Introduction to Ski Mountaineering

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

Price per person

$199.00

About this trip

This course is designed to take backcountry skiers beyond simple ski tours, and into the big mountains of the world.

Overview

  • skill level

    Intermediate

  • Duration

    1 Day

Taking his experience from skiing on the highest peaks of the world, Adrian Ballinger has distilled the important foundational ski mountaineering skills into one, action packed day. You will learn how to incorporate technical skills into your repertoire, in order to attempt bigger, more complicated ski objectives.

Skills Covered:

-Steep skiing techniques

-Basic snow climbing, using ice axe and crampons

-Basic rope techniques for steep ground and glacial travel

-Use of ski crampons

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.

    • 8:00am — Meet & Greet

      Meet your guide, and get an overview of the day.

    • 8:30am-12:00pm — Morning Skills Session

      Starting with the basics, we gradually add new skills and techniques to the table.

    • 12:00pm-12:30pm — Lunch

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

    • 12:30pm-4:00pm — Afternoon Skills Session

      Building on the skills of the morning, we will enter demanding terrain and get some hands on practice.

      • Equipment

      • 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
      • Pieps Avalanche Beacon

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

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Backcountry Access Stealth Probe 240

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

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Black Diamond Transfer 3 shovel

        Simple, metal bladed avalanche shovel. Extendable handle recommended.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 ski pack

        A ski-specific backpack is preferred to a regular pack, due to the external pocket for avalanche rescue gear. 20-35 liters.

        Buy on Blackdiamondequipment.com
      • Salomon ski/ climbing helmet

        This helmet is very light, comfortable, and is certified for both skiing and climbing.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
    • What sort of experience is needed for the Intro to Ski Mo Techniques?

      This day is suitable for strong intermediate or advanced backcountry skiers and riders only. Being comfortable on steep terrain, and have significant touring experience will help you get the most out of the day.

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

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

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

Logan Talbott

Director of Operations / 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 an IFMGA aspirant mountain guide, a certified Ski and Rock Guide through the AMGA, an Avalanche course leader through 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 Certified Rock Guide
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Adrian Ballinger

Adrian Ballinger is one of the USA’s premier high-altitude mountain guides, and the only American guide to have both AMGA/IFMGA guide’s certification (one of roughly 100 in the USA) and more than 10 summits of 8,000 meter peaks (12 total, including 6 summits of Mt. Everest). As founder and head guide of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian has been guiding full-time for fifteen years and has led over 100 international climbing expeditions on 5 continents.

In 2011 he, along with 2 Sherpa partners, became the first people to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). He is also the first person to ski Manaslu, the 8th tallest mountain in the world, from its summit, and the first American to successfully ski two 8,000-meter peaks. These personal successes are combined with Adrian’s passion for guiding and teaching others. Adrian has led expeditions where more than 100 clients have successfully summited Everest, Lhotse (the 4th tallest mountain in world), Cho Oyu (6th tallest) and Manaslu (8th tallest).

Whether on skis, in rock shoes, or mountain boots, Adrian thrives on sharing the big mountains with friends and clients, and helping them to build their skills and experience to be successful on the world’s most beautiful mountains. In the coming seasons Adrian plans on continuing to enjoy big-mountain skiing, climbing, and guiding in the Himalaya, South America, Alaska, and of course closer to “home” in Squaw Valley, CA. Adrian is a sponsored athlete for Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Petzl, Kaenon, Goal Zero, Hypoxico, Alpenglow Sports and High Altitude Fitness.

Learn more about Adrian at adrianballinger.com

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

Brian Warren

IFMGA/AMGA Aspirant Mountain Guide

Brian is a very passionate climber, skier and mountain guide.  He has been climbing for over 13 years and has spent the last 8 of those years skiing as many days as possible.  Brian currently works as a professional mountain guide year round and can be found guiding in various parts of the world including Jackson Hole, WY, the Pacific Northwest and the European Alps in the winter months.  Brian has also spent time climbing and guiding in Alaska, Canada, South America and the Himalaya.  He currently enjoys beautiful alpine traverses, warm desert rock and technical ski mountaineering.  He recently completed a ski mountaineering traverse enchaining the East Face of the Grand Teton, the Chounaird Couloir of the Middle Teton and the South East Couloir of the South Teton in a one day push car to car.  He is also an accomplished rock and ice climber and is always looking for new and exciting venues.  Brian presently holds IFMGA/AMGA Aspirant status as well as a Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Masters, and an Avalanche III certification.  Brian is always excited to guide people in the mountains and to help individuals obtain their personal goals of mountain travel.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Alpine Guide
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

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    Introduction to Ski Mountaineering