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Backcountry Skiing

Earn Your Turns on the BTNF.



Backcountry skiing (also known as ski touring) is a type of skiing done in areas in which there are no lifts, no ski patrol, and no avalanche control. It requires specialized gear, avalanche awareness, and a willingness to climb a mountain before skiing it. The backcountry skiing on the BTNF is marvelous for its quality, quantity, and accessibility. And also its history: locals were skiing on Teton Pass, on the BTNF at the southern end of the Tetons, in the 1920s and 30s; a 1940 map of the pass shows many of the same runs people ski today.

The crowds of backcountry skiers on Teton Pass today could never have been imagined by these early skiers. Teton Backcountry Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group and partner of ours, estimates that over each of the past several winters, more than 150,000 ski runs have been taken on Teton Pass. With this increased usage has come increased conflict. Fights have broken out in the parking lot between cars waiting in line for a parking spot and also on skin tracks and bootpacks where the speeds of hikers can differ vastly. Skiers and snowboarders have triggered avalanches that have run down to Wyoming Highway 22, which more than 5,000 cars commute over every day, and closed the road to traffic.

While Teton Pass is the most popular backcountry skiing area on the BTNF, it is not the only one. You can go backcountry skiing in the Winds, the Gros Ventres, the Wyoming Range, and the Salt River Range. High Mountain Heli-Skiing operates on the BTNF under a special use permit.

Teton Pass Ambassadors Jay Pistono and Natalie Stimpson talk about ski touring on Teton Pass.

Know Before You Go

Check current and historic snowpack conditions in the Tetons, Greys River Area, and Togwotee on the website of our partner, the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center.

Backcountry Zero is an initiative of the Teton County Search & Rescue Foundation to reduce fatalities in the Tetons. It works on educational curriculum, best practices, and informational events for all backcountry recreational activities in every season, from backcountry skiing to rafting, cycling, snowmobiling, climbing and mountaineering and hunting and fishing.

We acknowledge with respect that our facilities are situated on the aboriginal land of the Shoshone Bannock. Eastern Shoshone. Northern Arapaho. Crow. Assiniboine. Sioux. Gros Ventre. Nez Perce.

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