General FAQ

No worries! This is the perfect place for groups (or couples) to learn how to use specialized backcountry ski equipment and travel through the backcountry. We can create an introduction to backcountry skiing course anytime you would like.  If you feel the need to refresh your backcountry skills this is the place! 

While everyone is different, the basic amount per tip for a ski guide is between 10% and 20% of the tour cost per person. Some tips can be up to 20% and beyond for exceptional service.

A couple things to consider:

  • Bedside manner – was your guide friendly and helpful?
  • Safety – did your guide run a informative safety briefing?
  • Education – did you learn anything about skiing, the local culture, geology or avalanche conditions?
  • Stoke – did your guide get you and your group involved and excited?

Our trips our demanding and rigorous. At the end of the day all of our guides/snowcat operators/yurt host work equally to provide the best experience.

Mono County Search and Rescue Mammoth Lakes — (760)-932-7549.
Call 911 in the event of an emergency. Feel free to call Mike or Tim anytime if you have questions.

Hoover Wilderness Map, Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest Map, summitpost.org, Back Country California’s Eastern Sierra Book. Maps are located in the yurt for your reference. Please respect private property in the summer community of Virginia Lakes. Also, Google Earth is a good resource for terrain and topography.

From our waiver: “I acknowledge that if for any reason, medical or otherwise, I cannot go on the trip I have paid for and it is less than 21 days before my trip date, I am ineligible to receive the 75% credit. I also acknowledge that I cannot receive cancellation credits for weather, etc. over which High Sierra Snowcat has no control.”

We recommend getting travel insurance! Why? Because life happens and you should be protected. Check outGlobal Rescue 

Yes. The red PB snowcat is equipped with a BLS trauma bag including oxygen and backboard. A Cascade Toboggan is located on top of the Snowcat for your use in the event of an emergency. 

Dogs are prohibited in the yurt / hut and are discouraged because of the harsh winter conditions outside and the need to melt snow for drinking water.

And More FAQ

Yes, 6 maximum. If you would like to add just call us. We can usually accommodate, We try and keep the guide to client ratio at 1:3 and prices as low as possible. 

Avalanche Safety (Required)

  • Avalanche beacon (3 antenna, w/ fresh batteries)
  • Avalanche shovel
  • Avalanche probe
  • Avalanche Air Pack (optional)

*We can provide limited avalanche rescue equipment and ski equipment.


  •  Alpine touring or telemark ski equipment, or Splitboard equipment
  • Climbing skins – must cover full width of ski base
  • Helmet (Required)
  • Goggles
  • Medium-sized pack

Recommended Clothing

  • Hardshell, waterproof jacket
  • Softshell jacket
  • Hardshell pants
  • Down or synthetic insulated jacket
  • Synthetic/wool long underwear top
  • Synthetic/wool long underwear bottom
  • 2-3 pairs synthetic/wool socks
  • Light fleece top
  • Warm, waterproof gloves or mittens
  • Lightweight gloves for hiking
  • Warm hat
  • Brimmed hat or visor
  • Neck gaiter/balaclava
  • Comfortable change of clothes for evening

Overnight at Hut

  • Sleeping bag & Pillow,
  • Sheet
  • Headlamp w/ fresh batteries
  • Toiletries, small towel
  • Meds you might need (pain relief, cold, etc.)
  • Earplugs


  • Water bottle 1-2L
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Cell phone and USB cord
  • Camera
  • Music on your phone (Bluetooth to speakers or iphone plug)

   Don’t short yourself we have the snowcat!

Yes and No. The snowcat is used as a tool to transport customers to the best snow and ski terrain. If conditions allow we may use it for cat laps. It may be used several times a day, but it really depends on the group abilities, snow conditions, and terrain choices. We may climb a short distance with the snowcat and then climb the remainder with skins. A few of the descents put you 3-5 miles from the yurt and we will pick you up in the snowcat. We use it to move your personal gear from one yurt to another and support day to day operations. The snowcat is also used as a classroom and a place for daily safety briefings.