Before we had kids, my husband and I enjoyed backcountry skiing. I wasn’t as good of a skier, but I loved the peace and quiet of skinning up a slope and spending the night in one of the Sierra Club huts with friends and exploring the runs near the hut. We are working to find ways to start doing that again with our kids - we will hopefully have some updates on it this winter as we try it out more. This post is part of our Skiing/Snowboarding page.
A note on this section: it is based more on research and less on experience than our average pages. My husband and I enjoyed backcountry skiing before we had kids but as of when this was written, we haven't done much with our kids yet. We have done plenty of tree skiing with our kids and have taken our oldest child on some side-country exploration with the Contour Startup Ski Touring Adapter, along with a friend whose daughter was on telemark. The rest of the information on gear is based on research.
First, safety: your kids cannot rescue you from an avalanche, except maybe if you have older teenagers, so you must be very careful about where you take them. The minimum age I’ve seen online for AIARE Level 1 classes ranges from 10-13, however I don’t feel my 10 year old would be strong enough to dig fast enough to rescue me and I would never want to put that responsibility on her. You know your kids best though, so make the decisions that are best for your family.
For younger kids, see if you can attend an avalanche awareness presentation for kids such as the ones given by the Nikolay Dodov Foundation. These sorts of presentations get the kids to start thinking about where avalanches can occur and what causes them, and the risks of getting caught in one.
Always bring a first aid kit and enough food and warm clothing to be prepared to handle the weather, especially when you’re hiking in tougher terrain such as in snow.
Backcountry touring setup options: (I have very small feet - 22.5 boots - so finding gear that fits small feet has been a battle for me since I started backcountry skiing)
How to start:
As I mentioned, we currently don’t have much personal experience backcountry skiing with kids. Here are some of the other helpful links I have found on backcountry skiing with kids:
Two Silicon Valley engineers who have had a love of the outdoors since childhood. Parents of two small kids, spending our free time exploring the outdoors with them.