Backcountry Ski Festival returns this weekend

KEENE VALLEY – The 12th annual Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival, hosted by The Mountaineer gear store, will take place Saturday and Sunday.

The festival will feature SCARPA athlete Chris Davenport, who is one of the world’s most accomplished big mountain skiers. Among his many ski mountaineering achievements, in 2007 Davenport became the first person to ski all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks in less than one year.

Davenport will give a presentation at Keene Central School Saturday evening. The presentation is open to the public. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show, and tickets are $10 with raffle tickets available for $1 each. The Mountaineer is encouraging all attendees to bring a non-perishable donation to the Keene Food Pantry to Saturday evening’s presentation.

Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides in Keene Valley will lead guided backcountry tours for several ability levels on Saturday and Sunday, and Chuck Boyd will teach an Introduction to Avalanche Safety and Awareness course on Saturday, with a fieldwork component on Sunday. Advance registration for all guided tours and instructional clinics is required. Registration information is available at

Demos and mini clinics will be held at Otis Mountain in Elizabethtown on Saturday. Otis Mountain is a private ski area that offers a venue for testing out the latest skis and boots as well as clinics on skinning, telemark skiing, splitboarding and more.

Mammut will be on hand with an avalanche beacon practice park that is open to the public. Mini-clinics and equipment demos from a variety of companies will be free of charge, and no registration is required. Just show up ready to ski. The mini-clinics and demos take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Otis Mountain is located off of state Route 9 in Elizabethtown, just a 15 minute drive from Keene Valley.

Local guide and backcountry splitboarder Will Roth will host a free “Intro to Splitboarding” clinic with splitboard demos from Voile. In addition, Green Goddess Natural Foods will be on site all day with soup, grilled wraps, hot coffee, hot chocolate and baked goods available for purchase.

The Skifest is a benefit event, with proceeds supporting the New York State Ski Education Foundation’s Nordic racing programs and the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, stewards of the Adirondack Park’s backcountry ski trail system, including the Jackrabbit Trail.

For more information, visit or contact Holly Blanchard at or Vinny McClelland at