Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders

Want to rappel into a gnarly line, ski on a glacier, or lower an injured skier down a steep slope? As a skier, a rope isn’t necessarily something you bring ski touring, or even ski mountaineering for most Sierra missions. But if you're looking to step up your game to ski lines like the Grand Teton or the Cosmiques Couloir, Rope Skills for Skiers and Riders will get you up to speed. You'll dial in the fundamentals and come out with the baseline skills you need for technical or glaciated ski lines.
Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders
Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders
Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders
Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders
Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders
Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders
Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders
Rope Skills for Skiers & Riders

Got big mountains on your mind and plenty of riding skills to get you down, but not sure of how to manage the ropes to get you there?  Rope Skills for Skiers is designed for you.  We start with the basics: choices for ropes, harnesses, slings and cordelettes, micro traxion pulleys; all the tools you need to get into serious trouble. 

Next we’ll cover how to use them: racking gear on your harness, strategies for managing rope, tying knots and understanding the applications for the knots we use most commonly in skiing.

Once we have the basics down, we’ll get into how we use ropes in ski mountaineering.  This includes:

  • Rappelling.  With skis on our feet and with skis on our backs.  We’ll learn the reasons to choose each and how to deal with the transition of getting off rappel.
  • Belaying.  We'll cover when belays are practical and how to do it effectively.
  • Glacier Travel.  How to rig a rope for rope team travel.
  • Snow Anchors.  How to build basic snow anchors using the gear we typically carry on ski mountaineering routes.
  • Lowering.  How to use a rope to get a non-ambulatory, injured person down a slope.


Contact Us Here to Schedule Custom Dates for Ropework for Skiers!

Available Dates

Feb 9
Feb 23
Mar 9
Mar 23
Apr 6
Apr 20


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Winter Price List 2021
ProgramPrice Per Person
California Ski Touring/Mountaineering 
Skier to Guide Ratio 


8:00 am  Meet your guide at the trailhead.  Your guide will conduct a Trailhead Departure Check/Beacon Check then we’ll tour to an appropriate venue with terrain that provides excellent learning opportunities.

9:30 am  We’ll begin the skills portion of the program here, covering the materials we use and discussing their applications.  We’ll tie knots, build anchors, practice rappelling and set up ropes for glacier travel. 

3:30 pm 

We will close the program with a margin of daylight remaining when we hit the trailhead.  At the trailhead, we’ll review the skills we learned and discuss any questions the group may still have regarding all things ski mountaineering.


Ropework for Skier and Riders

Gear Guide / Packing List

Backcountry Touring Gear

❏ Alpine Touring Skis or Splitboard - Light to Midweight Setup with “Tech Bindings”

❏ Alpine Touring Boots or Splitboard Compatible Boots; Scarpa F1

❏ Climbing Skins - Mohair Mix is Best; Black Diamond GlideLite Mohair Mix,

❏ Ski Crampons - Specific to your Skis/Board;

❏ Ski Strap - Voile Ski Strap or Similar

Avalanche Gear

❏ Avalanche Beacon - Digital Avalanche Transceiver; Black Diamond Guide Recon BT

❏ Avalanche Shovel - Collapsible, Aluminum Shovel; Backcountry Access BT2 Shovel

❏ Avalanche Probe - Quickdraw Style Probe; Backcountry Access Stealth 300

Technical Gear

❏ Climbing/Ski Helmet - Dual Rated Helmet; Petzl Sirocco or Black Diamond Vision

❏ Headlamp - LED headlamp with fresh batteries; Petzl Actik Core

❏ Climbing Harness - Light Alpine Harness; Petzl Altitude, Mammut Zephyr Altitude

❏ Two Locking Carabiners - Petzl Attache, etc

❏ Triple Action Locking Carabiner - Edelrid HMS Strike Triple FG Locking Carabiner

❏ Double Length Sling - Sewn Runner; Black Diamond 10mm Dynex Runner

❏ Belay Device - Tube Style Belay Device; BD ATC Guide, Petzl Reverso

❏ Crampons, Steel - Steel Crampons Compatible with Your Boots; Petzl Vasak

❏ Crampons, Aluminum - Lightweight Aluminum Crampons, Compatible with Your Boots

❏ Lightweight Ice Axe - An ultralight Axe for Steep Terrain; Petzl Ride, BD Raven Ultra

❏ Ski Poles - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Expedition 3 Poles

Head and Neck Layers

❏ Sun Hat - A Baseball Hat; Blackbird Mountain Guides Logo Hat

❏ Sunglasses - Dark Lens Glasses with Side Coverage; Julbo Shield

❏ Goggles - Ski Goggles with a Storm Lens; Julbo Aerospace Reactive

❏ Warm Hat - Lightweight Warm Hat that Fits Under Your Helmet;

❏ Neck Gaiters - Light to Midweight Neck Gaiters; Buff or your favorite Face Masks

***These Are Required as Covid-19 Face Coverings

Upper Body and Hand Layers

❏ Long Sleeve Base Layer - Lightweight, Synthetic/Wool; Patagonia SunHoody

❏ 2 Insulating Top Layers - Light to Midweight Insulation Layers; Patagonia R1 & Nano Air

❏ Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Patagonia Fitzroy or similar

❏ Hardshell Jacket, Hooded - Waterproof, Gore-Tex, NOT insulated; Arc’Teryx Alpha FL

❏ Light Gloves - Light to Mid Weight for Warm Temps; Flylow John Henry Gloves, BD Tour

❏ Midweight Gloves - Mid to Heavy Weight for Cold Conditions; BD Legend

❏ Sports Bra - Wool/Synthetic;

Lower Body and Foot Layers

❏ Socks - Midweight Wool/Synthetic; Darn Tough Via Ferrata

❏ Underwear - Wool/Synthetic

❏ Long Underwear - Wool/Synthetic “Long Johns”; Patagonia Capilene Air

❏ Softshell Ski Pants - Breathable, Weather Resistant Pants; OR Trailbreaker II

❏ Vented Hardshell Ski Pants - Waterproof Pants for Extreme Weather; Flylow Compound

Food and Water

❏ Water Bottles - 2L Capacity; 2x Nalgene 1L Bottle or 1 Nalgene plus Soft Bottle

❏ Soft Water Bottle 1.5L - Flexible Water Bladder; Hydrapak Flux 1.5L

***Please bring at least one hard sided water bottle.

❏ Snacks - Snacks for a full day of activity.

Other Essentials

❏ Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)

❏ Lip Balm (with SPF)

❏ Hand Sanitizer


❏ First Aid/blister Kit

❏ Chemical Hand Warmers

❏ Hydration System - Flexible Water Bladder with Hose; Hydrapak, Camelback, Platypus

Group Gear

Blackbird Mountain Guides will supply all of the group gear for the trip, including:

✓ Technical Gear: Ropes, Micro Traxion, Slings, etc

✓ Snow Pickets (if required)

✓ Rock Protection (if required)

✓ Guide’s First Aid Kits

✓ Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)

Know Before You Go


North Lake Tahoe



Technical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚪⚪⚪

Physical Difficulty ⚫⚪⚪⚪⚪

Trip Length 

Single Day

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