There is no place on Earth quite like California when it comes to ski mountaineering. The maritime snowpack allows for reasonable stability and access to big lines even in the middle of winter. When it comes to wilderness California is unparallelled in the lower 48. The state offers almost 300 continuous miles of unadulterated mountain range. A region with some of the highest peaks in the country and the longest couloirs found anywhere in the world.
As an AMGA Certified Ski Guide backcountry ski adventures is what I specialize in. Some of the more popular trips that I have guided in the past include hut skiing trips throughout Tahoe, Shasta and the High Sierra. Other people prefer mechanically accessed day trips either lift access side country or even Bear Valley Cat Skiing. Whether it's a day trip, hut trip or and multiday Trans-Sierra crossing skiing is my passion.
Despite having such great mountains and so much snow very little of the mountain ranges are actually covered by professional avalanche forecasting centers. None of the mountains west of the Sierra Crest and south of Highway 4 have coverage by a forecast center. Additionally, none of the areas south of Bishop have a forecast. This means most of the states' best ski terrain. Almost none of the state's 14,000ft peak and hundreds of the states 13,000ft peaks all require skiers to have skilled working knowledge and understanding of avalanches in order to ski safely. This means many of these areas are free of other skiers and why so many people choose to hire a guide for their ski adventures.
About Hut Skiing
A good hut ski trip is an all-encompassing experience and one of the best ways to experience the backcountry. Huts allow skiers to get deeper into the backcountry with lighter packs and stay longer.
Evenings in the huts are usually comprised of good meals, good times and a little bit of libation. The winter solitude of being comfortably secluded creates a fun and enjoyable experience you can't find anywhere else. It's just the perfect blend of solitude and creature comforts.
Check out the California Backcountry Huts tab for a list of Californias best backcountry ski huts. While I don't guide all of them personally they are all worthy of a fun excursion.
Bear Valley Cat Skiing
A day of Cat Skiing is like having the resort to yourself. The Bear Valley Powder Cat can be booked for private groups up to 13 people. It includes 6 hours of backcountry access for you and your friends with multiple guides to ensure people's skiing needs are being met.
For a full package, the Bear Valley Powder Cat is one of the most reasonably priced mechanized ski packages in the country. You can find out more by booking us through the office at California Ski Guides