Backcountry Ski Touring Virtual Lecture Series

Due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19, the Mazamas will offer a modified Backcountry Ski Touring course in 2021: Backcountry Ski Touring Virtual Lecture Series

This online-only lecture series is designed to introduce you to tips and tricks for safe and efficient backcountry ski touring, introduce an awareness of avalanche hazards, lay the foundation for an Avalanche 1 course, and provide some safe options for local introductory backcountry tours.

Ski mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest can span the spectrum from multi-day traverses, to skiing off the summits of local volcanoes, to just basking in the sunshine on the south side of Mt. Hood in July. Each tour has its special joys and dangers.  Our goal is to connect you to experts on the nuances of backcountry skiing and snowboarding through an online lecture series, who will share their knowledge and expertise on how to make a safe and confident transition from riding advanced slopes at resorts to touring the off-piste environment of mountain wilderness. The focus of this course is to prepare you to take on your first tour in non-avalanche terrain and connect you to resources that can help you to continue your education in avalanche awareness and backcountry preparedness.

This online lecture series takes place over a period of 6 weeks and includes one two-hour online lecture per week with supplemental reading and resources.  It is open to AT/randonee skiers, telemark skiers, and split borders, and is taught by experienced Mazama volunteers. Participants must be 13 years or older by the day of the first lecture.


Course Format

The “Backcountry Ski Touring Lecture Series” will accept all students who apply. The content will cover gear, uphill travel, an introduction to avalanches, snowpack, weather, trip planning, navigation, snow camping, places to ski, and resources for continuing education.

This course does not include in-person activities, it is not an equivalent for Avy 1 training, and it does not cover advanced skiing/snowboarding skills, roped travel, or crevasse rescue.


Course Details

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Weekly lectures will take place on Zoom at 7-9pm beginning March 3rd and ending April 7.

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Application Process

Application begins February 2nd, 2021 and ends March 1st. There are no prerequisites for this course (must be 13 or older), but there is a short application so instructors have baseline understanding of students' knowledge.

As this is an online program, we will accept any student who applies.

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We are offering a limited number of scholarships to allow students to participate who will not be able to do so without financial assistance and whose participation can help expand the Mazamas membership base beyond current cultural, economic, and ethnic demographics.

A scholarship is for course tuition ONLY. Mazamas may cover the cost of your course up to 90% of the course tuition based on factors listed above. Other costs associated with the course may apply. You must have access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet to participate in the course. Please see course home page for associated costs and logistics. All scholarship awardees will qualify for select course gear at a discounted rate.

Applications for scholarships will be part of of the class application. However, if you wish to receive financial aid, you must apply by February 22nd.