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Five Top Clinics


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1) North American Ski Training Center

Truckee, CaliforniaThree-Day Sierra Eastside ClassicApril 16—18


Review avalanche beacon and probe skills, route-finding, and ice ax and crampon techniques during a three-day trip to the big peaks of California’s eastern Sierra. Ski classic springtime descents like Ellery Bowl, Dana Couloir, and Elderberry Canyon, each with more than 4,500 vertical feet of skiing. Led by NASTC director Chris Fellows and eastside veteran, backcountry guide, and level III avalanche instructor Tim Villanueva.


$699; 530-582-4772,

2) Colorado Mountain School Estes Park, Colorado

Spring Ski-Mountaineering WeekendMarch 27—28, April 24—25, May 22—23

Lowdown: Start with an easy tour, roped-climbing review, and moderate descent (25 to 30 degrees) on day one. An early start on day two will have you climbing and skiing more exposed terrain like Ptarmigan Fingers or Dragon Tail Couloir—both with pitches greater than 40 degrees. You’ll ascend the same routes you ski, putting avalanche awareness and ice ax and crampon skills into action.
Info: REI members $290, non-members $330; 888-267-7783,

3) Exum Mountain Guides

Moose, WyomingBackcountry Sampler March 6

Lowdown: Dig avy pits, pick routes, and ski technical descents during day trips to Mail Cabin Creek, Mount Oliver, or Grand Teton National Park. “We focus on real-life scenarios. The guide will point up and say, ‘Let’s go ski that bowl over there. Okay, how do we do it safely?’ —Tom Turiano, Exum guide
Info: $220 (for one); $115 per person (for two); $80 per person (for three); $60 per person (four and up); 307-733-2297,

4) Mountain Madness, Seattle, Washington

Ski-Mountaineering Course at Whistler, British ColumbiaMarch 12—15 (Custom dates available)

Lowdown: Learn the fundamentals of roped glacier travel, setting snow anchors, and crevasse rescue—without leaving the comforts of civilization too far behind. Riding Whistler Blackcomb’s lifts, you’ll reach 7,000 feet in 25 minutes. From there, you’ll traverse the Blackcomb glacier and beyond, practicing technical skills and soaking up general touring techniques.
Info: $625; 800-328-5925,

5) International Mountain Climbing School

North Conway, New HampshireThree-Day Ski-Mountaineering CourseDates are by private arrangement from mid January to early April, open dates in March.

Lowdown: Learn roped-descent techniques, as well as ice ax and crampon skills. Test your retention with an overnight and ski descent of Mount Washington on the last day. “The majority of our ski programs are extremely conditions-dependent. In the East, one day it’s boilerplate, one day there’s high avy danger. —head guide Brad White
Info: $400—$685; 603-356-7064,