How to join SnowPals

At SnowPals we help foster friendships and encourage personal enrichment by sharing snow-sports experiences. Join SF Bay Area Professionals to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies, btw, that’s how we came up with our name: Snow (Snow-Sports) + Pals.

Founded in 1999 by a small group of friends; we are now 8,249 members and growing. Celebrating our 22nd year of connecting folks to expand their circle of snow sports activity partners. Also, a great way to network professionally since most of our members are busy Bay Area and Silicon Valley professionals who share a keen interest to make the most of their recreational time for trips to Tahoe and other powder destinations (road trips & air travel after the pandemic is behind us) for snow-sports. In addition, socially connect with skiers and snowboarders in regards to all things Tahoe.

Read members’ introductions to get an idea who joins SnowPals.
How to join SnowPals
View Upcoming Bay Area & Tahoe Events: opportunities to meet in-person (after the pandemic or with members who have been vaccinated) with skiers and boarders near you.

Connect with skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels for trips to Tahoe and to snow destinations covered by your multi-resort ski season pass like Epic, Ikon, Powder Alliance and the Mountain Collective Pass.

As a result of the COVID pandemic, we encourage all to abide by state and county safety guidelines as specified for your city/county. For Tahoe ridesharing, please keep updated with safety requirements detailed here.

How do members connect for rides to Tahoe and other snow destinations?

SnowPals’ members only forum connects members for trips almost every day of the week since we have members who are college students, Bay Area working professionals, digital nomads, visitors on vacation to Lake Tahoe as well as retirees(who likes to ski off-peak weekdays, non-holiday periods) who engages in an active snow sports lifestyle.

Below is a screenshot of SnowPals’ members forum messages for Tahoe ride-share:

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Who are your behind the scene crew/the people who helps manage and run SnowPals?

Read more about us/the SnowPals crew on our ‘About Us’ page.

Q: I live in Monterey/Santa Cruz/Sacramento/Davis/Roseville/Stockton/Central Valley California, are there Bay Area members who can give me rides to Tahoe?

A: Yes, if you live along the route to North Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada ski resorts, you can find rides since members stop along the route for a pitstop/to pick-up passengers on the way to Tahoe or other high Sierra resorts.

Q: Do you have ski/snowboard families? We are a skiing/snowboarding family and would like to meet other families who frequent Tahoe often to share snow sports experiences to give kids opportunities to meet new ski/ride friends to make the experience more fun.

A: Yes, many of our members have kids and would like to connect with other families to enjoy snow-sports together; often-times members collaborate to share a ski cabin to reduce their ski cabin lease expenses. Some parents enrolled their kids in resort based ski, snowboarding race training team programs. Many of our members got married over the years and became parents so naturally they would like to connect with other like-minded parents.

Q: I mainly do backcountry skiing/boarding, are there backcountry skiers/riders in the group?

A: Yes, we have many members who are backcountry skiers at various levels from beginners to expert touring level.

Q: I want to find folks for Nordic skiing/cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; are there members who engage in Nordic type snow sports?

A: Yes, we have members who cross train and who enjoys Nordic skiing/snowshoeing; a favorite destination is Lake Tahoe area’s backcountry trails, in addition, many often go to Yosemite National Park to not only engage in snow sports but to engage in winter snow photography and to enjoy off the beaten path Nordic skiing adventures.

Q: What’s the best way to meet people?

A: Make a point to attend our meetups to meet skiers, snowboarders in person to quickly establish rapport and plan Tahoe trips. Nothing beats in-person socializing which instantly creates rapport and connection by way of sharing similar interests and activities.

Screenshot of Tahoe Ride-share Contacts Preferences:

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After college, it’s likely that our circle of friends become smaller and smaller with each passing year as family and work responsibilities require a bulk of our personal time, so at SnowPals, we would like to help expand your circle of snow-sports buddies so you can go on more powder ski and snowboarding trips than you have done in previous years.

At SnowPals, we help to expand your FUN horizon by connecting with SF Bay Area professionals of all ages/skill levels, college students and even retirees for Tahoe ski, ride trips and POWDER trips to snowy destinations world-wide. Network, connect and socialize with our active and friendly members.

Before the ski season starts (in October), join our pre-snow season ski-and-ride movie screenings, ski/board festivals, connect for ride-shares and join winter ski leases to make the most of your ski pass.

Our members often extend group activities into the summer seasons. We encourage an active lifestyle of not only snow-sports but the entire gamut of outdoor recreational activities, in the off-season, members often engage in various activities from active travel adventures to tropical R & R destination vacations or travel to bucket list destinations, or locally connect for nature hikes, surfing, sky-diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, wakeboarding among other outdoor activities.

Over the years, we’ve noticed that ..

Ski and snowboard friendships often last a lifetime as they are built on a core shared interest.

“Create ski and snowboarding memories today so when in later years, you’ll reminisce about moments that will likely trigger joyful smiles. That is in two words: ‘truly priceless’ 😉 “- SnowPals

What adventure(s) have you checked off your bucket list this year?

* To get an idea of folks who join SnowPals, the following are excerpts of members’ intros:

“I love snowboarding and starting to get into backcountry riding. Open to riding with new people and meeting others who are into BC riding/skiing.” – Daphne from Newark, CA

“Will be based in Tahoma and skiing on the Tahoe Local Epic pass this season. Getting back to skiing after a 10-year hiatus.” – Lydia

“I finally moved back to Roseville after living in Portland for the last 5 years. I’ve got a season pass to Sierra at Tahoe & hoping to have a good snowboarding season! I’ll be mostly going on the weekends, and taking a few days off here and there on weekdays. I’m interested in tahoe rideshare & possibly finding mates for snowboarding!” – V from Roseville, CA

“I’ve lived in the Bay Area for nearly 4 years now. I’ve skied off and on for about 19 years (with a big layoff in between). I started skiing annually again about 5 years ago. I mainly ski in Park City, UT (A big group of friends host an annual ski trip there).
This year I decided to really lean in and embrace skiing more. I purchased my own equipment and an all resort Epic Pass. I plan on visiting Tahoe a few times this year and hopefully a few non-CA resorts as well. I would love to find a buddy or group to join for a few trips this year. I’m open to joining a ski lease as well.” – Kevin from Emeryville, CA

“I am a digital nomad and thought it would be fun to spend some time up in Tahoe improving my boarding and skiing skills. I would love to find a ski lease that could be a month continuous or at least two to three weeks at a time, maybe twice over the season. I am a fun, easy-going person who can be social or quiet, as needed. I don’t want to live in a party house, but love to cook, enjoy wine, beer and cocktails and board games (sorry!). I am from LA, but please don’t hold that against me, I love San Francisco” – Dagney from SF, CA

“I am an intermediate snowboarder who enjoys park and free riding. 19/20 will be my 2nd full season. I have a season pass for Heavenly and Sierra and looking to ride up with people who enjoy snowsports. I live in San Jose.” – Mike

“Hi Skiers and Snowboarders!

I’ve been snowsporting in Tahoe my whole life and would like to move there someday. My boyfriend Aaron and I are from Los Gatos, and we have both Ikon and Epic passes but love to visit smaller resorts as well. I also love going to ski movie premieres to get pumped up for the season. We can cook pretty well so you definitely want us in your ski lease. Can’t wait to meet you!” – Anna

“Hi, I am from Chicago, moved here in 2018 from DC and spent many excellent weekends at Kirkwood last season. Typically overstoked Midwesterner, have AWD car, Epic local pass. Mostly a weekend warrior to save vacation days, open to ski lease options, and living in Oakland. In warmer weather I’m climbing in Yosemite and elsewhere. Looking for folks excited to hit the slopes all day long!

Looking to connect with others who have Epic Local- Kirkwood is my favorite, but also open to Northstar/Heavenly.” – Josh from Oakland.

Hi my name is Claire and I’m based in SF. I have the Ikon pass, and am interested in finding people to carpool with to Squaw Alpine.

I like to Ski and do Cross-country skiing too.”

“Hi, I grew up in SF, am 24, and recently got into skiing. I am hoping to go up more this season and am looking for a group or ski buddies to go with! 🙂 ” – Harmony

“Hello, I’m frequently driving back and forth from South Lake Tahoe to the Peninsula close to the weekends. I ferry my 6 year old daughter back and forth so we can ski together, but she’s with her dad during the school week. So, sometimes she’ll be in the car and sometimes it’s just me. I have a ski lease now, but hope to relocate to the area. I only travel during low traffic times. Hoping to connect with some weekly carpoolers!” – Ellen

“Hi All! I just moved out to San Francisco after spending some time in Chicago and New York, I am currently on Volunteer Ski Patrol at Squaw Valley So I’m up most weekends and looking to offer rideshare or catch a carpool with others. Myself and some of my family and friends are currently starting a new ski lease in Homewood and we’re hoping to use it to make some new friends! I’m 26 and work as a Programmer.” – Brian

“I am an intermediate skier living in the East Bay. “I’d like to go skiing more often than I used to. Willing to team up with others to share rides to Tahoe. I have a flexible schedule and can go most days during the week. I am professional in the tech field. Prefer to go to Kirkwood, Heavenly & Northstar.” – John

“Hi, I’m from the UK working as a doctor at UCSF and looking to do as many day trips/weekend trips as possible. I’m mainly looking for a ride, but if friends happen, it was meant to be! I am clean and travel without skis.” – V.

“I love skiing (resort and backcountry) and all sorts of climbing — rock and ice, especially alpine routes. Most of my climbing was up in the OR + WA Cascades, so I’d love someone to show me around the Sierra climbing and backcountry skiing. For 2018-19, I have an Ikon Pass and am looking to connect for rides to IKON resorts.” – Alex

Hello POWDER LOVERS, I’m Brian, 47, and I love to Snowboard, advance level, Surf, watch the SF Giants, and go to Happy Hour. I’m married with two great kids (in the middle school range). My wife is from Canada, and she’s realized her dream of making me a devout snow monkey. We bought season passes for the first time this year, so I’m aiming to put as many miles on my Epic Pass as I can. The kids play sports so our Tahoe trips are tag team with one schlepping kids while the other ski’s/boards. I drive our Subaru Outback when I go and like not needing chains. I’m interested in carpooling with anyone else who wants to day trip. I typically go to Kirkwood from San Mateo on weekends, and some weekdays.” – Brian

“Hello! I’m AJ, a PhD student at UC Berkeley who loves XC skiing. I also like snowshoeing. I’m hoping to get out to Tahoe on the weekends, and maybe even for longer during the holidays. Here for good company, new friends, ride shares, ski buddies, and also lodging-sharing.”

