Learn How to Stay Safe in the Backcountry at this Free Avalanche Education Series

Get ready for winter with this FREE series of backcountry education workshops!

Learn the basics for safe backcountry travel by attending one or all of these free avalanche education workshops held in Reno and Truckee; presented by Tahoe Mountain Sports and Ortovox. The workshops will be held in two locations this year, Alibi Ale Works – Truckee Public House and Craft Wine and Beer in Reno. These two venues have distinctly different atmospheres. Join us at Alibi in Truckee for a more festive and at times, rowdy, night. If you prefer a more focused, intimate atmosphere, join us at Craft Wine and Beer in Reno!

These workshops are for YOU if you like to backcountry ski, board, snowmobile, snowshoe, or just explore snow covered mountains. There will be 4 workshops held between October and January covering different aspects of avalanche education.

  1. Backcountry Decision Making and Planning for Success
  2. Go With the Flow – How to Prep and Plan for a Successful Day in the Mountains
  3. Beacons, Beers, and Airbags
  4. Avalanche Rescue Tips and Tools

Join us to get educated, learn about new gear and technologies, and connect with a community of like minded backcountry travelers.

Backcountry Decision Making and Planning for Success

Wednesday, October 30th at Alibi Ale Works – Truckee Public House

Join us for the first of four events in our Avalanche Education Series – Backcountry Decision Making and Planning for Success at Alibi Ale Works – Truckee Public House. 

Don Triplat will kick off the night, speaking about how to read the avalanche report, check the weather, and make good decisions in the backcountry. From there, Renee Elsdon Jacobs will share her knowledge of Caltopo, an online mapping program, and Patrick Freeman and Matt French will discuss how to use Garmin navigation and safety tools. Towards the end of the night, you’ll have a chance to run through scenarios in small groups with each speaker.

Doors open at 6 pm. Give yourself plenty of time to find a parking spot and grab beer and snacks before the formal presentation begins at 6:30 pm.

Bring cash for the huge raffle benefiting the Sierra Avalanche Center, Tahoe’s local avalanche forecasting center which provides a wealth of information to backcountry skiers, riders, and sledders. Their mission is to inform and educate the public about backcountry avalanche conditions in the greater Tahoe area. There will be tons of swag from Ortovox, Garmin, Spark R&D, Black Diamond, Flylow Gear, Dynafit, Weston, and Julbo.

Go With the Flow – How to Prep and Plan for a successful day in the mountains

Wednesday, November 13th at Craft Reno

Learn how to make decisions that keep yourself and your partner safe at this event on Wednesday, November 13 at Craft Reno.  

Travis Fiest from the Sierra Avalanche Center will lead us through the SAC’s “Daily Flow,” a risk management plan that you can use every time you head into the backcountry. This is an incredibly useful tool to put in your toolbox of backcountry decision making. After discussing the Daily Flow, you’ll get to put it into practice in small breakout groups and run through scenarios using past avalanche forecasts. 

Check out how motorized backcountry users “go with the Flow” in this great video from the Sierra Avalanche Center:

Doors open at 6 pm. Give yourself plenty of time to find a parking spot and grab beer and snacks before the formal presentation begins at 6:30 pm.

Bring cash for the huge raffle benefiting the Sierra Avalanche Center, Tahoe’s local avalanche forecasting center which provides a wealth of information to backcountry skiers, riders, and sledders. Their mission is to inform and educate the public about backcountry avalanche conditions in the greater Tahoe area. There will be tons of swag from Ortovox, Garmin, Spark R&D, Black Diamond, Flylow Gear, Dynafit, Weston, and Julbo.

Beacons, Beers, and Airbags

Wednesday, December 4th at Alibi Ale Works – Truckee Public House

A beacon, shovel, and probe are your backcountry essentials. Airbag packs are another life saving tool, should something go wrong. Join us on Wednesday, December 4th at Alibi in Truckee to learn how to use this important rescue gear and connect with other like minded backcounty enthusiasts.

We’ll start with a discussion about beacons and how they work, how to quickly and efficiently use your shovel and probe, and what to consider when buying this gear. You’ll have a chance to try out demo beacons at the end of the night and practice your skills in a search scenario. Our next speaker, Steve Reynaud, Sierra Avalanche Center forecaster and owner of Tahoe Mountain School, will lead us through how a rescue unfolds and talk about the anatomy of a rescue. From there representatives from Black Diamond, Mammut, Scott, BCA, and Ortovox will give a rundown on the different types of airbag packs and their various features. If you have an airbag, bring it to this event! We’ll end the night with a huge airbag group deployment followed by free canister refills and free software upgrades.

Doors open at 6 pm. Give yourself plenty of time to find a parking spot and grab beer and snacks before the formal presentation begins at 6:30 pm.

Don’t forget to bring cash for the huge raffle benefiting Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue. They do great work in the Truckee/North Lake Tahoe area conducting conduct fast, safe rescues and educating the public on winter safety. Prizes include swag from Ortovox, BCA, Mammut, Black Diamond, Flylow Gear, Dynafit, Weston, and Julbo.

Avalanche Rescue Tips and Tools

Wednesday, January 8th at Craft Reno

What do you do when things go wrong? 

Join us at Craft Reno on Wednesday, January 8th  to learn the ins and outs of avalanche rescue. The night will begin with a discussion on the essential avalanche safety tools – a beacon, shovel, and probe. We’ll cover how beacons work, best practices when using a shovel and probe, and the role of an airbag in your safety quiver. Then, Steve Reynaud, Sierra Avalanche Center forecaster and owner of Tahoe Mountain School, will lead us through how a rescue unfolds. From there representatives from Black Diamond, Mammut, Scott, BCA, and Ortovox will give a rundown on the different types of airbag packs and their various features.

At the end of the night, you’ll break up into small groups and have a chance to try out demo beacons and practice your skills in a search scenario. There will also be Garmin and Caltopo stations for you to learn about their mapping, navigation, and safety tools. If you have an airbag, bring it to this event! We’ll end the night with a group airbag deployment followed by free canister refills and free software upgrades.

Doors open at 6 pm. Give yourself plenty of time to find a parking spot and grab beer and snacks before the formal presentation begins at 6:30 pm.


Bring cash for the huge raffle benefiting the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, the voice for the human-powered winter backcountry community in the Lake Tahoe area, advocating for and informing our community about critical issues affecting winter backcountry recreation in Tahoe. Raffle prizes include swag from Ortovox, Backcountry Access, Mammut, Black Diamond, Flylow Gear, Dynafit, Weston, and Julbo.

Avalanche Series Sponsors

Special thanks to our presenting sponsor ORTOVOX for making this series possible! For 30 years ORTOVOX has been the most successful producer of avalanche equipment, backpacks and merino outerwear for alpine sports throughout the year. Come check out their products at Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Thanks to all of our sponsors including Alibi Ale Works – Truckee Public House, Reno Craft Wine & Beer, Tahoe Mountain SchoolFlylow GearBlack DiamondJulbo Eyewear, Dynafit, Weston, Mammut, Backcountry Access, Garmin, Spark R&D, Tahoe Mountain School.

Please support our nonprofit partners: Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, and Sierra Avalanche Center.

Ready to take it to the next level? Read about Why you should take an Avalanche Level One Certification (AAIRE Avy 1 Class).



Siobhan works at Tahoe Mountain Sports and currently manages TMS blog content. She loves everything about living in the mountains, from snowy winter days on skis to the hot, dusty trails of the Sierra's in the summer. Favorite activities include skiing, trail running and backpacking.


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