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Archive for July, 2011

Osprey Packs Review: The Osprey Hornet and Farpoint

Friday, July 29th, 2011

In this video review we look at two different Osprey Packs, the Osprey Hornet and Osprey Farpoint.

Osprey Hornet 32

First up, the Osprey Hornet is a minimalist, ultralight backpack that cuts maximum weight without cutting features or durability.

At Tahoe Mountain Sports, we love these packs for done-in-a-day adventures where you’re trying to cover the maximum amount of ground in a limited time – perfect for weekend warriors trying to get the most out of their time in the wilderness. Throw in an Osprey hydration reservoir for more structure, and you can even carry a little more weight!

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Summer Biathlon Training at Auburn Ski Club

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

As you well know if you’re a TMS blog reader… we’ve been skiing a lot in Tahoe this year, even through June and July so far. But you might not realize the biathletes are keeping at it too. Former Olympic biathlete Glenn Jobe sent us this photo and a few words from his recent training with Auburn Ski Club.

WHO: Former Olympic biathlete Glenn Jobe and in photo, from top to bottom, Phillip Violett (senior athlete), Raylene Chew (junior), Tom McElroy (coach) and Dylan Syben (junior)

WHAT: Summer biathlon training

WHEN: June 24 and July 1, 2011

WHERE: Auburn Ski Club

GEAR: a good pair of sunglasses (like Smith Parallel D Max), Outdoor Research Swift Cap

We met and skied on Friday June 24th and Friday July 1st for our biathlon workouts, now we are running at the practices. We have 4 junior athletes and 1 senior meeting on a weekly basis for biathlon practice. In addition once a month we do a combined workout with masters biathletes who have their own rifles and have gone through a range safety certification course. Interest is continuing to grow for the sport here in the West, and it is exciting to have an organized junior team.

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb or biathlon train) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Google +1 Buttons

Monday, July 25th, 2011

See this button below? Go ahead, click it. I promise nothing bad will happen…

…if you clicked the button and have a Google account, then you just “+1′d” www.tahoemountainsports.com. What that means is that you personally endorse or recommend this site to friends and contacts connected via your Google account (and anonymously to the rest of Google). As a page gets more and more +1s it will begin to rise up on Google search result pages. The end result? A more relevant and democratic search experience.

Here you can see a Google search result page for the term “google”, with anonymous +1s circled in orange:

Google Search Engine Results Page

Here’s another search result for “lake tahoe weather”, and the page that I +1′d:

+1'd search listing

If any of my Google contacts +1 a page, their information will appear beneath the link.

These +1 buttons can be found throughout the Tahoe Mountain Sports website on every blog post, product and category page. If you’re browsing the site and see something that you like and think the rest of the world might like it too, give it a +1.

The North Face Cat’s Meow, Blue Kazoo and Footwear, new at Tahoe Mountain Sports

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

We’re excited to be a North Face Store this year at Tahoe Mountain Sports, with great apparel and gear from one of the industry’s top brands. Two of the backpacking sleeping bags reviewed below, the Cat’s Meow and the Blue Kazoo, have been time-tested and add an excellent option to our sleeping bag selection at Tahoe Mountain Sports.

The North Face Cat’s Meow backpacking sleeping bag has been around since the 1980s, and has been many hiker’s first sleeping bag for good reason – it’s a solid performing three season synthetic sleeping bag without any unnecessary bells or whistles. This year they further honed this classic, focusing on quality fabrics and top-of-the-line insulation. The North Face has even integrated details from those big insulation suites you see mountaineers wearing on the way up Mt. Everest – the way the hood wraps around your head to retain heat and the face gasket that keeps elastic off your forehead and chin.

The North Face Blue Kazoo backpacking sleeping bag blends the great performance of Hungarian goose down and synthetic insulation for a great 3 season package. Goose down weighs less for the same warmth, packs smaller and lasts longer – whereas synthetic insulation deals with moisture better and compresses less – staying warmer under your body against the ground. The North Face took advantage of this, placing 650 fill power* goose down on top of and around you, with pads of synthetic insulation under your head, shoulders, hips and feet where the bag is compressed the most.

* Fill power measures how many cubic inches of space 1 ounce of down takes up, so 1 ounce of 650 down takes up 650 cubic inches!

