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Lake Tahoe’s boundless backcountry is full of skiing opportunities. The Bay Area’s resorts are some of the most crowded in the world, so it makes sense to seek refuge from the crowds in Lake Tahoe’s solemn wilderness. Areas such as the diverse Truckee, the extremely approachable Palisades Tahoe, and the stunningly long descents of West Shore make backcountry skiing on the Jewel of the Sierra a real treat. The experience is enhanced even further by the excellent lift coverage—reaching the best off-piste routes is fast and effortless, and you always get to sneak in an extra descent or two. However, the backcountry comes with its fair share of risks, the biggest one being avalanches. This is why being properly prepared should be any backcountry adventurer’s number one priority. Take an all-female avalanche safety course in the scenic Lake Tahoe and shred the slopes with unparalleled feminine confidence!

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Adventure highlights

  • Become a safer skier in Lake Tahoe’s picturesque backcountry

  • Fantastic ski-lift coverage allows for more scenario practice opportunities

  • Learn optimal avalanche safety and rescue practices on excellent untracked powder

Available itineraries

Women’s AIARE Level 1 + Avalanche Rescue Course

This one-of-a-kind women’s course combines an Avalanche Rescue day and an AIARE Level 1 ski tour day into an innovative, comprehensive, and time-efficient format by combining an online class with 2 field days in Lake Tahoe. Master all the fundamentals needed to tour the backcountry with extreme confidence in only 3 days! Your seasoned and certified female guides will make sure you get the most out of your time on Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking slopes.

  • After signing up, you’ll receive an invite to the online coursework, which you can take whenever it’s convenient. This portion of the course will take you roughly 6 hours to complete. Make sure to study hard and don’t be afraid to ask questions—the more knowledge you have before you head to the field, the more you’ll get out of the course. Before the field portion of the course, you’ll be invited to a “pre-field webinar”, where your avalanche instructor will tie the lessons of the online coursework together with some fun and helpful exercises.

    Meet your guide and review the plan for the day. Discuss the avalanche problem for the day, the proposed route up, and options for the ascent and descent, before conducting a trailhead departure and beacon check. Afterward, you will tour a zone where you can make snowpack observations pertinent to the current avalanche problem. Following this, you and your guide will move to a zone that is appropriate for practicing small team avalanche rescue. Close the program at the trailhead with a quick review of the skills that you learned, a synopsis of the avalanche observations that you made, and an overview of what to expect the following day in the field.

Women’s AIARE Level 1 Course

Master all the skills necessary to move confidently in the backcountry with this women’s AIARE Level 1 course in North Lake Tahoe. This innovative course, led by experienced female AIARE and AMGA-certified guides, combines practical online education with a focused field day, giving you the ideal foundation to safely navigate avalanche terrain.

  • After signing up, you’ll receive an invite to the online coursework, which you can take whenever it’s convenient. This portion of the course will take you roughly 6 hours to complete. Make sure to study hard and don’t be afraid to ask questions—the more knowledge you have before you head to the field, the more you’ll get out of the course. Before the field portion of the course, you’ll be invited to a “pre-field webinar”, where your avalanche instructor will tie the lessons of the online coursework together with some fun and helpful exercises.

    Meet your guide at the trailhead. Go through the weather forecast for the day, the current avalanche advisory, the route plan and options, an emergency action plan and perform the trailhead beacon check. Practice the skills that you’ve learned during the online portion of the course and execute your tour in good style. Practice gathering observations, prioritizing information, and making decisions with your team. Regroup at the trailhead in the early afternoon to debrief the tour and discuss the day’s lessons. Your guide will then close out the program by providing some advice on good choices for your next steps in avalanche education and ski touring progression.

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Meet your guide

Blackbird Mountain Guides
Blackbird Mountain Guides
Blackbird Mountain Guides is here to help you push farther, faster, and smarter. Their ultimate goal is to help you develop awareness, efficiency, and a good decision-making philosophy in the mountains. Whether they’re guiding a "type-1-fun" adventure, helping you develop skills to meet your next mountain objective, or playing in their time off, the Blackbird Mountain Guides team strives to move in good style.
5.00 (1 reviews)
Audrey H. (source: Facebook)

Hands down the best, most reasonably priced guide co in Tahoe for Avy Courses and guided ski trips. Looking forward to taking Avy Rescue and AIARE 2 this winter!

Things to know

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and 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, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures on Lake Tahoe, California, please refer to California’s official COVID-19 travel recommendations and North Lake Tahoe’s COVID-19 travel guidelines.

    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 you get in this adventure:

      • An experienced, certified instructor with extensive knowledge of the area
      • Six hours of online coursework and a pre-field webinar
      • One or two full days in the field depending on your chosen itinerary

    What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
      • Transportation
      • Accommodation
      • Food and snacks
  • In order to get the most of this adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for 1-2 full days. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain. These courses are ideal for backcountry riders looking to assess avalanche risk, improve their decision making during tours and become a backcountry partner. It is an excellent way to solidify concepts that are often hazy, even after years of riding the backcountry.

    Before booking this course, you should at least have some experience riding advanced terrain at a ski resort. The course venue may be in fairly benign terrain, but it’s crucial that you possess the advanced skiing and riding abilities necessary to manage the highly variable snow conditions you could experience in the backcountry. You should also be proficient in using backcountry skiing equipment. All participants should be comfortable traveling in snow while carrying touring gear.

  • 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
      • Ski goggles
      • Light gloves
      • Midweight gloves
      • Warm hat
      • Sun hat
      • Neck gaiters
      • Wind and waterproof hardshell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Softshell ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Vented hardshell ski pants
      • Puffy midweight down or synthetic jacket with hood
      • Long sleeve synthetic or wool base layers, underwear, and socks
      • Two Insulating top layers
      • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
      • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
      • Nalgene water bottle
      • Water bottle or water bladder and 1,5L of water
      • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
      • Food you can eat on-the-go
      • First-aid/blister kit — optional
      • Chemical hand warmers — optional
      • Sunscreen
      • Lip balm
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Toilet paper
      • Touring backpack with a pocket for avalanche tools
      • Camera — optional
  • 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 can be rented from your guide
      • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented at the Donner Ski Ranch

    Ski rental locations are at the Donner Ski Ranch and 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 pricing:

      • These courses are not private. The usual guest-to-guide ratio is 6:1.
      • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

    Avalanche courses in Lake Tahoe 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 your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Lake Tahoe, most people fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport one hour away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to Lake Tahoe and Donner Ski Ranch.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. 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.

  • In case you need to cancel your adventure, the following cancellation policy applies:
    • Cancellations made over sixty (60) days before the course: Full refund of trip fees minus 10% administrative fee.
    • Cancellations made thirty-one (31) to fifty-nine (59) days in advance: 50% refund of the trip fees.
    • Cancellations within thirty (30) days: No refunds.

    We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ, or Talk with us
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