Safety First; our motto as a team of highly trained professionals
Safety is our first priority at High Sierra Snowcat. Skiing is inherently risky and traveling in the backcountry exposes one to terrain that has not been mitigated for avalanches. This is why all of our guides have extensive experience and education for safe travel decisions in avalanche terrain, with a minimum certification of a Pro Level 1 and Wilderness First Responder Certification, although many hold higher levels of certification. Guides will evaluate snow and weather conditions before and during your trip.
Every day, your guides will begin with a safety and avalanche forecasting meeting where we discuss in-depth the factors that go into a safe day of skiing. We spend significant time between trips conducting snow safety missions into our terrain to make sure we are always tracking the snowpack in the Virginia Lakes area.
Before traveling into the backcountry, every group receives an Avalanche Safety Briefing in which we discuss and practice using our essential avalanche safety equipment. Every person in the field on our tours is required to carry an avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe.
Communication is key, therefore every guide and guest will carry a two-way radio enabling our groups to never lose communication. Guides carry additional radios to communicate operationally, along with satellite communication devices that are tracking the group’s movements at all times.
Additionally, our heated snowcats are equipped with a BLS first aid and trauma kit with oxygen, and a Cascade Toboggan in case of an emergency. Having mechanized backup from both the snowcat and additional High Sierra OSV vehicles in the area greatly increases our margin of safety to get you out of the backcountry and to further care quickly and safely if needed.
If you are eager to learn more about avalanche safety, sign up for one of our Private Avalanche Education Courses.