Winter Skills

Confidently Explore the Backcountry

Winter Courses at NOLS

Start with two feet of fresh snow and not a lift line in sight. With backcountry skills in hand, identify and assess terrain and find your perfect line. Now imagine the quiet of a winter night and a sky full of stars—this is winter backcountry exploration.

NOLS winter backcountry courses are designed for skiers and snowboarders of all levels who want to escape resort crowds and develop the necessary skills to confidently plan winter adventures on their own. You’ll learn what you need to know to live comfortably and enjoy  touring in the wilderness during the winter season.

New for Winter 2019/20

  • We added a mid-December Backcountry Avalanche Training session for those who want to get a jump start on ski season. 
  • For high school and college students, we’re offering FOURTEEN sessions throughout March and April to match your Spring Break schedules.

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The Winter Adventure You've Been Waiting For 


Backcountry Avalanche Training:

If you’re an avid skier or snowboarder, looking beyond the resort, this is the course for you.Prepare for the risks and develop the decision-making skills to explore avalanche terrain, learn snow science, and determine prudent and efficient routes through the mountains. Put your new touring and leadership skills in action as you explore the backcountry and earn a NOLS Level 1 Avalanche Training certification endorsed by the American Avalanche Association.


Backcountry Touring Adult Courses:

Start in the frontcountry at Grand Targhee Resort, known for its deep powder and striking views of the Teton Range. Once in the mountains, find miles of fresh snow and explore wild places that few people get to see in winter. Learn to build your own snow shelter, assess avalanche hazards, and practice snow travel skills. Plus, opportunity to earn a NOLS Level I Avalanche Training certification. Course offered as coed and women's only.


Spring Break Backcountry Touring Courses:

Spend your spring break doing something extraordinary. Learn what it takes to ski or splitboard in the backcountry and how to winter camp. Find fresh snow and practice assessing avalanche hazards and learn about snow science. In just a week, develop leadership and outdoor skills that will last a lifetime.


Winter Outdoor Educator:

Learn best practices for teaching leadership and outdoor skills. Designed for educators at any level -- topics include risk management, outdoor skills, and class facilitation. This 21-day winter expedition starts at Grand Targhee Resort and and includes a NOLS Level I Avalanche Training clinic. Perfect for J-Term students and adults seeking winter-specific outdoor education training. 


Leadership in the Mountains

In addition to outdoor skills, this course will focus on leadership development through experiential learning in real-life situations. Navigating challenging terrain with your group provides a unique opportunity to develop skills such as teamwork, group communication, and tolerance for adversity. Managing the dynamics of living in a small group in the outdoors is a chance to work on communication and self awareness. Assessing avalanche risk is an opportunity to develop skills in judgment and decision making.

Head home with the memory of seeing the sun rise over snow-capped peaks and carving turns in fresh powder. Connect deeply with the wilderness and the people you meet. And, most importantly, gain a new set of leadership skills you will use for the rest of your life.