Backcountry 1.0

1 Day in Lake Tahoe / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

$245 mid-week, $295 weekends
  • Next Available: Dec 09, 2022 -
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About this trip

This is the first part in our three-part intro to backcountry series. Please see Backcountry 2.0 and 3.0 for more information about subsequent courses. In this course you’ll learn the fundamentals of traveling safely and efficiently in the backcountry. Both skiers and splitboarders are welcome in this 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.


  • skill level


  • Duration

    1 Day

This one day course will introduce you to the fundamentals of backcountry skiing and snowboarding. After this course, you will be able to plan and execute an efficient yet simple backcountry tour. Come out and learn the techniques and tricks 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 for an AIARE 1 avalanche course.

You must be an advanced intermediate skier/rider that is competent on and off-piste in a variety of conditions. Here is a good example of intermediate skiers and riders.

Backcountry 1.0 is the first part in our three-part intro to backcountry series. We highly recommend reserving a spot on our popular Backcountry 2.0 course after going out touring for 5+ days to continue working on skills and techniques learned on day 1. Once you build a solid foundation, you’ll be ready to join our Backcountry 3.0 course to add a few more tools to your kit.


This course will take place on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, within the Tahoe National Forest. We have many trailhead options at our disposal and your guide will pick the location with the best conditions for the day. Alpenglow operates in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest and Palisades Tahoe.

What to Expect

Depending on the fitness level of the group, technical ability and daily conditions, skiers and riders can expect multiple laps of fresh tracks while learning various tips and tricks from your guide during both the uphill and downhill portions of the day. Terrain varies from wide open bowls to widely spaced trees.

Each morning starts off with a safety meeting with your guide and a gear check to make sure everyone has what they need for the day. Depending on the zone, we’ll either tour right out of our offices, or take a short drive to a trailhead.

Your guide will come prepared with a defined itinerary for the day, but you’ll have the opportunity to stop and ask questions along the way.

Who Can Participate

Advanced intermediate skiers/riders that are competent on and off-piste in a variety of conditions are welcome. You should be confident skiing all blue runs and most black diamond runs at a ski resort (including ungroomed terrain). Here is a good example of intermediate skiers and riders.

Skiers or riders 12-16 years old can join us with a parent. 16 years and over are able to join without accompaniment.

Learning Outcomes

  • Touring equipment options
  • Clothing layering and techniques
  • Use of Beacon, Probe and Shovel
  • How to interpret an Avalanche Bulletin
  • Uphill travel techniques using climbing skins
  • Avalanche hazard recognition and avoidance
  • Downhill travel techniques and group management

Difficulty: Strong intermediate to advanced skiing/riding level required.

This course prepares you for our Backcountry 2.0 course, as well as our AIARE 1 course.


A complete backcountry touring setup is required. We have a small demo fleet that we rent to our clients at competitive prices. We rent beacons, probes, shovels, touring skis, touring boots and splitboards.

Alpenglow Expeditions operates under a special use permit from the Tahoe, Inyo, and Eldorado National Forests. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 


  • Fitness

    Excellent physical fitness is required. Skiers and riders must be able to hike for many hours at a time while carrying a pack.

  • Technical Experience

    Must be an advanced intermediate skier/rider that is competent on and off-piste terrain in a variety of conditions. Should feel comfortable on all blue runs and most black diamond runs at a ski resort.

      • 8am - 8:30am — Meet & Greet

        Meet your guide and fellow skiers. Set goals for the day.

      • 8:30am - 12pm — Morning Tour

        After reviewing gear and equipment, head out for the first climb and descent of the day.

      • 12pm - 12:30pm — Lunch

        In between the morning and afternoon sessions we'll take a break for some much needed calories.

      • 12:30 - 3:30pm — Afternoon Tour

        Depending on our observations from the morning we'll spend the afternoon skiing and may work in a mock avalanche rescue.

        • Apparel

        • Hard Shell Jacket

          A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

        • Hard Shell Pants

          Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended:Eddie Bauer BC Duraweave Alpine Pants

        • Synthetic Top

          A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

        • Lightweight Top

          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. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

        • Long Sleeve Base Layer

          A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry® Merino Hybrid Baselayer 1/4-Zip

        • Base Layer Bottoms

          Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: SmartwoolMen's Intraknit™ Merino 250 Thermal Bottom

        • Warm Layer

          A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

        • Heavyweight 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 altitude and are need to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired. Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Glove

        • Lightweight Gloves

          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: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

        • Ski Socks

          Your everyday ski sock, good for ski tours and day hikes. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Merino Wool Ski Socks

        • Accessories

        • Sunglasses

          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: Julbo Shield

        • Hat

          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 5-Panel

        • Two 1L Nalgene Bottles

          Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

        • Goggles

          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: Smith I/O MAG

        • Beanie

          A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Slouch Beanie

        • Ski Helmet

          A ski specific helmet that is less than 10 years old. Recommended: Scott Couloir Mountain Helmet 

      • What is your cancellation policy?

      • Do you rent equipment?

        Yes. Blizzard skis, Tecnica boots, Jones splitboards, and avalanche kits (incl. beacon/shovel/probe) are available for a daily fee.

      • What level skier or snowboarder do I need to be to take this course?

        You need to be an advanced intermediate skier or snowboarder within a ski resort. Here is a good example of an intermediate to advanced skiers and riders. Skiers/riders should be comfortable skiing ungroomed, variable snow.

      • Do I have enough experience for this trip?

