Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour

Sugarbowl to Squaw is the classic traverse between two of Tahoe's great ski resorts. This high ridge route often follows the Pacific Crest Trail and offers options for fun ski descents. It is long, around 13 miles, and involves a fair amount of vertical gain and loss throughout this long day.
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour

The Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour.

One of North Lake Tahoe's premier ski tours, Sugarbowl to Squaw is a ski touring odyssey that covers nearly 14 miles with roughly 3,000' of elevation gain, ending about 1,000' lower than it starts. This is NOT an easy day and is a fairly committing undertaking.  This trip is often done over two days, camping in the middle. 

Please contact us for details on:

  • Sugarbowl to Squaw Overnight
  • Custom Dates (We can offer this program on a variety of dates in addition to those listed).

This trip may run from Sugarbowl to Pole Creek (depending on snow conditions getting at Squaw) and requires a minimum of 2 participants.  

Requisite Experience 

This program is for experienced backcountry riders and to make sure everyone has a good time, we require that you:

  • You must be in excellent physical condition and have demonstrated your ability to do similar vertical feet on prior ski tours.
  • Are Proficient at Using Your Gear and can transition quickly between skiing/riding and skinning.  If you are unsure, feel free to reach out!  We offer programs that can help build the skills you need for whatever your objective may be.  
  • Can Ride Advanced Terrain on variable conditions with your backcountry touring gear.  The terrain on this traverse is moderate, but still requires efficient movement while skiing and skinning. Snow conditions are typically very different from those found at ski resorts, even in off-piste resort terrain.
  • Have Appropriate Gear.  Ski touring bindings or splitboards are required. Snowshoes are not appropriate for this trip.  Avalanche  safety gear is required, including:
    • Digital Beacon (newer than 5 years old or recently checked by the manufacturer)
    • High Quality Aluminum Shovel (plastic blades often break in dense avalanche debris)
    • High Quality Probe (modern, quick-draw style)
    • Avalanche Gear Can Be Rented Here

Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
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  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sugarbowl to Squaw Ski Tour


Available Dates

March 25, 2021 (2 or 3 skiers)
March 25, 2021 (Private 1:1)
March 29, 2021 (2 or 3 skiers)
March 29, 2021 (Private 1:1)
April 2, 2021 (2 or 3 skiers)
April 2, 2021 (Private 1:1)
April 17 Private 1:1


ProgramPrice Per Person
California Ski Touring/Mountaineering 
Skier to Guide Ratio 


8:00 am  Meet your guide at the trailhead and review the plan for the day. The guide will discuss the avalanche problem for the day, the proposed route up and options for the ascent and descent.  The guide will conduct a Trailhead Departure Check/Beacon Check.

8:30 am  Tour into our objective for the day and ski as many laps as time will allow on the best snow available.

3:30 pm  Return to the trailhead with enough daylight to have a margin to get back safely.




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,

❏ Touring Backpack - A Pack with Avalanche Tools Pocket; BD Cirque 35

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

❏ Ski Helmet - Lightweight S

Avalanche Gear

RENT a the full Avalanche Gear Kit from Blackbird

❏ 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

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 for Fair Weather; OR Trailbreaker II

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

Food and Water

❏ Nalgene Water Bottle - Hard Sided Bottle; Nalgene 16oz-32oz Wide Mouth Bottle

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

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

❏ Snacks - Enough Snacks for the Day. There will be no lunch break so snacks must be

convenient and easy to eat.

Other Essentials

❏ Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)

❏ Lip Balm (with SPF)

❏ Hand Sanitizer

❏ Toilet Paper


❏ 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:

✓ Guide’s First Aid Kits

✓ Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)

✓ Snow Observation Equipment (Snowsaws, Loops, Crystal Cards, Etc)

Know Before You Go


North Lake Tahoe, CA



Difficulty ⚫⚫⚪⚪⚪

The Tahoe Tour is of moderate physical difficulty, but requires skiing off piste terrain proficiently. 

Trip Length

Single Day

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