“Hi everyone! I’ve lived in SF for about 3 and a half years and am hoping to get up to Tahoe as much as possible on the weekends for some riding (intermediate/advance) this year. I would definitely be interested in ride-sharing with anyone who has space in their vehicle (I don’t have one). I’ve got the Ikon Base Pass so I will likely mostly be going to Squaw/Alpine, but open to other locations on Blackout Dates.” – Mike

“Hey, I live in Menlo Park, moved here from Toronto, Canada 1.5 years ago. Interested in carpooling up to Kirkwood, Heavenly, Northstar. Epic Local Pass holder. Preference is to drive up on Friday nights. I have an AWD SUV with chains, can comfortably take 3 plus gear. I don’t have a ski lease so I am very interested in exchanging driving for a guest stay nights at a lease. I am planning on getting into the backcountry scene as I accumulate the required gear.” – Andrew

– “Hi, I have been in the Bay Area for awhile (since 2000), married with kids, but still like to go snowboarding / skiing when I can. I have used the ski bus a number of times in the past, but this year I have an Ikon pass so I have to focus on ride-sharing to Squaw Valley as often as possible. Either me driving up and taking a passenger, or joining in with someone who is already driving up. I’m the “quiet / dependable” engineer type. If I say I’ll be ready to go at 4 am I’ll be there on time and ready to go. Cheers!”- Eric

“I’m super excited since I just relocated to Petaluma which is a bit closer to Tahoe and one of my fav most beautiful places to snowboard. I’m mainly interested in the Tahoe rideshare because I don’t have a 4 wheel drive vehicle and don’t trust driving in storms. I am flexible on resorts we go to and am interested in crashing at a ski lease as a guest for only a couple of nights if available. I usually can take off Fridays so we can leave early in the AM. I’m also able to meet up somewhere in East Bay or Sacramento and then we carpool from there. Super excited to shred some gnar!” – Megan

“Hello there! I moved here from Illinois last year and tried snowboarding for the first time last season. Fell in love with the sport and bought a pass to Sierra at Tahoe as well as an Epic Local for the upcoming season! Along with a ton of awesome gear so I don’t have to stand in long rental lines anymore. I’m interested in finding people who plan on getting out to Tahoe pretty much every weekend this season. I was told I should come here, so here I am!” – Marcus

“New to the Bay Area and pretty clueless about the various Tahoe resorts. I had a great ski group back East and I definitely miss them. Have Epic Pass and opened to Tahoe trips. Originally from South Carolina have been a Bay Area Resident as of August 2018.” – Matt

“Hello, A little bit about myself: single mom with 2 kids. We live in Scotts Valley. I work in Tech in Menlo Park so lots of commuting and computer hours.

I have been a skier since I was about 8. Last season we were at Heavenly quite a lot and spent $$$ on ski school and accommodations. I did find the ski school absolutely fantastic though and one of my friends recommended their ski team.

So here we are, I have signed both kids up for Heavenly’s Comet program and so looking forward to it and connecting with SnowPals who have kids who are in similar resort programs.

Thanks and looking forward to a great season.” – Mercedes

“Hello there! I moved from France to the Bay Area a couple of years ago but finally decided to get a season pass this year (Epic Local for Kirkwood, Heavenly and NorthStar) I don’t have a FWD car so I’m looking for ski buddies who would be willing to share the ride, ideally super early Sat mornings, but could also make it work some Fridays. I am an intermediate / advanced skier, perfectly comfortable skiing on my own but I would love connecting with people of similar level – powder is always more fun with friends!”  – Laura

“Hi, I’m a Montana-native, newly transplanted to the Bay Area. Driving three hours (each way) alone is a bummer, so let’s ride together. I like to Ski, Snowboard and do Back-country skiing or snowboarding” – Adam

“Long time advanced level snowboarder. I prefer weekdays as Friday to Sunday are too crowded. I have the epic Tahoe local pass. I go to Northstar, heavenly and Kirkwood. Interested in finding snow board buddies and interested in a ski lease.” – Patricia

Hello there, I grew up snowboarding in Colorado and have been in the Bay Area for the last year. I am trying the Ikon pass this year so hoping to get a few trips to Squaw. I like to Snowboard (Advance level), Cross-country skiing, Snowmobiling, Snow shoeing and Ice skating” – Ellen

“Always looking for a ride up to the mountain. Kirkwood, Heavenly, Northstar. Epic Local Pass holder. My family owns a cabin about an hour away (depending on conditions). I like to leave the Bay Area Thursday evenings, stay at the cabin, ski Fridays and Saturdays and be home by Sundays. Can definitely host at the cabin. Rustic, but sleeps 3 comfortably. Can meet at any BART station for ride share.” – Josh

“Hi! I live in Sausalito, expert skier ( I lived in Vail for 3 seasons and taught 6-12 yr olds in ski school), and i purchased the Epic Pass this season— will be going to Vail for a week, Mar 9-16, but looking to utilize Epic Pass more this season, Locally~! Looking for other advanced/expert skiers to carve some turns within Tahoe, at any of the Epic Pass accepted resorts. Also looking for ride shares to Tahoe, and occasional places to stay/share. I work for myself, so my driving schedule is VERY flexible—-prefer to NOT be stuck in traffic, and weekdays are fine with me. I have an AWD Cayenne that fits 4 -5 people and equipment, or am happy to pitch in, if someone else can drive. I’m also a single, successful professional, I own my own company, and am hoping to meet other singles (men) that are active and enjoy the sports I am passionate about—- which include skiing and road biking/cycling:) Lets go skiing!!” – Janna

“Hi, I’m from Sonoma and work as a Chef. Been skiing Tahoe my whole life; have a family cabin on Donner. Currently living in Sonoma and skiing primarily midweek, storm chaser looking to connect with the same, all business; got a Sugar Bowl pass.” – Brannon

Read additional feedback from folks who’ve joined SnowPals.


Why are new members required to send in a self-intro as part of SnowPals’ new member application?

Although internet interactions are quick and easy, they tend to be very one dimensional, unlike meeting someone face-to-face where you can immediately relate with and can readily establish rapport with; hence, to offset this, we need a catalyst in the form of a self-introduction whereby new members send in a self-intro as part of their membership application to facilitate social connections. Reading a person’s self-intro helps members to get to know more about the new member and to learn more about what his/her snow sports interests which helps to serve as conversation starter and can result in cultivating new friendships, or, at the very least to connect for Tahoe ride-sharing to share carpool trip expenses and to help reduce our carbon footprint impact to our natural environment for our benefit and for our future generations.

How do I join? Is there a membership fee?

Unlike traditional ski and snowboard clubs with yearly recurring membership fees, join us with a one-time fee of $20. Alternatively, if you’d rather commit to volunteering two hours of your time to help us grow or manage the group, your membership fee will be waived; just inquire for details.

This one-time fee helps us pay for web hosting, backend technical website services, time invested in growing the club, club management and various time consuming backend work such as facilitating Bay Area-Tahoe ride shares and organizing social events.

Our members range from newbies to experts in snow sports. Members’ ages vary from 18 to well into the 70s (single people and married and separated couples with and without kids).

Membership perks:

✔ Access to our Tahoe ridesharing/carpool members network of 8,249 members. We’re a free alternative to fee-based Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services. Expand your circle of ski and ride buddies for resort skiing and riding or opt for the backcountry and have the safety of a wing man and woman to stay safe.
✔ Participate in fun and engaging social events
✔ We often hold giveaway raffles for swag and lift tickets at our events and online
✔ In the off-season, we may facilitate connections for outdoor activities such as hiking, road cycling, mountain biking, wakeboarding, surfing, etc. to encourage an active lifestyle.

New Member Sign-Up

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

➡ Next step: once you have submitted the above membership form, next, submit the one time $20 membership payment.

* Please note: our club/group’s name was changed from Ski Pals to Snow Pals to be inclusive of all snow sports (ski, snowboard, Alpine skiing, kite-skiing, riding, cross-country, telemark, backcountry, ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, tubing, ice hockey, snowmobiling, etc).

** In addition to Tahoe trips, join us to plan POWDER Destination Trips to:

1) Mammoth Mountain Trips (in Central Sierra Nevada)

2) Utah

3) Colorado

4) British Columbia Trips / Whistler Blackcomb

5) Hakuba, Niseko also known as the Japanese Alps

6) Other international ski and ride trips to Europe, South America, Australia (endless winter skiing and riding) covered by your multi-resort pass

If you are a holder of a multi-resort season pass like EPIC PASS, IKON PASS AND MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE PASS, POWDER ALLIANCE PASS, ETC, join us to make the most of your ski pass to chase POWder at resorts worldwide.

Trip dates and lodging are open to discussion and planning by all club/group members; you can propose a trip and if folks are interested, can join in.

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♥ Got family and friends who like to ski or snowboard? Please tell them about SnowPals.org – “Join SnowPals to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies, connect for Tahoe ride-sharing (share trip expenses) and help reduce your carbon footprint impact, hence helping to preserve our environment for us and for future generations.”

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Feedback from property owners who have listed their Tahoe Ski Lease Rentals

get your Tahoe ski lease rental property listed featured

About SnowPals: since 1999 we have been connecting busy SF Bay Area snow-sports enthusiasts together to share skiing, snowboarding experiences and to share ski lease cabins/homes for the last 23 years.

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Get your rental property or ski lease featured on SnowPals to get noticed and to get referrals from our monthly 6k to 15k unique visitors.

Feedback from property owners who have listed with us:

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“We have used SnowPals for 4 yrs in a row to help find others to share our ski lease. We have had great success with quality applicants. We have tried other sites and none can compare. The nominal fee is a great value.” – Chris of Family Ski Lease Agate Bay.

“I think SnowPals is fantastic; I’ve actually been on both sides of SnowPals. We actually found this ski lease last year on SnowPals and the organizer from last year wanted to hit up North Lake this year, so we took over the lease. We included the $40 listing fee within our rent so actually the person who is leasing from us will pay that. We obviously didn’t tell them that, but I think $40 is a reasonable amount for someone to pay to alleviate the stress of finding the right fit. We filled the spot for the ski-lease quickly! Thanks for your help. We had so many people interested. My husband was telling me that he thinks SnowPals has great potential, and I agree with him. We had at least 25 people contact us, which means there’s a market for matching up owners of homes with tenants. Not sure if SnowPals has the capability to essentially be a management company to find tenants, but I do know our organizer last year actually found our place by reaching out to Airbnb/VRBO listings in Tahoe to see if we could take the house off their hands for the winter time. Just a thought. I am sure it would invaluable to an owner. Hopefully one day we’ll be coming to you to help lease our home in Tahoe 🙂 ” – Sally B. of Tahoe Heavenly Boulder Lodge Ski Out Condo |

Page down to read more feedback from property owners, ski lease groups and families who have listed on SnowPals.

SnowPals have been helping ski lease rental property owners increase their booking referrals since 1999 by connecting SF Bay Area professionals who enjoy snow sports with Tahoe area property owners for referrals and by helping ski lease organizers looking for seasonal ski lease members to fill their ski lease cabin share.

We have a 16,000+ audience reach for social media, newsletter list and new visitors to our website; the chart below is a screenshot of SnowPals’ visitor statistics from Google Analytics:

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list on SnowPals to get results

List your ski lease property rental or if you are a ski lease organizer who already leased a home and looking to add members to share the lease with, list your ski lease share.

To get an idea of what people are listing: browse Tahoe rentals and ski lease share opportunities.

Are you considering turning your home or vacation rental property into a seasonal winter ski lease?

Read up on Key Tips for Drafting Ski Lease Property Rental Agreements.