Here’s a video overview of these two great backpacking sleeping bag’s features:

We’re also excited about The North Face footwear this year, from the fast and light The North Face Singletrack TH trail running shoe to The North Face Crestone waterproof hiking boot, one of the best new hiking boots around. They’ve done a great job of coming up with useful features without over-engineering.

Here’s a video overview of the men’s and women’s The North Face shoes we’re carrying this year:

We’ve also started carrying The North Face Tents, and have a full line of The North Face clothing and apparel, from the classic The North Face Half Dome T-Shirt to the Backpacker Magazine Editor’s Choice Green Award winning The North Face Venture Jacket. So check out our selection of The North Face gear and apparel today, and see why we’re so excited!

Skiing (and hiking) Dicks Peak in late June

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

This TMS Adventure of the Week comes from our hard goods manager, Kevin, an accomplished athlete whose achievements include the Pain McSlonkey Classic and now this Dick’s Peak epic.

WHO: Myself, Eric Yates, Nathan Corona

WHAT: Grueling 15 miles of hiking, along with a few miles of skiing

WHEN: June 26, 2011

WHERE: Dick’s Peak, Desolation Wilderness, California

WHY: Because Eric suggested it, and I said “sure.”

HOW LONG: Over 11 ½ hours

WHAT I LEARNED: I am breakable, and I should bring shoes next time I decide to hike all day for snow in the spring.

GEAR: DaKine Sequence Pack, Contour 1080p helmet camera, Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt, K2 Sidestash skis (yes, I took the Sidestash), 22Designs Axl binding, Smartwool Microweight Tee, Black Diamond Arc Gloves, Kuhl Renegade shorts, Deuter Streamer reservoir, Steri Pen

Death marches are not something that I am unfamiliar with. I have spent entire days hiking and scrambling 20-plus miles, logging 5,000 vertical feet, multiple blisters, testing my emotional and physical endurance, all for the sake of a broke-down hiker. Or just for the sake of seeing “what’s over there.” I’ve never done it in ski boots, however.

Upon leaving the Eagle Falls parking lot at 9am with my fellow crucible-enthusiasts, I decided to leave my hiking shoes, long sleeve, and extra jacket with the car. We were going to be doing most of our hiking on snow, and the temperature was forcasted for about 70F. We finally reached consistent snow about 2 miles in, making the hiking in boots much more comfortable. Three hours in, and after a short break we began ascending from Dick’s Lake to the summit. Somehow it took the one snowboarder in our trio one hour to summit, beating both telemarkers by a whole hour.

At the summit of Dick’s Peak, we were all blown away by the amount of snow blanketing the peaks that surrounded us. It is still January up there, when you look south. There’s still lots and lots of water yet to melt into our lakes! After admiring the view, and having a snack of salmon, cheese and the celebratory PBR, we began the decent. The snow was spectacular. Soft spring corn. The best part was our ability to ski from the peak, all the way to the lake’s edge, with consistent snow through the entire decent.

On the return hike, we decided to bag another, shorter peak that was along the way. The steep, south-facing granite slab that extends to the top of this peak made for a difficult ascent in ski boots, and carbide-tipped ski poles proved to be difficult to use. The snow on the other side was well worth the climb, aside from some watermelon sized sun-cups at the bottom.

On our decent out of Desolation, we ended up descending a bit too far, towards Eagle Lake. The quickest option back to the trail seemed to be a climb, straight up a 400-500 foot rocky, dirty, slope. This required deliberate movements, frequent mode switching, between ski poles and bare hands, as well as figuring out how to use the duckbills on my tele boots in the same fashion I would use the points on the ends of my climbing shoes. After already muscling through a long day, I was tired, losing patience, and pretty much lost it when I smacked my head into my skis, leaving a knot. I also left my friends with a bad impression of their backcountry partner, after letting more expletives loose at my skis, than Ike would throw at Tina. Their silence alluded to this.

After a quick snack and a break I was feeling more in control, and within minutes we were back on the trail. Unfortunately this detour added nearly two hours onto our trip, and more miles onto my boot-beaten feet. We still had a long decent out of Eagle Falls. The worst part was possibly the last mile of gigantic steps, and downhill trail. I had not factored this in when I left my shoes in the car, and at that point we all would have given anything for our tennies, or Chacos, or flips. Around 8:30pm we arrived back at the car to warm beer, and an open roadside parking lot, that made the world’s best substitute for a carpeted floor.

