You’re in Tahoe, the stoke is high, the conditions are perfect…
…and you’re stuck waiting in a lift line to ski groomers and bumps because you couldn’t find a local with the beta/inside scoop you need to get into the backcountry.
No longer! Backcountry Ski Maps wants to make this scenario a thing of the past.
Backcountry Ski Maps was specifically designed as a topographic map and guidebook rolled into one to make it easier to find all the information you need to get out touring in the Tahoe area.
All maps include detailed ascent and descent routes, photos, and a text guide to the best lines, which means that just one source of beta can easily get you to secret stashes you had only heard ‘whispers of’. We highlight the most classic lines, help you find the easiest approaches, and reveal the biggest potential dangers and challenges so you can spend less time searching for information and more time skiing!
Let’s take an inside look at the Tahoe Southwest Map which features more than 70 descents, ranging from mellow glades to ultra-steep couloirs.
Included are ski routes on:
and many, many more!
Backcountry Ski Maps partnered with SnowPals to offer a 10% off all backcountry ski maps by using discount promo code: snowpals21
To get 10% off your backcountry map purchase, enter the discount coupon code ‘ snowpals21 ‘ at check-out; purchase maps at
+ Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (Coming Soon)
+ Vail Pass, Colorado (Coming Soon)
More About Backcountry Ski Maps
“Make the Most of the Backcountry
Maybe you’re new to an area or even new to touring in general. Maybe you’re a weekend warrior with only a limited amount of time to play in the mountains. Or maybe you’re a jaded local who thinks they’ve skied every worthy line in the area.
At Backcountry Ski Maps we feel you. If you’re anything like us, all you want is to spend more time outdoors, taking in beautiful views and riding the steepest, deepest lines.
We were frustrated to have to spend hours on the internet researching potential lines on sites of varying reliability. We were even more frustrated when summer came along and we saw all the in-depth hiking, climbing, and backpacking topographical maps on the market.
Something needed to change.
And so Backcountry Ski Maps, LLC was born.
Now we’re striving to make the easiest to use, all-in-one backcountry ski touring maps on the market. A place where you can find all the route information you need on one piece of paper: just take a look at the map, find a zone that fits your needs (and the current avalanche conditions), read a little about the zone on the back of the map, and get out into the white room.
Now you’ve got a one-stop-shop to find everything from low-angle pow-day trees to rarely skied and ultra-steep couloirs.
Our hope is that by helping people find the right lines, our maps can inspire more people to get out into the backcountry hooting and hollering and collecting face-shots.
➦ Got a small business you’d like to partner with SnowPals for new sales referrals? Contact for partnership inquires. We’ll dispatch our digital media kit upon receiving your inquiry so you can see our visitor stats and demographics.
Interested in backcountry skiing and snowboarding (using a splitboard)?
Benefits of backcountry skiing/boarding:
* Enjoy solitude serenity
* Earn your untracked powder runs = burn tons of calories/great workout 🙂
* Enjoy the beauty of our natural environment – views of glades, valleys, glorious lake views, pine trees, snow covered winter wonderland sear into memories that will stay with you a lifetime or more (reincarnation)
* Nature photography
* Many more intangibles you can’t get at ski resorts, so join in..
Connect with a wingman/woman for backcountry safety, share rides to the mountain, perhaps share lodging expenses too, and it’s just more fun when you have some POWder friends to 🏂⛷❄️🏔 with 😉
* * Learn how to stay safe in the backcountry, register for an Intro to AIARE AVALANCHE RESCUE TRAINING; Sierra Avalanche Center (SAC) got hands on backcountry safety courses/classes, details at
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.
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
– 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.
✔ 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.
✔ 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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 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: 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 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.
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).
For Lake Tahoe ski trips, join SnowPals.org – San Francisco Bay Area snow-sports club for busy professionals, since 1999.
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.
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!
At SnowPals, we invite snow-sports businesses (world-wide) to join us as an affiliate to cross promote/share with San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe Area snow-sports consumers about what you do best: (1) services you offer, and/or (2) products you sell.
We strive to build stellar long-term business relationships with consumers; we strive to deliver great value and service to customers in order to build a genuinely loyal customer base; if this sounds like your business’ endeavor, please reach out to become an affiliate by submitting the form at the end of this page.
Our 2019/20 Affiliates List
Apres’ Ski Club Lodge at Kings Beach (North Lake Tahoe): Join Apres ski and snowboard club based out of the Santa Clara, CA (South Bay) is a singles club for active adults residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Website: http://apres.org
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. Website: https://backcountryskimaps.com
SkiBuds: Find friends to ride with based on skill level making the skiing experience in Whistler, British Columbia more enjoyable. Website: http://www.skibudsapp.com
Our 2019/20 Partners List
If you’d like to partner with SnowPals, please reach out to for metrics and benefits of partnership.
What does becoming an affiliate entails? Send us a one sentence description detailing what you offer as a business, a URL link to your biz’s website and your business logo.
Please use 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 as well). We will in turn do likewise on this page, please contact (Monday to Friday, non-holidays, 9 AM to 5 PM) once you have added SnowPals to your business’ website. View a sample of what an affiliates’ page look like on SkiBuds’ website.
For Lake Tahoe ski trips, join SnowPals.org – San Francisco Bay Area based snow-sports club for busy professionals, since 1999.