Reviews And Feedback From People Who Have Listed With Us

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== The following quotes are feedback/reviews from ski lease and vacation rental advertisers who have listed with SnowPals ==

“I was able to quickly rent my condo by posting on snowpals.org – very effective, highly recommended!” – George September 5, 2020

“Another year, another house filled! Will we ever have continuity of ski lease members? Probably not. Thank you SnowPals for making the worst part of ski season as easy as possible.” – Malcolm; listed: Alpine Meadows ski lease. Ski lease filled on November 10, 2019.

“I highly recommend using SnowPals to post your available ski lease. I listed my ski lease to look for 2 more ski lease members for my ski lease and it worked perfectly within 1 week of posting. Thanks Snow-Pals!” – Caroline, listed: Tahoe City Ski Lease. Two membership spots filled on 10/9/2019.

“We had our place posted on Airbnb as a Winter Ski Lease and on other online listings for about 4 months and maybe had 3-4 inquiries. Within 1 day of posting our chalet for winter ski lease rental on SnowPals, we had immediate inquiries and we had it leased within a couple of weeks. Tim is great to work with and made the process super easy. I will definitely continue to use SnowPals listing!” – Margie, property owner of Tahoe City Chalet. 10/2/2019; you can also read this review on SnowPals Facebook Page.

“SnowPals has been a huge help in finding the last few member of our ski lease this year. Not only does the service act as a recruiting tool, it is a great resource for members to see lease specifics and photos of the house even after they have signed up. Creating a listing was easy, and personally I thought the advertising support was extremely responsive to emails. Thanks for offering a great service.” – Jonas of Truckee New Luxury House 11/16/2018

“I’ve been a member of Snow Pals since it started. For the last two years I have been using the cabin share ad listing on SnowPals to fill vacancies in my seasonal rental. For the money involved this is a great deal as it targets a very direct market. It’s incredible that so many Bay Area snow sports enthusiasts get together in this manner. Highly recommended.” – John W. of Donner Lake Cabin Share 10/5/2018

“We have used SnowPals for 4 yrs in a row to help find others to share our ski lease. We have had great success with quality applicants. We have tried other sites and none can compare. The nominal fee is a great value.” – Chris of Family Ski Lease Agate Bay 10/1/2018

“Thanks to your wonderful website, our cabin is now full for the 2018-19 ski season. This is our 6th season advertising our ski lease on SnowPals. I had about 35 people contact me for the listing this year. I don’t know how you they do it, but with SnowPals we get only professional folks and most of them people familiar with snow country. I had tried craigslist and pretty much just got people who wanted to pay $100 and have someplace to lay their head, and could they make the $100 payment in two payments. When I switched to Snowpals.org I found almost exclusively professional working people who had no trouble paying the full lease membership fee and who appreciates a nice, uncrowded place, which is how we do our cabin. THANKS!!” – JoAnn M. of Alpine Meadows Luxury Ski Lease 09/10/2018

“Snowpals ski lease listing is the best for the Tahoe area lease and rental market advertising! It’s well worth the $40 listing fee which is comparatively very cheap. I very much appreciate all you guys do in attracting folks who share a passion for snow sports.” – Christine S. of Tahoe Donner Truckee Ski Lease 9/6/2018

“Thank you Snowpals. I have listed my vacation rental property for the last 4 years with great results. The results from Snowpals advertising brings me good responsible renters every year. I only list with Snowpals now.” – Randy S. of North Tahoe Home Rental 9/6/2018

“I’ve listed my ski lease ads on Snowpals over the past several years. The ads have helped me greatly in filling the memberships in my ski annual ski leases. They have also given me the opportunity to meet and get to know and create some great friendships over the years!” – Jack D. of Lake View Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 9/4/2018

“Our Snowpals ski lease ad listing worked great. We posted the ad on a Wednesday, and had filled the last 4 spots in our house within 6 days. We had plenty of responses which allowed us to be selective and ensure a good fit for the house. We would definitely use it again. Thanks!” – Kelle & Marc of Great Donner Lake Ski Lease 12/5/2017

“Snowpals offer a great ski lease listing service! I was uncertain at first about whether we’ll actually find someone we wanted to share a ski lease with, however lots of people ended up approaching me of all ages and backgrounds. Most of those seemed like they would be a good fit, and it only took me a single meeting with one of the first responders to decide it would be awesome to share a lease with. I give SnowPals a rating of 10/10; would re-list next year if we need people to join our ski lease!” Jaco R. of Heavenly Kirkwood Ski Lease 11/18/2017

“Listing my ski lease on Snowpals helped us fill the remaining 5 spots with cool people (and great skiers, even one woman who has trained with the US ski team!). It’s better than posting on Craigslist, because all of the people who reach out are actual ski/snowboard enthusiasts. Would definitely recommend, and $40 is totally worth it–just put it into your ski lease budget–a drop in the bucket for great ski members additions!” – Alan A. of Ski Palace Tahoe City Ski Lease 11/16/2017

“I can’t say enough about how great my experience with Snowpals was! Snowpals made it easy and logistically possible to find cool ski / snowboarders for our house!! You know the people you find and who find your listing are like minded, and love to be in the snow! The vetting process is so much faster, and it’s a great community to get involved with.” – Michelle M. of Squaw Valley Ski Lease 11/08/2017

“This is our second season using Snowpals to find the last couple members of our ski lease. It’s easy to post and we end up getting tons of responses! We’ve had so much success that every person we’ve found so far on Snowpals has joined the cabin for the next season! Definitely worth $40 ad fee!” – Miriam M. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease 11/02/2017

“For the second year in a row I found great tenants in less than a week on Snowpals aka SkiPals. So much more efficient than using Craigslist, which attracts all the international people on visas, and Airbnb, which attracts weekend rentals. Will continue to be my go to Snowpals to list my ski lease.” – Kathleen M. of Kings Beach Ski Lease 10/26/2017

“I’ve now used Snowpals two years in a row to fill my ski lease and it’s been an amazingly smooth process! There are so many fun people who share my enthusiasm for ski season – and are all courteous, helpful, clean, and overall a blast to hang out with. I can’t imagine going back to trying to hunt down unsure friends! Snowpals is now my go-to for filling my ski lease every year.” – Agatha of Heavenly Four Bedroom Ski In Out Ski Lease 10/5/2017

“We’ve used SnowPals for the last couple of seasons and compared to other listings it’s brought in the best leads by far. Keeping our listing up-to-date is always easy, and this year we didn’t bother to list anywhere else… it’s not worth the time or trouble vs relying on SnowPals.” – Robert H. of Beautiful NEW Truckee Luxury House 10/2/2017

“I think Snowpals is fantastic; I’ve actually been on both sides of Snowpals. We actually found this ski lease last year on Snowpals and the organizer from last year wanted to hit up North Lake this year, so we took over the lease. We included the $35 fee within our rent so actually the person who is leasing from us will pay that. We obviously didn’t tell them that, but I think $40 is a reasonable amount for someone to pay to alleviate the stress of finding the right fit. We filled the spot for the ski-lease quickly! Thanks for your help. We had so many people interested. My husband was telling me that he thinks Snowpals has great potential, and I agree with him. We had at least 25 people contact us, which means there’s a market for matching up owners of homes with tenants. Not sure if Snowpals has the capability to essentially be a management company to find tenants, but I do know our organizer last year actually found our place by reaching out to Airbnb/VRBO listings in Tahoe to see if we could take the house off their hands for the winter time. Just a thought. I am sure it would invaluable to an owner. Hopefully one day we’ll be coming to you to help lease our home in Tahoe 🙂 ” – Sally B. of Tahoe Heavenly Boulder Lodge Ski Out Condo 9/26/2017

“I am please to let you know that we filled our ski lease in Tahoe Donner. I am sold on Snowpals! Last time we were in the market for a replacement, we advertised on CraigsList and this was a much more pleasant experience! Thanks for your help.” – Laurie B. of Beautiful Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 9/22/2017

“Tim and the Snow Pals’ team have made filling our ski lease drop dead simple. One post and we fill our lease right up.” – Micaiah F. of Meyers Ski Lease 9/18/2017

“We have successfully used Snowpals to fill a few vacancies in our house over the years (pre-season and mid-season). We received multiple responses in a short amount of time, and nobody flaked (unlike experience with other sources). Snowpals is definitely worth the minimal advertising investment.” – Jen W. of Carnelian Bay Ski Lease 11/30/2016

“Snowpals is a great site to get quality referrals for our vacation rental. I received more than 23 different enquirers and had my vacation rental condo booked for as a ski lease within a month of posting. I am pleased with the professional renter we were connected with and look forward to using SnowPals again next year.” – Kathleen M. of Northstar Condo Vacation Rental 11/25/2016

“Thanks to Snowpals we went from 5 members and an expensive, empty house to a dynamic group of 11 consisting of regular and weekdays only members in about a month’s time. A $40 listing fee saved the original members over $1200 each, and we all made new friends!” – Kate S. of South Lake Tahoe Ski Lease with Hot Tub 11/24/2016

“Snowpals is a great resource which helped us to find additional members for our ski lease. We now have a fun winter to look forward to with a great group of skiers from San Francisco. Snowpals’ website was easy to use, and ad placement just took a few minutes and we got tons of responses. I would definitely use Snowpals again.” – Alexis R. of Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 11/21/2016

“I was astounded by how much high quality interest I got through Snowpals – I could have easily filled my lease twice over.  Tim at Snowpals was very responsive; great experience overall, would use it again and would be happy to recommend to others.” – Anne R. of Tahoe City Ski Lease Memberships 10/27/2016

“Snowpals saved our winter this year! We wanted to organize a ski lease but had friends who were unsure if they could commit. We listed our lease on snowpals in mid September and were able to fill it by the end of September. And the people we met are amazing! I would highly recommend using snowpals for anyone trying to organize a ski lease.” – Agatha B. of Heavenly Ski-in/out Ski Lease 9/28/2016

“Snowpals is just what you need if you are trying to fill your ski lease with quality members.  I posted an ad on Snowpals, and within 9 days I had received a dozen inquiries.  We were able to close out our roster quickly and conveniently.  I will use the site again for certain.” – Alex P. of Alpine Meadows Year Round Family Ski Lease 9/17/2016

“Thanks for running Snowpals’ website. Met some of my best friends on here when I found my first ski lease. This year we advertised on Snowpals and filled our ski lease memberships quickly.” – Justin H. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease 9/20/2016

“Snowpals helped us find amazing families and fill our lease more quickly this year than we ever have in the past!  I highly recommend snowpals for anyone who is looking to fill a few spots in their ski house!” – John H. of Tahoe Donner Family Ski Lease 9/12/2016

“Thanks for listing my ski lease quickly – in the last 10 days I got a lot of people who where interested, so now I finalized and we’re full 🙂 !  Thanks again for your help and for SnowPals, it’s great to get this done so quickly!” – Jan V., Tahoe Donner Luxury Cabin

“We found 4 great folks via Snowpals to fill up our ski lease. Totally worth the $35 ad listing fee. It usually took us longer to fill our lease with another listing service we had to pay a higher listing fee than Snowpals’. Thanks!” Mike M., Carnelian Bay Ski Cabin

“Last year we advertised on both Snowpals and Craigslist.  The Craigslist responders were to a person looking for the cheapest bed possible, with one scammer who wanted to come look at the house when we weren’t there, and tried to get all sorts of information from me. The Snowpals responders (last year and this year), were professional, business owners, professors, and high tech people. We will certainly be back next year!”- JoAnn M, ski lease organizer, Alpine Meadows Ski Lease

“I’m very happy with the quality of people referrals your site attracts. Keep up the good work!” – Sandy W., owner of Truckee Rental House

“It was awesome posting on Snowpals! Within 36 hours, I received a bunch of responses in my inbox, and our listing closed fairly quickly. All the emails were super nice and friendly, and many responses were from people already familiar with the Tahoe area and experienced in previous ski leases, which was a huge plus!” – Cindy L., Tahoe City Ski Lease

“SnowPals is a far better resource than Craigslist or the local papers. For several years running I’ve managed to find excellent full season renters in a very short time and with minimal hassle. Thanks Snowpals!” — Chris K., Markleeville homeowner

“We got about twice as many queries from SnowPals as from Craigslist. The queries seemed from ‘more normal’ people, and it was nice to not have to hit renew every few days.” – Trent G., Donner Lake Ski Lease

“Advertising my ski lease on Snowpals was quick, easy and highly effective! In no time, I had responses from really nice, high-caliber potential ski cabin members. I filled my spots in no time with people I really like, who are a great fit for the cabin.” – Heather D. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease

* Read additional reviews from people who have advertised / listed their Tahoe vacation rental and ski lease on SnowPals’ Facebook page:

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An Insider’s Guide to Ski Leases: Tips and Advice

apres-ski-club     heavenly-condo-rental

Ski Leases for families and groups. The Ins and Outs of Getting Into One.

