What is the terrain like… rolling? Trails? etc. (give me an idea/picture of what we will be facing)
There are trails of varying degrees of climbing, rolling and access to ski terrain throughout the county. You can go out and kick and glide from the Gold Run Nordic Center (970.547.7889) up the Peabody Placer Rd (talk to folks at Gold Run Nordic Center). You can also do the Siberian Loop which is what you and I did. Access to that is from the Breckenridge Nordic Center and they’d give you the beta as well. This is a tough one to suggest terrain without knowing your ability. You can hang it out hard if you want or you can end up doing so without meaning to! I would suggest talking to the local shops: Mountain Outfitter’s in Breck (970.453.2201) or Wilderness Sports in Silverthorne (970.262.3875) for more guiding suggestions. Or call Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center 970.453.5633
Please understand that the winter backcountry in Co. is no place to be if you do not know what you are doing. It is almost impossible for a southerner that is not an expert skier and trained in snow science to truly be safe. With that said there are trail systems that are as safe as can be and you being respectful to the surroundings should be able to enjoy. Remember in the backcountry you cannot have any ego. No matter what you see others doing remember it is not a license for you to attempt the same, safely. Who knows what someone else knows. I was in a meeting last week in New Orleans with a man who is a trainer for backcountry travel and snow science and he said one thing that I will always remember. He said every weekend when I go out into the backcountry I see people doing things that are very dangerous. However as I said skinning into a hut that is in a safe area should be very fun and a wonderful experience.
What kind of necessary equipment will we need if we do decide to backcountry ski / advise to make our trip as safe and fun as possible?
You will need skis and bindings with free heel capability. Shovels, skins, avalanche beacons, probe poles for anything with any downhill pitch. For regular trail cruising you can use a basic touring ski and boot with good lick and glode. You will either need waxless or waxable skis depending on your knowledge of waxing. This is less equipment intensive: Skis, boots, poles, fanny pack or small water bottle carrier on your hips.