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Archive for September, 2010

Our Lake Tahoe Disc Golf Tournament is Approaching!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

We are getting pumped for the Tahoe Mountain Sports 4th Annual Pro/Am Disc Golf Tournament next weekend, October 9 and 10!

We’ve got sponsors dialed in, preregistration in full swing, player t-shirts being printed and free lunch and beer ready to tap. Weather is still amazing here, with record high temps for this time of year, so we hope you’re planning to join us for some friendly competition. Our Pro winners will receive cash, and amateur division winners will see prizes like Vibram discs, NutSac Disc Golf Bags, Keen brand shoes and gift certificates to use at our Kings Beach shop and on TahoeMountainSports.com.

While you’re in town, be sure to take a tour de Tahoe disc golf. Here’s a peek at Lake Tahoe disc golf courses, and what to expect at each:

North Tahoe Regional Park: The home to our annual Pro/Am Disc Golf Tournament, this 18-hole track features killer lake views and heavily wooded holes that require accuracy. It’s right by our shop, to boot, in case you need to re-up on some disc golf gear.

Squaw Valley USA: This newcomer to Lake Tahoe disc golf opened its mountain-top, granite-heavy course this summer, and boasts a unique signature hole that takes you 1,080 feet downhill to a par 4, “island in the sky” basket. Summer-only operations to make way for Squaw’s stellar winter skiing, so call before you head out.

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Hey Man, Are You Going to Burning Lamb?

Monday, September 27th, 2010

This Adventure of the Week comes from yours truly, Lis the trusty web editor of Tahoe Mountain Sports. While Lake Tahoe was reveling in a hot Indian Summer weekend, I headed south to Bridgeport for a little fun.

WHAT: Burning Lamb & some hiking out of Twin Lakes

WHEN: September 25 & 26

WHERE: Bridgeport, California

GEAR: Patagonia Down Sweater with a ratty old jacket on top to avoid bonfire sparks, a swimsuit for the hot springs, Granite Gear dog travel food bowl for the pup to get her grub on too, camping gear for a night in the wild, Deuter AC Lite 20 pack for Sunday’s day hike

For most of the Northern California and Nevada population, Burning Man is the hottest topic of late summer and early fall. But for a small portion of folks of the Lake Tahoe region, we get just as excited about Burning Lamb, a private shindig on a sprawling piece of land in Bridgeport.

Owned by a man with some serious Tahoe lineage, and whose pursuits in backcountry skiing, climbing, sailing and flying airplanes amaze us all, the spread contains just one simple yurt and a few natural hot springs. It’s used as a year-round jumping off point for High Sierra adventures. And it’s been used for 8 years as the home of Burning Lamb, a gathering of like-minded folks for an asada, bonfire, general merriment and catching the last bit of summer climbing, hiking and mountain biking before the snow falls.

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2 Reasons to Visit Us in Kings Beach This Weekend

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Tahoe is going off this weekend! It’s going to feel like summer again with temperatures reaching 80 degrees, and loads of events to keep you outside all day and well into the night. Here’s what’s happening in our front yard, only two of the many reasons you need to be in Kings Beach:

1) The 26th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day comes to Kings Beach State Recreation Area tomorrow, Saturday September 25, and is organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe. Be one of the first volunteers to sign up and get a free Big Truck Headwear trucker hat, hand sewn by some of our friends in Tahoe City. Event runs from 9 am to noon, so you’ll have time to enjoy the beach, go on a hike or do a little shopping at our store in the afternoon.

2) The Tahoe Fall Classic Paddleboard Race challenges stand-up paddleboarders to a 22-mile race from Camp Richardson to Kings Beach on Sunday September 26. Watch the racers cross the finish line on the sandy beach right in front of our shop, or enter the race yourself. Proceeds benefit North Tahoe Aquatics.

And if that weren’t enough for you to do, hop on your bike for the Tahoe Sierra Century at the Village at Squaw Valley on Saturday, or test your aim at the High Fives Bocce Ball Tournament going on in Truckee on Sunday.