I’d like to talk to you about ski leases. Not the kind to lease ski equipment, but condo and cabin rentals for an entire ski season for ski addicts like us. I had never heard of one until the end of last season. After I learned about them, they seemed so intriguing and beneficial to my situation that I had to learn more. I finally got into one and would like to tell you about my experience with my first ski lease. By doing so, I hope that you will gain some insight into them and learn about what they are and how you too can get into one. I’ll start with my story and then provide a general description of a ski lease and then some tips from people that have lots of experience with them. Hopefully this will help you into your very own ski lease either for your family or for your group of ski and snowboarding buddies.

When I discovered ski leases I saw them as a great ski housing opportunity for me and my family. You see, I’ve come back to skiing full tilt after almost 20 years of hiatus. Back in the day, I skied every opportunity I could get and being young and without responsibilities, never had an issue finding a place to crash when up in Tahoe. Back then, the freedom of being able to drive up to Tahoe, bum around, ski lots and have really no worries about a place to stay was taken for granted.

Flash forward twenty some-odd years and is it still that way? We all know that answer to that. Marriage and kids have become the major parts of the equation. Since the kids are now old enough to ski all day without a meltdown, we can go up quite a lot. However now when we go its not just me and my buds anymore. Can you imagine going up to Tahoe with my wife and three kids to just show up at someone’s place ready to crash there? It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

What is a family to do? Buying a ski house is out of the question right now. We could book a hotel stay, but that gets very expensive especially for those of us with a ski season pass with the goal of getting in as many ski days as possible. How about day trips? We had to go that route towards the end of last season because we were spending an ungodly amount of money on hotel stays. I’m sure I’m in a similar boat with many of you out there. The solution for someone like us was the seasonal ski lease.

What is it? Basically it is a rental of a condo or cabin in Tahoe for the ski season. If you know you’re going to Tahoe often for skiing then renting a condo/cabin for the ski season is a great alternative to paying for hotels/other lodging each time you go up. It can be more cost effective but also more convenient because you can leave your ski gear and clothing at your ski lease cabin and not worry about having a place to stay and the chore of having to pack for every ski trip. Combined with a season pass to your favorite ski resort, the major expenses are covered and you’ll only have the cost of meals and gas to worry about. If you’re a ski nut like me and aren’t yet in a similar situation, I can’t express how priceless it is to have peace of mind, comfort, and the convenience of having a ski season pass and a place to stay anytime during the season taken care of.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into a ski lease, how do you get into one of these great deals? Through my research, I’ve discovered three ways.

(1) – you can deal directly with the owner of a property and lease the place for you and your family or group for friends for the season. If that is too costly, then you could ask families/friends that you know if they’d want to go in with you and share the cost of the lease. You can find a winter lease to rent for the ski season by searching on Craigslist, VRBO, Airbnb, etc – just ask the owner if he/she is opened to a seasonal lease.

(2) – you could contact a local professional that brokers these kinds of deals. I haven’t had much luck finding these professionals though. From what I’ve heard and if you can find one, they can put you in touch with owners that are looking to rent out their property. Once in touch with the owner, you could do the lease yourself or put together a group of members to split the cost.

(3) – you could go to online resources and search for individuals that already have a deal in place with the owner of the property and are looking for additional “members” to join their lease group or a family willing to share a family lease share. For those of you that are new to this, this route is probably the easiest way to enter the ski lease world. SnowPals is a great resource for Tahoe ski leases organized by various groups and has an entire section dedicated to available Tahoe area ski lease share opportunities. For those of you looking for ski lease share offerings in areas outside of Tahoe, check out postings in TGR, EpicSki forums or Craigslist for postings.

The cost per membership varies and there are so many options out there. I’ve seen listings on SnowPals for full season (typically December to April) ski lease membership for one person from $700 all the way to $2500. If you’re single and can spend just $700 for lodging for an entire season–that’s an amazing deal; let’s say you stay at the ski lease for a total of 30 nights, your cost per night would be $23.34 per night. Naturally, the more nights you stay, the more value you get from the ski lease. Signing up for ski lease membership is a great way to maximize your ski season pass since it encourages you to go up to Tahoe the night before and be close to the ski resort and can take advantage of a good night’s rest and get the chance to ski/ride fresh tracks/powder when resorts start up their lifts. Also, the value of beating the crowds and traffic to the resort is priceless; how many times have you been stuck in traffic or frustrated with locating free parking spaces? In addition, getting into a ski lease gives you the chance to expand your social circle and make new friends.

So, how did I find my ski lease? I got into mine by letting everyone I knew know that I wanted to learn about ski leases and my desire of joining one. Within a short period of time, a friend contacted me to ask if my wife and I would be willing to go in with them on a ski lease. He knew the owners of a great place in Truckee and they mentioned to him that they wanted to rent the place for the ski season. I told him absolutely and that we should jump on that. We brought our families together along with one other family and now we have a great house to stay in any time we want from Dec 14 to May 15. Each “member” in our group is a family. We each paid an equal lump sum on November 1, have no guest fees and our lump sum cost includes all utilities and snow removal. It is such a great deal. Of course, if another family is up there when we go up, we must share the space with them, but since we all know each other and our kids are all friends, other members being up there makes our stay more fun. Also a great benefit is that we take turns watching the kids so each set of parents get some down time. We also rotate turns cooking so that gives us more quality family time to enjoy our time together.

So what are some of the pitfalls? There have to be some, right? From my research, most pitfalls come from a misunderstanding of the rules of use when in a group ski lease. If you leased the place on your own, then the rules are yours and yours alone. However, if you are going into a ski lease as part of a group, then it is important to understand the rules otherwise there could be trouble. Of course it is important to click with the other members and if you do then it is important to nail down whatever rules all the members of the ski lease decide on in a clear and concise written agreement. Here are some things to consider from my wise and experienced ski lease mates, Eric and Andy:

  • What does your membership cost include? Make sure you know up front what your membership cost includes and what other expenses (if any) you’ll be responsible for at the end of the lease (e.g. utilities, firewood, hot tub maintenance, snow removal, house cleaning services, etc.)
  • Guest fees. Some ski leases charge “guest fees” for non-members to stay overnight to cover any additional expenses for lease. Make sure you are clear about guest fees in your ski lease and the rules for them
  • Parking. What are rules for parking? Last thing you want is to go up late Friday night and not have a parking space or at least be prepared for no parking space. Consider the option to carpool or ride share to your ski cabin if you don’t have alot of people in your family and empty seats in the van/SUV.
  • Storage of your stuff. Can you store stuff at the ski cabin/ski lease and if so what are the rules and where do you store your stuff?
  • Priority for bedrooms. If it is important for you to be in a bedroom, then what are the chances that you might not get one if everyone in the membership happens to be up at the same time. Some ski leases have agreements to allocate a dedicated bedroom where it is solely yours for the entire season which is very beneficial to bringing your own bedding and store your winter clothing and gear in the closet for convenience and easy access.

So, if you go up to Tahoe a lot and need the convenience of your own home without the financial commitment, but want a more cost effective solution than hotels/motels, a ski lease is the way to go. There are so many different options available out there. A great place to start is to browse available ski lease memberships organized by families or group of skiers/snowboarders to share a ski cabin. If you’re in a different area than Tahoe, you can also try craigslist, TGR, EpicSki, SnowHeads forum and other places online in your search to join a ski lease.

Many thanks to Eric and Andy, my ski lease mates who share their many years of experience and useful advice on how best to get into a ski lease and to reap the benefits of maximizing our ski season pass, lodging cost savings and most of all, deepening our friendship with shared experiences. Also many thanks to those of you who provided me with some great stories and advice.

For rental property and ski lease tips/guide/how to, read ..

* Read advice and tips on how to draft effective rental property/lease agreements to protect your rental property.

* Are you part of a family or group ski lease cabin share and would like to use online Calendars and Management Tools to help you coordinate, and have a central point to communicate with ski lease members? Read this.

* Looking to create a ski lease members group to share the cost of a ski house/cabin lease, have a place to store your gear and to expand your circle of ski, ride buddies? List your ski lease or if you are a property owner, advertise your vacation rental. Browse available ski leases to join. Planning a Lake Tahoe getaway or looking to lease a rental? Browse Tahoe rentals.

* New to SnowPals? Join us to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies and Tahoe ride-share contacts for powder trips to Tahoe and to powder resorts in Utah, Colorado, British Columbia, etc.

Read more about ski leases and/or list yours

Take care and enjoy!

Joe Woo is SnowPals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. He lives with his family in the North Bay.

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How to Increase Bookings for your Airbnb, VRBO, Zillow, HomeAway, FlipKey Listing!

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How for Increase Bookings for your Airbnb, VRBO, Zillow, FlipKey and HomeAway Listing! A Property Owner’s Guide of Proven Tips on How to Successfully Rent/Lease Out Your Rental Property

We won’t waste your time so let’s get to it:

(1) Professional photography highly recommended – this is the most important factor if you’d like to attract renters over other listings in the same geographical area. Invest the money to hire a pro photographer to take photos of your rental property especially to feature the amenities that make your rental stands out from the rest, be it hot tub, lake views, prime location, etc.

Even if you have a tight budget, consider hiring an ‘up and coming’ photographer from Craigslist to take professional looking photos of your vacation home/ski lease rental property. And yes, it’s true: “a picture is worth a thousand words” and photos are priceless when it comes to instant appeal which will get you more clicks on your rental listing which equates to more booking inquiries.

Considered yourself an amateur photographer? Got an eye for optimum lighting, composition, and choice angles? Go at it but here are some photography tips to help you get started from www.liv.rent and www.fitsmallbusiness.com/real-estate-photography-tips.

