Snow Basics Courses for 2018

  • Would you like to spend more time each year in the wilderness?IMG_0573
  • Are you concerned about camping in the snow and getting cold, wet, or lost?
  • Do you feel that, if the trail is buried under snow and you can’t see where it goes, you need to call for help?

You need this Course!

What is Snow Basics?

Thes are introductory snow skills courses designed to teach you how to safely and wisely go snowshoeing in the winter woods, spend a night or two out on the snow in your tent,  and know what to do and not do, all while progressing toward your own snow-backpacking adventures in the future. This year, it comes in four flavors:


1-day Tahoe Clinics:

You’ve wanted to feel comfortable exploring all day on snowshoes! Here’s your chance to learn what to watch out for. Each of these 7-hour outings will teach you the basicIMGP3478s of balance, movement, body & environment awareness, and hidden hazards, plus a few topics unique for that day:


  • Following the snow-buried trail (over-snow navigation)
  • Ascent, Descent, Traverse, and Glissading skills


  • Safe route selection (avalanche awareness & avoidance)
  • Self-Arrest training

What:  One day overview of snowshoe safety, knowledge, and skills. Course Description

Where:  Northbound PCT trailhead and parking lot, Highway 88, Carson Pass, Kirkwood, CA

When:   9am – 4pm

Distance, Gain, & Elevation:  3 miles, round-trip; go up 250 feet; top-out at 8,800 feet.

Dates:  Feb 24 & 25; Mar 24 & 25IMG_4008

How:  Apply, be approved, check Gear List, pay tuition, read email, show up, have fun!

Cost:  $80/day

Bring:  SBC 1-day Tahoe Clinic Gear List

Available Rentals:  Snowshoes, poles


2-day, lodge-based, weekend snow skills seminar:

If you want to learn how to explore the winter wonderland without worry that you’ll get lost,  wet and cold, dehydrated, or just fall down and get hurt, and you don’t want to camp out in the snow just yet, we have a surprise for you!

New for 2018, we are grouping our usual 1-day clinics (above) into 2-day weekend seminars and basing them at the historic Clair Tappaan Lodge on Donner Summit! There will be indoor classes on specific wilderness safety topics and outdoor walks, talks, and skills prIMG_4028actice sessions.

The lodge takes care of your hostel-style accommodations and 3 meals a day while Mountain Education provides the teaching, training, and story-telling!

What: Two days of outdoor, snow skills training featuring specific morning and afternoon clinics. Two evenings of resting before the huge, granite fireplace and talking everything “trail!” (There is a hot tub if you get sore and tired after the day’s play!)

Where: Clair Tappaan Lodge, Norden, Ca (Donner Summit, old highway 40)

When: Feb 3 + 4; Mar 10 + 11; Arrive before Friday dinner (6pm) and check out Sunday afternoon. (Two days, two nights)

How:  Apply, pay tuition, email, gear, arrive, fun!

Cost:  $450/student. (includes 2 night’s lodging, 5 meals, 2 days of instruction). For details about the lodge. Tell Mountain Education what type of accommodations you’d like when you apply. To hold your place in the seminar, pay your tuition in full or begin with a deposit payment of $150 via the “Donations/Tuition” tab.IMG_4037

Bring:  SBC 2-day, Lodge-based Gear List

Available Rentals:  via Clair Tappaan Lodge, also.

Wilderness Topics & Skills:
  • Safe Route Selection (Avalanche Awareness & Avoidance),
  • Unsafe Snow Conditions & Hidden Hazards (snow pit analysis),
  • Navigation over Snow – Following a buried trail (topo map & GPS), and
  • Staying Warm & Dry on snow


2-day Tahoe Overnight:

So, you’re pretty comfortable with getting out on the snow for the day. Now, you want to master sleeping in your tent on it! Is it the same as summer camping? How do you get water, stay warm in your tent, or go to the bathroom? Let us take away your concerns and show you!

What:  Tahoe Overnight Course Description.IMG_0589

Where:  Northbound PCT trailhead and parking lot, Highway 88, Carson Pass, Kirkwood, CA

When: (9am select Saturday mornings to 4pm the following Sunday afternoon) Feb 10-11; Mar 24-25

Distance, Gain, & Elevation:  3-5 miles, round-trip; go up 250 feet; top-out at 8,800 feet.

Dates: (Only 3 for 2018!)  Feb 10-11; March 31-April 1

How: Apply, be approved, check Gear List, pay tuition, read email, show up, have fun!

Cost:  $300. (Tuition can be paid either in full or begun with a deposit payment of $100 via the “Donations/Tuition” tab, above.

Bring:  SBC 2-day Tahoe Overnight Gear List

Available Rentals:  Tents, snowshoes, poles, sleeping pads.


3-day Snow Basics Course (SBC): IMG_0554

This is our original, all inclusive Snow Basics Course (SBC) that we have been teaching since 1982! It is a short-distance, basecamp-styled, two-night training trip that includes everything taught in the 1-day and 2-day courses. If you can only take one long weekend off work or away from the dog and plants, do this one!

SBC Full Course Description

SBC Gear List


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