Athletics
Backcountry

Backcountry Academy Program

    • Backcountry Banner Photos

      CVA Backcountry Team at Baldy

World-Class

Our visionary Backcountry Program delivers an unparalleled experience for athletes who seek a lifetime of adventure and powder turns in the mountains.

PROGRAM PHILOSOPHY

CVA Backcountry is the leader in backcountry skiing and snowboarding education for middle and high school students. We provide training in off-piste skiing skills, avalanche education, ski mountaineering, and we use backcountry skiing and adventure travel to develop skills in leadership, problem solving, communication, risk management, and teamwork. This program is designed with the adventurous skier in mind, who is always up for exploring and searching for the best terrain and snow.

There is no other ski-academy level program in the United States where young athletes can be immersed in the backcountry environment learning crucial skills and refining technique for a lifetime of success and love in the mountains. 

BACKCOUNTRY COACHING

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  • Garrett Morrow

    Backcountry Program Director
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Backcountry skiing and riding is a sport where skiing out-of-bounds is the norm and searching for the perfect powder turn is never ending. It allows skiers and riders to experience the wild mountain environment without ski lifts, groomers, trail closures, or crowds. It requires a higher level of knowledge about traveling safely in the mountains, making decisions, and working as a team.  
Skills to excel and stay safe in the mountains take years to learn, and a lifetime to master.  We are proud of the technical skillset and ski resume that our students leave CVA with, but we are prouder of their ability to work through the decision-making process, think about risk management, and strive to continue learning and for excellence in their backcountry ski career. 

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  • Travel

    Travel locations have included:
    • Alaska
    • Wyoming
    • Montana
    • British Columbia
    • Chamonix
    • La Grave
    • Northern Quebec
    Over the course of the winter, we will travel to world-class and iconic ski locations in order to apply these skills to a big mountain environment and allow for exposure to different snow climates and ski cultures. 

    In addition, our local venues around the Sugarloaf area and the White Mountains offer amazing opportunities for training and skill development.
  • Acquired Skills

    Acquired skills include:
    • Uphill ski touring technique; skiing efficiency and skill, transition organization and efficiency. 
    • Downhill technique; diverse skiing skill in all snow conditions and terrain and line selection - powder, chowder, bumps, breakable crust, groomers, corn, wind slab, hardpack and ice, trees, steep skiing, couloirs, spines, open faces, etc.
    • General mountain travel; gear selection and familiarity, clothing layering, nutrition, personal system organization and efficiency, pacing.
    • Mountain sense; mountain navigation, route finding and selection, hazard analysis, decision making.
    • Interpersonal skills; leadership, group communication, teamwork, time management.
    • Mountaineering and Ski Mountaineering; general use of technical climbing equipment, crampons, ice tools, basic climbing and rappelling techniques, application of skills. 
    • Travel skills; packing, traveling with equipment, sleep and nutrition on the road, situational awareness, academic discipline. 
  • Industry Certifications & Trainings

    Industry certifications and recognized trainings:
    • An American Avalanche Association-recognized Level One Avalanche Course
    • An American Avalanche Association-recognized Level Two Avalanche Course (for upperclassmen with multiple years enrolled in the backcountry program)
    • SOLO Schools Wilderness First Aid certification
    • SOLO Schools Wilderness First Responder certification (for upperclassmen with multiple years enrolled in the backcountry program)
    • Yearly attendance at Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop