Scheduled Course - Women's Specific Backcountry Touring

Wasatch Mavens - Women's Backcountry Series

Tired of a one-off class? Tour 56+ hours alongside professionals and mountain mavens for a fun, unique, season that will take you above and beyond your winter goals in great company. Spend this winter season with renowned professional guides and athletes during this women centered backcountry series and gain the confidence, skills and knowledge to become a connoisseur of the backcountry!

This program is focused on the women's experience in the backcountry. We encourage women-identifying individuals, non-binary, gender non-conforming people to come together and learn in this season-long series.

Our goal is to inspire and motivate skiers and riders in the community to get outside the confines of the resort, explore boundless terrain, gain new perspectives and bond with like-minded individuals.

AMGA/IFMGA and/or broadly experienced backcountry guides and avalanche professionals will be your mountain mentors and companions throughout the season. They are personable, relatable backcountry experts and are committed to meet each individual at their current backcountry level and help them progress from there.

Who should join the Mavens?

Those who:

  • Are comfortable with a women centered space and who are women-identifying individuals, non-binary and/or are gender non-conforming
  • Love to ski and ride and are prone to adventure
  • Regularly ski off-piste at resorts and/or have some backcountry experience
  • Are comfortable and in control linking turns in soft snow/powder
  • Love solitude in the mountains
  • Seek untracked snow
  • Want to go downhill but also stay aerobically fit
  • Want to connect with new partners
  • Like to explore the beauty and meditative value of skiing uphill
  • Would like to practice and develop their decision-making skills in and around avalanche terrain

What's Included?

  • Friendly, personable and knowledgeable professional mountain guides
  • USFS permit
  • Small guide to guest ratios
  • Personalized guiding & instruction per group
  • 3 Q&A sessions w/guides (1/month: Jan, Feb & Mar)
  • Access to a live or recorded, virtual 3-hour UMA Avalanche Skills Lecture
  • 6 Full day tours (December - March) including the required initial assessment & companion rescue tour.*
    • Note: 6 dates are offered in the new year, but participants may miss one day. Tuition covers 5 of the 6 days in the new year. UMA understands that sometimes life compels participants to miss a day. Participants may add-on the 7th tour date, at prorated fee, if they've attended all 6 tours.

Topics Included:

  • Dial in your backcountry setup, review what to bring & what not to; learn how to stay warm, yet not overheat on the skin track
  • Learn how to be a leader and solid backcountry companion
  • Get feedback, practice and hone your avalanche rescue skills
  • Methodize your tour planning - use systems to help formulate options and select appropriate tour plans (avi and weather forecasts, red light/green light terrain, etc.)
  • Set realistic goals per tour with guides and group
  • Avalanche skills as appropriate (snowpits, on-the-go tests) *this is not equivalent to a level 1 certification
  • Evolve your avalanche risk and terrain decision-making skills in relation to the changing snowpack
  • Dial in skinning technique: kick turns, pressure breathing, etc.
  • Learn to set an efficient, low-risk skin track
  • Develop your downhill movement skills in a various snow types
  • Test your limits - potentially w/steeps, trees, couloirs, distance and vertical
  • Work as a team, build each other up, be your best self, get fit, explore new terrain and celebrate being out in nature!

NOTE: Guides plan to cover the goals listed above as indicated by current weather, avalanche and snow conditions. For example, we don't want to waste a low-hazard powder day on rescue drills.

Course Add-ons:

  • Tour Planning - Maps & Apps Tutorial + Virtual Lecture
    • Join Mtn Mapping Education and UMA Guide, Will McKay, and learn how to use your mapping applications to their fullest potential.
    • Date: Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 2-3 hour evening lecture
    • Cost: $39 + Mtn Mapping Access (UMA mentorship students receive a discount to Mtn Mapping Edu.)
    • Register here & mention "Maps & Apps Add-on for Mavens"
  • Spring Skiing 101 and/or Ski Mountaineering
    • Add-on a day of Spring Skiing, a classic Wasatch line with the potential to cover skills and concepts (depending on the groups' goals, ability and experience) such as: how and when is it useful to climb on foot and to use sharps? Pros & cons of ice axe vs. whippet, ski & boot crampons; spring diurnal, unique avalanche hazards, belayed skiing/riding.
      • Cost: Inquire within at
      • Date TBD w/guides and guests in late March or early April
      • Register here & mention "Ski Mountaineering Add-on for Mavens"
  • Level 1 Avalanche
  • Level 2 Avalanche

How Can I Join the Mavens?

  • Register here
  • Before you register, please ensure that the majority of the 6 of 7 pre-scheduled Friday or Saturday dates are compatible with your winter schedule.

What is the Assessment Tour?

To get the most out of the winter-long series we will start with an evaluation tour to properly place participants within the program.

The Assessment Tour(s) is the first field day (6-8 hours) where guests and guides will tour in the backcountry and review companion rescue skills. It is required that guests attend this tour. It will provide guides and participants the chance to meet each other. It will consist of an uphill tour (~1500-2000') and skiing downhill in backcountry (variable) snow conditions. Guides will also learn about students' backcountry goals and education level. Participants will be coached and practice efficient companion rescue, using beacon, shovel and probe.

This is not meant to deter anyone. It's meant to enhance participants' experience by creating compatible tour groups for everyone, while also sharpening rescue skills for the upcoming season!

UMA will offer two Assessment Tour dates (choose one):

  • Friday, Dec 15
  • Sunday, Dec 17

How to Register:

Wasatch Mavens Series

Broads Fork

Wasatch Mavens Series

Tour Planning

Wasatch Mavens Series

Wasatch Powder

Photo by Lee Cohen

Wasatch Mavens Series

Dog Lake Chutes

Wasatch Mavens Series


Wasatch Mavens Series

Course Details

Schedule (2023/24)

Assessment Tour & Companion Rescue (choose one):

Fri, Dec 15, 2023, or
Sun, Dec 17, 2023

FRIDAY Series Dates:
Fri, Jan 5, 2024
Fri, Jan 19, 2024
Fri, Feb 2, 2024
Fri, Feb 16, 2024
Fri, Mar 1, 2024
Fri, Mar 15, 2024

SUNDAY Series Dates:
Sun, Jan 7, 2024
Sun, Jan 21, 2024
Sun, Feb 4, 2024
Sun, Feb 18, 2024
Sun, Mar 3, 2024
Sun, Mar 17, 2024


6 or 7 full-day Field Sessions. 6-8 hr days, starting at 7:30 - 8:00am.


Salt Lake City, Utah


$1,750 plus tax

*UMA requires a 50% deposit at booking, the remainder will be charged 1 week prior to the first outing.

UMA reserves the right to cancel or shorten the series if fewer than 2 participants register.


Be capable of ascending 2000'+ at a steady pace in a day. Comfortable & in control linking turns in varied ungroomed snow (light and dense powder, crusts, firm snow, etc) and terrain (trees, gullies, steeps, narrow exit trails).

*Please give a thorough and honest description, when you register for the program, of your skill and experience, to help it be safe and a good series for all. The goal will certainly be soft snow and powder skiing, but exits at the end of the day can be challenging.

View All Ski & Boarding Courses Guiding & Instruction Ski & Snowboard Equipment Logistics Frequently Asked Questions

Utah Mountain Adventures

P.O. Box 521809

Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-1809

Phone: (801) 550 3986

Fax: (801) 486 8505


Utah Mountain Adventures | Patagonia Utah Mountain Adventures | Forest Service Backcountry Skiing Utah, by Tyson Bradley