Statement on COVID-19, Backcountry Travel, and Spring Operations

Operations: The Sierra Avalanche Center is dedicated to the safety of the backcountry community and our staff. As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, we have canceled all educational and fundraising events for the remainder of the season. At present, we plan to continue issuing daily avalanche forecasts through the end of the season, which is tentatively scheduled for May 3.

Backcountry Safety: Many people are venturing into the backcountry as a result of the ski resorts’ closures. Some important reminders for ALL backcountry travelers in this unusual time:

  • Know Before You Go. Anyone traveling in the backcountry should (1) have working avalanche gear (a transceiver, probe, and shovel) that you have practiced with recently; (2) have taken an avalanche class; and (3) check the daily avalanche forecast.

  • Observe ski resort closures. Most ski resorts in the Tahoe area are closed to uphill travel. Please check with individual ski resorts for current policies and conditions.

  • Consider the impact of your choices. The Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team recently issued this statement reminding backcountry travelers that any incident requiring a rescue has the potential to strain an already overburdened EMS and hospital system, could expose victims and rescuers to COVID-19, and that rescue efforts could be delayed due to resource and staff shortages.