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Archive for August, 2011

Tahoe SAFE Alliance Hikes

Monday, August 29th, 2011

This week we hear from Kristin Erickson of Tahoe SAFE Alliance, a local nonprofit dedicated to reducing the incidence and trauma of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and child abuse in the North Lake and Truckee communities. TMS donated some Nalgene gear to get them out on the trail this summer, and we’re happy to hear it was a success!

WHO: Tahoe SAFE Alliance and Tahoe Rim Trail Association

WHAT: 5 Tahoe hikes

WHERE: North Lake Tahoe trails

WHEN: summer 2011

GEAR: Nalgene Multidrink bottles

Over the summer months, Tahoe SAFE Alliance partnered with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association to create an opportunity for middle-school aged clients of Tahoe SAFE Alliance to take to the trail and enjoy the serene beauty of the local landscape.

As any outdoor enthusiast knows, staying hydrated on the trail is incredibly important. I wanted to ensure that all of our kids had their own water bottles to bring with on our hikes. Tahoe Mountain Sports came though in a big way by donating top of the line Nalgene Multidrink bottles for all of our participants. They loved having their own, personal bottle and without fail, had them in tow on every hike.

The kids were accompanied by Tahoe Rim Trail guides and Tahoe SAFE Alliance staff on five different morning hikes all over the region including Mt. Rose Summit and Spooner Lake. There was more to these hikes than tromping through the Sierra and learning about native plants and land formations. The youth participants all had something in common: they had witnessed domestic violence in their homes, or been victims of child abuse. Our hikes served as a form of recreational therapy. It was a way to get away from stressful homes and have fun with peers. Staff from the Tahoe Rim Trail and Tahoe SAFE Alliance encouraged positive engagement through games and discussions. The kids loved getting outside and onto the trail and were enthusiastic about doing more hikes in the future.

Many thanks to Tahoe Mountain Sports for making our program as successful as it was!

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

Summer Sale on California Swimwear

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Our end of summer sale is happening now, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with some new California swimwear, shipped to you fast from the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe’s waters are warmest come September, so it’s the perfect time to dive in and stay awhile with stay-put, look-great active swimwear. Plus, it’s always beach season somewhere!

Our women’s swimwear selection is inspired by the beaches of California, capturing the spirit of the surf, blue water and endless sunshine. California swimwear fits and feels great in the water and on the beach, plus it’s made with UV protective fabric.

Here’s a rundown of the top brands we carry:

Lole: All Lole bathing suits are made with a nylon stretch fabric that’s designed to hug and flatter your body.  Suits have removable cups, are highly resistant to chlorine, quick drying and provide UPF 50 protection from the sun.  Full of style and designed specifically to fit a woman’s body, Lole swimsuits are loved by women all over the world.

Carve Designs: We love this California brand from Santa Cruz! Swimsuits and board shorts designed with great patterns by women for women who want something that fits well and looks great in the water and on the beach.  (more…)

SteriPEN Review: How to use your SteriPEN water purifier

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

It used to be that the thought of relying on any electronics in the backcountry would make my hands sweat—the list of what ifs inducing mild panic. But these days manufacturers have dependability down to a science. Enter SteriPEN, who pioneered UV water disinfection for backpackers and travelers.

These things are about as fool proof as any form of backpacking water treatment comes. Turn it on, dip it in your water bottle, and wait for the light to go out. They’re built waterproof, tough, and designed to last.

Here are some SteriPEN directions from a SteriPEN expert:

Bring a couple extra batteries, the SteriPEN prefilter and you’re good to go, whether you’re heading into the backcountry or to a third-world country. No laborious pumping, no waiting for anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours for chemicals to work—just safe, clean drinking water right away.

And unlike normal backpacking water filters, this thing will kill bugs of any size or type, not limited by the size in microns of the filter element.

So if you’ve been a technophobe holdout like me, give the SteriPEN a chance, for safe drinking water fast, it can’t be beat!

For those in the field most often, the SteriPEN Classic and the SteriPEN Freedom will sterilize up to 8,000 liters. Most people won’t require this much field use, but over time, the avid outdoor adventurer will. The Freedom won’t fit in the neck of a standard drinking water bottle – not only the stem needs to touch water, but the actual UV lamp bulbs at the base of it – but works well with wider mouthed bottles. So if you’re fond of wasteful plastic water bottles, go with either the Classic or the Traveler. Also, please consider upgrading your style to some sort of reusable water bottle so we can better preserve this lovely planet for our children. One super cool thing about the Freedom is it also comes as a SteriPEN Solar Bundle Pack that includes a mini solar panel and USB port to recharge your PEN.

Those traveling through regions with less safe drinking water may want to consider picking up a SteriPEN Traveler. It does 3,000 liters on a single UV lamp and is discrete enough to swirl around in your glass at a restaurant without offending anyone (if you worry about that kind of thing).


