Sierra-at-Tahoe launches two new backcountry programs this winter. The programs target skiers and rider itching to go beyond the boundaries of the resort to explore the backcountry.

New backcountry tours are scheduled for this winter. The free tours will ski and ride through Huckleberry Canyon's double black diamond terrain, known for its chutes, bowls, glades, powder pillows, cliff drops, and cornices. Tours, which are open to qualified skiers and riders, depart out one of the five gates to the canyon every Friday at 10:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.

The one-hour tours run when conditions allow. Guides will introduce the terrain with advice on how to ski or ride the terrain, plus where to enter and exit the canyon.

The resort also added a new Backcountry Lesson Three-Pak for those who prefer more in depth knowledge of the canyon and backcountry skiing or riding. The $99 three-pak provides three 2.5-hour group lessons. You can also purchase a single backcountry group lesson for $49.

Backcountry lessons will introduce the avalanche gear as well as covering safe route selection and improving technique. The adult lessons depart from the top of Grandview at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays when conditions allow.

Both the tours and lessons provide necessary backcountry gear--probes, shovels, transceivers, and backpacks. Snowboarders may need to rent snowshoes, which are available at 50 percent off for tour participants; fat powder skis are rented for 50 percent off for tour participants, too.

Skiers and riders must be at level seven or above to participate. Reservations and valid lift tickets or season passes are also required. Lesson groups are limited to seven skiers or riders.

More information. Or call 530-659-7453 x150 for tours or 530-543-3150 for lessons.