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What's New?

This list is a chronology of significant changes and additions made to Ski Tours in the Sierra Nevada. They are listed by date with the most recent first.

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May 21, 2014

Version 37.00.00 adds the Tragedy Spring to Maidens Grave tour. It turns the West Ridge of Shaelor Lakes tour into a one-way tour with the return passing through an area that is seldom visited.

January 27, 2014

Version 36.00.00 adds three tours in the Steephollow area on Highway 20 between Nevada City and Yuba Gap on I-80. Here you will find a marked trail system with easy terrain and roads to follow. You will also be treated to some outstanding vistas.

The Steephollow Trail System tour describes all the marked trails in the area.

The Steephollow Grand Traverse tour is exactly that; a tour that traverses the entire area and never retraces itself.

The Steephollow Upper Loop tour allows you to visit most of the best places while only retracing your route a short distance.

March 25, 2013

Version 35.01.00 includes an improvement to the way names are assigned to waypoints.

In all previous versions the waypoints for every tour were named "01", "02", "03", etc. This created a problem if you transferred the waypoints of more than one tour to your GPS because the same names would be used for all tours. This has changed with the latest version.

The waypoints will be named the same as before when you go to the waypoints page. But on downloading the waypoints, either "txt" or "gpx", you will find that the waypoints are named "xxxx-01", "xxxx-02", "xxxx-03", etc. where "xxxx" is a number that denotes the specific tour. With this system each tour has a unique prefix for the waypoint names.

This improvement was suggested by Jim in Campbell, CA. He also wrote the code used to change all the existing waypoint names to the new format. Jim, thank you.

March 18, 2013

Version 35.00.00 includes three tours in the Spooner Lake area one the east side of Lake Tahoe. This area was a pay-for-use Nordic center up until this winter. For economic reasons the center closed and now the public can use the area in winter for the cost of parking.

The three tours added are:

Spooner Lake
North Canyon Creek
Marlette Lake

January 29, 2013

Version 34.00.00 is a milestone for www.BackcountrySkiTours.com. Now more than 200 tours are described in detail.

This version includes the addition 16 tours in the Pinecrest and Dodge Ridge area on Highway 108. To view the list of tours click here.

A visitor also inspired the testing of a free software program called GPSBabel that allows the transfer of GPX data provided for each tour to most Garmin and Magellan GPS units. Click here for details on downloading.

March 25, 2012

Version 33.00.00 includes a revised version of one tour and four new tours all in the Tahoe Meadows area on the Mount Rose Highway north of Lake Tahoe.

The South Ridge tour has been renamed the Chickadee Ridge tour to reflect the name used by some of the locals. This tour has also been greatly revised to reflect more accurate information and a route that is easier to follow.

The four new tours center around Ophir Creek and Peak 8843 all of which are located in the heart of Tahoe Meadows. They include Ophir Creek, Ophir Creek and Peak 8843, Peak 8843 and Peak 8843 Loop tours.

January 2, 2012

Version 32.00.00 includes five additional tours in the Cabbage Patch and Bear Valley areas on the Highway 4 corridor. Four of the tours start at Cabbage Patch and visit the Mattley Road and Ridge area.

The Mattley Road tour is completely on roads while it can be extended off-road up to Mattley Ridge. The Mattley Ridge and Horse Gulch Loop tour provides an alternative descent from the ridge. The Ridge Loop tour is a large loop that includes many ridges.

The fifth tour added is the classic Mount Reba to Cabbage Patch tour. It's full of more ridges, but it takes considerable more navigation skill, passes through the ski area and has more likelihood for snowmobiles.

December 30, 2011

Version 31.01.00 offers a major change to the way one searches for ski tours on this website. In the past you had the options of searching an index (by tour name) and of searching by location and difficulty. In the latest version the option for searching by location and difficulty has been replaced with interactive maps to facilitate searching by location.

The top level interactive map allows you to pick a general area in the Sierra Nevada. These areas are defined by the access road or in some cases by National Park boundaries. For example, Highway 88 is an area.