SteriPEN Freedom
SteriPEN Freedom
MSRP: $119.95

Tahoe Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

WHO: Lis, Chris, Aaron, Christina, Henry & Fern

WHAT: Backpacking

WHERE: Crag Lake, Desolation Wilderness

WHEN: August 20–21, 2011

GEAR: Suncloud sunglasses, Outdoor Research Sentinel Insect Shield Handkerchief, MSR and Snow Peak camp kitchen items

Skipped town this weekend to backpack into Desolation Wilderness. We opted for a shorter drive and hike out of Meeks Bay, to Crag Lake about 5 or so miles in. We were originally going to camp in the Lake Aloha area, but it was full when we went to get a permit at the office across from Sunnyside.

Such a cool campsite with loads of granite and a great lake for swimming and lounging.

Where did this weekend take you?

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

Family Camping Fun: Getting started with gear that won’t break the bank

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Camping has been touted as a great inexpensive family vacation in a down economy, but here at Tahoe Mountain Sports, we love family camping no matter what the stock market is doing.

Campgrounds are cheap, and the activities that go with car camping or backpacking — hiking, sightseeing, swimming, biking and sitting around the campfire — are free, or near enough.

If you’ve never been, you just have to cover the up front costs of some basic gear, and we’ve put together a selection here at Tahoe Mountain Sports sure to eliminate the sticker shock.


Preparing for Burning Man: Comfortable Desert Living

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

In less than two weeks 60,000 people will gather in the high desert of northern Nevada and form an improvised city in the dry lakebed of ancient Lake Lahontan. Our fair city will be the tenth largest in the state of Nevada, and will have a higher density of creative ingenuity per capita than anywhere in the world.

My big project for this year’s burn is to build a large hammock stand and shade structure for our camp. I’m borrowing Bucky Fuller’s tensegrity design to build the portable and collapsible structure. Buckminster Fuller is probably known best for inventing the geodesic dome, but there are already lots of those out on the playa. His tensegrity design, on the other hand, is just as genius, quicker to setup, and less material intensive. Tensegrity, a contraction of “tensional integrity,” uses tensioned cables or cord to create a rigid floating compression structure. I would translate that to layman’s terms if I could, but here’s a picture instead:

Tensegrity Prism

Rendering of Tensegrity Prism by Bob Burkhardt


5 Under $50: Summer Hats

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Hats are the perfect accessories for summer. Whether you don a beach hat, cowboy hat, fedora, or trucker cap, you’re shading your eyes, keeping your hair out of your face and protecting your scalp from sunburn. Here are a few affordable hats at our shop, but browse our full selection of men’s summer hats and women’s summer hats for more.


This colorful fedora comes in a pinkish cognac or tan (pictured above) with a beachy ribbon. Such a nice twist on the standard fedora. I like this one so much I own one in cognac!


You can’t go wrong with a classic mesh-backed trucker hat. This one keeps you cool and shaded, plus it looks great on both men and women.


This woven raffia hat is a Western take on a beach hat. Wear it out on the sand, then don it to a hoe-down. The chin string makes this cowboy hat great for bike riding and indoor/outdoor events so you can wear it on your back when you’re inside.


A cowboy hat for the active at heart, this Dorfman style is shapeable with an elastic sweatband to wick moisture. This is your classic cowboy hat without the bulk and weight.

5) KAVU CHILLBA $34.95

This modern rice paddy hat is a store favorite, and great for river floaters and Burning Man attendees. It’s hard to beat the shade this hat provides, plus its closed-cell foam construction is lightweight and won’t sink if you drop it in the water.

5 Under $50 is a monthly Tahoe Mountain Sports blog series dedicated to showcasing some of our more affordable products. Each month we pick a theme, then show you the gear.

Patagonia Tsali Review

Friday, August 12th, 2011

If the shoe fits… it’s completely explainable but it’s always fascinating to me how some shoes just fit you better than others. With the Patagonia Tsali I knew right away. It hugged my foot in all the right places, without the dreaded heel slippage, and felt comfortable yet lightweight. I have a fairly narrow, flat foot but not too much trouble as far as needing inserts and such for trail running.

From the successful first in-store test to 6-mile trail runs, 3-mile road runs and random creek and snow patch crossings, the Patagonia Tsali has been a great purchase. The tread holds up to snow, dusty dry dirt, and even pavement, all without feeling too bulky (the pair only weighs 20 ounces total). In fact, I was so confident to the Tsali’s ability that I forged ahead on a slick creek crossing that I should’ve been more careful with. (You know how some rocks get wet and they are tacky, and others are like an oil slick? This creek’s stones were the latter.) On my butt, feet thoroughly soaked, I ran on and am proud to say the Patagonia Tsalis held up and didn’t slip around when wet or hold on to the water to make me feel as if I were running in a puddle. As Patagonia would say: the DWR-treated, breathable air-mesh upper shed as much moisture as it could, while the sticky rubber outsole provided me with 360-degree wet/dry traction.

One small feature I really like about the shoe is the lacing detail (what Patagonia calls its X-Dynamic Lacing System). The laces run through some webbing that connects through grommets in the shoe side to the tongue. This lends an ultra-secure (but not too tight) fit to hold the tongue in place and provide a precise fit. Plus, all that webbing has reflective detailing so it adds a bit of safety and flash so I look cool.

