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Lake Tahoe | California

Intro to Backcountry Skiing in Lake Tahoe

Season

Mid-December through May

Nearest city

Reno, NV, is an hour drive

Duration

1 day

Skill level

Beginner

Learn the basics of backcountry skiing in the scenic Lake Tahoe

This one-day course in Tahoe is ideal for anyone new to backcountry skiing or splitboarding. Explore laid-back powder stashes and learn the fundamentals of traveling safely and efficiently in the backcountry. This course is the first step toward epic adventures off-piste, introducing you to safety and avalanche precautions. Ditch the resort crowds and let a professional ski guide teach you how to plan and execute your own simple backcountry tour!

Book This Adventure

Intro to Backcountry Skiing in Lake Tahoe

$200 per person · Full-day

Get introduced to the fundamentals of backcountry skiing and splitboarding and leave with the ability to plan and execute an efficient yet simple backcountry tour. Learn about avalanche safety, sharpen your techniques and expand your backcountry knowledge under the mentorship of your professional ski guide. This intro course is ideal for those with plenty of resort experience looking to take their first foray into the backcountry or as preparation for an AIARE 1 avalanche course. The course will take place on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, which is located in the Tahoe National Forest. From the many trailheads at your disposal, your guide will make sure to choose just the right one!

Itinerary

Depending on the fitness level of the group, technical ability and daily conditions, skiers and riders can expect multiple laps of fresh tracks while learning various tips and tricks from your guide during both the uphill and downhill portions of the day. Terrain varies from wide open bowls to widely spaced trees.

Here is what you will learn about:

    • Touring equipment options
    • Clothing layering and techniques
    • Use of beacon, probe and shovel
    • How to interpret an avalanche bulletin
    • Uphill travel techniques using climbing skins
    • Avalanche hazard recognition and avoidance
    • Downhill travel techniques and group management

Depending on your objectives, full days may start earlier and end later, but in general, your day will look like this:

    • 8:00 am: Meet your guide and fellow skiers and set goals for the day
    • 8:30 am – After reviewing gear and equipment, you’ll head out for the first climb and descent of the day
    • 12:00 – 12:30 pm: In between the morning and afternoon sessions, you will have a break for some much needed calories
    • 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Depending on your observations from the morning, you’ll spend the afternoon skiing and may take part in a staged avalanche rescue

Each morning starts off with a safety meeting with your guide and a gear check to make sure everyone has what they need for the day. Depending on the zone, you’ll either tour right out of the guide’s offices, or take a short drive to a trailhead.

Your guide will come prepared with a defined itinerary for the day, but you’ll have the opportunity to stop and ask questions along the way.

Things you need to know

Covid measures in Lake Tahoe, CA

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Lake Tahoe, please refer to the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and Government of California websites.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

    • An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A full day of backcountry ski touring

What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Trip insurance
    • Transportation
    • Accommodation
    • Meals and snacks

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have an excellent level of fitness and the stamina for a full day of ski touring. While there is terrain for all skill levels in Lake Tahoe, you will need to manage controlled descents in changing conditions. All participants should feel comfortable carrying a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain for multiple hours.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

Intermediate and advanced downhill skiers or riders, with little to no backcountry experience are welcome on this course. 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 black diamond terrain confidently while maintaining control.

If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

  • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
  • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
  • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
    • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
    • Lightweight snow shovel
    • Avalanche probe

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses or ski goggles
  • Gloves and hat
  • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
  • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
  • Down jacket or vest
  • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
  • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
  • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
  • Water bottle and 1L of water
  • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
  • Food you can eat on-the-go
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
  • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

    • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe from your guide
    • Alpine touring or telemark skis, splitboards, touring boots and poles can be rented from your guide

If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

What can I expect from skiing with a guide?

A certified ski guide will take all of the guesswork out of your time in the backcountry. From tour planning to route selection, terrain management, avalanche safety, and gear knowledge, your guide’s expertise and backcountry experience will ensure you have an unforgettable ski touring adventure.

It doesn’t matter your skill level, whether you’ve never backcountry skied or you’re seasoned on the slopes, skiing with a guide has its advantages. Your techniques will sharpen, you’ll learn how to navigate terrain safely, make smart decisions, and most of all, you’ll remain safe in unfamiliar terrain.

Why should I book with 57hours?

With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.

What about group sizes and pricing?

For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 6:1. The cost is per person.
Ski touring in Lake Tahoe can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

What is the minimum age requirement?

  • Everybody over the age of 16 is welcome to book this backcountry skiing adventure.
  • Skiers and riders 12-16 years old can join this course if accompanied by a parent.

What about bad weather?

Mitigating avalanche risk is paramount for any excursion in the backcountry — that’s why it’s best to tour with a guide! Rest assured, your guide will set objectives that are attainable for the weather conditions on that particular day. Of course, inclement weather can always get in the way of backcountry skiing, but your guide will know the best course of action to take if the weather takes a turn.

On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your guide will present you with suitable, safe alternatives. The most common practice is to move to a nearby location if it exists, or to reschedule your backcountry ski tour to a more favorable day.

If backcountry skiing is not possible on your scheduled day and no options presented are viable, you will be issued a full refund.

Do I need an insurance policy?

We highly recommended that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

Cancellation policy

With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.

For this adventure, 57hours offers a Moderate Cancellation Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations fourteen (14) to twenty nine (29) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations zero (0) to thirteen (13) days in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.

For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Lake Tahoe, most people fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service, such as the South Tahoe Airporter. It is a one-hour drive to the Lake Tahoe area.

Prior to departure, each group will meet at the Alpenglow office located in Olympic Valley. Operating in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest and the Truckee Donner Land Trust, the course contains some of the best terrain in the region. This course will take place on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, within the Tahoe National Forest. There are many trailhead options at our disposal and your guide will pick the location with the best conditions for the day. Location may change depending on snow conditions.

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