Guided Skiing and Snowshoeing CUA



The CUA authorizes guided cross-country snowshoeing and ski touring trips on low to moderate angle terrain which does not exceed incidental slope angles of 34°.


General Provisions

  1. Definitions:
    1. Low angle trips are defined as trips that involve terrain with a slope angle less than 20°.
    2. Moderate angle trips are defined as trips that involve terrain with a slope angle between 20°–34°.
    3. Steep angle trips are defined as trips that involve terrain with a slope angle greater than 34°.
  2. Ski lessons, ski schools, technical training, and ski mountaineering activities are not authorized under this CUA. Ski mountaineering is defined for the purposes of this authorization as climbing peaks and ridges above the tree line and/or taking routes that require the use of technical mountaineering equipment (i.e. aids used for protection from falls such as crampons, ice screws, ropes). Mountain passes above the tree line and terrain greater than 34° may be traversed to go from one area to another only if they are incidental to the trip
    (i.e. the pass is not the destination of the trip) AND only when these routes can be safely used without the aid of technical mountaineering equipment as outlined above. Steep angle skiing is not allowed.
  3. Skiing and snowshoeing are prohibited on groomed roads associated with oversnow vehicle traffic (i.e., Grand Loop Road), except on designated routes or crossing.
  4. CUA holders are encouraged to stay in designated trail corridors.
  5. Skiers and snowshoers should maintain separate tracks. Snowshoers should not use ski tracks to avoid creating hazardous conditions for skiers.
  6. Maximum group size for day use is 12 people, which must include at least one guide.
  7. CUA holders are limited to 3 groups per day. Each group must be dispersed a minimum of 60 minutes apart and may not congregate at a destination.
  8. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is closed to off-trail travel, including climbing, between the Chittenden Bridge and Silver Cord Cascade (36 CFR § 1.5).
  9. Overnight backcountry use requires an overnight backcountry CUA and is not authorized under this CUA.

Staffing and Employment

  1. Moderate angle ski trips are defined as trips that involve skiing terrain with a slope angle between 20° - 34°.
    1. At a minimum, each guide leading a moderate angle ski trip must have completed a Professional Level 1 Avalanche Course or equivalent.
    2. Each guide and clients are required to be equipped, at a minimum, with a transceiver, clinometer, shovel, and probe.
    3. At least one guide must have Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certification.
  2. Low Angle ski and snowshoeing trips are defined as trips that involve terrain with a slope angle less than 20°.
    1. Each guide leading a low angle ski trip must have completed an Avalanche Awareness course. Completion of a Recreational Level 1 or equivalent course is recommended.
    2. Guides leading low angle front country ski trips and clients are recommended to be equipped with a transceiver, clinometer, shovel, and probe; however, these are not required.
    3. Each guide must be currently certified in standard First Aid and CPR.
    4. One guide on each trip must have relevant outdoor experience including previous experience on the trails and/or in the area they are guiding.
  3. The guide, for any trip within the park, must have a basic knowledge of map reading and must have a topographic map of the area for their trip. It is recommended the guide have a compass and knowledge of compass use.

Operational Requirements

  1. Guides are required to obtain the following certifications:
    1. CPR and first aid certification (all guides)
    2. Avalanche Awareness Course (all guides for snowshoeing trips and low angle skiing)
    3. Professional Level 1 Avalanche Course or equivalent (all guides for moderate angle ski trips)
    4. Wilderness first aid or wilderness first responder (required for at least 1 guide on each moderate angle ski trip).
  2. All guides must carry a first aid kit suitable for backcountry emergencies and appropriately sized for the group they are guiding.
  3. Each guide must carry a reliable emergency communication device which could include a GPS locator beacon, satellite messenger, or satellite phone. While cell phones provide an excellent backup tool for
    emergency communications (911), they are not always reliable in Yellowstone’s backcountry.
  4. When multiple guides are leading a trip, they must carry devices that will allow them to communicate with each other.
  5. CUA holders are responsible for ensuring that guides and clients are properly attired for the current and forecasted weather conditions. Routes will be determined based on clients’ abilities and desires.
  6. While in Yellowstone, the CUA holder or guide shall remain with their clients for the duration of the trip.
  7. The CUA holder or guide shall provide all clients with an orientation prior to the trip which emphasizes safe practices while skiing and snowshoeing in winter conditions. At a minimum, the orientation should include nature and demands of the trips, safety and emergency procedures, weather conditions, park regulations, wildlife interactions, and Leave No Trace practices.

How to apply for this CUA activity

  1. Complete CUA application packets should be submitted via email to
  2. Complete application packets include the documents listed below (click on the blue links below to download each document):
  3. If your application is missing any components listed above, we will inform you via the email address or phone number listed on the application. Any incomplete applications will be placed on hold until all required documentation is received.
  4. Once your application packet has been reviewed and approved, we will send the CUA, NPS Form 10-115, via the email address listed on the application.
  5. The CUA holder will then sign and return the CUA form(s) to The CUA is not final until the signed form(s) are received by our office.
  6. Submit a guide card request for any guides/employees that will be entering the park under this CUA at least two weeks prior to their first trip in the park.
  7. Complete and submit Annual Report Forms—Due by January 31st following the operating year.

Last updated: November 9, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park , WY 82190-0168



Contact Us

Stay Connected