Check out this exciting, extreme video of me lacing up my Patagonia Tsalis. Mine are in the Prickly Pear color.

And finally, if you’re not sold yet, Patagonia shoes come in the best box ever! Take out the shoes, unfold the box, then refold and reuse as a storage container.

Sunscreen review: Why we love Sol Sunguard

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

There are a lot of lotions out there claiming to be the best sunblock, but here at Tahoe Mountain Sports, we’ve had really good luck with the Sol Sunguard line having tested it at high altitude on the snow, on the water and at the beach. We’d even venture to say it’s the best sunscreen we’ve ever used.

One thing that sets SOL apart is their specific formulations for different activities and environments, including Golf, Beach, Blue Water, Altitude and Kindersport children’s sunscreen. Certain elements carry across the whole line, like the use of zinc oxide, which holds up better than other chemical formulations (think old-school surfer with the white zinced nose, except this rubs in clear).

In the SOL Sunguard Beach and Blue Water formulations, for example, they focus on water resistance, reflected UV rays off water and sand (reflection off water and sand can be as high as 80 percent!), and skin-drying factors that all affect how well protected you stay throughout the day. Here’s what SOL Sunguard says about their Blue Water formulation: “ultra low chemical-active formula uses Z-Cote, a powerful, microfine zinc oxide that offers transparent and total protection against both UVA and UVB rays.”

The SOL Sunguard Altitude formulation takes the broad spectrum UVA and UVB increases as you gain altitude into account (UV intensity increases 4-5% for every 1000’ of elevation. At 10,000’ you can be exposed to 50% more UV),  and the likely intensity of your activity. According to SOL Sunguard, “Chemical sunscreens expire after UV exposure; mineral oxide sunscreens do not. Careful choice of sunscreen active ingredients is essential.”

Sport forulations like SOL Sunguard Golf aim for sweat resistance: “Perspiration breaks down most sunscreens causing eye-sting and sunburn. You need a product that stays put and protects,” SOL says, and comfort: “If you are going to be playing all day, you need a light, non-greasy lotion that doesn’t coat your skin like a fresh bottle of coconut oil.”

When specifically formulating a children’s sunscreen in the SOL Sunguard Kindersport line, they aim to make it fool-proof to apply: “Sunscreen should be visible when applied (so you don’t miss a spot), plus quick to spread and absorb. We all know that the wiggle response increases the longer a kid tries to stand still.” A non-irritating lotion is also key: “Lotions that drain into young eyes after a quick run through the sprinkler can mean pain and irritation. Low chemical, non-stinging formulations are must-have.” Kindersport also contains the antioxidant vitamins A & E.

Here’s what Dave, TMS’s shop owner, had to say:

“I put Kindersport on my 2 year old daughter before she heads out to camp for the day and she stays protected all day long. Even her teachers at camp now recommend the Sol Kindersport to all their parents for the best protection over the course of a busy child’s day”

SOL Sunguard also makes an easy-to-apply FaceGuard Stick for keeping your face protected without getting any lotion on your hands — think climbing or disc golf where grip is critical — and of course great Lip Balm.

Here’s what our hard goods manager, Kevin, has to say about getting first tracks and the FaceGuard Stick:

“I LOVE the Sunguard Face Stick for skiing. First tracks require moving quickly in the morning, and being prepped; down time only comes AFTER your gloves and helmet are on! Because the Face Stick does not require me to get my hands gunky or take off my gloves, I can apply it to my nose and cheeks on the lift, or while waiting in line.”

And here’s what Pam, our store owner, said about FaceGuard Stick:

“Face stick is great for kids. Easy, quick, less messy.”

So give SOL Sunguard a try for yourself; we bet you won’t be disappointed.

Summer Ski Camp with Telemarker Bennett Drummond

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Yep, still skiing… and it’s August. Well actually this post is on a 5-day June freestyle camp at Boreal, from all-star telemark grom Bennett Drummond, but people are still turning on the white stuff here in Tahoe. Here’s a Q&A on Bennett’s time at camp as well as some of his helmet cam footage.

WHO: Bennett Drummond, 13 years old

WHAT: Freestyle (park) skiing camp

WHERE: Boreal ski resort

WHEN: June 2011

GEAR: Contour GPS helmet cam, high-altitude sunscreen

This isn’t your typical summer camp, eh? Tell us how much time you spent out on the snow.
We were on the snow from 7:00 till 11:00 *lunch* then 11:30 tll 1:00. So a grand total 5 1/2 hours each day.

Were you the only telemarker?
Yes, I was the only one at the camp on a tele set-up.

What can you tell us about the features?
They a had a jib-garden (asortments of boxes and rails), 2 very small 5ft jumps, halfpipe, large 50ft jump, and a bag jump.

What were you working on while you were there?
I was working on a few tricks: Misty 720, Rodeo 720, switch-ups on a down-flat-down-flat-down rail, and superman fronts.

What did you take away?
The most important thing I learned was just becoming more comfortable doing inverted airs.

What was the most fun part about the camp?
I think just the fact that I was skiing in the summer with my friends and doing slow tricks off the big jump… super cool! Also having the opportunity to work with great coaches from other teams.

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

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