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Backcounry Basics: Intro to Ski Mountaineering – February 20, 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 20 @ 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

Available 5 Refundable Deposit $50


CA United States + Google Map
Led By:

Tristan Sieleman

Tail Guide(s)

Adam Selby


Have you ever dreamt of skiing the extreme terrain of Chamonix or the High Sierra? Mandatory rappels, ice screws, harnesses, ropes and a more elaborate skill set are required to make this happen. In our “Backcountry Basics: Intro to Ski Mountaineering,” provided by AMGA certified guide Tristan Sieleman, you will learn the skills needed to travel to the big mountains of the world … and send! This curriculum has been developed by Adrian Ballinger, owner and found of Alpenglow Expeditions, who has distilled the important foundational ski mountaineering skills into one, action packed day.

In this course you will learn how to incorporate technical skills into your repertoire, in order to attempt bigger, more complicated ski objectives. Skills to be covered in the class include: steep skiing techniques, basic snow and ice climbing techniques (including use of ice axe and crampons), basic rope technical systems for glaciated terrain and the use of ski crampons.

Please note that the equipment requirements for this one-day course are different from a beginner tour so please pay close attention the needs stipulated below.

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 both a classroom and field session. However, the field portion of the workshop will be held on the Tahoe City golf course behind Alpenglow Sports. Accordingly, while you will need to bring touring equipment and avalanche safety gear, this isn’t a legitimate tour, but rather an opportunity to practice your skills on snow, while using your equipment.**

Equipment Requirements:

  • Backcountry Ski/Splitboard Touring Equipment
  • Avalanche Safety Items: Beacon, Shovel, Probe
  • Ski Mountaineering Items: Ice Axe, Harness, Boot & Ski Crampons


Discounted demo equipment will be made available to registered participants via email by mid January. ​
Participants must possess their own avalanche safety equipment (beacon, shovel, probe, pack) and requisite backcountry touring gear (skis, splitboards, bindings, boots, skins, poles, etc.) Please no snowshoes, metal-edge (fish-scale) touring equipment, or dogs.

Sponsored by Elan
Sponsored by Mammut

*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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