CVA Backcountry PROGRAM 

CVA Backcountry is a leader in backcountry skiing and snowboarding education for high school students. Whether your focus is backcountry skiing, big mountain skiing, or ski mountaineering, the CVA Backcountry program allows you to travel to world-class locations to train, learn, and mentor with top educators and mountain guides. This program is designed with the adventurous skier in mind who is always up for exploring and searching for the best terrain and snow. The program teaches student-athletes mountain skills to help them navigate safely in the mountains and develops important skills like decision making, risk management, leadership, and communication. 

Backcountry athletes gain experience, training, and coaching in:

  • Backcountry skiing in a variety of terrain and snow climates
  • Avalanche studies and snow science
  • Wilderness medicine
  • Rock and ice climbing
  • Orienteering
  • Backcountry ethics
  • Pre-season and post-season training
  • Mountain biking 

Backcountry athletes earn certifications in:

  • Avalanche studies (AIARE Level 1)
  • Wilderness medicine (SOLO Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder dependenton experience)


“The past two years in the backcountry program I have grown as an individual more than I ever though I would. I learned how to become a proactive skier and set and achieve goals in order to further my backcountry experience. I became efficient at time management while juggling a homework load in between long days of incredible skiing. I am so thankful to have had this experience as a senior in high school and I look forward to continuing to explore the Rocky Mountains on skis while attending college at Montana State University.” - Cam Niven, Class of 2018

"Working with CVA students it is obvious that the Academy is focusing on the right outcomes. Specifically, how to balance the demands and necessities of life while living with others and developing deep and meaningful relationships. In my opinion, the art of living.”  - Jacob Urban, Owner of Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute

Backcountry Trips

October: White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire for outdoor rock climbing, mountain biking, and camping.
January: Bolton Valley, Vermont for hut-based backcountry skiing and powder hunting at Smuggler’s Notch.
February: La Grave, France for ski mountaineering in some of the best ski terrain in the world with IFMGA Mountain Guide Joe Vallone.
March:  Spring skiing in the alpine zone of Gaspesie National Park, Quebec. Located on the mouth of the Saint Lawrence, the French-Canadian park offers incredible skiing and culture.  This trip focuses a lot on student leadership as we put together skills and knowledge we have built upon throughout the year. 
Hut-based backcountry skiing in Vail Pass, Colorado.  March offers great snow and weather in Colorado and we will be taking advantage of the 10th Mountain Division Huts.



Program Director Patrick Scanlan brings years of experience to the position ranging from backcountry and big mountain skiing, ski mountaineering, rock climbing, and adventure travel.

Patrick is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire where he earned a dual-degree in Kinesiology and Outdoor Education and Environmental Conservation. Previously, Patrick has worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club as a backcountry site manager in Tuckerman Ravine where he worked and mentored under US Forest Service avalanche specialists to build his knowledge and experience in snow science, mountain rescue, and riskmanagement.

Patrick's industry certifications and trainings include:

  • AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, Apprentice Rock Guide
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor
  • American Avalanche Institute Professional Level 1
  • MWAC Avalanche Rescue Course
  • SOLO Wilderness First Responder
  • SOLO Wilderness Medicine Course Instructor
  • Leave No Trace Trainer



3197 Carrabassett Drive
Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947


Fax: 207.237.2213