This one day course will introduce you to the fundamentals of backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Tahoe.
After this course, you will be able to plan and execute an efficient yet simple backcountry tour. Come out and learn backcountry touring techniques and skills from a professional guide, and get away from the lifts and the crowds of the resort. Our Backcountry 1.0 course is the ideal preparation and requirement for an AIARE 1 avalanche course. This is a beginner level backcountry skills course, however this course is not for beginner level downhill skiers & riders. Please see the preparation section for more information if you are not sure if you qualify before reserving. This course takes place in North Lake Tahoe. We also offer this course in South Lake Tahoe, see here for details.
- 8:00 – 9:00
Meet & Greet
Meet your guide and fellow skiers & riders. Meeting location can be at any trailhead, but the default location is our offices in the Village at Palisades. We usually spend the first hour in a casual environment, reviewing gear and equipment, setting goals for the day, and getting to know each other.
- 8:30 – 12:00
After reviewing gear and equipment and assessing our group goals we’ll head out for the first climb and descent of the day. During this initial climb, your guide will go over many subjects spanning from the basics of stepping in and out of bindings, to completing your first kick turn, to route selection and terrain observations. There’s no rush, and we’ll move at a comfortable pace.
- 12:00 – 12:30
In between the morning and afternoon sessions, we’ll take a break for some much needed calories. The timing may not always be right at noon though. Be prepared for this stop to happen as the day dictates. You’ll have ample opportunity before lunch to have some water and snacks along the way.
- 12:30 – 3:30
Depending on our observations and learnings from the morning, we’ll spend the afternoon exploring terrain, skiing & riding and we may even work in a mock avalanche rescue.
A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using.
Recommended: Black Diamond Recon Avalanche X Beacon
Many options are available, and are often comparable. Most important is to ensure your skins are trimmed properly for the ski you will be touring with. Skins with a secure tail clip are preferred.
Recommended for Skis: Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS
Recommended for Splitboards: Black Diamond Ascension Splitboard STS
These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation.
Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight Wooltech Gloves
A strong, lightweight avalanche probe, 260-300cm.
Recommended: Black Diamond QuickDraw Pro Probe 280
A lightweight metal avalanche rescue shovel. Extendable handle is recommended.
Recommended: Black Diamond Evac 7
While ski crampons are strongly recommended on our domestic backcountry ski programs, they are required on all of our International Ski Expeditions. These are typically used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer.
Recommended: Black Diamond ATK Ski Crampons
A ski specific helmet that is less than 10 years old.
Recommended: Scott Track Plus Helmet
Ski Touring Boots
These need to be a touring specific boot with walk mode, and a rubber sole. Typically sized a bit larger than your regular alpine boot, and light weight is a huge plus. Be sure to try many pairs on to find the right fit; it can make or break a day in the mountains!
Skis w/ Touring Bindings
A lightweight touring ski with touring bindings. Our guides suggest something between 95mm and 110mm underfoot. Keep in mind that extremely lightweight boards are great on the uphill, but can prove challenging in variable conditions.
Recommended Skis: Black Diamond Helio Carbon 95 Skis
Recommended Bindings: Black Diamond ATK Crest 10 Bindings
The same boots you wear at the resort are great for your splitboard. Be sure they’re comfortable, backcountry touring means long days in your boots!
Recommended: Burton Tourist Snowboard Boots
A splitboard that you are comfortable riding in a variety of conditions.
Recommended: Jones Solution Splitboard
While splitboard crampons are strongly recommended on our domestic backcountry splitboard programs, they are required on all of our International Splitboard Expeditions. These are typically used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer.
Recommended: Spark R&D Ibex ST Splitboard Crampons
A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems to stay warm in cold, wet conditions.
Recommended: Black Diamond First Light Stretch Hoodie
While the technical equipment needed for a specific objective and season varies, this basic kit is a great baseline. Your guide will bring gear for you to use during your course, but participants are encouraged to bring some or all of this if you own it or are interested in purchasing it.
1 Cordalette (6mm x 5m/16.4′)
4 locking carabiners
2 non-locking carabiners
1 double-length Dyneema sling
Small prusik loop (6mm x 112cm/44″)
Auto-blocking belay device (eg. ATC guide)
Micro Traxion or similar
Internal frame pack that is between 25 and 35 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners to protect from precipitation. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body.
Recommended: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32L
The most memorable experiences on skis
“My Backcountry 1.0 ski trip with Alpenglow was the best decision I made before attempting to ski in the backcountry. My guide, instructor Ben W, not only gave me the most memorable experiences on skis but he also educated me on the importance of safety and the fundamentals of skiing in the backcountry. His professional certifications, avalanche training, and personalized instruction assured me that I was learning from a qualified and professional instructor. I learned new skills, hiked on my skis, had some awesome descents and enjoyed the beautiful views of Lake Tahoe. Although trying new skills can feel challenging and overwhelming, Ben was always patient and happy to answer any questions and guide me throughout the day. He always reinforced the importance of having fun and returning back safely to enjoy another day of skiing. I am excited to go to the next level with Alpenglow’s Backcountry 2.0 class and a basic avalanche safety class.
Thank you Ben and the staff of Alpenglow!”
I have taken several courses from Alpenglow over the years, and I have always had a great experience.
I rarely ever write reviews of anything. I have taken several courses from Alpenglow over the years, and I have always had a great experience. Tim Mincey has ended up being my instructor on many of these courses. I can’t say enough good things about Tim. He knows how to get the info across in a very concise manner that is easily understood