By the way, the Tahoe City McDonalds is NOT open until 10pm on a Sunday in the off-season.

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb or Desolation Wilderness ski) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Snow Peak Review: Snow Peak Stoves and Snow Peak Pots

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Snow Peak has been making the most innovative backpacking stoves and backpacking cookware since it was founded in Niigata Japan in 1958, by Yukio Yamai, an accomplished mountaineer.

Known for titanium pots, mugs and other cookware, Snow Peak is famous for its nesting cooksets are a necessity in many an adventurer’s pack. But their aluminum camping pots and mugs have their own advantages as well. We detail some of Snow Peak’s key features, and the differences between aluminum and titanium cookware in this video from a recent training clinic at the shop:

Snow Peak stoves are also some of the most innovative and lightest weight in the world. In fact, the Snow Peak GigaPower Lite Max holds the lightweight crown at only 1.9 oz! Combined with the windscreen, the Snow Peak GigaPower Automatic (with built in igniter) combines ultralight weight and great efficiency in a small package. Learn more about these two canister stoves here:

Other cool items to check out from Snow Peak include the gotta-have Snow Peak GigaPower 2 Way Torch and the Snow Peak Hozuki LED Candle Lantern.

We’ve got a full selection of Snow Peak equipment at Tahoe Mountain Sports for a reason; we love this stuff. Check it out and see why.

King of the Lake Disc Golf Tournament at Lake Tahoe

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

The King of the Lake PDGA National Tour Elite Series comes to Lake Tahoe this weekend, pitting top disc golfers from around the country against four disc golf courses from Tahoe Vista to Markleeville.

Driving towards Lake Tahoe.

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Suunto Review: Overview of the Sunnto Core, Vector and M4

Friday, July 15th, 2011

When you think of an outdoors or adventure watch, odds are you’re thinking of a Suunto. These big, bold watches hold precise equipment from altimeters and barometers to compasses and thermometers, making them the perfect hiking, climbing, skiing or outdoors watches for adventures of any stripe.

The Suunto Core and Suunto Vector fill this role nicely, not only taking all those measurements, but tracking them to give you anything from your rate of climb to weather trends.

You can switch between altimeter and barometer modes so that weather changes don’t look like altitude changes, and vice versa. You can even switch into an underwater mode so altitude is converted into depth, making your Suunto Core into a dive watch too!

The digital watch compass can be used accurately in either hemisphere, unlike an analogue magnetic compass, so it’s perfect for globe-trotting adventures.

Throw in sunrise and sunset times, and you’ve got all the info you need, right on top of your wrist.

But Suunto also makes awesome training watches, which go past the usual heart-rate monitor functions to track and tailor your workouts to your goals, giving you helpful guidance to keep you on track.

The Suunto M5 Running Pack, for example, adds a pedometer pod in to throw in distance and speed data, and a wireless uploader to track your workouts online, through Suunto’s Movescount.com website.

So whether you’re looking for serious training or a serious adventure, there’s no better watch than a Suunto.

***Bonus deal for folks racing in any event in the Big Blue Adventure series summer 2011:

 

A North Tahoe Bike Path Weekend

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

WHO: Lis and her “new” 1996 Gary Fisher Aquila

WHAT: Bike riding!

WHEN: July 9–10, 2011

WHERE: North Tahoe bike paths and roads

GEAR: combination bike lock, bike lights

I got a little excited about cruising the North Tahoe bike paths this weekend. Perfect weather, beaches calling, and a pristine condition, new-to-me 1996 Gary Fisher Aquila (a killer Craigslist find), which I outfitted with some fat road tires to transform it into the ultimate cruising machine.

In the two-day weekend, I pedaled 23.6 miles in total, hitting up everything from Chamber’s Landing in Tahoma to Jason’s Sand Bar in Kings Beach, and of course a few beaches in between. Below, I provide a short primer on North Tahoe bike paths if you’re interested in taking a ride too:

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Sales Rep Sample Sale, this Saturday

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Join us this Saturday, July 16th for the second annual Sales Rep Sample Sale. 12 sales reps are cleaning out their inventories and setting up shop in our back parking lot. Don’t miss all the great deals from Mountain Hardwear, Isis, Nemo Tents, Deuter Backpacks, Betty Rides, Gordini and more. See you there! 9:30am to 6pm

Find out who else is coming, RSVP and view any updates on our Facebook event page for the sale.

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