Ski Terrain near Washington Pass

Winter is our favorite season of the year here. Many of us moved here for the backcountry skiing opportunities. While not the easiest place to get to, those who make the effort are rewarded handsomely by the skiing.With the closure of the North Cascades highway in the Fall, the entire Washington Pass area becomes our own private playground. Dozens of areas to tour are available to us and our guides will decide where to find the best snow, and the most appropriate terrain, terrain based on your skills, the current conditions and avalanche hazard. Our guides know this terrain better than almost anyone, as we spend countless days each season exploring the hidden nooks and crannies of these mountains.

 

The combination of snowmobile access, highly skilled guides and amazing location make skiing with North Cascades Mountain Guides an exceptional experience.

Being on the East side of the Cascades, our snowpack differs significantly from the West side of the mountains. While we don’t get the same quantities of snow, we still receive an abundance of powder. The big difference is that on the East side, our temperatures stay much colder, leaving us with colder, dryer snow. The cold temps allows snow to remain fluffy for many days after a snowfall as well.

Deep, Cold Snow

Deep, Cold Snow

Because the North Cascades Highway is closed in the Winter, much of our ski terrain can only be accessed by snowmobile.  NCMG guides will show you everything you need to know to safely operate a snowmobile to reach the trail head we will be touring from. We have numerous snowmobiles that we utilize and carry all of our gear on a cargo sled that the guide will tow behind his machine. This also allows us to bring extra clothes, emergency equipment and lots of hot cocoa that we can leave back at the machines for the end of the day.

There are literally dozens of possible touring options available and we can accommodate a wide variety of skier abilities. We have taken out many first time backcountry skiers into the mountains and we can customize a tour to focus on avalanche safety, advanced touring techniques or just getting the best turns possible. These tours are offered almost every day of the winter with advanced registration. These tours are arranged on a custom basis and we rarely try to match up individuals who don’t know each other.

Unloading the Snowmobiles at the base of the Spires

For those that have backcountry skied before, we have terrain available to accommodate any skier ability from the timid beginner to the expert ripper. Because our guides are out there most days of the winter, they are tuned in to finding the best snow and the terrain you are looking for. While it is helpful to have a Level 1 avalanche course under your belt, each tour will begin with an avalanche safety briefing and practice session for all of our guests. Participants should have some skiing experience.  Participants don’t need to be expert skiers but the better you are the more fun it will be.

Ski touring does require a certain degree of fitness. We can accommodate your day to your level of fitness, but the more you prepare, the more you will enjoy your day. Typical days of touring are between 3000-6000 vertical feet of climbing up and skiing down. Since these are arranged on a custom basis, its easy for us to find a tour to suit your fitness level. Please let us know if you have any concerns about your fitness.

 

Guiding Fees

  • $145/day/person for 4 skiers
  • $170/day/person for 3 skiers
  • $225/day/person for 2 skiers
  • $375/day for 1 skier
  • EARLY SEASON SPECIAL – Nov – Dec 20, 2014: $300/day for 1 skier, each additional person only $75!
NCMG guide Brad Sawtell enjoying another day at work.

NCMG guide Brad Sawtell enjoying another day at work.  Photo by Jonathan Hawkins

Other info:

Program Cost Inclusions

  • Snowmobile transport to and from the trail head
  • Use of avalanche safety equipment
  • Guiding by one of NCMG’s knowledgeable local guides

Photos from some past tours

(you will find many more in our blog under trip reports and the latests backcountry conditions reports here)

Video from Delancy and the Hairpin Valley