Intro to Backcountry Skiing

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

Price per person

$180.00

About this trip

Learn the fundamentals of traveling safely and efficiently in the backcountry. This trip prepares you for the more advanced Truckee Skyline Traverse.

Overview

  • skill level

    Introductory

  • 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, simple backcountry ski tour. Come out and learn the techniques and tricks from a professional ski guide, and get away from the lifts and the crowds of the ski area. Our Introduction to Backcountry Skiing is a great prerequisite for an AIARE 1 avalanche course.

Location:

Field sessions take place in Shirley Canyon, located within Olympic Valley. Alpenglow operates in partnership with The Tahoe National Forest and Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows.

Skills covered:

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 level required.

 

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

Preparation

  • Fitness

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

  • Technical Experience

    Skiers must be competent resort skiers able to link turns in a variety of terrain and snow conditions.

    • 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.

      • Equipment

      • Backcountry Access Stealth Probe 240

        Simple, lightweight probe, 240-300cm. Must have an auto-locking feature.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Pieps Avalanche Beacon

        A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Black Diamond Transfer 3 shovel

        Simple, metal bladed avalanche shovel. Extendable handle recommended.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Backcountry skis, bindings and skins

        These skis should be relatively lightweight, 90-110mm underfoot, and have a shape that works well in  a variety of snow conditions. "Tech" style bindings strongly recommended. Make sure your skins are trimmed to your ski.

        Read more
    • Do you rent equipment?

      Yes. All-new 2017 Blizzard Skis, Tecnica Boots and Jones Splitboards are available for rent for $55 per day. 

      We also rent beacons, shovels and probes.

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

      You need to be a strong intermediate skier or snowboarder within a ski resort.

    • Do I have enough experience for this trip?

      You must be a strong intermediate skier or rider to join us in the backcountry. 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.

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 90’s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started leaning 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 recently spent the last 8 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine and skiing as well as becoming an IFMGA aspirant mountain guide, an AMGA certified ski guide and AIARE level 1 course leader. He lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele and sweet daughter Manu. 

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is a fully certified IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

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

Logan Talbott

Director of Operations / mountain guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over 10 years in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan keeps things running smoothly as the director of operations at Alpenglow Expeditions. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is a fully certified AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and spotted dog Arlo.

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

Zeb Blais

From bushwhacking miles of Manzanita in ski boots to traversing huge glaciers in exotic ranges, adventure draws Zeb in. Originally from Vermont, Zeb has been hooked on big mountains since his first ski tour in Jackson Hole and has pursued skiing, climbing and exploring ever since. Zeb has climbed and guided in the Himalaya, Alaska, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Asia among others and he’s working hard to keep that list growing. Working as a mountain guide allows Zeb to share his passion for human powered movement in the mountains and to pass along what he’s learned along the way.

Zeb has successfully guided Mt Everest [29,029′], Mt Cho Oyu [26,906′] including a ski descent from the summit, Lobuche East [20,075′],  and four expeditions on Denali [20,320’], including a ski descent from the summit. He has completed 64 summits of Mount Rainier [14,410’]. Additional credentials include 12 summits of Mount Shasta [14,179’]; 5 summits of Mount Shuksan [9,100’]; 3 summits via Mount Baker [10,678’], including one ski descent from the summit, and two ski descents via the North Ridge; 2 summits of Aconcagua [22,841’]; 1 summit of Cotopaxi and 1 summit of Cayabme; 2 summits of Ixtacihuatl in Mexico; 3 summits of Orizaba in Mexico, including a ski descent from the summit; and numerous rock, alpine and ski summits from the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, Coast ranges and Rockies.

Zeb is an AMGA certified ski guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Chris Wright

Chris grew up in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains before moving to Oregon and becoming a guide in 2006, and has been climbing and skiing across the globe ever since. He is a fully certified IFMGA Mountain Guide, and can regularly be found at work from the French Alps to the Canadian Rockies and Norway’s Lofoten Islands. His achievements include everything from big walls to virgin summits, first ski descents and traverses, and his guiding career has taken him from the Matterhorn to Denali, and from Mt. Hood to Mont Blanc. An avid alpinist and expedition climber, Chris has received the prestigious Mugs Stump and Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards for his ascents of hard new routes on unclimbed peaks in the Nepali and Indian Himalayas, as well as the rest of the world, including the famed East Face of Alaska’s Mooses Tooth. He is easily excited by rocks, snow and ice, and by travel, coffee, beer and greasy food of any sort.

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

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