Click on the area to jump to a web page for that specific area. Here, another interactive map allows you to jump down to a list of tours for any one of the trailheads in the area. The tours for each trailhead are listed by difficulty from easiest to most difficult. For example, the web page for Highway 88 contains tours divided among nine trailheads.

December 18, 2011

Version 31.00.00 adds one tour in the Donner Pass area and three tours along the Mount Rose Highway at Tahoe Meadows. All four are rarely skied routes with little or no snowmobile traffic.

The Firehouse Run tour climbs to the summit of Andesite Peak before descending to near Soda Springs. The Tamarack Peak Direct and Tamarack Peak Traverse tours are two alternatives for reaching this peak; the direct route is suitable for intermediate skiers. Finally, the Ginny Lake tour is an intermediate tour to a secluded lake with the option for extending the tour to the top of a ridge with a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe below.

The addition of these tours brings the total number of tours on this website to 175.

December 4, 2011

Version 30.00.00 adds another three tours in the South Lake Tahoe area. All the tours are for advanced skiers and all include climbing to the top of Mt. Tallac. That's more than 3000 feet in about three miles. The three tours are:

Mount Tallac Via North Ridge
Mount Tallac Direct
Mount Tallac to Fallen Leaf Lake

November 29, 2011

Version 29.00.00 adds three tours in the South Lake Tahoe and Echo Summit areas. All the tours are related in that they include the Angora Lookout area. One is the tour to Angora Lookout and another is its extension to Angora Lakes. The third is a difficult tour that begins by crossing Echo Lakes, then ascends to the summit of Echo Peak and finally makes a very steep descent to Angora Lakes and the Lookout (Echo Lakes to Angora Lakes).

July 28, 2011

Version 28.00.00 adds three tours. Two of the tours go to Robbs Peak Hut, which is located in the greater Loon Lake area off Highway 50. The other tour combines the descent of Ten Turn Hill with the descent of Rusty's Ridge; an outstanding destination for those seeking steep terrain on which to carve turns.

Robbs Peak
Robbs Peak Traverse and Loop
Ten Turn Hill and Rusty's Ridge

July 24, 2011

Version 27.00.00 adds two tours in the Donner Summit area that are accessed from the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge at Norden. One is nearly entirely on groomed trails and takes you to the top of Boreal Ridge. The other takes you to Azalea Lake, Flora Lake and Lake Angela.

Boreal Ridge From Clair Tappaan Lodge
Lakes Loop From Clair Tappaan Lodge

March 31, 2011

Version 26.00.00 adds three tours in the Loon Lake area. All are short, offer wonderful touring and afford great scenery. They are:

Chipmunk Bluff
Berts Lake and Peak 6836
Berts Lake and Chipmunk Loop

March 20, 2011

Version 25.00.00 adds the Cabbage Patch to Poison Spring tour, which can only be described as an outstanding route along classic ski touring terrain.

February 21, 2011

Version 24.00.00 adds two new tours and adds an extension to an existing tour.

The two tours added are located near Loon Lake off Highway 50 and represent two variations of the newly marked Orion Trail.

Inner Loop
Inner and Outer Loops

An extension to Peak 7260 was added to the Fisher Lake Overlook tour. This short extension takes you to a wonderful vantage point.

September 18, 2010

Version 23.01.01 adds seven tours on the west side of Lake Tahoe. They include two easy tours in Sugar Pine Point State Park and two routes to Richardson Lake and Ludlow Hut. Check them out at:

The addition of these tours brings the total for Ski Tours in the Sierra Nevada to more than 150.

March 17, 2010

Version 22.01.01 adds three tours in the Cabbage Patch area long Highway 4. The Blue Creek Point tour is an excellent tour if you seek one along roads. But the highlight of these three tours is the Blue Creek Point Loop tour with its wonderful combination of skiing along roads and along a ridge. The Thompson Meadow tour is an old standby for those who are looking for a short, easy tour.