How Do You Take Your Camp Coffee?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Men outside tent

As fall approaches, my thoughts drift toward the open space in Tahoe, left by the tourists who are now back in school, at work and less interested in cooler temperatures. This is perfect for me because fall is perhaps my favorite time of year around here. The anticipation of winter is about as good as winter itself! The sun is low, and it sets the golden grass ablaze in the mornings, and makes stained-glass out of aspen trees; the perfect backdrop for a bike ride, an afternoon climb or a morning cup of camp coffee.

There are so many options in our shop for brewing coffee in the backcountry that I can hardly keep track. I had been simply pouring hot water through a handheld filter for years, until I discovered the other gadgets available to me.

Stainless Steel Java X-Press

If you are a press-loving purist, we have camping coffee press for you! Try the double-walled, GSI Stainless Java Press or the more utilitarian X-Press, which can be put right on your stove to heat your water. The Jetboil Java Kit is a third option, including a removable press screen and shaft with the Jetboil personal cooking system. Your press, fuel canister and stove element all stash inside the cup too!

If you like your coffee without sediment at the bottom of your cup, the GSI Java Drip is an awesome way to go. Available in both 30 ozand 50 oz carafes, it comes with a silicone drip cone and a re-usable cloth filter. Simply pack it all inside the carafe along with your grounds and stuff it into your pack.

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Tech Talk: Browse Products by Size

Monday, September 20th, 2010

In this month’s Tech Talk I want to show you a new site features that make it easier to find exactly what you are looking for within our category pages:

screen capture of Men's Pants category page

Pictured above is a screen capture that shows our Men’s Pants category, which can be further refined by Size (e.g. “Small”, “Medium”, “Large”) or by Waist Size (in inches) via the left navigation column. Clicking on a specific size will show only products that have that particular size in stock. This feature can be especially useful to customers that have a hard time finding clothing or footwear in their size.

Other product level refinements include: Mondo Size for ski and telemark boots, Disc Weight for disc golf discs, and US Shoe Size for our wide selection of footwear. And of course, you can still browse all our categories by Brand and Price.

Tech Talk is a monthly blog series written by our resident tech geek, Todd Shimkus. Questions or comments about the Tahoe Mountain Sports site design or functionality? Comment on this post and Todd will look into making it a reality.

Space Case: One Man’s Nemo Losi Review

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

We deploy testers far and wide to make sure our gear is up to snuff. This week we hear from Andrew Lewicky of SierraDescents.com, who took our 2 person Nemo Losi test tent for a spin and makes a case for its space below. Andrew is well-versed in backcountry adventures, and shares his experiences with the world through his site featuring trip reports and gear and guide book reviews. Check it out!

If you’re traveling with a partner and you don’t want to rub shoulders all night, the Losi was built with you (and your comfort) in mind. Interior dimensions are a generous 86 x 54 x 46 inches. And, thanks to the tent’s unusual geometry, those numbers understate the actual, usable interior volume.

The Losi is the first 2-man tent I’ve tested that employs not two or three but four separate poles in its design. The two extra poles fit like gutters along the tent’s upper sides—a very interesting innovation.

As you’d expect with multiple poles and an unusual design, setup is definitely trickier than average. Be sure to take a practice run or two at home before venturing into the wild.

Those two extra poles serve multiple functions. Perhaps the most significant is the alteration of the tent’s geometry. Thanks to the side poles, the Losi’s interior walls become much steeper than a traditional tent’s.

If the swish-swish of your sleeping bag rubbing against low-angled tent fabric keeps you up at night, you’ll love the way the Losi’s sides — all four of ‘em — rise nearly vertically where they meet the floor. As noted, this gives the interior considerable spaciousness, exceeding, for example, the interior room of MSR‘s excellent Hubba Hubba 2-man tent, albeit at the cost of an extra pound of weight.

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A New Sierra Adventure: Angel Wings

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Everyone’s been to Yosemite (well, most of us have) and dealt with its amusement park hoopla, but this Adventure of the Week from Chris Doyle of Tahoe Pines, California, gives us a peek at the more remote and just as beautiful side of the Sierra. Take inspiration from this post and get out and enjoy it before winter sets in! We’ve also got a huge camping and climbing sale going on, so it’s the perfect time to stock up for your adventure.

