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Resort to

Go from resort skiing to backcountry shredding and make touring pals along the way. 

Ready to try backcountry snow adventures but not sure where (or how) to start? We created Resort-to-Backcountry to introduce every level of snow-sport lover to the awesomeness of backcountry. 

R2B is an incremental program design to be as low-commitment or as all-in as you want it to be. Progress as far as you feel comfortable or jump in at the level that suits your skills. And, yep — we’ve got all the gear you need!

R2B Overview

Let’s get you backcountry skiing and splitboarding safely and confidently.

Part 1: Backcountry curious?

Part 2: Try a guided backcountry skiing or splitboarding day 

Part 3: Avalanche rescue basics

Part 4: Go touring with friends!

Part 5: Get avalanche trained: AIARE I Certification

Part 6: Expand your horizons: AIARE 2 Certification

Part 1: Intro to Backcountry Info Session

Backcountry curious? Join a free evening class with other resort riders curious about heading into the backcountry. You'll learn more about the experience of backcountry, get hands-on with backcountry ski and splitboard set-ups, and play with the required avalanche safety gear. You'll leave knowing if backcountry is for you, and with next steps to get you out there.


What you'll learn:

  • Discussion of what backcountry riding is and is not

  • Instruction and assembling backcountry skis and splitboards

  • Instruction of avalanche safety gear and practice with beacons

  • Thorough Q&A of your burning questions

  • Personalized advice on next steps to progress to backcountry skiing and riding

Upcoming dates for R2B Part 1

Part 2: Guided Backcountry Day

Ease into backcountry with professional guides for a first-timers' field day.

After a classroom session, this class will take you into the beautiful PNW backcountry to learn and put the basics of uphill travel into action. The terrain is chosen specifically for first timers in the backcountry and focuses on getting a feel for touring out of bounds through backcountry skill acquisition and practice. 5 students per instructor. 

What you'll learn:

  • Putting on and using skins

  • Efficient gear management

  • Avalanche beacon safety check

  • Basic movement skills on splitboard in uphill mode

  • Uphill kick turns

  • Fundamental movement skills for downhill riding (pole use, etc)

  • Efficient and safe downhill movement in a backcountry setting

Upcoming dates for R2B Part 2

Part 3: AIARE Avalanche Rescue Basics

Learn what it takes to be a good touring partner! ​Head out on a field day for both backcountry newbies and more advanced riders — you'll learn the basics of companion rescue and expand you existing skill set with realistic scenario practice and new topics.  During the course, you'll have the opportunity to receive professional coaching on your rescue skills. Receive a rescue certification card on completion!

What you'll learn:


  • What you do if you or a member of your party is caught in an avalanche

  • How to manage a multiple-beacon rescue

  • Get comfortable with and be able to use avalanche rescue gear

  • What it feels like to be in a rescue scenario and respond with focus and skill

  • Real-time feedback from instructors and peers

  • How to develop a plan for up-leveling your skills!

Upcoming dates for R2B Part 3

Part 4: Go touring with friends

Join a tour planning night with Gearhouse’s backcountry-experienced staff to get you ready for a backcountry trip with AIARE certified friends. 

Dates to be announced — starting in January! Sign up for the Gearhouse email list and be the first to know.

 Ready to make new powder pals this winter? The Gearhouse Membership starts at just $30 a month and includes a built-in community of adventuresome Seattlies just like you.

Part 5: Get avalanche training (AIARE 1 certification)

Ready for even more adventure? Get avalanche training and you’ll be ready to join tours with other AIARE-certified backcountry travelers. 

This part of R2B includes:

  • 5 hours of self-guided study

  • 1 evening course (3 hours) 

  • 2 field days (8 hours each)

AIARE 1 is a 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management. You’ll gain strong foundational skills for preparing for and carrying out a backcountry trip, basic decision-making in the field, and rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).

What you'll learn:


  • Safety topics including: Snowpack, avalanche phenomenon, terrain analysis, stability evaluation, avalanche hazard ratings, human factors & risk assessment, decision-making

  • How to plan for travel in avalanche terrain

  • Identification of avalanche terrain

  • Effective use of The AIARE Risk Management Framework to make terrain choices in a group setting

  • Effective companion rescue

Upcoming dates for R2B Part 5

Part 6: Expand your horizons (AIARE 2 certification)

Venture into even bigger terrain with AIARE 2. This advanced course will mentor you toward planning and carrying out your own backcountry tours. Deepen your snow terrain knowledge and learn to safely navigate advanced avalanche terrain.

This is an advanced course for experienced backcountry travelers with a few years under their belt. If you’re ready to safely navigate advanced avalanche terrain and get advanced tools to make sound decisions in terrain where avalanche problems exist. 

You should have completed AIARE 1 (R2B Part 4) and Avalanche Rescue (R2B Part 3), plus have at least a year of backcountry travel experience.

This part of R2B includes:

  • 5 hours of self-guided study

  • 1 1 evening course (3 hours) 

  • 2 field days (8 hours each)


AIARE 2 is a course that provides backcountry travelers an opportunity to advance their decision making skills in more complicated situations such as being a leader within a small travel group, traveling in more complicated terrain, and/or developing a travel plan where resources are scarce. AIARE 2 builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1 and adds to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. Students will describe and discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.

You’ll be guided by instructors who are former ski patrollers, active Pro Observers for NWAC, certified ski guides, and professional climbers and skiers that are excited to show you the ropes.

What you'll learn:

  • How to observe and record factors that affect or indicate snow stability

  • Guidelines for weather, snowpack, & avalanche observation

  • Propagation tests & test profiles

  • Stability analysis & forecasting

  • Avalanche terrain recognition, slab mechanics, & skier triggering concepts

  • Complex terrain travel techniques, route selection, & decision making


1. Do I need to be an expert rider to go backcountry touring?

2. I have some backcountry experience. What part of R2B should I start with?

3. I’m interested, but I’m not sure backcountry is right for me. 

4. How much does it cost?

5. Is gear included?

6. What’s The Mountain Bureau? Why am signing up for event registration on The Mountain Bureau website? 

7. Do I have to be a Gearhouse member? What’s included in membership?

Still have questions? Shoot us an email at We’d love to chat.

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