Utah Backcounty

Utah mountains are home to incredible backcountry terrain. Dramatic peaks, inspiring lines and untouched fields of The Greatest Snow on Earth® beckon from beyond the resort boundaries. It's no surprise backcountry skiing and snowboarding are experiencing a surge in popularity. Whether you're heading into the highest peaks of the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains or exiting through the gates to access powder stashes just outside resort boundaries at one of the state's 15 resorts, there are myriad ways to experience the thrill of backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Utah. Backcountry travel, however, carries inherent risk due to uncontrolled snow and avalanche conditions, so it's essential to prepare with the proper knowledge and equipment to safely travel in the backcountry. The Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) is a wonderful resource for skiers and snowboarders to equip themselves with the education and daily avalanche reports needed to safely ski and snowboard in the Utah backcountry.

Today's Avalanche Forecast
Utah Avalanche Center Danger Rose If the image to the left looks unfamiliar to you, take a moment and look over the UAC's forecast tutorial. Learn how to read the avalanche forecast

Backcountry skiing and snowboarding can be dangerous if you aren't prepared with the right knowledge and equipment. All backcountry terrain—whether that's the highest, steepest peak in the range or a benign-looking slope just beyond the rope line—poses a risk because snow and avalanche conditions aren't controlled. Every skier and snowboarder who ventures into the backcountry should have the requisite education and skills to safely travel in avalanche terrain and perform an avalanche rescue. At a minimum, this entails reading and understanding an avalanche forecast, choosing appropriately safe backcountry terrain and effectively using avalanche rescue gear (beacon, shovel, probe).

If that sounds daunting, fear not. The UAC offers everything from the essential introductory Know Before You Go online program to avalanche rescue clinics to professional-level forecasting courses. Ski Utah has an entire page devoted to helping understand and plan your avalanche safety education along with some tips about differentiating between backcountry and resort terrain as well as about packing the proper essential gear.

 

Resorts and Backcountry Access

Some of Utah's resorts offer backcountry access through gates at the resort boundary. Some also offer uphill access within resort boundaries for skiers and snowboarders who want to earn their turns. Please remember backcountry terrain accessed via resort gates is uncontrolled and requires the same respect, education and gear as all other backcountry areas. Always double check with resorts regarding current uphill and backcountry access policies before heading out.

Skinning Uphill Mikell Bova

 

Resort Uphill Travel Allowed? Backcountry Access Gates? Early Ups? More Information / Uphill Policy Details
Alta
Yes, with restrictions Yes Yes details >
Beaver
Mountain
Yes, with restrictions Yes No details >
Brian Head No Yes No details >
Brighton Yes, with restrictions Yes Yes details >
Cherry Peak Yes, with restrictions No No details >
Deer Valley No No Yes details >
Eagle Point Yes, with restrictions Yes No details >
Nordic Valley Yes, with restrictions No No details >
Park City
Mountain
Yes, with restrictions Closed 2020/21 Season No: Rise and Mine Canceled details >
Powder
Mountain
Yes, with restrictions No No details >
Snowbasin Yes, with restrictions Yes No details >
Snowbird No Yes Yes with Seven Summits Package details >
Solitude No Yes Yes on Sunday and Monday with Club Solitude details >
Sundance No No No details >
Woodward
Park City
No No No details >
Alta
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? Yes
Early Ups? Yes
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Beaver Mountain
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? Yes
Early Ups? No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Brian Head
Uphill Travel Allowed? No
Backcountry Access Gates? Yes
Early Ups? No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Brighton
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? Yes
Early Ups? Yes
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Cherry Peak
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? No
Early Ups? No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Deer Valley
Uphill Travel Allowed? No
Backcountry Access Gates? No
Early Ups? Yes
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Eagle Point
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? Yes
Early Ups? No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Nordic Valley
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? No
Early Ups? No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Park City Mountain
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? Closed 2020/21 Season
Early Ups? No: Rise and Mine Canceled
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Powder Mountain
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? No
Early Ups? No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Snowbasin
Uphill Travel Allowed? Yes, with restrictions
Backcountry Access Gates? Yes
Early Ups? No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Snowbird
Uphill Travel Allowed? No
Backcountry Access Gates? Yes
Early Ups? Yes with Seven Summits Package
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Solitude
Uphill Travel Allowed? No
Backcountry Access Gates? Yes
Early Ups? Yes on Sunday and Monday with Club Solitude
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Sundance
Uphill Travel Allowed? No
Backcountry Access Gates? No
Early Ups? No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >
Woodward
Uphill Travel Allowed? No
Backcountry Access Gates? No
Parking Restrictions* No
More Information / Uphill Policy Details details >

 

Guided Services

You don't have to go it alone in the Utah backcountry. There are numerous guided services and experiences you can choose from depending on your experience level, budget and goals. These range from helicopter skiing and snowboarding in the Wasatch to lift-assisted backcountry tours between resorts to human-powered adventures in the Uinta mountains and everything in between.

 

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