By utilizing the extensive lift system of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, we can quickly access incredible terrain and get more skiing and riding in. In this program we ski in three distinct zones: Tram Ridge, Nat Geo Bowl and Munchkins. For the first time, this terrain can now be ridden with a guide, opening up lift-accessed riding for skiers and snowboarders and requiring less uphill travel than a normal day touring.
Each group is private with their own guide. This means you know your group’s pace and skier or rider ability, and you create your day.
- Want to rip as many laps as you can? We can utilize the lifts and minimize hiking.
- Want to find the rarely skied nooks and crannies with the best cold pow? Our guides know the area better than anyone, and Alpenglow’s exclusive lift access to certain zones give us the best conditions out there.
- Want to build your backcountry skills? Our guides love to teach, and can focus your day on uphill skills, avalanche safety skills and more, all while skiing and riding in the backcountry.
You must be an intermediate to advanced skier for this trip and be comfortable on ungroomed terrain. Here is a good example of intermediate skiers and riders. It is recommended that you take our Backcountry 1.0 course or have at least 1-5 days of backcountry skiing/riding experience before participating in this tour.
At Squaw Valley we ski and ride in two prominent zones. National Geographic Bowl (Nat Geo) and the Tram Ridge zone.
Nat Geo – Located outside the boundary lines of Granite Chief at Squaw, the Nat Geo bowl and adjacent peaks have been long admired for their beauty, remoteness, and quality of terrain. Crossing the boundary at Squaw with your guide, you step into a true backcountry experience with quiet solitude and playful terrain. There are many options for ski descents and once you reach the bottom you’ll transition to uphill mode and gain the ridge that connects Squaw Valley to the Tahoe National Forest boundary. Some groups do multiple laps in Nat Geo, and some continue on to Tram Ridge.
Tram Ridge – This is the awesome north facing terrain that can be seen from the parking lot of Squaw Valley. Accessed from Broken Arrow this zone is made up of glades, gullies and ridge lines. We can ski multiple laps in this zone, returning to the ski area to bump up the lifts, or utilizing our AT skis or split boards to “skin” uphill. Skiing out of the boundary line on Tram Ridge has long been a dream of many a long-time Squaw skier, and now it is a reality, exclusively with Alpenglow Expeditions!
At Alpine Meadows we access the popular backcountry zone known as “Munchkins” off Scott Peak. Munchkins is a huge zone, with everything from mellow open bowls to perfectly spaced trees to steep technical lines. The zone’s diversity makes Munchkins the perfect place for the new backcountry skier or rider looking to build skills, and ideal for many laps for the experienced off-piste rider.
We don’t decide which zone we will ski until the morning of the tour, to allow our guides to pick the best ski tour based on current conditions. Regardless of where the day takes you, you can be sure it will be a memorable backcountry outing!
What to Expect:
Depending on fitness level, technical ability and daily conditions skiers and riders can expect to get multiple laps of fresh tracks outside of the ski area boundary. Terrain varies from wide open bowls and widely spaced trees to steep, technical lines that will challenge even the most seasoned skier.
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 ride the lifts at Squaw or Alpine before heading out of bounds. Lift access to these zones cuts out a significant portion of approach time, and can be used throughout the day to reduce the ratio of hiking to riding traditionally associated with backcountry skiing.
Who Can Participate:
Intermediate and Advanced skiers or riders. Skiers and riders must be competent in a variety of terrain and snow conditions. Skiers and riders must be able to link turns on ungroomed runs while maintaining control. This is comparable to skiing ungroomed black diamond terrain confidently. This video gives a good example of the intermediate to advanced skiers and riders.
We recommend having 1-5 days of touring experience or our Backcountry 1.0 course as a prerequisite for this trip. While the hiking to riding ratio is lower than a traditional day in the backcountry, uphill travel is still required.
Skiers or riders 12-16 years old can join us with a parent. 16 years and over are able to join without accompaniment.
We have an excellent selection of backcountry ski gear available to rent. We offer top of the line equipment from Blizzard Skis, Technica Boots, Jones Snowboards, and Black Diamond. Many of our guides use the same gear available in our demo fleet. If you have any gear or sizing questions, we would be more than happy to get you situated to ensure you get the most out of your day in the mountains.
Complete Package (Skis, Boots, Bindings, Poles, Skins) – $55/day
Alpenglow also provides avalanche kits for a small daily fee for those who don’t own their own gear. Beacon, probe, and shovel are required.