Bear Valley Mountain (BVMT) offers a unique opportunity to access backcountry terrain adjacent to the ski area through the use of “soft boundaries”. For those with a good working knowledge of avalanche avoidance and willingness to do a little work, BVMT can nearly double in size and offer some spectacular backcountry skiing and riding experiences. Often the assistance of chairlifts, traverses and bus shuttles can minimize the workload and maximize the fun. Please note that these backcountry areas can be remote and dangerous. Ski patrol does not manage these areas so you are basically on your own. It is strongly recommended to seek education and/or a guide from Mountain Adventure Seminars if you are unsure of your skills or knowledge of the terrain at Bear Valley.
- Private Soft Boundary Tours
- Ski/Board Avalanche Level I Seminar
What are “Soft Boundaries”?
Most boundaries at the ski area are “Closed” and cannot be crossed under any circumstance. These boundaries are marked with a rope and a sign stating “CLOSED SKI AREA BOUNDARY”. Passing through a closed ski area boundary is punishable by law, as well as having your skiing and riding privilege revoked permanently.
“Soft boundaries” are different in that they denote a ski area boundary but people are allowed to cross this boundary. “Soft boundaries” are posted as “SKI AREA BOUNDARY”. It is important to understand that passing through a “soft boundary” means that you are leaving the ski resort. Ski Patrol does not manage these areas for hazards such as obstacles or avalanche danger. If you are unsure of the status of a ski areas boundary, ask ski patrol. It is expected that folks leaving the ski area via a “soft boundary” will exercise the “Principle of Responsible Backcountry Travel”.
- Don’t go into backcountry avalanche terrain alone.
- Tell someone responsible your group’s route and timetable. Arrange for a check-in upon your return.
- Use the buddy system. Keep visual and auditory contact with your group.
- Be aware of others and don’t descend or traverse above them in avalanche terrain.
- Never go through a closed boundary*. When in doubt ask.
- Carry and know how to use avalanche safety equipment (e.g. beacon, shovel and probe).
- Know avalanche avoidance techniques. Seek education.
- Determine potential hazards (i.e. avalanche potential, cliffs and challenging snow conditions) and how to deal with them.
- Know how to properly reenter the ski resort. When in doubt ask.
- Ski and ride conservatively, the consequences are much greater outside the ski resort.
Mountain Adventure Seminars (MAS) offers programs at BVMT dedicated to backcountry skill development and the pursuit of quality untracked turns. Advanced skiers and riders are welcome to register in the following programs held at the ski resort. All programs include avalanche safety equipment (beacon, shovel & probe) and require a lift ticket.
- Private “Soft Boundary” Tours
- Ski/Board Avalanche Level I Seminar
Hiring a private guide can allow the flexibility needed for your schedule, or simply take advantage of powder day. MAS guides can take a good day and turn it into a truly awesome adventure that will keep you smiling for days.
Ski/Board Avalanche Level I Seminar Advanced skiers and snowboarders are welcome to enroll in this 2-day exciting and fast-paced avalanche education program. Gain essential backcountry snow safety education with avalanche hazard evaluation, beacon use and rescue skills. An introduction to snowpack analysis and discussion of weather factors as they pertain to snow stability will be covered both inside and out. “Soft boundaries” at the ski resort will be used to learn about a variety of backcountry conditions. Emphasis will focus on evaluating slope stability, safe route finding and the “human-factor” on decision making in avalanche terrain.
Contact Mountain Adventure Seminars to book any of these packages at 209.753.6556 x1.