Effective management of National Parks requires an understanding of visitors to provide safe and enjoyable visitor experiences. Risk and preparedness of snow-based recreation is not well understood outside of the context of avalanches. This study investigated the risk perception and preparedness of snow-based backcountry visitors in the Snowy Mountains of Australia through the theoretical lens of recreation specialisation. The recreation specialisation index was an appropriate tool for segmenting snow-based backcountry visitors into intermediates and experts along behavioural, cognitive and affective dimensions. We identified an overall low perception of risk and discuss the reasons and implications of this. In contrast, level of preparedness was of a high standard among both intermediate and expert snow-based backcountry visitors. This pertained to pre-trip planning and the carrying/use of safety equipment and trip notification behaviour. The findings provide insights for land managers to enhance visitor safety and risk management for snow-based backcountry visitors.