Honest assessment of your ability and fitness level is very important. If you do not have the fitness or ability to keep up with the others in a particular group you will be frustrated.
The following guidelines should help:
High Peaks Traverse – The High Peaks traverse through Avalanche Pass is 13 miles plus elevation gain and loss and participants should already be capable cross-country skiers, with the fitness to ski all day.
Intermediate Level – You might already have some backcountry skiing experience. You are a regular alpine skier and can comfortably ski intermediate level (blue square) trails at any major ski area (like Whiteface). Your fitness level is good enough to spend 5-7 hours out skiing with the energy to control your descent on moderate terrain. (Instruction will include strategies for efficiency and comfort for these types of days.) Instruction will review the basics and introduce a variety of intermediate level techniques for ascent and descent in backcountry terrain and conditions. Very limited demo equipment available. If you don’t have your own gear, consider whether you belong in this class.
Advanced Level – You must have prior backcountry experience to participate in the advanced tours. In addition, you are an avid alpine skier and can comfortably ski expert level (black diamond) trails at any major ski area (like Whiteface). Your fitness should be good enough to spend 6-8 hours out skiing with a pack, with the energy to control your descent on challenging terrain and snow conditions. Instruction assumes prior knowledge of your equipment and intermediate techniques and focuses on more advanced backcountry techniques. You must have your own alpine touring or telemark equipment.