Ski Mountaineering

Alex and Erik just had what may have been the course of their winter. Ski guiding is a relatively small segment of our business, and that of the NH guiding business in general, so when we get a day of this work, let alone a long weekend of it we’re excited. We’re currently trying to expand our ski programming to get more folks introduced to the world of back country skiing. The skiing and techniques required is not overly burdensome, but getting instruction for your first day out will greatly quicken the learning curve. As you get into the world of Ski Mountaineering their is a a slew of technical skills that need to be refined in order to participate safely.

This group of three was curious about getting into the world of back country and ski mountaineering, so we designed a three day curriculum to introduce them to the techniques and skills required. On day one we went over gear and clothing requirements for being in the backcountry. We practiced transitions ( moving up hill to downhill, which requires a number of equipment changes) and beacon searches in case of an avalanche burial. On day two we practiced moving as a rope team, dug a snow pit and experimented with a number of stability tests, and what these testes tell us about the relative avalanche safety. On day three we combined many of the formerly learned skills to ski Hillmans Highway in Tuckermans Ravine! The weather kept us from covering all that we wanted, but that in its self is a great learning experience, and gave us ample opportunity to address not only surviving but thriving in those conditions.

If you’re getting tired of shredding groomers and riding lifts, or want to take your skiing to the next level, get in touch with us to book a custom back country ski day. NH is blessed with a wide range of terrain from historical backcountry ski trails at lower elevations, to big mountain lines in alpine terrain. The prime season for the bigger objectives is fast approaching!

(Click on any image to begin viewing in gallery mode.)

Del photo 1

Delphine is a new mountain explorer. She has been a skier for some time in the resort areas, until a little while ago when she tried ice climbing. It seems that with this experience she has caught the mountaineering bug. Delphine contacted MMG to go backcountry skiing on Mt. Cardigan near Bristol, NH. Since the ice climbing trip she went on, Delphine has begun winter camping and ski touring on her cross country skis. All this has left her wanting to get into the steeper back country terrain.

Del photo 2

To enter these areas one needs to have many skills beyond the ability to ski. Navigation, back country travel in winter, avalanche awareness, and many others. All these topics were discussed while we toured the Cardigan loop.


Our day began as we skinned up the Dukes trail towards the Firescrew. Once in the open face of the Firescrew we decided to take the skins off for a quick run through the trees. Here Delphine ripped it up, speeding and carving perfect turns around the trees and through snow drifts. After climbing back to our packs, we continued our ascent up the Firescrew towards the summit of Cardigan.


On our traverse of the exposed ridgeline the wind and the snow picked up giving us a real alpine feel. We skinned right over the summit of Cardigan! After a picture or two we began our descent. With a little navigation in the fog we found our next objective, the long steep Alexandria trail.


Soon we were flying through the trees to where the Alexandria really opens up. Once there Delphine and I let it rip full speed down the trail. It’s amazing how fast one can travel through mountain terrain on skis. What took us a few hours to climb, we were down in minutes. All together, the grand tour of Mt. Cardigan on skis is one of the mountain gems of New Hampshire.

Thank you Delphine for a great day in the mountains. I look forward to more skiing and learning about avalanche awareness in the Mt. Washington backcountry.

Alex Teixeira

MMG Guide