The North American Ski Training Center is based in the Truckee-Donner Pass area, and for the past two decades it has dedicated itself to be the ultimate vacation resource for intermediate to expert skiers who wish to test their abilities and seek out new terrain.

NASTC uses a total immersion technique -- a multilayered process that incorporates the body, mind, and spirit - to achieve and access its goal of all conditions/all terrain adventure skiing.

One of the more intriguing programs NASTC has to offer is a backcountry excursion to Lost Trail Lodge, a rustic 3,700-square- foot retreat deep into the woods of the Donner Summit wilderness between Truckee and Squaw Valley that is accessible only by skis or snowshoes.

The two-day outing, which will take place Feb. 4-5, will traverse terrain that is rarely skied in any given winter. NASTC instructors and guides will be on hand during the daylight hours to help clients learn or to improve backcountry skiing techniques. The evening will be filled with good food and the ambience and serenity that a remote, hard-to-get-to lodge can offer.

The $575 course fee covers lift ticket at Sugar Bowl -- the gateway to this backcountry trip - two days of guided skiing and coaching, one night's lodging, and dinner. Not included - but highly suggested - are an avalanche beacon, shovel, probe, and backpack.