Also, be sure to implement tips on how best to decorate your rental property/ski lease for maximum appeal by implementing visual decorating tips on Pinterest.

Like to see an example of a photo that sells it? Here’s what we called a ‘money shot’ because yes, it brings in the money 😉

truckee-ski-lease-share-2020

A prime examples of listings with stellar photos:

* http://www.snowpals.org/leases/latitude-39-lodge-lease/

(2) Take time to write a clear and concise description of your rental/ski lease listing and be sure to include things such as:

* amenities? what makes your rental property unique? prime location at the base of Squaw? hot tub and sauna?
* how many people can your property sleep/accommodate? How many beds and baths total?
* location and proximity of your property in relation to points of interests in the area: resorts, restaurants, grocery markets, etc.
* is this a family type rental or a group type rental?
* duration of rental/lease: daily, monthly or winter seasonal lease?
* rental/lease rates: discount if booked for longer term? Security deposit? Cleaning fee? Snow plow service included? Utilities included?
* how many covered parking spaces? flat driveway?
* pet friendly? other restrictions?
* for group ski lease, guest fees? full time residence ok?
* for ski lease group, it’s good idea to describe age range of people in the group and preferences for social activities, apres ski happy hour, family type shared meals, etc
* best way to contact you: by email, phone, text or?
* what basic information would you like from potential renters or ski lease members to provide as part of initial email contact so you can get an idea of who they are? Ask renters to share something about themselves such as profession, LinkedIn profile, FB, Instagram, etc.

(3) Make use of well written rental agreements:

Your rental agreement is essential for setting expectations between you and your guests/renters/lease members! It provides a sense of security for all parties involved, and defines the rules and policies for the property prior to their stay. Some key items to include in rental/lease agreements:

* Dates
* Rates/Payment
* Maximum Occupancy
* Cancellation Policies
* House Rules (very important to be specific)
* Check In/Out procedures (be clear & specific)
* Damage Policy

Consider having your renters/lease members read and sign House Rules and rental policies to show that they clearly understood your rental terms prior to their stay. For example, include in your policy things like where guests can smoke, where they can’t smoke (a fine is levied if they are caught smoking where they aren’t allowed to). Consider including rules and policies on pets, occupancy and type of use (no wild parties, etc).

Visit the following sites to view some examples/templates of Lake Tahoe area lease/rental agreements/terms/contracts/policies:

Template 1

Template 2

Template 3

Template 4

Template 5

(4) Complete a rental market research ‘due diligence’: ask yourself.. ‘have I priced my rental or ski lease competitively for the current rental market for my geographical area my rental is located in?’

Do some market research and make sure to price ‘apples to apples’ comparison based on rental location, number of bedrooms, baths, amenities, square footage, etc. If you don’t nail your rental pricing competitively, you won’t get as many rental inquiries no matter how pretty your rental photos look.

Now to rental market research; first off browse on our rentals/private ski lease listings and/or browse group/family share ski lease listings to get an idea of what prices are like for comparable rentals/ski leases.

Next, perform keyword searches on Airbnb, VRBO and Craigslist among other rental sites to get an idea of what is the current market rate for rentals/ski leases.

(5) Lastly, leverage your social connections (before you submit your listing) by asking family and friends to give you feedback on ways to improve your rental/ski lease listing for clarity, conciseness and appeal.

More rental property and ski lease tips ..

* Read advice and tips on how to draft effective rental property/lease agreements to protect your rental property.

* Are you part of a family or group ski lease cabin share and would like to use online Calendars and Management Tools to help you coordinate, and have a central point to communicate with ski lease members? Read this.

* Looking to create a ski lease members group to share the cost of a ski house/cabin lease, have a place to store your gear and to expand your circle of ski, ride buddies? List your ski lease.

* New to SnowPals? Join us to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies and Tahoe ride-share contacts for powder trips to Tahoe and to powder resorts in Utah, Colorado, British Columbia, etc.

Upcoming

* Join our winter season kickoffs throughout the SF Bay Area for drinks + eats. Get stoked by watching ski/ride film screenings. Join our engagingly fun events to connect with skiers, boarders for winter season ride-sharing to/from Tahoe resorts.

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tags: airbnb, vrbo listing tips

Ski Lease Cabin Share Group Members Coordination and Collaboration Calendars and Tools

apres-ski-lodge

For group ski lease cabin share setups among ski lease members, friends or families, a frequently asked question is..

Question: How can we keep track of who is going to be at the ski cabin on which date(s) and who is inviting guest(s), share cabin to do list and tasks, and who’s bringing what grocery items to share, etc. Is there a website or a group management tool/app where a group can sign in to manage and share an online calendar that could be used to keep group logistics organized?

Answer: Make use of a digital online calendar to organize schedules, keep track of members and guests visits, grocery lists, ski cabin to do list, errands and maintenance tasks.

Here’s a summary of online calendar that is easy to use and works for all members of your ski lease rental group:

(1) GOOGLE CALENDAR WITHIN GOOGLE GROUPS: Google Calendar is perhaps the most popular free digital online calendar; use it as part of Google Groups to effectively communicate with ski lease members and organize tasks, communications and collaborate everything in one central location. It’s simple and easy to use, and you can schedule tasks and events and share the calendar with group members. Visit https://groups.google.com | How to use Google Groups.

(2) TRELLO: “Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way. Visit https://trello.com

(3) COZI: This app is great for those who share ski cabins. Each person who is granted access can log in using only his/her email address and a shared master password. Besides the standard calendar, Cozi also allows for the creation of shopping lists, to-do lists, meal plans, a family journal and a family photo screen saver. You can also assign a different color to each member. For example, if you assign the color red to Uncle Bob, red will show up on the calendar during the weekend that he plans to be at the cabin. Best of all, this app works across multiple platforms, including iPhone/iPad and Android devices. The basic app is free, but you can also upgrade to Cozi Gold for even more options. Visit https://www.cozi.com

(4) THE VACATION CALENDAR: geared toward vacation home owners, this website includes a lot of cool features, such as a house blog and a photo album where everyone can post photos and comment on them. Authorized users can schedule vacations in the calendar, and the house bulletin board offers a convenient place to store contact information, cabin rules and instructions, directions, area attractions and more. You can even list and schedule out individual cabin bedrooms, so you never have to worry about whether there will be enough room for everyone. Cost: $20 a year (free to try for the first month). Visit https://www.thevacationcalendar.com

(5) Resercal.com is a SaaS app that makes private sharing easier by providing an online availability calendar so that members of your group can log in 24/7, check availability, see who’s going, and make their own reservations. Additional features include an annual use report by member, an editable rules page, waitlisting, cancellation policy and member management. An in-app invoicing and payments system for dues, deposits, fees, and shared expenses is in development. Visit Resercal.com

Are you using an online group management tool that’s not mentioned here for your ski lease or rental that you’d like to recommend? to share your favorite online calendar.

* Read advice and tips on how to draft effective rental property/lease agreements to protect your rental property.

* Looking to create a ski lease members group to share the cost of a ski house/cabin lease, have a place to store your gear and to expand your circle of ski, ride buddies? List your ski lease.

* New to SnowPals? Join us to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies and Tahoe ride-share contacts for powder trips to Tahoe and to powder resorts in Utah, Colorado, British Columbia, etc.

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Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding (spilt-boarding) Q&A Series, part 4

Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding (spilt-boarding) Q&A Series

Part 4: interview with Richard Bothwell, Backcountry Touring Guide and Director of the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC)

richard bothwell inbounds hiking

Photo Credit: Richard Bothwell

Part 4 – Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding (spilt-boarding) Q&A Series

Background timeline context

The boom in backcountry skiing, snowboarding and other snow-sports was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as ski resorts started closing down like falling dominoes starting in March of 2020 as state and local counties mandated ‘stay at home’ (SIP) orders as coronavirus outbreaks spiked.

Winter season 2020/21 will likely see similar trends especially pronounced if resorts are unable to implement effective protocols of limiting on-site visitors’ capacity, and social distancing especially indoors in common areas which will result in COVID infection outbreaks resulting in resorts’ closures.

Of particular concern is that finally CDC acknowledges that the coronavirus infection transmission is airborne by aerosols which means it is highly contagious. This fact does not bode well so we’ll see how this flu season and winter months play out.

Back to our topic, our backcountry Q&A feature looks at backcountry from a range of diverse perspectives, from an amateur to expert backcountry skier, from a ski shop small business retailer to backcountry touring guide, these Q&A series provide some key insights and also we’ll list resources to consider for avalanche safety training that is critical to stay safe in the backcountry. Most importantly, we list key resources to connect you with folks who share a passion and love for the backcountry.

Part 4 Q&A interview with interview with Richard Bothwell, Director of the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC) which has been around since 1996; OAC professional guides have been organizing and leading great adventures all over Tahoe Sierra Nevada and up and down the length of California ..

Richard bothwell violet

Could you tell us a little about your background in BC, snow-sports and how you came to create your backcountry skiing/Avy training and touring company; how it grew to become one of the best backcountry training camps around?

Sure! I started snowboarding in the early 90’s while living in NYC. In 1996 I moved to SF to help start the Outdoor Adventure Club and started riding at Squaw and in the Lassen backcountry. I also started learning about avalanches and wilderness first aid. I went through the AMGA Backcountry Ski Guide class soon after, as well as going through the AIARE instructor training program. I’ve been teaching/guiding for years, gaining experience in a variety of operations, including LTCC, Feather River College, ASI, and TMS, in addition to my own company. The Outdoor Adventure Club became an AIARE course provider, and permitted to guide backcountry trips in Lassen, where we love guiding and teaching. We’re working with the Forest Service to obtain a permit in Tahoe to teach avy classes in the Truckee area this winter, which will be nice as I live and ski in Truckee.

There are a few things that set the Outdoor Adventure Club backcountry program apart from other companies. We have smaller class sizes. We’re limiting our avalanche classes to 8 students with two instructors this year. Most avy classes have 12 or more students. It’s tough to get to everyone’s questions with that many students. We do a lot of private classes, too. If you have a group, we can set up a custom class just for you and your friends. Mentorship is an important part of backcountry education, so we offer an open door to students who want to follow up and ask more questions after the classes. And we have a FB group just for people who have taken our classes, where you can continue to learn, meet other backcountry skiers/riders, plan trips, etc. In “normal’ years we have everyone in our avalanche classes stay in our house in Lassen during the class. This provides an immersive learning environment, where you can ask questions to your instructor over breakfast or dinner.

How many backcountry training levels do you offer?

Richard Bothwell couloir

We teach backcountry skills as well as avalanche classes. We also teach online classes on using CalTopo to plan trips.
For people who are new to the backcountry we have a great intro to backcountry program where you learn the mechanics of backcountry skiing/riding, while getting out skiing/riding. We have a one day class in Tahoe and a weekend-long program in Lassen, where (Covid-depending) everyone stays in our cabin there.

We also have AIARE avalanche classes, AIARE 1, AIARE 2 and Avalanche Rescue. And we have a really cool AIARE refresher class, where you go out with a small group and run through your processes, under the watchful eye of a guide/instructor. It’s a unique opportunity for recreational skiers to see if they are applying what they learned in their avy class.