WHO: Chris Doyle and Reuben Shelton

WHAT: Rock climbing “South Arête Direct,” 5.11+, on Angel Wings

WHERE: Sequoia National Park, California

WHEN: July 2009

GEAR: Black Diamond camalots 0.3-4, Metolius Ultralight TCU Full Set, Black Diamond Stopper Set Pro 1-13, Black Diamond climbing pack to wear on route, Osprey Aether 60 trekking backpack for the hike in, Salomon XA Pro shoes, Patagonia Capilene 1 shirt, Black Diamond Spot headlamp

WHY IT WAS SO EPIC:

For starters, this is one of the most remote walls in the Sierra. Located 16 miles from the nearest road, Angel Wings only sees a few, if any, ascents each year, at least that’s what a ranger told us. Because of this, there’s only one free route on Angel Wings, but the wall has tons of potential. Its south face is the biggest rock wall in Sequoia National Park. Since it’s facing southwest, it’s best to go when temperatures are a bit cooler, though we went in July and just suffered through.

As you can see from the pictures, it’s amazing terrain. It’s one of the more beautiful places in the Sierra that I’ve been to this day. Even if you’re not a climber I would highly recommend going to see the area. Getting there was part of the fun. You start out in a giant sequoia forest, then hike through fields of wildflowers and narrow canyons. As you get higher in elevation, granite walls are everywhere.

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K2 Sidestash 2011, You Will Be Mine

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

I just ordered the K2 Sidestash in a 181, and I’m stoked!

They are 108mm underfoot, with an all-terrain rocker in the tip, making them a great powder ski, and maneuverable in tight chutes.

The geometry is very similar to the big-mountain killer, the K2 Coomba. Their stiffer tail, along with a vertical sidewall construction makes for a great carving ski on the groomers, and gives them the beef needed to blast through crud.

Plus, the flat-tails make them useful for backcountry, and ski-mountaineering endeavors. Yea, twin-tips are cool, but you probably won’t be skiing backwards where these guns will take you.

More beta to come when they get to our shop! For now, you can browse some of last year’s winter gear to get you in the mood, or take a look at what K2 says.

Kevin is Tahoe Mountain Sports‘ hard goods manager. He’s often the first face you see in our Kings Beach shop, and one of the friendly voices on our customer service line.

Working on the Weekend: Kirkwood 9 to 5

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

This Adventure of the Week is penned by Mike Lefrancois, a 10-year Tahoe resident who lives in Kings Beach and has been mountain bike racing locally for the past decade. While most of us think 9 to 5s as hours worked for the Man, Mike chose to put himself to work for 8 long hours of singletrack.

WHO: Mike Lefrancois and Will Stelter

WHAT: Kirkwood Nine to Five Endurance Race

WHERE: Kirkwood Mountain Resort

WHEN: August 28, 2010

GEAR: ContourHD 1080p helmet cam, Jetboil stove for coffee to start the day, GU Energy Sports Gel and Cytomax to make it through the day

WHY IT WAS SO EPIC:

Inspiration came for this one probably after doing the Coolest 24-hour relay this past May down in Cool, CA.  I was on a team of four, and we each rode about 50 miles over the course of 24 hours.  Many others rode longer with fewer teammates or solo, something I had never tried.  Eight hours solo seemed within my ability as we often have long days in the saddle on the occasional epic ride, and I figured I could step up the pace and find my limit.  I’m sure those who don’t race think I’m crazy, but it’s something I’ve taking a liking to.  I figured this would be good learning experience too for future endeavors.

My buddy Will was an early partner in crime here; he is not one to race often but he also enjoys senselessly long bike rides.  We packed up my VW with provisions and bikes and set off to Kirkwood Friday afternoon to get a jump on setting up our pit, register and get all the easy work out of the way.  We arrived to frigid temperatures and gusty winds.  Not all surprising as this cold snap was forecast, but 40 degree temperatures were something we had not dealt with all summer.

I have a habit of not preparing in advance and haphazardly throwing things in the van with the hopes everything will be there in the end.  We were on solo missions and had no support.  I woke up that morning knowing my bike still needed some tuning, I had no pump and my front tire had a slow leak.  My derailleur hanger was bent.  My bottle cage screws were stripped and needed some rigging.  I dressed too light for the weather, fixed a few things with zip ties and scurried off to the pre-race meeting with a ContourHD helmet cam loaned to me by Tahoe Mountain Sports.

