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The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry

01.22.18

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The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry

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  • The Mount Rose region is a popular backcountry area when covered with a layer or two of snow.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • The Tahoe Meadows Trailhead provides access to several backcountry tours, but the parking area is also a popular snow park, so plan ahead if you want to avoid the crowds.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Descend the east side of Chickadee ridge (on skis or a board, of course) for some great turns. - The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Skinning up Alpine Mine Road with Red Lake Peak (10,061 ft) rising in the distance.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • The slope steepens en route to Red Lake Peak's summit.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • North bowl of Red Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Skinning up to Signal Peak ridge with Cisco Bute in the backround.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Aproaching the abondoned Centeral Pacific Railroad Fire Lookout Station on Signal Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Singal Peak's south face.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Enoying the view on the lower seciton of Signal Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • South face of Signal Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • The Lake Run seen from Donner Lake.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Judah Ridge. - The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Another option is to ski out of the drainage on the west side of Donner Peak to Old Highway 40.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Looking out from one of the summit drop-in options on Lake Run.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Great views of Donner Lake from the Lake Run.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Headed toward the summit of Ralston.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Ejoying the views of Lake Tahoe from the summit of Ralston.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Dropping into Cup Lake from Ralston.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Fast turns on great corn make the south face of Ralston very fun in the spring.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Hidden Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Hidden Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Hidden Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Views of the lake are good motivation to push through to the summit of Hidden Peak. - The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Preparation for the descent on Waterhouse Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Skiing the trees of Waterhouse Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Finding some fun among the trees on Waterhouse Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Pillow harvesting on Powderhouse.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • A short hike over a ridge at the bottom of the east bowl puts skiers back on the north aspect.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Drops are easy to come by in Powderhouse's east bowl.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Contributor Reed Youngbar sending a pillow drop in the east bowl.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • The views from Jake's summit never get old.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Despite dry land at lake level, Jake's upper half is often holding snow. - The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Eastshore vantage of the westshore lineup.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Skiing corn on Castle's south face.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Castle Peak's southern aspect. The main ascent route climbs the left (west facing) shoulder.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Nearing Castle Peak's summit with the Castle Peak-Basin Peak ridgeline behind.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Castle Peak's south face.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Riding powder on the north side of Donner Ridge into Euer Valley.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Checking out cornice debris in Sunrise Bowl.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Dropping into the east-facing Sunrise Bowl.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Sunrise Bowl on Donner Ridge offers a great low-angle descent.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Enjoying fresh turns in the Sunrise Bowl.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • The Donner Ridge area is great for dogs.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Skiing Sunrise Bowl.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Riding the west face of Donner Ridge into Johnson Canyon (formerly called Negro Canyon).- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Standing on the summit of Angora Peak with Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe in the background.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Riding the gully on Angora Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Well-spaced glades on Rubicon's east aspect.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Rubicon Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Andesite Peak.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Castle Peak with Basin Peak in the background.- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
  • Johnson Canyon (previously known as Negro Canyon).- The Ultimate Ski Guide to Tahoe's Backcountry
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Contributor

California… the land of strip malls, white sand beaches, and celebrity sightings… or so you thought.

Among skiers and snowboarders, California, and the Tahoe region in particular, is the one of the world’s premier winter sports destinations. The heavy snowpack is colloquially known as “Sierra Cement,” and it provides for comparatively stable snow (depending on conditions). Combine that with extreme terrain, friendly beginning slopes, easy access to the backcountry from major roads, and you have a skier's and splitboarder’s dream come true.

The depth of options throughout the Tahoe region is a huge draw for this area, as well. From South Lake Tahoe all the way to Donner Summit, this region offers a ton of winter backcountry routes. Before going out, be sure to educate yourself on avalanche safety (we highly recommend taking an Avalanche 1 class through AIARE) and checking the avalanche forecast. The Sierra Avalanche Center is a comprehensive and complete resource--there’s no reason to get caught out in sketchy terrain if you learn how to use this tool properly.

Here’s a basic rundown of popular backcountry tours in the different areas within Tahoe and a couple popular options for each.

Donner Lake and Donner Summit

West Shore and Desolation Wilderness

Mount Rose

Carson Pass and South Lake

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