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1 Person
2 day
Blackbird Mountain Guides
  • 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.

    • 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.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ
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