Continue to take steps towards becoming a comfortable and competent member of any backcountry group, and begin to establish skills required to lead tours of your own!
Solidify your backcountry touring fundamentals in this second part of our 3 part Intro to Backcountry series. This course is designed for someone who already has the basic training and experience to go on a backcountry tour, and is looking for the next step. Our Backcountry 1.0 course plus 5-10 days of touring experience, OR 10+ days of touring experience are ideal prerequisites. Backcountry 2.0 picks up where 1.0 leaves off, introducing/continuing the basics of touring in the backcountry.
You must be an advanced intermediate skier/rider for this course and be competent on and off-piste in a variety of conditions. Skiers/riders should be comfortable on all blue runs and most black diamond runs at a ski resort.
- 8 – 8:30am
Meet & Greet
Meet your guide and fellow skiers. Set goals for the day.
- 8:30 – 12pm
After making our plan for the day, we head out for the first climb and descent of the day.
- 12 – 12:30pm
In between the morning and afternoon sessions we’ll take a break for some much needed calories.
- 12:30 – 3:30pm
Depending on our observations from the morning we’ll spend the afternoon harvesting the goods!
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
A ski specific helmet that is less than 10 years old.
Recommended: Scott Track Plus Helmet
Ski Touring Bindings
Alpine Touring bindings are designed to allow up-hill travel and down-hill descent. We recommend a lightweight binding with heel risers to assist on steeper terrain.
Recommended: Black Diamond ATK Crest 10 Touring Bindings
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
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
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
Ski socks will keep your feet warm and dry during long tours in the mountains.
These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired.
Recommended: Vuarnet Everest Goggles
Neck Gaiter (Buff)
A multi-purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy.
Recommended: Alpenglow Buff
Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies).
Recommended: Vaurnet Ice Rounds
Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim – the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding.
Recommended: Alpenglow Hat
We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours.
Recommended: Black Diamond Coefficient LT Balaclava
A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet.
Recommended: Black Diamond Levels Beanie
All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm.
Recommended: Black Diamond Tour Gloves
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitudes and are needed to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired.
Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Gloves
Hard Shell Jacket
Mid-Weight Puffy Jacket
Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light-colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Two 1L Nalgene Bottles
Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles.
Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth
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!”