When Covid hit, we pivoted quickly to develop a series of online “mini-classes” focusing on avalanches that people can take as either new material, a refresher, or prep for an avy class. Some people just aren’t able to commit the time to a full class, or they are just interested in one topic, like “what is surface hoar?”..we created a class just for those people.

We have a series of online classes just for using CalTopo to plan trips. There’s so many features to CalTopo, with little documentation, so a lot of people don’t realize the power it has. We get people up to speed using everything from basics to advanced features.

With the impact of resort closures due to the Covid pandemic from mid-March of this year, can you describe from your observations if there’s an increase in demand for backcountry snow-sports?

Oh yeah. There is a huge uptick in interest among people who want to get into the backcountry. I’m hearing from people who want to get into the backcountry for the first time, and I’m hearing from “50-50” folks people who historically split their time between resorts and the backcountry. It seems like everyone wants to get into the backcountry this winter. It’s going to be an interesting, exciting season I’m sure!

What is the most important aspect of backcountry that you would like to get across to new-comers?

Be patient.

There’s a lot to learn and it’s a long, fun process to gain that knowledge. You should take an avalanche class, but taking an avalanche class doesn’t teach you everything you need to know.

Oh, it’s also dangerous…people can/do die going into the backcountry. Fortunately, people don’t die often, but it does happen. And in Tahoe accidents often happen only a short distance from the road.

So what’s important? Be patient. Start with a cup of coffee. Literally and figuratively. Start small, especially with new partners, or going to a new area. If your spider sense is tingling, listen to it. If you realize the group you’re with isn’t behaving how you’d like…bail. The best time to bail is before you leave the trailhead, so get to know your team before you get to the trailhead.

How does a newbie get started?

Richard in Alaska

Give me a call at 415.377.1195 and let’s set up a private day of guided skiing or splitboarding! Seriously, going with a guide is a great way to get started. Get out and do it with someone who is well prepared to manage the risks, while also able to choose appropriate terrain for you, and who is a good teacher. That’s a tough mix to find in a recreational setting, especially in groups. Get a couple of friends together to split the cost, and let’s go have some fun!

Take a couple of classes; Take an intro to backcountry class and an AIARE 1 avalanche class. Then go skiing with friends, once you can contribute to the team planning, discussions and decision making.

None of the technical skills of backcountry riding are difficult. Skinning, transitioning, making uphill turns, when to use crampons, etc. I’ve never met anyone who can’t do it. But I’ve met a lot of people who have terrible form, are inefficient and fall over their skis. Spending a day with a guide gets you up the learning curve a lot faster, confirms you’re doing it right, and should put you on a good path for more training.

You can skip classes and get started by going with friends, but we’ve all heard horror stories about being taught to ski by friends in resorts. Think about that dynamic in the backcountry and you can imagine how things can be sub-optimal.

When you do start going out recreationally, start with short, less committing trips. Go out on days when the avalanche advisory suggests the danger level is low. Go out on days with clear weather. Go on trips with easy route-finding. Ski on terrain that is well within your ability level. Go out with people you know. If you feel like your friend is pushing you into something more committing than you’d like, don’t go. No one is forcing you to go backcountry skiing.

We’re lucky these days- there are so many great brands creating great gear. The challenge we have is tuning our gear choices to our objectives. What works well for someone else, doing something else may not be the ideal gear for us. My splitboard boots for day trips are different than my boots for overnight trips, for instance. I chose my ski bindings with an eye toward reliable release. Someone else may priortize light weight.

The essential gear list:

Ski straps
Avy gear- every day, every partner; transceiver, shovel, probe
First aid gear- including splints, pressure bandages, steri strips
First aid training
Rescue gear*- sled, tarp
Repair kit/tool
Headlight
Navigation gear- map, compass, app with your route in it (I’m a big fan of CalTopo)
Communication gear- varies with the location, but includes a whistle for everyone, phone, FRS radios to talk in the team, InReach to get a message out to the outside world
PB&J

*For years I’ve heard people say that rescue sleds are “guide gear”, not recreational gear. Rescue sleds are gear for people who want to be prepared to deal with injuries in the backcountry. People break legs and tear ACLs in the backcountry. If your partner breaks a leg a mile from the car, how are you going to get him/her back? Hitting SOS on your Inreach may get a response, but it could be hours or overnight before help arrives. Are you ready for that?

What mountain guide trips are you planning for 20/21 winter?

What is the takeaway message for newbies, intermediate & advance level BC skiers in regards to what you’d like folks to learn from your experience and outfit?

Go skiing. It’s fun. Do it often. It’s more fun the more you do it. Keep learning.

If you’re new, ease into it.

If you’re intermediate, find a more experienced friend to mentor you and help you sharpen your skills.

If you’re more experienced, help out the newbies. We were all new to the backcountry once. There will probably be a lot of people who could benefit from your insights this season. Don’t take people out on trips over their head, and seek out opportunities to take less experienced people on easier trips.

My trip plans for this year: With the expected influx of so many more people in the backcountry this year, I know the roadside standards/classics are going to be crowded. I’m using that as motivation to explore new areas, go to less well known trailheads, check out some of the lines that I’ve always wanted to ride, but never motivated myself to get after. I’m looking forward to some adventures!

For everyone:
Have a plan for every trip. Sometimes plans are really simple, sometimes not. Reflect on each day, the good ones and the bad ones, so your next trip will be awesome. What did we do that we’d want to do again? When did we first get a sense that things were going sideways? Have frank conversations with partners before, during and after trips…Tell your partners what you expect from them before the trip…hold them to it during the trip, and let them know how they did after the trip.
Pick your partners wisely, and don’t ski with people who rub you the wrong way.

Richard Bothwell

Program Director, Guide,
AMGA SPI Climbing Guide
AIARE Level 1 and 2 Avalanche Educator
PSIA Ski Instructor &
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Outdoor Adventure Club
“Make every weekend count!”
415.377.1195

For more information, browse events and outings at OutdoorAdventureClub.com

Outdoor Adventure Club backcountry ski and snowboard program
Outdoor Adventure Club online classes

outdoor-adventure-club-sf-bay-area

Part 1 

Part 1 Backcountry skiing Q&A interview with Alyssa Olenberg-Meltzer who got into backcountry skiing and loves it from the start; she has four winters of experience.

Part 2 

Read our Q&A with Greg of California Ski Company, a retail store specializing in ski, backcountry, and touring gear and service based in Berkeley, CA.

Part 3 

Interview with Robert Shattuck, founder of San Francisco Backcountry Skiers (SFBS) Community on Facebook Groups.

Part 5 

Interview with Carl Hlavenka, ski patroller with Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol and California Winter Search and Rescue Team North

Part 6 

Interview with Shane Robinson Owner & Lead Guide at Graybird Guiding based out of Mt. Baker, WA

Part 7 

Interview with Mathias Bjoern, Founder of 48 FreeRiders, a backcountry ski, board community based out of Denmark

Backcountry Skiing, Snow-Sports Resources

✔ San Francisco Backcountry Skiers Facebook Group: ‘San Francisco Backcountry Skiers (and Riders) is a resource and inspiration for people in the San Francisco area (and beyond) who are interested in backcountry skiing and riding. SFBS welcomes both experienced and aspiring backcountry skiers and riders.’ Membership type: free, public group. 3.3k members. Visit their FB group page.

✔ SnowPals.org is a non-traditional snow-sports club for busy Bay Area professionals. Join SF Bay Area professionals to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies (resort based and backcountry), btw, that’s how we came up with our name: Snow (Snow-Sports) + Pals. Membership type: one-time paid membership fee of $20; join SnowPals. Read members’ intros to get an idea who joins. Founded in 1999 by a small group of friends; we are now 8,249 members and growing. Celebrating our 21st year of connecting folks to expand their circle of snow sports activity partners.

Sierra Avalanche Center’s education resources where you can get the backcountry safety education and hands on training

Lake Tahoe Backcountry Ski Topographic Maps and Guidebook

California Ski Company in Berkeley is one of the top ski shop retailer for ski gear for sale and rentals, plus boot fitting and equipment service. Cal Ski Co is a ‘specialty ski shop focused on ski equipment sale and rental since 1989. They sell and rent equipment for both Resort and Backcountry Ski Touring. Their team of expert ski boot fitters are the best in the business. They repair and tune about anything that slides on snow. Looking for a job? Cal Ski Co is currently hiring as of October 29, 2020. Full-time and part-time employment available: job openings, ski tech and boot-fitter. Experience is desirable but not necessary. The only criteria is that you are a skier. Interested or know of someone who is? Email resumes to .’

✔ Backcountry and Outback Adventures for Telemark and Randonee Ski Rentals, Fremont, CA and Larkspur, CA – Outback Adventures is a comprehensive outdoor adventure guide service, rental shop, and paddlesports and nordic ski specialty retailer located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sequoia National Park Lodging WUKSACHI LODGE

Located in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park, Wuksachi Lodge is a modern lodge with 102 guestrooms. It offers a cocktail lounge, a full service restaurant and both a retail and ski shop. At an elevation of 7,050 ft. (1,980 m), Wuksachi Lodge is only 4 miles away from the Giant Forest Museum.
Delaware North Parks & Resorts offers multiple services like overnight accommodations, retail, food and beverage, etc. at Kings Canyon National Park in the area of Grant Grove and Cedar Grove. Limited Internet is available in some areas of the main lodge. Wuksachi Lodge is open throughout all the seasons.

GRANT GROVE CABINS

At an elevation of 6,500 ft (1,980 m), the Grant Grove Cabins is located in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. It offers 6 types of cabins; some are even opened all year. Main attractions like a sequoia grove, gifts shop, markets and restaurants are half a mile (800m) away from the Grant Grove Cabins. Open: All Year (limited in the winter)

✔ PEAR LAKE WINTER HUT

Managed by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy, Pear Lake Winter Hut is a rustic hut of 10 bunk beds that opens during winter and requires reservations but only for wilderness skiers who travel to Pear Lake during the cold season. At an elevation of 9,200 ft. the hut sits high above Lodgepole. This hut includes a wood-pellet stove. To get to it, you need to go through six miles on skis or snowshoes. Reservations can be made online or by phone: 559-565-3759.

Got a key backcountry resource not listed here that you’d like to share? Contact . Advance thanks for sharing.

* Browse Tahoe area rentals and private seasonal ski leases:
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/rentals/

* Browse shared ski leases: :
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/leases/

* How to increase bookings for your rental, ski lease listing on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, Craigslist:
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/2020/property-owners-guide-tips-create-appealing-listing-vacation-rental-ski-lease/

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Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding (spilt-boarding) Q&A Series, part 1

Alyssa Olenberg-Meltzer

Photo Credit: www.jshawphoto.com Jonathan Shaw Photography

Part 1 – Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding (spilt-boarding) Q&A Series

The boom in backcountry skiing, snowboarding and other snow-sports was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as ski resorts started closing down like falling dominoes starting in March of 2020 as state and local counties mandated ‘stay at home’ (SIP) orders as coronavirus outbreaks spiked.

