Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Backcountry Skiing Tour

1 day
12+ years
1–4 people

Sometimes, just sometimes, it can be VERY advantageous for backcountry skiers to take a lift. Join us and ski outside the boundaries of Lake Tahoe’s premier resort. Take the lift and spend  less time hiking and more time skiing this incredible backcountry terrain. You'll get some of the most coveted terrain in the National Geographic bowl outside of Granite Chief.

Get ready for some of the best skiing at premier locations!

In this program you’ll ski in three distinct zones: Tram Ridge, Nat Geo Bowl and Munchkins. This terrain used to be off limits, but now you can ride it with a guide. Amazing. Regardless of backcountry experience, there’s plenty for skiers and snowboards to ride.

Skiing Nat Geo

The Nat Geo bowl and adjacent peaks have been long admired for their beauty, remoteness, and quality of terrain. When you cross the boundary at Squaw with your guide, you’ll step into a true backcountry experience with quiet solitude and engaging terrain. There are many options for ski descents. Once at the bottom you’ll transition to uphill mode and gain the ridge that connects Squaw Valley to the Tahoe National Forest boundary.

Skiing Tram Ridge

You can see this north facing terrain from the parking lot of Squaw Valley. This zone is made up of glades, gullies and ridge lines. You can ski multiple laps in this zone and return to the ski area with the lifts, or you can utilize AT or split boards and skin uphill. Skiing out of the boundary line on Tram Ridge has been a dream of many a long-time Squaw skier. Now it is a reality.

At Alpine Meadows you’ll access the popular backcountry zone known as Munchkins off Scott Peak. Munchkins is a huge zone, there’s mellow open bowls, perfectly spaced trees to steep technical lines. The zone’s diversity makes Munchkins the perfect place for the new backcountry skier or rider looking to build skills.

Which areas will you ski?

We don’t decide which zone we will ski until the morning of the tour, this way your guide can pick the best ski tour based on current conditions. Regardless, you’ll have a memorable backcountry outing.

In general, what can you expect?
  • Depending on the group’s fitness level, technical ability and daily conditions, skiers can expect to get multiple laps of fresh tracks outside of the ski area boundary. Terrain varies from wide open bowls and widely spaced trees to steep, technical lines that will challenge even the most seasoned skier.
  • Depending on the zone, you’ll ride the lifts at Squaw or Alpine before heading out of bounds. Lift access to these zones cuts out a significant portion of approach time. You can use them throughout the day to reduce the ratio of hiking to riding traditionally associated with backcountry skiing.
Am I skilled enough?
  • Skiers and riders must be competent in a variety of terrain and snow conditions. Skiers and riders must be able to link turns on ungroomed runs while maintaining control. This is comparable to skiing ungroomed black diamond terrain confidently.
  • Skiers or riders 12-16 years old can join us with a parent. 16 years and over are able to join without accompaniment.

All participants must bring or rent their own backcountry gear

Where we are
Meeting Location
Alpenglow Expeditions
What's included
  • All guiding fees
  • Lift lines
  • Avalanche safety gear
What's not included
  • AT skis and boots, splitboards and avalanche equipment are all available to rent through the guiding service at competitive prices
Gear to bring
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lunch
  • Water and snacks (guides recommend 1-2L of water)
  • Lighter, more breathable layer options than a typical resort layering system. An additional light pair of gloves is preferred for uphill travel
  • Ski poles with powder baskets, or a pair of collapsable poles for splitboarding (These are available at no extra charge if you need them)
  • A backpack, and any avalanche rescue gear you may own. (Our guides recommend packs around 20-30L)
Why book through 57hours?

We’re an adventure loving, rock climbing, tech company that loves all things outdoors-y. Why spend days looking for the right guide and adrenaline rush, when we can (and already did) do it for you? Want a serious guide for a challenging climb? We know a bunch. How about a guide to show you around the Alps? Check. Maybe your kids want to climb and won’t stop going on about it until you book them a trip. Yes, we know guides who are great for beginners, too. Oh, yeah, every guide we know prioritizes SAFETY and FUN. Book with 57hours, we’ve done your work for you. You’re welcome.

