From athlete panel sessions about backcountry safety to guided on-snow events and a film fest, the third annual Tahoe Backcountry Safety Awareness Week is chock full of events and online content curated by Take Care Tahoe. From December 11-16, 2023, both novice and experienced backcountry enthusiasts will have opportunities to learn how to safely recreate in the backcountry this winter.
"The collaboration we see leading up to and during Backcountry Safety Awareness Week is awesome and it goes beyond one week in December,” said Anthony Cupaiuolo, executive director of the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance. “The efforts during this week help further everyone's common goal of getting folks out and enjoying our public lands - and doing so safely."
Started in 2020 to help educate the growing number of people who venture into the Tahoe backcountry about the importance of safety, preparedness and etiquette, Tahoe Backcountry Safety Awareness Week convenes experts and partners in the Tahoe Basin and beyond to offer educational sessions, panel discussions, film screenings, opportunities to test safety equipment and more.
"This winter marks the 20 year anniversary of the Sierra Avalanche Center and the Backcountry Safety Awareness Week is a great opportunity to further our mission of educating the backcountry community,” said David Reichel, executive director of Sierra Avalanche Center. “While we currently may not have the deepest snowpack, it is complex and interesting. This week is a great opportunity to refresh your knowledge or take your first steps in learning about having fun and traveling safely in the winter environment."
The 2023 Tahoe Backcountry Safety Awareness Week schedule includes:
Happy Hour and Backcountry Mixer at RMU Truckee – Monday, December 11
Hosted at RMU Truckee, participate in a backcountry-themed trivia night and enjoy happy hour all night long. All trivia participants will receive one free ticket for a raffle which includes gear from Sierra Avalanche Center, RMU, Pit Viper, Drink Coffee Do Stuff, Alpenglow Expeditions, Lake Tahoe Snowmobilers, International Alpine Guides, and Flylow. This event starts at 6:30 p.m., no registration is required.
On-Snow Emergency Response and Shelter Building with International Alpine Guides – Tuesday, December 12
Hosted in-person by International Alpine Guides outside their office on Donner Summit, learn the basics of emergency preparedness in the backcountry, including what to pack, how to build a snow shelter, and proper emergency response shelter. This event will take place regardless of snow conditions. Pre-registration required. Sign up here.
On-Snow Introduction to Backcountry Touring with Alpenglow Expeditions – Wednesday, December 13
Hosted by Alpenglow Expeditions, join professional guides and AIARE instructors for a tour of Shirley Canyon while learning more about proper gear and techniques and tips to improve your skills. Participants should have intermediate skiing skills and bring their own gear or plan to rent from Alpenglow beforehand. If conditions are not suitable for skiing, this event will cover essential aspects of backcountry touring in a classroom setting. Pre-registration required. Sign up here.
Sharing the Backcountry Panel at RMU Truckee – Wednesday, December 13
Hosted in person at RMU in Truckee, listen to a panel discussion about sharing access and best etiquette in the backcountry, featuring backcountry guide Jen Callahan, Ali Agee from Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, and Todd Wold with Lake Tahoe Snowmobilers. The panel will take place at 6:00 p.m., followed by an open mic night. No registration required.
Backcountry Film Festival – Thursday, December 15
Hosted by the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, the Backcountry Film Festival will be held at Alibi Ale Works’ Incline Public House. A celebration of the human-powered experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snowsports community, tickets for this event are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. General admission $15; VIP $50 and includes guaranteed seating in front rows, drink ticket, swag and raffle tickets. Local skier Claire Hewitt-Dwyer will be featured in a special film showing, and available for a Q&A afterward. Doors at 6:00 p.m, screening starts at 6:30 p.m. Sign up here.
SheJumps Introduction to the Backcountry - Friday, December 15
Hosted by SheJumps and Alpenglow Expeditions, learn everything you need to know to get out into the backcountry at this demo event and lecture specifically for women. Learn about what to pack, how to set up your beacon, and how to seek out additional training and continuing education this winter. Following the lecture and Q&A there will be a demo to teach how to cut skins and wax skis and boards. Pre-registration required. Sign up here.
Lake Tahoe Snowmobilers December Meet-up - Saturday, December 16
An event open to all backcountry snowsports users (not just snowmobilers), this event will be held at the Little Truckee Summit starting at 9:00 a.m. A great opportunity to test safety equipment, Lake Tahoe Snowmobilers will have a beacon park set-up and a representative from Sierra Avalanche Center. No registration is required and warm beverages will be available.
Alpenglow Expeditions Pushing the Boundaries Athlete Panel - Saturday, December 16
Hosted by Alpenglow Expeditions, join this panel featuring trailblazers in the world of backcountry skiing: Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington, as well as Alpenglow Guides Dave Nettle and Sydney Paez Duncan. The group will discuss topics including exploration, safety, environmental conservation, and inspiration. Sign up here.