Lake Tahoe | California

Intro to Backcountry Skiing Class in Lake Tahoe


Mid-December through the end of May

Nearest city

San Francisco, CA, is 3.25 hours away by car

Skill level

Experienced resort skiers and beyond


1 day

Learn to backcountry ski in Lake Tahoe

Ski beyond the groomers this winter and learn the fundamentals you need to discover backcountry skiing. Say “goodbye” to lift lines and “hello” to pristine, untracked powder. Resort runs will become a thing of the past once you make your foray into the backcountry.

Lake Tahoe offers amazing opportunities for resort skiers who are looking for their next big adventure. While some runs have access within boundaries, there are many other options that are attainable the old fashioned way: by skinning your way up to earn your turns. On this introductory course you’ll learn basic avalanche awareness while picking up skiing techniques that will help you excel in the backcountry.

Things you need to know

When is the best time to go?

While most resorts open late November, backcountry conditions are usually ideal from late December to mid May.

What if I've never skied before?

You must be a strong intermediate skier or rider within a ski resort to join us in the backcountry. This is for the safety and enjoyment of everyone.

Other than these skills, you do not have to have any other experience in the backcountry. This course is designed to take the resort skier beyond the boundaries, and show them the world of backcountry skiing.

How fit do I need to be for this adventure?

On average we skin (hike with skis) between 1,500’ and 2,500’ of vertical gain.

Good level of physical fitness is required, and you should be comfortable traveling in snow while carrying touring gear.

What's a typical itinerary?

  • 8:00am – 8:30am: Meet your guide and fellow skiers. go through the gear and set goals for the day.
  • 8:30am – 12:00pm: Morning tour.
  • 12:00pm – 12:30pm: Lunch.
  • 12:30pm – 3:30pm: Afternoon tour.

What about group sizes?

Group sizes are small (4:1 client to guide ratio), but there is a minimum enrollment of 3 in a group class to make it run.

What about bad weather?

Mitigating avalanche risk is paramount for any trip in the backcountry — that’s why it’s best to tour with a guide! Rest assured that your guide will set objectives that are attainable for the weather conditions of that particular day, including making the call to reschedule if needed. If you have any other questions, send an inquiry for more information.

Getting there

Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) is your best bet. You can also fly into San Francisco (SFO) and make the 3.5 hour drive.

Gear list

  • Touring skis or snowboard with skins, boots, poles (can be rented)
  • Avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel (can be rented)
  • Backpack, 20-35 liters (can be rented)
  • Food, water, sunscreen, lip balm
  • Clothing
  • Under layers:
    • lightweight merino wool or synthetic long john top and bottom
    • lightweight merino wool or synthetic t-shirt
    • lightweight merino wool or synthetic briefs/ underwear
    • wool/ synthetic
  • Outer layers/ insulation:
    • Soft shell “guide pants”, or hard shell goretex pants, conditions dependent
    • Soft shell jacket
    • Hooded puffy jacket (down or synthetic)
    • Hard shell jacket (waterproof/ breathable)
    • warm beanie
    • lightweight gloves with good dexterity
    • warm, waterproof gloves or mittens
  • Misc:
    • sunglasses
    • goggles
    • camera

Avalanche transceiver, probe an shovel are available from adventure provider for $25.

There's lots to explore in the backcountry

After your outing, you’ll be ready to try out some other, more challenging backcountry runs — and never want to wait for a lift again. You’ll also gain a solid understanding of all the different components come into play when touring out of bounds. And if nothing else, you’ll have skied some fresh pow in world-class terrain.

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