Backcountry skiing can be dangerous!!! There are inherent dangers associated with wilderness travel in winter. No guide can diminish the hazards nor be a guarantee of safety. If you choose to experience the mountains in winter, you voluntarily do so knowing there are hazards.
Although the tour descriptions in this guide make reference to specific, obvious dangers, you should not assume that they are the only ones. Even the safest tour can become dangerous should you encounter poor weather, poor snow, or avalanche conditions. Always be on the lookout for hidden objects such as trees, rocks and streams. Some tours may take you through private property, which is not marked. If you encounter marked private property, please respect the property rights of others so that the good reputation of ski tourers is preserved. Similarly, some tours pass through downhill ski resorts. For safety and to promote continued goodwill, it is important to stay off the groomed slopes when ascending.
Although great care has gone into researching the tours in this guide, you may find inconsistencies due to factors such as new construction of roads and housing, changes in policies toward plowing roads, changes in parking restrictions, and changes in trail markers.* Also, extreme variations in snowfall can make a remarkable difference in how things appear. Be prepared to cope with these discrepancies should they arise.
While unforeseen situations may arise during your backcountry travel, the consequences can be minimized by adequate preparation.
- Your equipment should be adequate for the tour you are skiing and it should be in good condition.
- Your physical condition and skills should be commensurate with the tour you are skiing.
- Never ski alone and always make sure that a responsible person knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Carry the ten essentials as a minimum. While avoiding avalanche terrain is the best alternative, everyone should also carry an avalanche beacon and snow shovel when warranted.
In the final analysis, no guide can be a substitute for your own skills and common sense — you must be responsible for executing your own safe trip.
* An extreme amount of care has gone into this guide. Regardless, there is the possibility of a typo. But while the words could be in error, e.g. west when it should have been east, the maps don't lie. Please bring any errors to our attention.