Alpental Back Bowls and Backcountry Policy

The Alpental Back Bowls are outside of the developed portion of Alpental Ski Area. The Back Bowls lie within the Alpental Ski Area use permit, but have some additional rules of use and require a more self reliant mindset .  The true backcountry lies outside of the ski area boundary and is not managed by the ski area.  Hazards, both in the Back Bowls and in the backcountry; including large cliffs, obstacles, changing snow conditions and avalanche-prone slopes, are unmarked. The Alpental Back Bowls and the backcountry are not actively patrolled by the Alpental Ski Patrol.

To view the policy waiver and release of liability, click here.


In consideration for the use of Alpental's ski lifts and other facilities, and as a condition to access the Back Bowls and backcountry from Alpental's lifts, the following regulations apply:

  • Access to the Back Bowls shall only be through marked access gates. Under no circumstances, may a rope line at Alpental be crossed.

  • Before entering the Alpental Back Bowls after using the resort's lifts, all individuals must have registered with the Alpental Ski Patrol. A Back Bowls Registration Card will be issued after you have read, understood and agreed to the rules of use and the release of liability.  An orientation tour may be available from the Alpental Ski Patrol if requested.  You must carry this card on your person whenever you enter the Alpental Back Bowls, and you must agree to show your card to the Alpental Ski Patrol when asked for card verification.

  • Access to the Back Bowls is only permitted when the Nash Gate (in Upper International) or the Elevator Gate (in Snake Dance) is open and the sign at the gate reads: "Back Bowls Card Holders Only."

  • Access to the Back Bowls is absolutely prohibited except as indicated above. Back Bowls closures indicate the Alpental Ski Patrol has determined that the Back Bowls present hazards to all who enter at that time.

  • If you choose to continue beyond the Back Bowls and travel outside of the ski area, Alpental and The Summit at Snoqualmie assume no responsibility or obligation for performing rescues in the backcountry. If a rescue in the backcountry is necessary you must realize such rescue may be delayed or not possible for an extended period of time


Recommendations for Back Bowl and Backcountry Travel

Failure to comply with any of the below recommendations could result in the loss of Back Bowls and lift privileges!

  • Every individual in the backcountry should be prepared to deal with avalanche and avalanche hazards, which exist to some degree at all times. Such preparation includes route finding knowledge, carrying an avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe, and shovel, as well as the knowledge of how to use these safety tools. An avalanche safety course is strongly recommended!

  • At least one person in the group must be familiar with the geographic area and the planned routes of ascent and descent. Large cliffs are numerous, with a limited number of safe passage routes.

  • People should never enter the Back Bowls alone! The Back Bowls and backcountry are not actively patrolled by the Alpental Ski Patrol. Ideally, you should only enter the Back Bowls in groups of three or more people. This allows for one person to stay with an injured person, while the other member of the group can leave to make arrangements for rescue and extraction from the Back Bowls or backcountry if injury occurs. [Please note: Alpental assumes no responsibility or obligation for such rescues or extractions.]

Skiing or snowboarding in the Back Bowls or backcountry terrain requires expert skills.  Risk of injury and the threat of avalanche are always present in these areas.  The "it won't happen to me" attitude is all too present in today's society.  This wild terrain and Mother Nature are nondiscriminatory. Injury can happen to anyone, at any time!  Help reduce your risk of injury by following the best practices outlined above...because Safety Starts With You!