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Backcountry Tips from our Guides

We may love skiing pow at Alpenglow, but we LOVE backcountry safety even more. We asked our guide team to give us one of their favorite backcountry safety tips, check it out:

 

“When planning a backcountry tour first decide where not to go – that means figure out where the avalanche problems are, “close” that terrain and agree to not go there. THEN decide on where to go, and “open up” that terrain.” – Logan Talbott

“Don’t just blindly follow a skin track – make sure it goes exactly where…

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What are Backcountry Ski Touring Bindings?

The time has come. You’re ready to leave the boundaries of the resort and venture out into the world of backcountry ski touring. We couldn’t be more stoked for you! Before you head out, you should make sure you’ve got the right bindings for an epic time touring. I hate to break it to you, but your downhill alpine bindings won’t cut in the backcountry. Below we’ll go through and explain alpine touring bindings and give you recommendations on what we use here at Alpenglow Expeditions in North Lake Tahoe, CA.

 

AT Bindings vs Alpine Bindings

The…

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Backcountry Ski Touring Boots vs Downhill Resort Boots

 

So you’re wanting to start backcountry skiing? Before you click into your skis and head out, you should go over what equipment you’ll need to make sure you’re properly set up for a great day in the backcountry. The ski boots that you use for backcountry touring are different from the boots you use while you’re lapping groomers at the resort, so it’s important to know what you should be looking for in a ski touring boot. When it comes to backcountry touring boots, it’s a bit more complicated than “If the shoe fits, wear it”. Below are…

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AIARE Avalanche Courses Go Digital

COVID-19 Brings Changes to AIARE Avalanche Courses

We are pleased to announce a new format for teaching AIARE 1 & AIARE 2 avalanche courses effective upcoming 20/21 winter season. While the majority of time in our winter program is spent in small groups outside, the classroom component of our avalanche courses is a notable exception. With the current state of affairs in regards to COVID-19, as well as the significant uncertainty we face in making plans for the winter, we have decided to alter our avalanche education program to remove the in-person classroom component and move these important…

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Choosing your Ice Axe

 

Part 2: If you grab your crampons, chances are you’ll want an ice axe too.

{Read Part 1:  How to Pick Crampons}

Ice Axes and Crampons often go hand in hand, and similarly to picking the right pair of crampons, choosing the proper ice axe will make your day in the mountains all the more successful. With ice axes, the use of the tool dictates the type of tool you need. A technical ice tool isn’t great for self arrest, and neither is a piolet for climbing steep ice. Below are some of our favorite activities,…

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Backcountry Skiing in Chile with Sydney Duncan

 

Sydney Duncan spends her winters in Tahoe as a ski guide and AIARE Avalanche Course instructor. In summer, she migrates north, alpine guiding in the Cascades. This September, she’s gearing up to co-guide a backcountry ski trip to Chile, an adventurous backcountry ski destination that is off the beaten path. Our ski expedition to the volcanic peaks of southern Chile is a great way for intermediate/advanced backcountry skiers to expand on the backcountry skills and experiences they’ve built in their home mountains. In the following interview, Syd gives us the lowdown on the whole program.

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How to pick Crampons?

 

While the use for crampons is all the same, not all crampons are created equally.

Some are made from aluminum, others from steel. Some have 8 points, others 14. In general, crampon selection can be best determined based on the terrain that you’re climbing. What we choose for walking on snow while ski mountaineering will be much different than when we head out to climb vertical waterfall ice. Below are some of our favorite activities, and the crampons we choose for each. Most crampons come with different attachment styles, which are dictated by the boots they’ll adhere…

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Backcountry Education: What’s the next step?

 

Whether it’s your first year in the skin track or your fifth, now is the time to plan to get backcountry educated! We get a lot of questions from backcountry travelers wondering what the next step is, so we created this basic road map. From whichever stage you are starting from, use this reference to figure out how to progress your personal backcountry education.

 

Advanced Resort Skiers/Beginner Backcountry Skiers & Riders

 

Step Zero: Advanced Ski/Riding Skills

Be able to ski black diamond runs and…

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10 Next Steps after your AIARE 1 Avalanche Course

Words by Tim Mincey

So you just finished an AIARE 1 course. Congrats! Nice work taking a huge step in your avalanche education, and making yourself a much more valuable touring partner and member of the backcountry community. Maybe you’re feeling a little bit intimidated by the awesome power of avalanches, but hopefully, you’re mostly feeling empowered to step into the backcountry with the knowledge and tools to identify avalanche terrain and make good decisions with your partners, however conservative those decisions might be.

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Alpenglow Backcountry Gear Guide

 

Backcountry skiing and riding may be all about going light, but that doesn’t mean it’s “gear-lite.” You’ll need a lot of specialized equipment to have a safe and successful day in the mountains. Here at Alpenglow, we field a ton of questions from people purchasing new backcountry gear and from people buying their first backcountry setup. If you’re in the market for something, our team has compiled a list of some of our favorites for men, women, splitboarders, and skiers. Here are the basics that you’ll need for a day out-of-bounds.

 

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