        You must be an advanced intermediate skier or rider comfortable skiing off-piste, variable snow to join us in the backcountry. This is comparable to competency on all blue runs and most black diamond runs in a resort (including ungroomed terrain) This is for the safety and enjoyment of everyone. Other than these skills, you do not have to have any other experience in the backcountry. This course is designed to take the resort skier beyond the boundaries, and show them the world of backcountry skiing.

      • I don’t have any avalanche gear- can I still sign up?

        Yes! Alpenglow rents beacons, probes, and shovels for a small daily fee.

      • How much hiking will we do?

        While every day varies slightly, on average we skin (hike with skis) between 1,500’ and 2,500’ of vertical gain.

      • Is lunch included on this trip?

        Lunch is not included, we recommend bringing a sack lunch and plenty of water. There are also plenty of food options around our office in the village.

      • How many people will be in our group?

        Alpenglow takes pride in our small group sizes, and while they vary in size, the maximum ratio is a 6:1 clients to guide.

      • Is it safe?

        While no outdoor adventure can be completely free of risk without losing the essence of the activity, hiring a professional guide is a fantastic way to manage and mitigate this risk. Activities like skiing and climbing have what we call “inherent risk”, which can be defined as a risk that cannot be completely mitigated by a professional. That is part of playing in the mountains, we encourage you to reach out to the office if you would like to discuss this in more detail.

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid-’90s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started learning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.

Examples of those steep lines were the North-East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.

Tim has spent the last 10 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine, and skiing. He is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, and lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele, sweet daughter Manue and son Matisse.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Tim Mincey

A native of Chicago, Tim grew up barely knowing that mountains existed, much less that you could climb or ski them for fun. But as an engineering student at Stanford, he managed to fall in love with snowboarding, and after college he made the move to Tahoe to ride full-time as a snowboard instructor. Once in Tahoe, Tim couldn’t wait to dive into backcountry splitboarding and rock climbing, and he is perpetually trying to make up for his late start in the mountains by climbing and snowboarding as much as possible. Tim has guided throughout California since 2011, and has a hard time imagining that he’ll ever tire of showing off the beauty of the Sierra Nevada.

He is an AMGA Certified Rock and Splitboard Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, and Single Pitch Instructor, as well as an AIARE Course Leader and AASI Level 3 Snowboard Instructor. He lives in South Lake Tahoe with his wife, Beth, their daughter, Cora, and their Mini Australian Shepherd, Pika.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Rich Meyer

Rich has been guiding professionally for over twenty years.  His work has varied from single day backcountry ski tours in Tahoe, to ski expeditions from Alaska to Antarctica.  Rich has been lucky enough to guide, travel, ski, and summit peaks in places such as:  Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Alaska, and Antarctica.  As well as scores of Mt. Shasta & Sierra Nevada summits. Promoting the human powered outdoor experience is a big part of Rich’s passion and work, both locally and nationally.  He feels strongly that protecting our natural environment and educating skiers and climbers about our winter wild places has to be a priority.

Rich is an AMGA Certified Ski Guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Sam Kieckhefer

Born and raised in Northern California, Sam began exploring the Sierra and developed a love for the mountains at a young age. He started backcountry skiing in 2010, and found his way up Mt. Shasta on only his second ski tour ever. After years of gaining experience, he started guiding in 2019 and hasn’t looked back. Sam guides full time in the winter around Tahoe as he continues to work towards his AMGA Ski Guide certification. Sam also teaches both recreational and professional avalanche courses with the American Avalanche Institute in the Tetons.

Sam is an AMGA Apprentice Ski and Alpine Guide, and AIARE Avalanche Course Instructor. He lives on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe with his partner Susie.

Guide Certifications
  • AIARE instructor

Sydney Paez Duncan

Skiing is just part of life growing up in Colorado, so naturally, Sydney has been in love with skiing since she was 3-years-old. At 18 she started her guiding career as a raft guide and became enamored with working in the outdoors.  For years she honed her backcountry skiing skills in France, Idaho, Colorado, and Tahoe, and she is so happy to be able to share her love for human-powered turns with others.  Sydney has worked at Squaw Valley on Ski Patrol for 4 seasons and guiding was a natural progression.  Recently, she was accepted to the AMGA’s Ski Guide track and she is on the path to becoming a certified Ski Guide. Once the skiing dries up in the summers, you can find Sydney guiding trips in the Cascades.

Sydney is an AMGA Assistant Ski Guide.

Ali Agee

Growing up just outside Lake Tahoe in Reno, skiing has been keeping Ali motivated her whole life. As she grew older and gained more appreciation for moving through the mountains, whether it be on skis or via long alpine rock routes, the journey toward becoming a ski guide has only been a natural progression.

On this journey, she’s had the opportunity to ski and rock climb in multiple venues including the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, Tetons, Japan, Canada, and beyond.

Ali has experienced firsthand the transformative powers that guided trips can have on someone looking to break through comfort zone barriers. She is passionate about sharing similar soul-filling, life-changing experiences with others.

Ali is currently an AMGA Assistant Ski Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, Certified Single Pitch Instructor, AIARE Avalanche Instructor, Pro 2 Avalanche Professional, Wilderness First Responder, mountain biker, and type-two fun seeker living in Truckee, CA.

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    Backcountry 1.0

Backcountry 1.0

This is the first part in our three-part intro to backcountry series. Please see Backcountry 2.0 and 3.0 for more information about subsequent courses. In this course you’ll learn the fundamentals of traveling safely and efficiently in the backcountry. Both skiers and splitboarders are welcome in this 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.