Winter season 2020/21 will likely see similar trends especially pronounced if resorts are unable to implement effective protocols of limiting on-site visitors’ capacity, and social distancing especially indoors in common areas which will result in COVID infection outbreaks resulting in resorts’ closures.

Of particular concern is that finally CDC acknowledges that the coronavirus infection transmission is airborne by aerosols which means it is highly contagious. This fact does not bode well so we’ll see how this flu season and winter months play out.

Back to our topic, our backcountry Q&A feature looks at backcountry from a range of diverse perspectives, from an amateur to expert backcountry skier, from a ski shop small business retailer to backcountry touring guide, these Q&A series provide some key insights and also we’ll list resources to consider for avalanche safety training that is critical to stay safe in the backcountry. Most importantly, we list key resources to connect you with folks who share a passion and love for the backcountry.

Part 1 Q&A interview with Alyssa Olenberg-Meltzer who got into backcountry skiing and loves it from the start; she has four winters of experience..

With the impact of resort closures due to the COVID pandemic from mid-March of this year, can you describe from your observations if there’s an increase in demand for backcountry skiing/boarding/snow-sports?

Anecdotally, I can say that I have had a few friends reach out to me expressing interest….these are all folks that have been meaning to try backcountry skiing/splitboarding for at least a couple years but haven’t gotten around to it because it seemed too expensive and like a huge time commitment. We’ve had at least a couple posts and many comments from new folks on the group’s facebook page from folks interested in getting started. Personally, I’ve talked to more current backcountry skiers who are worried about new users flooding the backcountry than I’ve talked to people who plan to go backcountry skiing for the first time.

Do you know if there are backcountry snow sports folks from around the world visiting Tahoe/Sierra Nevada? Would BC visitors be able to connect with your FB group (see link below in resources) BC folks to freeski/split-boarding with when they join your group?

Yes, anyone can join and we love discussion. Lots of members (myself included) have found partners through posting on the group (see link below in resources), and at the very least posting is guaranteed to get you tons of advice from enthusiastic members. While everyone is nervous that an influx of new backcountry users may be a safety concern, I definitely believe that the people who are willing to spend time researching before they go out and asking questions of experienced backcountry users will be better equipped to make better-informed decisions, and I know that all of the moderators are committed to being welcoming and not acting like pompous gatekeepers.

That said, try to get some training before you go out. I wouldn’t feel super comfortable going out with someone who hasn’t had a good amount of practice with their beacon, shovel, and probe; an avalanche rescue course or AVY 1 is a good credential to put partners at ease.

How does a newbie get started in BC in three essential steps? What are just the bare essential set-up for BC skiing or split-boarding?

Step 1/pre-requisite: be comfortable skiing at least moderate un-groomed slopes in all snow conditions.

1) Get comfortable with backcountry equipment. I recommend both practicing what you can at home to make everything less fiddly (step into bindings, put on skins, transition, etc), and spending some quality time skinning without skiing. Cross country ski trails and flat forest service roads are great for skinning practice!

2) Learn to read terrain both from maps before you go out and in the field. I recommend spending lots of time staring at CalTopo maps with the slope angle shading overlay turned on for areas you know well- your usual ski runs are perfect, places you hike frequently, etc. You want to be able to have a mental image of what enjoyable (to you) skiing looks like on a map, so you can identify good potential routes. It’s also critical for being able to identify terrain traps to avoid and safe ascent routes.

3) Take an Avalanche AVY Level 1 course. It’ll help you understand avalanche terrain, improve your decision making process in the backcountry, give you necessary hand-on practice with beacons and probes and digging efficiently, and you may meet some great partners.

Bare minimum setup:

– skis/splitboard with AT, telemark or splitboard bindings
– boots for said bindings
– skins
– poles
– beacon, shovel, probe
– a comfortable backpack, preferably with a solid separate compartment for your shovel and probe that you can very quickly access
– warm, breathable and sweat-wicking layers…here in California much of my backcountry skiing is in thin soft-shell pants and relatively light base layers, but obviously having warm layers, windproof and waterproof layers is essential for safety and comfort. Packable is usually key too.

Your recommended gear and manufacturers with a success track record of building solid skis and or boards?

I care a lot more about my boots than my skis to be honest, but since you’re asking….Coalition is a Tahoe company that’s pushing the inclusion and equity that I want to see more of in the outdoor industry and makes super fun skis to boot! Also in the area, Moment makes some really killer skis too.

Can you recommend avalanche training outfits and mountain guides locally/in Tahoe/in Reno?

As part of the Mountain Festival, I took a course through Alpenglow Expeditions with Will Sperry and Ali Agee that really built my knowledge and confidence with reading avalanche conditions and terrain! I also can attest to Richard Bothwell (owner of Outdoor Adventure Club) as being a really thoughtful guide who will make you think critically about your risk taking and has a great attitude.

What is the takeaway message you’d like to get out to newbies about the joy of snow sports and the importance of Avy training, on-going BC education and connecting with mentors, ski buddies for safety?

Don’t be scared to reach out and ask questions. The folks worth going out into the mountains with will be happy to share their enthusiasm with you. Try to gain as much competence as you can on your own before going out by ideally taking Avy 1, or at least learning how to read an avalanche forecast, understanding the nine avalanche problems, and trying to solidify your terrain reading skills, and practicing with a beacon, shovel, and probe; then be ready to ask questions and learn.

Anything else you would like to add?

A lot of people assume that backcountry skiers start exploring the backcountry because they’re bored in resorts and want radder lines, but my experience was the opposite. I got interested in skiing because I love spending time in the mountains in the summer and wanted to get to explore the forests and alpine I loved in the winter. I tried cross country skiing once, but it seemed like it would be difficult to access the places I really wanted to go without beefier equipment. I started skiing resorts in January 2016 with the goal of gaining competence for backcountry skiing (but quickly fell in love with skiing because it is insanely fun, who knew?).

I went on my first tour in May 2016 and took Avy 1 the next winter, and since then I’ve become more and more obsessed. I’m still not, and probably will never be, a hotshot skier, but time in the backcountry has definitely helped my confidence in skiing all sorts of different snow and terrain, and the more competent I get, the more fun I have. It’s the hobby that brings me the most joy, I think because I get to have the unparalleled peace that comes with being in the mountains in the snow and the rush of racing down in the same day.

To be honest, COVID precautions are going to make it harder to get comfortable backcountry skiing. I’ve progressed and become more confident thanks to mentorship and some social situations…backcountry cabins, ski races, and classes. Try your hardest to find solid mentors that you feel comfortable going out with. And I can’t overstate the importance of this…be sure you understand what avalanche terrain is, what the nine types of avalanche problems are, and how to read an avalanche forecast before you go out. Lastly, don’t be falsely reassured by having a beacon, shovel, and probe; be sure you’re completely proficient in their use.” – Alyssa Olenberg-Meltzer, SF Bay Area resident and a member of the San Francisco Backcountry Skiers Facebook Group.

human-powered-backcountry

backcountry-skiing

edward-caldwell-photography

Photo Credits: Edward Caldwell Photography https://edwardcaldwell.com

Part 2 

Read our Q&A with Greg of California Ski Company, a retail store specializing in ski, backcountry, and touring gear and service based in Berkeley, CA.

Part 3 

Interview with Robert Shattuck, founder of San Francisco Backcountry Skiers (SFBS) Community on Facebook Groups.

 Part 4

Interview with Richard Bothwell, Backcountry Touring Guide and Director of the Outdoor Adventure Club

Part 5 

Interview with Carl Hlavenka, ski patroller with Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol and California Winter Search and Rescue Team North

Part 6 

Interview with Shane Robinson Owner & Lead Guide at Graybird Guiding based out of Baker Mt, WA

Part 7 

Interview with Mathias Bjoern, Founder of 48 FreeRiders, a backcountry ski, board community based out of Denmark

Backcountry Skiing, Snow-Sports Resources

✔ San Francisco Backcountry Skiers Facebook Group: ‘San Francisco Backcountry Skiers (and Riders) is a resource and inspiration for people in the San Francisco area (and beyond) who are interested in backcountry skiing and riding. SFBS welcomes both experienced and aspiring backcountry skiers and riders.’ Membership type: free, public group. 3.3k members. Visit their FB group page.

✔ SnowPals.org is a non-traditional snow-sports club for busy Bay Area professionals. Join SF Bay Area professionals to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies (resort based and backcountry), btw, that’s how we came up with our name: Snow (Snow-Sports) + Pals. Membership type: one-time paid membership fee of $20; join SnowPals. Read members’ intros to get an idea who joins. Founded in 1999 by a small group of friends; we are now 8,249 members and growing. Celebrating our 21st year of connecting folks to expand their circle of snow sports activity partners.

Sierra Avalanche Center’s education resources where you can get the backcountry safety education and hands on training

Lake Tahoe Backcountry Ski Topographic Maps and Guidebook

California Ski Company in Berkeley is one of the top ski shop retailer for ski gear for sale and rentals, plus boot fitting and equipment service. Cal Ski Co is a ‘specialty ski shop focused on ski equipment sale and rental since 1989. They sell and rent equipment for both Resort and Backcountry Ski Touring. Their team of expert ski boot fitters are the best in the business. They repair and tune about anything that slides on snow. Looking for a job? Cal Ski Co is currently hiring as of October 29, 2020. Full-time and part-time employment available: job openings, ski tech and boot-fitter. Experience is desirable but not necessary. The only criteria is that you are a skier. Interested or know of someone who is? Email resumes to .’

✔ Backcountry and Outback Adventures for Telemark and Randonee Ski Rentals, Fremont, CA and Larkspur, CA – Outback Adventures is a comprehensive outdoor adventure guide service, rental shop, and paddlesports and nordic ski specialty retailer located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sequoia National Park Lodging WUKSACHI LODGE

Located in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park, Wuksachi Lodge is a modern lodge with 102 guestrooms. It offers a cocktail lounge, a full service restaurant and both a retail and ski shop. At an elevation of 7,050 ft. (1,980 m), Wuksachi Lodge is only 4 miles away from the Giant Forest Museum.
Delaware North Parks & Resorts offers multiple services like overnight accommodations, retail, food and beverage, etc. at Kings Canyon National Park in the area of Grant Grove and Cedar Grove. Limited Internet is available in some areas of the main lodge. Wuksachi Lodge is open throughout all the seasons.

GRANT GROVE CABINS

At an elevation of 6,500 ft (1,980 m), the Grant Grove Cabins is located in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. It offers 6 types of cabins; some are even opened all year. Main attractions like a sequoia grove, gifts shop, markets and restaurants are half a mile (800m) away from the Grant Grove Cabins. Open: All Year (limited in the winter)

✔ PEAR LAKE WINTER HUT

Managed by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy, Pear Lake Winter Hut is a rustic hut of 10 bunk beds that opens during winter and requires reservations but only for wilderness skiers who travel to Pear Lake during the cold season. At an elevation of 9,200 ft. the hut sits high above Lodgepole. This hut includes a wood-pellet stove. To get to it, you need to go through six miles on skis or snowshoes. Reservations can be made online or by phone: 559-565-3759.

Got a key backcountry resource not listed here that you’d like to share? Contact . Advance thanks for sharing.

