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The Ultimate Guide to Backcountry Skiing & Ski Mountaineering

skills for a long and rewarding career skiing in the backcountry

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Untracked waist deep powder, cresting ridgelines to see what's on the other side, and endless life experience deposits are a few key reasons why skiing in the backcountry is the best.

Yet, before venturing beyond the ski resort boundary, it is important to have the knowledge and skills to stay alive in the backcountry. Avalanches are the number one fear, for good reason. Predicting where, when, and how they occur can feel like voodoo magic. Then you have all the gear. With so many options where do you even start? What about actually being able to move in the mountains? How in the world are some skiers logging 10,000 feet in one day, when you feel totally destroyed after 1/4th of that? What do they know that you don't? And then there are all these other skills that you don't even know that you don't know. Questions you don't even know to ask.

You just discovered a jackpot of backcountry wisdom to answer these questions and more. All accessible within this entertaining video based online course.

You will learn the knowledge and skills gained from many years of intense backcountry skiing, guiding skiing, and professional development (IFMGA Mountain Guide & AAI Avalanche Level III certifications & PSIA Level III) from several stoked experts.


Five Parts:

Avalanche Education: A solid foundation of baseline skills is laid first, and then we quickly build on that to more advanced skills. Everyone needs great avalanche awareness skills. Without this you are sunk, and it will be hard to find repeat ski partners.

Movement: Next, we move on to a comprehensive spectrum of cool techniques to help you move better in the mountains. Ski touring up, booting, skiing steep lines, hucking, and ice climbing. You will be eager to practice, and then apply these skills in real terrain.

Gear: Feeling flooded with massive amount of products you can blow your money on? We cut through the fluff, and you get gear recommendations that work the best for the people that use them the most. Eliminate any buying confusion you might have, see gear you need to take you places you've never been, and upgrade gear that is holding you back.

Anchors: These skills, when applied correctly, will open the door to an amazing world of steep lines, more untracked powder, and first descents. When you can build a solid anchor in rock and snow, you have the keys to the castle! Learn these skills with minimal gear to keep your pack as light as possible.

Expedition Skills: Want to ski in Alaska, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Chamonix or Norway? If you don't yet, you will. Learn some crevasse rescue techniques, navigation anywhere in the world with your smartphone, and more.

Your ambition and talent + this course = skiing bigger lines more confidently. This learning experience will be fun, applicable, and practical...No bull$&!+


Course Curriculum


  Part 2 // Movement: Ice Climbing for Skiers
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Part 3 // Gear: Waxing Like A Champ
Available in days
days after you enroll

Your Instructor


Mark Smiley
Mark Smiley

Mark Smiley has been climbing, skiing and guiding for the better part of this life. His passion for adventure has taken him around the world. 5 Denali expeditions, and 20+ expeditions to places like China, Peru, Ecuador, Across Europe, Canada and Alaska, have given Mark a ton of experience to draw from.

He and his wife are the only people in the world to have climbing on all 50 Classic Climbs of North America (48 successfully). Additionally, he was part of a team to set a world record skiing across the entire Alps Mountain Range in a mere 36 days.

His teaching style is fun, concise and easy to understand. As an IFMGA Certified Mountain Guide, he is among the world's elite guides to reach this status. More important than this certification, is his candid style of conveying to you the best of the best information and techniques that will really help you. Through this course you will tap into his expertise, skills, and knowledge for real world learning.

You can interact with Mark via his website: smileysproject.com
Instagram feed @smileysproject


Anyone lucky enough to have been taught by these three steep skiing and backcountry skiing experts only has good things to say. Now, they share their magic with you! Steep skiing and avalanche education are huge topics that they tackle with professional poise. You will take away actionable tips that will make a difference.


Steph Schmitt is a top tier ski instructors at one of the best ski resorts in the world. She goes in depth on several skills needed for steep skiing.

Zahan Billimoria is an IFMGA Mountain Guide, Patagonia athlete, avalanche educator, and an amazing educator. The avalanche education he provides in the course will have you thinking about it in a practical and applicable way.

Cody Townsend is a household name in the ski industry. He etched his name in the history books from countless incredibly steep descents around the world. Currently he is working on skiing the 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America. Get some pointers from him on what he does best, steep skiing!

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Courses Included with Purchase



Modern Smartphone Navigation Like A Pro
Confidently navigate anywhere in the world with minimal investment
Mark Smiley
$19

Original Price: $19


The individual chapters of Mark’s ski mountaineering course outlined a thorough overview of what this sport fully entails. After making a solid dent into the curriculum, it is evident that Mark put a lot of time and effort into curating this course to the point where it has proven to me how many variables (controlled vs. incontrollable) there are in ski mountaineering. This course has made me gain a greater sense of respect for the sport and the mountains themselves. My biggest takeaway from this course is to not take this sport lightly if you want to achieve bigger objectives. You need to mentally and physically gear up well in advance. I can’t wait to embark on my first tours of the year and reference back through this course. I am extremely thankful to have this ski mountaineering bible at my disposal.

Rad Spence

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
Will watching videos of an expert make me an expert?
No- but this will help a bunch in that direction. Hands on experiences, making mistakes, and getting direct feedback are required to become an expert.
What about splitboarders?
90% of all these skills and techniques can be applied to splitboarders. The "steep skiing" section does not translate, but everything else is applicable.

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