Day 2 – Preparing for the Backcountry

Day 2 covers the most important part of staying safe in the backcountry – proper education and preparation. 

It is to properly prepare and check the avalanche forecast before going out into the backcountry. New snow is exciting, but it can also create dangerous conditions.


AIARE Avalanche Courses 

Getting the proper education is key to staying safe in the backcountry. It is critical to take an AIARE Avalanche Course before going out. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or experienced backcountry rider, these courses allow you to gain a better understanding of how to operate in the backcountry with a solid avalanche education.

Win a Free Spot in an AIARE Course!

During Backcountry Safety Awareness Week, Alpenglow Expeditions generously donated two free spots to their AIARE courses to help our community access this critical safety education.

How to enter:

KAlpenglow is giving away two free AIARE courses! Visit the @alpenglowexpeditions Instagram page to learn how you can enter to win.

Learn more and see full course offerings:

Alpenglow Expeditions Avalanche Courses

Golden State Guiding Avalanche Courses 

Education and Practice

Getting the proper education and committing to practice are two of the most important things you can do to stay safe in the backcountry. 

  • Get the education through a formal avalanche education course.
  • Follow the progression through AIARE level 2.
  • The first step is to go to your local avalanche center or find your local professional guides service.
  • Encourage your friends to get educated and talk about everyone’s knowledge and skill level.
  • Finally, practice practice practice. The journey is continuous.


Safety starts before you ever hit the snow. Be sure to properly prepare for your trip and to pack the necessary equipment. 

  • Check the avalanche forecast and know how to read it. Make this a part of your routine.
  • Let others know where you’re going and when you plan to be back.
  • Make sure you’re self-reliant with the necessary tools and equipment.
  • Park at the trailhead respectfully.

What to Pack with Claire Hewitt-Demeyer

Tahoe Backcountry Alliance produced this video with local professional snowboarder, Claire Hewitt-Demeyer to show the items she thinks are essential to pack for a day touring in the backcountry.  Follow Claire’s adventures on Instagram: @wheres_claire_now



Head injuries are a big deal and the best way to protect your most vital organ (your brain) is to wear a helmet.  We’ll cover helmet technology and what to look for when buying a helmet in this brief video.

What to Wear

The right gear offers protection from the elements and from hypothermia.

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Utilize layers
  • Base Layers: Wear synthetic or wool baselayers, do not use cotton.
  • Mid Layer: Lightweight fleece or a thicker baselayer
  • Top Layer: Shell jacket and/or pants for days with weather. Softshells are nice and breathable when touring.
  • Seasonality and daytime weather will affect your layering choices

Electrical Interference and Beacons

Testing how cell phone, bluetooth headphones, GPS, and electric glove interfere with a variety of beacons.

View Day 1 Content: “Welcome to to Backcountry!”

Partners and Resources 

 The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance is the voice for the human-powered winter backcountry community in the Lake Tahoe area, advocating for and informing our community about critical issues affecting winter backcountry recreation in and around Tahoe.


Sierra Avalanche Center’s mission is to inform and educate the public about backcountry avalanche conditions in the greater Lake Tahoe area.


Alpenglow Expeditions is the only guide service in Tahoe accredited by the American Mountain Guides Association. Join our professional mountain guides for an inspiring adventure in the Tahoe backcountry, whether it be our industry-leading AIARE 1 courses with both traditional and hybrid options, or a day of powder skiing bliss in the Palisades Backcountry. Give our team a call to discover your options – we’re open 7 days a week in the Village at Palisades Tahoe.

877-873-5376 |


The Lake Tahoe Snowmobilers is a 501(c)3 run by a group of volunteers committed to winter avalanche safety education and practice, promoting positive backcountry experiences and snowmobile for all backcountry users, and advocating for motorized backcountry experiences and access for all, regardless of health-status, physical abilities, socioeconomic background, or culture. Reach out to [email protected] with any questions or find us at or
@laketahoesnowmobilers on Facebook and Instagram.

Visit Truckee-Tahoe (VTT) is the 501c6 Destination Marketing & Management Organization (DMMO) for Truckee, California. VTT promotes, protects and enhances Truckee as an authentic mountain town. Sustainable Truckee is a Visit Truckee-Tahoe initiative that promotes stewardship programs and services. Sustainable Truckee programs for winter 2021-22 include Truckee Trail Host Ambassadors, Winter Recreation & Safety Trailhead Signage, Winter Recreation & Safety Map, and Truckee-Tahoe Travel Alert. Learn more at

Founded by IFMGA/American Mountain Guide Zeb Blais, Blackbird Mountain Guides offers a full range of mountain adventures and skills courses to up your game in the backcountry.   From AIARE avalanche education and heli-accessed BC lodge ski touring to rock and alpine climbing across the globe, their AIARE and AMGA trained guides can make your mountain dreams a reality. Set up a trip or book a course with them today!


Golden State Guiding is a full service Guide Service in California offering privately guided backcountry splitboarding and skiing programs, AIARE Avalanche Courses, and rock, ice, and alpine climbing programs. GSG is also a 1% for the Planet member and our main beneficiaries are the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center, Protect Our Winters, Yosemite Conservancy and Friends of Joshua Tree.

For over 40 years IAG/ASI team have been guiding throughout California, as well as on many of the great peaks of the world. As one of the most experienced and oldest guide services in California, we bring to you the highest standards in the mountain guiding industry.

More partners include: UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, USDA Forest Service Region 5, Tahoe Mountain Sports, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Lake Tahoe Community College, Lake Tahoe Snowmobilers, Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center, Tahoe Fund, Outdoor Alliance, Tahoe Sports Hub, North America Ski Training & Climbing, International Alpine Guides, Backcountry Babes, Sierra Mountain Guides, Incline Village General Improvement District, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, North Tahoe Community Association, Town of Truckee, Nevada Department of Outdoor Recreation, and Sports Basement.