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Backcountry Skiing along the Truckee Skyline Traverse

Lake Tahoe | California
Trip Highlights

Top reasons to backcountry ski the Truckee Skyline Traverse

  • Trip Highlight

    The traverse takes you all the way from Donner Summit to Squaw Valley

  • Trip Highlight

    Enjoy expansive vistas of remote portions of the Granite Chief wilderness

  • Trip Highlight

    Ski some of the best terrain that the Lake Tahoe area has to offer

The Lake Tahoe area is home to a host of world-class backcountry terrain and powder stashes that any backcountry skiing enthusiast would love. The Truckee Skyline Traverse is a 12-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail connecting two ski resorts—Sugar Bowl and Squaw Valley. The dramatic ridgeline features spectacular views over the surrounding peaks, stunning lakes, and dreamy powdery runs. Some mentionable locations along the ridgeline include Mt. Lincoln, Anderson Peak, Tinker Knob and Mountain Meadow Lake. Go out with a guide and ski some of the best runs of the Lake Tahoe area! Find out more about backcountry skiing in Lake Tahoe from Logan Talbott, owner and chief AMGA guide at Alpenglow Expeditions.

Season

January through May

Nearest city

Reno, NV, is less than an hour away

Duration

1 day

Skill level

Advanced

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your day

A Full Day of Backcountry Skiing on Weekdays

Full-day

Explore the fantastic Truckee Skyline Traverse with a professional guide and enjoy expansive vistas of remote portions of the Granite Chief wilderness! Follow the legendary sierra crest from Sugar Bowl Ski Resort to Squaw Valley Ski Resort and spend the day in a winter wonderland. You’ll ride the Lincoln chairlift to get to the backcountry before starting the journey from Sierra Crest to Squaw Valley!

A Full Day of Backcountry Skiing on Weekends

Full-Day

Weekends are the best time to escape the rush of the city and charge your batteries in the Lake Tahoe wilderness. Join a guide on this fantastic backcountry adventure along the Truckee Skyline Traverse and hike and ski for 12 miles! Follow the legendary sierra crest from Sugar Bowl Ski Resort to Squaw Valley Ski Resort and enjoy expansive vistas over the Granite Chief wilderness!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Truckee, California

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 Truckee, California, please refer to the Government of California website.

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 (7-10 hours)
  • Transportation to and from the  Sugar Bowl Ski Resort

What’s not included:

  • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
  • Transportation to Olympic Valley
  • Accommodation
  • Food and snacks

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have excellent physical fitness. You must be able to hike for 12 miles. It can be expected that much of the day will be spent climbing. You’ll be on your feet for a full day, up to 10 hours. While there is terrain for all skill levels in the Lake Tahoe area, this backcountry adventure is most suitable for intermediate to advanced riders.

All participants should feel comfortable on challenging black diamond-caliber descents and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain. Once the tour has started, cancelling and aborting mid-tour is very difficult.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

This adventure is most suitable for experienced skiers comfortable on challenging blue or black level runs. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, this adventure is not for you. Still, the Lake Tahoe area has plenty of terrain suitable for beginners. Your guides will 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
  • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, skins, and poles 
  • Splitboards 

You can rent all the gear from your guide’s shop in the Olympic Valley. Gear should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group size:

  • For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 5:1. 
  • Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private lessons, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family. 

Ski touring can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

  • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
  • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements. 

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Truckee Skyline Traverse, most people fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service. Reno, NV, is just under an hour away from the Olympic Valley, CA.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, usually at the guide shop in the Olympic Valley. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.

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Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding

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