January 27, 2010

Version 21.01.01 adds four tours in the Forestdale Creek area east of Carson Pass at Red Lake. The Forestdale Creek tour, the Forestdale Divide tour and the Forestdale Divide Loop tour are progressively longer and more difficult. All take you to or through the Forestdale Creek drainage that is well known for its powder snow in winter and corn-snow in the spring. The Rabbit Ridge tour can be combined with the Forestdale Creek tour to make a loop that includes wonderful views from a windswept ridge.

January 17, 2010

Version 20.01.01 adds three tours in the rarely visited Huysink Lake area south of Big Bend on Interstate 80.

December 17, 2009

Version 19.01.01 adds the Matrimony Ridge and Peak 6893 tours. Both lie a short distance to the west of Donner Summit on Interstate 80 and can be combined into a single tour. The highlight of these tours is the amazing scenery.

December 11, 2009

Version 18.01.01 adds two tours at Luther Pass; one is to Waterhouse Peak and the other is to Powderhouse Peak. Both peaks are known for their powder snow, but not so well known is that Waterhouse Peak has an alternate descent to Hope Valley that offers great corn-snow in the spring.

There's also a few other changes on the website. There is a link to the webcam at Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center at the Mineral entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park. You will find it under Northern California on that web page. The article on how to wax no-wax skis has been updated to include a better method for removing wax from the no-wax pattern. Finally, an article has been added on how to teach children to ski.

March 22, 2009

Version 17.01.01 adds ten tours between Truckee and Tahoe City. The Bradley Hut Loop tour will be of particular interest to anyone planning at trip to the hut; the loop adds variation to an otherwise straight-forward tour on roads.

February 26, 2009

Version 16.01.01 adds eight tours in the Donner Pass area.

Also be sure to take a look at the newest avalanche website (it's a mini-course).

February 11, 2009

Version 15.02.01 you will find a discussion about "the truth about snowfall." What really constitutes a low snowfall year? You might be surprised at the truth.

February 9, 2009

Version 15.01.01 adds an exhilarating tour that descends the narrow ridge west of Shealor Lakes.

Also in this version you will find an expanded description of how to wax your skis, including the no-wax pattern. Described is an improved method for removing the excess wax from the pattern section using a heat gun.

February 6, 2009

Added in version 14.01.04 is a link to the web cam at Tioga Pass. This version also updates all the other web cam links (they seem to change each year) and fixed a bunch of minor glitches. Stand by for more tours to be added later this month.

January 11, 2009

With version 14.01.01 the maps in the ski tour descriptions are now interactive — you can now zoom the map in and out, and drag the map using your mouse.

December 20, 2008

Version 13.02.04 includes a description on how to base wax skis.

October 18, 2008

Version 13.01.01 adds two tours at Echo Summit. The Benwood Meadow tour describes two beginner loops and the Benwood Meadow Drainage describes a more difficult extension up the meadow's drainage.

The Carson Pass to Echo Summit tour was updated to more accurately reflect the location of the marked trail as you approach its end at Echo Summit.

October 15, 2008

Version 12.01.01 adds five tours in the Kingvale and Donner Pass area.

Kingvale area

Donner Pass area

The three Kingvale area tours have been updated significantly since they were first described in the print version of Ski Tours in the Sierra Nevada, Second Edition. Some of the changes are the result of the dramatic growth of saplings over the 17 years since the trail was first marked. Other changes resulted from the use of a GPS to more accurately locate the High Loch Leven Lake Trail where it cuts cross-country through nondescript and heavily wooded terrain.

September 16, 2008

Version 11.02.01 now includes links to news items related to the sport you love — backcountry skiing. Visit In The News to read the latest.

September 13, 2008

Version 11.01.01 debuts a major addition to each tour. A reader's suggestion spurred us to add a link that permits you to:

Be the first to write reviews and we'll post them for others to read.

We also added 5 ski tours on Interstate 80. They include the following tours in the Kingvale and Donner Pass areas.

Kingvale area

Donner Pass area

September 1, 2008

A milestone — 101 ski tours!

Version 10.01.01 adds 4 ski tours on Highway 49 near Yuba Pass making a grand total of 101 to date. The new tours include one beginner tour (Yuba Pass Vista) and three intermediate tours (Lunch Creek, Three Knobs and Beartrap Meadow Loop). This area is about 35 miles from Truckee.

