  • Balance is due 7 days prior to departure.
  • Changes to trip type, numbers or date are FREE prior to 7 days before departure.
  • Complete cancellation prior to 7 days before departure subject to a $25 fee.
  • Complete cancellation after 7 days but prior to 48 hours before departure subject to a $10 per person fee.
  • NO REFUNDS for cancellations, in part or full, within 48 hours of departure.
Please Note: NO REFUNDS for cancellations, in part or full, within 48 hours of departure.

Dolores and multi-day Fisher Towers trips

  • A refundable deposit of 1/3 of trip total is due to guarantee reservation.
  • Balance is due 7 days prior to departure.
  • Changes to trip type, numbers or date are FREE prior to 7 days before departure.
  • Complete cancellation prior to 7 days before departure subject to a $25 fee.
  • Complete cancellations received less than 7 days before departure forfeit the deposit amount.
  • NO REFUNDS for cancellations, in part or full, within 48 hours of departure.
Please Note: NO REFUNDS for cancellations, in part or full, within 48 hours of departure.

General

RRA reserves the right to cancel any trip due to weather, insufficient bookings or any other circumstances beyond our control. RRA will make every effort to reschedule the date. Bookings that are unable to be rescheduled or are cancelled by RRA will receive a full refund.

Weather

Weather is part of the dynamic environment in which we operate. We may experience conditions that you do not consider ideal. If we determine that conditions are suitable for the activity you have booked and you instead wish to cancel/discontinue the trip, we will, whenever practical, end the trip at your request with no refund. If conditions are such that RRA deems it unwise to continue, we reserve the right to alter the itinerary, which may include, but may not be limited to, shortening of route or length of trip. We may also change venue or cancel the remainder of your trip. If, at time of cancellation, the trip is less than 1/2 complete, we will charge 50% of trip fee. If the trip is between 1/2 and completed, a full trip fee is charged.

Alcohol

Full and 1/2 Day Raft Trips: Alcohol or drugs are not to be consumed before or during trips. No refund will be given to those drinking alcohol or using drugs prior to a scheduled trip. Multi-Day Raft Trips: Alcohol or drugs are not to be consumed before or during time on the river. No refund will be given to those drinking alcohol or using drugs prior to river time. Alcohol may be consumed, in camp, on multi-day trips. Climbing/Canyoneering trips. Alcohol or drugs are not to be consumed before or during trips.