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Backcounry Basics: How to Plan a Backcountry Tour – February 18, 2020

Registration for all Mountain Festival events close 48 hours ahead of time. Participants for each event are emailed at this time with tour location, etc. Please remember that all events are held in and around North Lake Tahoe but exact specifics will be shared 48 hours ahead of time to assess snow quality and safety.

February 18 @ 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

Available 4 Refundable Deposit $50


North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center
100 N Lake Blvd
Tahoe City, CA 96145 United States
+ Google Map
Led By:

Tristan Sieleman

Tail Guide(s)

John Drollinger


So you’ve acquired brand new touring equipment … but now what? A vital component of safe and efficient backcountry travel is not only how to utilize your equipment but also HOW to plan an actual tour. In this classroom Backcountry Basics workshop you will learn about the common mistakes that can often lead to fatalities: familiarity, social proof (my friends skied there), scarcity (the resort is tracked out…) and more. You’ll also learn about navigation, emergency response technique and associated gear, local snowpack assessment and the human factor in decision making.

Many beginners brush past the importance of education for the glory of the “tour” but we STRONGLY encourage participants, particularly those new to Mountain Festival, to engage in our avalanche safety workshops. AMGA guide Tristan Sieleman will be the instructor for the day, as you embark or enhance your journey of becoming a dialed, efficient and safe backcountry traveler.

Mountain Festival Backcountry Basics workshops are designed to give beginners and intermediates a comfortable, safe and educational introduction into what it means to be a responsible backcountry skier/rider. There are several types of Backcountry Basics workshops: some are 100% classroom-based, some have a mix of classroom and field components and some are conducted 100% in the field during while short mini-tours.

While jumping directly into a beginner tour is perhaps more glamorous than an educational workshop, we feel strongly that beginner and intermediate backcountry skiers and riders need a solid foundational skill set BEFORE heading into the field. At Mountain Festival, our goal is to make sure that beginners and intermediates have an opportunity to build the requisite skill set in order to be responsible, safe and efficient backcountry travelers. Please note that Backcountry Basics workshops are significantly different than a beginner tour. Those new to the sport are STRONGLY encouraged to register for Backcountry Basics workshops BEFORE joining any beginner tour.

In addition to the skill development component of our Backcountry Basics workshops, we also feel strongly about educating those new to the sport about issues that transcends in-the-field skills, namely leave-no-trace ethics, skin track AND parking etiquette, human-powered access issues, climate change and more. Not only will you depart a Backcountry Basics workshop with an enhanced skill set, you will be made aware of some very pressing issues affecting the backcountry landscape in Lake Tahoe.


** Please note that this a classroom-based workshop and does not have ANY field component. Accordingly you will not need touring equipment but we still encourage you to bring your avalanche safety gear.**

Sponsored by Scarpa

*PLEASE NOTE! In the spirit of inclusivity we are limiting participants to four tours. This does not include workshops, Backcountry Basics, etc. Registration for most events requires a deposit, which varies from $25-$100, that is refunded upon participation. Cancellations are not allowed after February 1st and all calendar adjustments prior to February 1st are subject to a $10 adjustment fee. Any excess garnered from the cancellation policy will be donated to Protect Our Winters and the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance.

**Please also note that you will be sent a complete equipment list for each individual event by the middle of January. Additionally, if you have registered for any backcountry tour you will be contacted 72 hours prior to the tour with the exact location. This is irrelevant if your chosen tour stipulates a location, but for others we want to assess the snow and avalanche conditions for others closer to the event. The goal is to show you the best time possible which requires a decision closer to each tour.


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