I was racing “expert,” and Will was racing “sport.” We arrived at the start/finish area to a crowd of 100 or so, and the usual race rules were rambled off.  Team Bigfoot has been sponsoring the race so we got a taste for the way they run things.  All races seem a little different, but this met my expectations of a low-key Kirkwood scene. There was a modest crowd of racers including the elite legend Tinker Juarez.  I couldn’t help but notice he chose the same bike as me (Cannondale Scalpel) so I knew I was in the right club.  I’m sure his mechanic is better than mine and his pit crew took care of him just fine.  Turns out he was using this as a warm-up race for the World Masters championship coming up in Brazil. The guy is 49 and crushes people half his age.

A dirt bike lead us out around the parking lot to string out the field before necking down to singletrack (see video 8 above).  I struggled to hang on to the front but was feeling strong.  It quickly set in that I had 8 hours of racing ahead and I should settle into a pace.  I never saw Tinker again.  I felt good and started to soak in the scenery and find my groove.  I always would tell new racers to ride your own race and don’t let the guy taking off in front get to you.  I was not competing with Tinker. There were a handful of others too that I couldn’t worry about so I let them go.

It didn’t take long to catch up to a few of the guys dropped off the front however, but likewise I met up with a few riders from behind. Turns out a few strong riders I’ve raced with on Thursdays at Northstar were here so I knew we had a race.  I spent the next few laps trying to keep pace with a single speeder who would drop me on every climb.  I made a point of putting down some calories every lap to keep pace with my efforts.  I rounded the final bend after my first three laps and the clock read 2:01, only ¼ of the way done.  It felt good however and I had consistent lap times.  Each lap was 6.5 miles and I recall doing the math in my head that I had already ridden nearly 20 miles.  That next lap is where it all began to change for me.

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5 Under $50: Labor Day Camping

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

One of the best places for a Labor Day celebration is none other than the Great Outdoors.

After tiring yourself out hiking, biking or whatever you choose to do in the woods this long weekend, we recommend setting up camp with these inexpensive items. Just imagine sitting by a campfire while you roast s’mores and sip hot chocolate out of this awesome Snow Peak cup… pure bliss! Of course, we’ve got the full monty, too, from tents to sleeping bags to backpacks to water filters and more if you need. So make Labor Day 2010 extra special and spend the night outside!

1) Fozzils Bowlz 2 Pack, $9.95

These bowls are ultralight and unfold completely flat to fit in the smallest of packs. We love their flexibility for getting every last bit of oatmeal, and their nonstick, BPA free material is super easy to clean. Plus, if you like your meals piping hot, these puppies can sustain temperatures up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit!

2) Platypus SoftBottle 1 Liter with HyperFlow Cap, $12.95

Speaking of flat… these ingenious water bottles pack thin and light when emptied, weighing 80 percent less than hard water bottles. Why didn’t we think of that? Platypus SoftBottles also fit in places some other bottles won’t, like drink holders and pockets. We like the HyperFlow cap version, which pairs the popular SoftBottle with a pop-up sports top for easy drinking.

3) Thermarest Ridge Rest Solar, $39.95

Rest in peace and warmness with this sleeping pad designed with a heat-reflecting aluminized surface to keep you toasty. If you’re camping around Lake Tahoe this weekend (we recommend backpacking into Desolation Wilderness), you’ll be happy with the extra warmth this provides as Tahoe temps are forecasted to dip into the low 40s at night.

4) Black Diamond Orbit LED Lantern, $23.96 on sale

This pocket-sized camping lantern is such a great deal that we have to spread the word. LED adjustable brightness in a light compact package, it makes our tents feel super homey. We also use it as a cooking light to get that broad coverage lighting a headlamp can’t match.

5) Snow Peak 450 Colored Titanium Cup, $25.51 on sale

Give your camp kitchen a shot of color with these colored, ultralight titanium cups. If you could care less about the feng shui and aesthetics of your camp, think about it this way: You’ll never mistake your cup for another’s when you can color code with Snow Peaks four options, Fresh Water Blue, Ocean Green, Purple and Clear Coat.

5 Under $50 is a Tahoe Mountain Sports monthly blog series dedicated to showcasing some of our more affordable products. Each month we pick a theme, then show you the gear. Suggest a topic in our comments if you need some shopping help!

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