Cross-country skiing across a frozen lake.The first Northeaster of the Winter visited nearby Woodstock and the October Country Inn a little earlier than usual this season.  Consequently, a good foot of snow now blankets the hillsides.  Therefore, this provides a visual cue that it’s time to prepare for Winter fun.  For many of our guests, this means backcountry skiing.  If this is a brand of Winter fun that interests you, the Catamount Trail Association sometimes offers instructional courses.

Introductory backcountry skiing c0urses:

cross-country ski instructor teaches students.

An Introduction course to Overland Touring is for the new skier.  Especially those looking to try point-to-point backcountry touring on the Catamount or  similar trails.  And for those using lightweight nordic touring equipment.  The course will emphasize skill demonstration, practice, evaluation, and feedback.  Likely participants might not be familiar with nordic skis.  However, it requires some skiing experience, and interest in getting off the beaten path.  The course covers different equipment types, layering strategies, moving forward efficiently.  It include stopping/speed control, turning, and basic uphill technique.  The goal of this course is to introduce and reinforce the basic skills required for an easy tour over gently rolling terrain.  Once comfortable with the skills presented during this course, you will be ready for the Intermediate Overland Touring course.

Intermediate courses:

An Intermediate Overland Touring course takes the form of a teaching tour.  The group will explore easier backcountry trails in search of teachable moments.  The emphasis during this course will be learning by doing.  Topics similar to those in the introductory course will be covered.  You will be practicing these skills and putting them to use under slightly more challenging conditions.  Once comfortable with the skills presented, you will be ready to participate in one of Catamount Trail Association’s introductory day tours.

Photo of a group of three nordic skiiers navigating a patch of ungroomed snow through the woods.Learn to Telemark ski.

A Telemark Turn Clinic is often held at nearby Pico Mountain.  Most importantly, this course is for skiers looking to tackle more challenging terrain, or those who want to spice up tours by being able to take better advantage of skiable downhill areas.  So, this course will take place on easy, lift accessed, downhill terrain at a ski resort, and will emphasize skill demonstration, practice, and technique evaluation.  In other words, this is an introductory level class for the beginning and intermediate Telemark skiers looking to develop and refine their skills

Backcountry instruction.

An Introduction to Mountain Touring course aims at expert level skiers new to backcountry exploring.  This course takes the form of an instructional tour and covers layering strategies, what it means to be prepared, navigation, efficient touring and uphill techniques.  At the end of the course you will be more prepared to safely spend a full day in the backcountry.