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Before and After the AIARE 1: The Backcountry Series

Written by Isaac Laredo

Friends don’t let friends teach each other how to backcountry ski because it’s an environment that can be unforgiving to the school of Knox style. We believe formal education is essential to build a responsible and safer backcountry community. One of our AMGA-trained guides is eager to teach you the necessary skills to prepare, plan, and execute a backcountry tour. These skills are taught in our Backcountry Series Courses and will set you up for memorable days in the backcountry while managing risk.

The Backcountry Series includes 3 courses Backcountry 1.0, Backcountry 2.0, and…

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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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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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Anatomy of a Guide’s Kit

Ski Guide Tim Dobbins breaks down exactly what he keeps in his pack

As part of the AIARE 1 Avalanche Course that he teaches, Tim always gives an overview of all the essentials that guides carry with them for a day in the field. With a little ingenuity and the right ingredients, a guide can build an emergency shelter or rescue sled with these must-have items.

Here’s the breakdown of what’s in the pack:

 

Rescue Sled: 

My favorite is the Alpine Threadworks Sled. It’s a rescue sled and an emergency shelter in one. You can also quickly…

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Beacon Battery Protocol

North Side of Castle Peak, photo: Brennan Lagasse

Give Your Avalanche Beacon the Batteries it Deserves

Tips and tricks from guide Jules Hanna.

We caught up with Jules while he was teaching an AIARE rescue course last weekend. Here’s his rundown beacon battery protocol.

Alkaline or Lithium?

Short answer: Alkaline. BUT, check your manufacturer, while it is likely that you should only be using alkaline batteries, some beacons accept lithium batteries. (Do not use rechargeable batteries though!) What’s the big deal? Alkaline batteries slowly discharge their power.  Lithium batteries will

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AIARE Avalanche Education with Ben Weaver

Ski season is nearly upon us so it’s time to start thinking about dialing in your backcountry skills again. We caught up with AIARE instructor Ben Weaver and asked him a couple of questions about this season’s avalanche training program at Alpenglow Expeditions.

Can you start by introducing yourself? What’s your background? What drew you to teaching AIARE courses?

I am ski guide and avalanche course instructor at Alpenglow Expeditions.  I am in my third season at Alpenglow and loving it.  I was a professional ski patroller at Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon for 5 years. 

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