July 14, 2008

Version 09.02.01 adds three essays on snow camping. They focus on how to go light and how to maximize the caloric content of the food you carry. You will probably be surprised to read that salami and cheese are no better than crackers in terms of calories per unit weight. Also, it's pretty hard not to loose weight on a multi-day ski trip!

June 16, 2008

Version 09.01.01 adds 11 ski tours along the Luther Pass corridor. Two intermediate tours lead to Scotts Lake and two more difficult tours lead to seldom visited Thompson Peak. Check out all 11 tours in the Luther Pass corridor.

June 2, 2008

Quite of few changes were made to Ski Tours in the Sierra Nevada in Version 08.01.01.

Version 08.01.01 also includes some exciting new ski tours that to my knowledge have never been documented anywhere. In Yosemite National Park:

Along the Highway 88 corridor there are now three tours that begin at Shot Rock Vista. Take a look at the Tragedy Creek, Shot Rock Loop and Shot Rock to Bear River tours — the photos tell the whole story! This area is amazing for backcountry skiing.

Also added are five standard tours in the Echo Lakes area. They include: Becker Peak, Echo Lakes, Echo Peak, Tamarack Lake and Desolation Valley.

February 24, 2008

The following four tours in the Echo Summit area were added in Version 07.01.01:

In addition to the added tours, corrections were made so that the correct elevation profiles are printed when an entire tour is printed using either the "print preview" or "print" options in the browser.

February 22, 2008

Alternate routes and additional images are added to the Van Vleck Storm Shelter and Van Vleck Bunkhouse tours in Version 06.02.01.

February 19, 2008

The following six tours were added in Version 06.01.01:

Yosemite - Westside

January 31, 2008

The following seven tours were added in Version 05.01.01:

Lake Tahoe - Eastside

Highway 88

Yosemite - Westside

The above three tours in Yosemite National Park mark the beginning of an effort to fully cover Yosemite, both west and east sides.

Just a reminder — you can use your browser to print tours. The information is reformatted to make it more compatible with print media and we continue to work to improve the way in which the printed material looks.

January 14, 2008

The following two tours were added in Version 04.01.01:

Lake Tahoe - Eastside

A special note was added to all tours beginning at the summer trailhead for Thunder Mountain or to the west near Martin Meadow.

January 4, 2008

Difficulty and length of tour are now given in Find By Location and Difficulty and Find Using Index (Version 03.02.01). You will probably find searching for a tour by location and difficulty the easiest unless you know the name of the tour.

January 1, 2008

The following seven tours were added in Version 03.01.01:

Lake Tahoe - Eastside

Highway 88

There are now 11 tours in the Tahoe Meadows area on the Mount Rose Highway. The Headwaters of Galena Creek tour, suitable for beginner-intermediate skiers, is a destination that visitors to the area should not miss. The Relay Ridge tour is the easiest route to over 10,000 feet in the area and is suitable for intermediate skiers and the Mount Houghton Via Radio Tower tour is a short, but more difficult, extension. The Mount Houghton Direct and Mount Rose tours are suitable for only advanced skiers.

The Headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River Loop tour on Highway 88 loops around the river's headwaters and is rated intermediate.

November 30, 2007

The following six tours were added in Version 02.01.01:

Highway 50

Lake Tahoe - Eastside

Ralston Peak and Tahoe Meadows to Incline Village will interest those primarily seeking downhill in the backcountry. In contrast, Tahoe Meadows to Diamond Peak and Tahoe Meadows to Brockway Summit are equally difficult with comparable amounts of downhill, but combine the downhill with more of a "tour."

The South Ridge tour is a wonderful tour for beginner-intermediate skiers.

November 16, 2007

Debut of Ski Tours in the Sierra Nevada. Version 01.01.01 available and includes 43 ski tours. Two of the tours are near Loon Lake off Highway 50 and 41 of the tours are on the Highway 88 corridor west of Carson Pass. Of special interest to those who enjoy hut trips is the Van Vleck Bunkhouse tour near Loon Lake.

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