Guides running this program

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy in providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4. He grew up ski racing for 9 years before moving on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. There he spent 4 years working ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid ‘90s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started learning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb.

Tim has recently spent the last 8 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine and skiing as well as becoming an IFMGA aspirant mountain guide, an AMGA certified ski guide and AIARE level 1 course leader. He now lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife and daughter.

Ray Hughes

Ray is an IFMGA / AMGA Licensed Mountain Guide. His passion for the mountains ignited while growing up in Northern California. Here he explored the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges, before further honing his mountain skills in Colorado and Switzerland. Ray brings the same excitement to guiding and instructing in Lake Tahoe as he does to skiing and alpine guiding in Europe and the rest of the world. He loves sharing experiences, culture, and beautiful places with others, blurring the line between work and play.

He is an AIARE Avalanche Course Leader and an American Avalanche Association professional member. Ray also works as a snow safety consultant for professional winter sport athletes and photographers.

He was a 4 x All American in Track and Field and the 250th American to ever run the Mile under 4:00, but now he enjoys being an average trail jogger.

Ben Weaver

Ben comes to guiding after being a professional ski patroller for several years. Three of those seasons were spent working as part of the snow safety department. He is a member of the AMGA, has his AIARE level 3 certification and is also an AIARE 1 instructor. Ben has spent three spring climbing seasons in Alaska volunteering with the National Park climbing rangers on Denali. He has skied all over the Western US and Canada and has ski descents on Mt Baker, Mt Rainier, Mt Adams and Mt Hood. He has also done several single and multiple day objectives in the North Cascades, Sawtooths, and Sierra. Ben has a Master’s Degree in Anesthesia and he works as a CRNA in the summer months.

Dave Nettle

Dave’s love for outdoor challenges, adventure and fun began early on by surviving his youth growing up in the Pacific Northwest climbing trees, running around the woods shooting BB guns and learning to “Be Prepared” the hard way on numerous Boy Scout backpacking trips into the rainy heart of the North Cascades.

In 1972 he started his lifelong pursuit and joy of rock climbing with his very first climb deep in the Sierra Nevada backcountry, which remains his favorite mountain range to share and enjoy.

In 1975, at age 17, he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail solo from Mexico to Canada and the following year hiked the Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico, sealing his passion  for grand adventure and the desire to accomplish what he sets out to do.

His underlying philosophy of living life fully and approaching the world of adventure travel and alpinism with “confident uncertainty” has led him to the mountain ranges of the world where his climbing accomplishments are just a part of what he values: at the heart and soul of it all is the experience of interacting with and learning from the people, places and cultures along the way and sharing the challenge and beauty of wilderness with friends.

In addition to five decades of rock and alpine climbing, which have included new routes and significant ascents throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia, Dave is an accomplished ski mountaineer who hangs up his climbing shoes each winter in favor of backcountry alpine ski touring and hut to hut tours in the European Alps.

Dave brings 15 years of technical Rope Access and Rescue Training experience to the team. He has helped pioneer the use of Rope Access methods in place of traditional techniques to improve the safety and efficiency of ski lift, gondola, high angle and crevasse rescue procedures. He is a certified level 3 SPRAT and IRATA supervisor and evaluator.

His blend of outdoor skills, professionalism and sense of humor make for memorable trips, not to mention epic slide show presentations which he loves to share with others. Dave is the founder of a free community slideshow event in the Tahoe area that has been ongoing for over 25 years. He continues to educate, entertain and inspire everyone to seek out and accomplish their dreams and goals.

Jules Hanna

If you are looking for a split boarding mountain guide, Jules is your man. He has been guiding for 10 years and spends his winters in Tahoe and summers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

He is one of only a few splitboarders who is certified with the AMGA as a ski guide. Whether it’s a ski day or time to board, Jules enjoys the rewards that the backcountry experience provides. He is an AIARE 1 course leader and has logged many adventures in mountains up and down the west coast learning about the avalanche phenomena. Jules is also an Ambassador Guide for Jones Snowboards.

In addition to guiding, Jules has worked as a climbing ranger at Mt. Rainer and he is a mountaineer for the US Antarctic Program.