* Browse Tahoe area rentals and private seasonal ski leases:
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/rentals/

* Browse shared ski leases: :
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/leases/

* How to increase bookings for your rental, ski lease listing on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, Craigslist:
🏂
http://www.snowpals.org/2020/property-owners-guide-tips-create-appealing-listing-vacation-rental-ski-lease/

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Snow-Sports Businesses Spotlight

sierra-at-tahoe-photo-credit

Photo Credit: Sierra-at-Tahoe

Last updated: January 22, 2021.

Snow-Sports Businesses Spotlight

At SnowPals, we invite snow-sports businesses (world-wide) to become an affiliate. Spotlight your business to San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe Area snow-sports consumers about what you do best:

  • Services you offer, and/or
  • Products you sell
  • At SnowPals, we work diligently to earn a Five Star Rating. We strive to build stellar long term business relationships with our fans and with consumers. We strive to deliver great value and service to customers in order to build a genuinely loyal customer base. If this resonates with what your business strives to do, please reach out to become an affiliate by submitting the form at the end of this page.

    Don’t have a partners’ or an affiliates page on your business website? Consider adding one.

    Here are some reasons why an affiliates page is the most effective way to help you grow your business:

    1) serves to increase cross promotional marketing which is the ideal way to attract new visitors to your website instead of paid advertising via Google, etc.

    2) cross marketing provides organic targeted advertising that attracts snow sports niche audience to your website

    3) cross promotion is about expanding the marketing reach of your product and/or services so by helping to promote others, you also in turn receives organic visitors traffic to your business website whenever people search for businesses that are snow sports related

    4) Lastly, success comes from collaborating, rarely from isolation – that’s our takeaway from 20+ years at SnowPals and we have the success track record to show; in 1999 we started SnowPals.org with a few friends, fast forward until 2020, we have gained over 8,000+ members and we continue to grow with the help and support of our fans.

    Our 2020/21 Affiliates & Partners List

    == SF Bay Area ==

    tahoe-ski-trips-logo

    Tahoe Ski Trips, since 1996, over 23 years of stellar service: “operating with integrity and a commitment to quality, Tahoe Ski Trips (also know as the Bay Area Ski Bus) contracts with the finest transportation companies and recreation outfitters/ski resorts with fantastic reputations and safety records; we focus on the details, while you focus on having Fun! Our quality and service is unmatched.” – Kevin, TST CEO. Get a private ski bus group quote or a corporate price quote for your company as a team building ski, snowboarding outing in Tahoe. Partner’s Promotional Offer Page: new Tahoe ski trips users receive up to $50 off day and overnight ski bus trips/gift cards available.

    sportsbasement-redwood-city

    Sports Basement with 10 Bay Area Store Locations: ’21 Years of Sports Basement’. a sporting goods store that “catered to everyone that wanted to enjoy the outdoors, with no high-cost barrier to entry. The whole idea was to work with the smallest margins possible so Sports Basement could have the best brands at, well, Basement prices. It worked, and now Sports Basement is able to deliver great gear at great prices at 10 different stores in the greatest place on Earth! Partner’s Promotional Offer Page: Basementeer membership gives you a discount for all purchases which also adds to even sale and clearance discount sporting goods items (online and in store).

    snowbomb ski snowboard festival sf santa clara sacramento

    SnowBomb: SnowBomb produces NorCal’s yearly Ski & Snowboard Festival in San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento featuring wine/beer tastings, ski resorts from all over North America, snow-sports exhibitors & leading manufacturers in the ski and snowboard industry, hoteliers and destination getaways and auto industry showcase. Partner’s Promotional Offer Page: Get 1/2 off POWDER PASS AND VIP WINE/BEER tasting tickets.

    apres-ski-club-active-singles-logo

    Apres’ Ski Club Lodge at Kings Beach, CA (North Lake Tahoe): join Apres ski and snowboard club based out of the Santa Clara, CA (South Bay), a year-round singles club for active adults residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Partner’s Promotional Offer Page: view Apres ski, ride club benefits.

    Casa-tours-logo

    Casa Tours: Chile Argentina Snow Adventures (CASA), is a grassroots organization whose mission is to increase exposure to South American landscapes, mountains, and cultures. CASA is about traveling safely in the mountains; introducing our guests to new places, people, cuisines, language and customs; achieving personal ski and snowboard goals; and developing lifelong friendships and memories. By building cultural bridges and embracing sustainable travel principles, we hope to promote global peace and prosperity while introducing people to some of the best skiing and snowboarding on the planet. Partner’s Promotional Page: ski, ride year round; sign up for our endless winter powder trip tours.

    == Lake Tahoe ==

    backcountry-ski-maps-logo

    Backcountry Ski Maps is the best all-in-one backcountry ski touring maps on the marketplace where you can find all the route information you need on one piece of paper or via digital format on your smartphone or laptop. Partner’s Promotional Offer Page: get 10% off backcountry topo ski maps.

    SkiDUCK-logo

    SkiDUCK is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010; SkiDUCK offers a free program to bring disadvantaged and financially underprivileged youth to the snow to teach them the joys of skiing and snowboarding. Partner’s Page: seeking volunteers to teach underprivileged kids how to ski and snowboard.

    Tahoe-fund-nonprofit

    Tahoe Fund TahoeFund.org is a registered nonprofit in the States of Nevada and California. The goal of the Tahoe Fund is to become a major source of private funding for environmental projects around the Lake Tahoe Basin with an emphasis on forest health, lake clarity, sustainable recreation, transportation and stewardship. Partner’s promo: Buy a Tahoe License Plate or Nevada License Plate and get a Tahoe resort lift ticket or get a day pass to access Lake Tahoe cross-country areas.

    sugar-bowl-resort-tahoe-logo

    Sugar Bowl | Royal Gorge is Hiring North Lake Tahoe’s Sugar Bowl | Royal Gorge is Hiring. Partner’s Employment Openings Page: apply for job openings at Sugar Bowl and Royal Gorge.

    == Canada ==

    skibuds-canada

    SkiBuds: Find friends to ride with based on skill level making the skiing experience in Whistler, British Columbia more enjoyable. Affiliate’s Website: http://www.skibudsapp.com

    cmh-heli-skiing

    Canadian Mountain Holidays aka CMH is touring California; see what it’s like to heli-ski, ride untracked powder with our virtual reality (VR) heli-ski experience. We’ll have the goggles and guides available at all events. Partner’s VR Tour Event RSVP Page: What is it like to heli-ski untracked POWDER? RSVP for CMH’s virtual reality heli-ski experience.

    == Our 2020/21 Partners List ==

    snowpals-partners

    Since 1999, we have been passionate about connecting San Francisco Bay Area residents and visitors to Lake Tahoe to enjoy snow-sports and to engage in outdoor recreational activities in Tahoe and in other powder destinations. Our partners have chosen to advertise on SnowPals, year after year, because we quantify referrals that contribute to their success!

    What are the benefits of partnering with SnowPals?

    New customer referrals and increase your brand’s visibility are two of the key benefits of partnering with SnowPals.

    Partner with us to reach Bay Area Professionals, their family and their circle of friends. Let us spotlight your business to reach and exceed your business goals.

    For partnership inquiries, please reach out to for a digital media kit for key metrics and benefits of partnership.

    What does becoming an affiliate entails? There is no cost to become an affiliate.

    We are looking for snow-sports related affiliates who would like to establish a cross marketing relationship.

    How to become an affiliate?

    On your partner/affiliates page, please add the following sentence and logo to add SnowPals to your affiliates’ page (your business must have an affiliate page that you can easily include us on your page).

    snowpals-logo

    For Lake Tahoe ski trips, join SnowPals.org – San Francisco Bay Area snow-sports club for busy professionals, since 1999.

    In return, we will include your business on this page. View what an affiliates’ page looks like on SkiBuds’ website.

    Use the form below to send us a one sentence description detailing what your business offers, a URL link to your biz’s website and your business logo. after you have added our logo, link and description to your affiliates page and we’ll do likewise.

    Become an Affiliate

    Submit this form to become a SnowPals affiliate,
    • Send us a one sentence description detailing what you offer as a business.

    Next Step After Submitting the Form:

    After adding our logo and the above sentence on your Affiliates page, please contact (Monday to Friday, non-holidays, 9 AM to 5 PM). We will proceed with listing your business on this page. Please allow a 24 hours turn-around since we need to review your submission and work on listing your business if it meets our snow-sports category listing. Advance thanks!

    ♥ Share this page with friends and family via twitterfacebook.

    You’re invited: Ski & Ride Winter Season Kick-off Party

    donner-lake-cabin-share-2020

    *** Annual Ski & Ride Winter Kick-off Party ***

    What: Join to increase your ‘fun factor” by expanding your circle of ski, ride buddies for Tahoe ski trips & powder trips to other snow destinations especially covered by a multi-resort pass such as the
    EPIC PASS, IKON PASS, MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE PASS + POWDER ALLIANCE PASS.

    Our Host is Emily ..

    “I was born & raised Vermonter, and a current Epic Pass holder. Most weekends you can find me at Kirkwood, or Heavenly shredding the pow. Interested in carpooling on weekends, or weekdays to any Epic Resorts. Looking forward to meeting everyone!”

    – Swag giveaway: $25 Sports Basement gift card Sports Basement + other swag in the works

    – Watch ski/ride video from last season to get stoked for winter season powder ski/ride trips to Tahoe, Colorado, Utah, British Columbia, South America Europe and Japan.

    – Share POWDER Stories from last season and enjoy complimentary drinks and light snacks 😉

    – Expand your circle of friends/buddies for snow sports & backcountry ski/ride partners as well

    Find yourself driving to/from Lake Tahoe with mostly empty seats?

    Carpool/RideShare with skiers, boarders who love snow sports as much as you, share expenses and help preserve our environment by ride-sharing to/from Tahoe.

    Got your skis/snowboard tuned & waxed?

    Get 20% off at this event to shop at Sports Basement for ski/ride gear & winter attire and get your skis, snowboard waxed, tuned/serviced while waiting for resorts to open.

    When: Tuesday November 5, 2019 from 7 pm to 9 pm.

    At 8 pm, we will have a swag drawing giveaway so get there early to partake – print your event ticket and it will be used as your drawing entry to win event swag.

    7:30 PM – New ski & board gear demo
    8:00 PM – Event Swag Giveaway Drawing
    8:10 PM – Learn how to wax your skis / snowboard based on the type of snow slopeside

    Where: Sports Basement Bryant, SF

    1590 Bryant St

    San Francisco, California 94103

    event-rsvp-eventbrite

    RSVP for this event on Eventbrite.

    Important: PLEASE be courteous and let us know if you can’t make it after you have RSVPed; sign into EventBrite to change your RSVP so that we can get an accurate count of how many folks to expect. Behind the scene, we work tremendously hard to put together events so in return please be mindful to give us a heads up if your plans have changed and you can no longer attend. Much appreciated!

    View events in other parts of the Bay Area.

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    Fun Poll Questions

    Which Tahoe resort do you ski / ride at most often?

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    What's your Skiing / Snowboarding Experience?

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    ♥ Share this page to invite friends and family via , twitter, facebook.

    * New to SnowPals? Join us to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies and Tahoe ride-share contacts for powder trips to Tahoe and beyond.