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Archive for October, 2011

Halloween: A good excuse to buy new gear

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Need a costume? Need new outdoor gear? Here are some last-minute Halloween costume ideas that kills two birds with one stone.

MSR Flex Skillet + Patagonia Fjord flannel shirt + some apples to chuck at people = Johnny Appleseed

Patagonia Pelage Jacket + white tights + white SmartWool Ski Town Hat = abominable snowwoman

Thermarest NeoAir sleeping pad (folded into a square) + sharpie = Spongebob Squarepants

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from Tahoe Mountain Sports!

Pieps Avalanche Beacon Review: Model and Feature Comparison

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Looking at all the features and tech specs, bells and whistles of different avalanche beacons and transceivers is enough to make your head spin. Fortunately, our Pieps Avalanche Beacon reps came to Tahoe to take us through the differences — and I’ll pass along some of that simplified knowledge to you here, hopefully making your avalanche beacon purchase decision a little easier.

First off, Pieps makes some of the best avalanche transceivers in the business, here’s why:

Pieps puts an emphasis on not just range, but circular range — meaning how far away your beacon in receive can be away from a sending beacon (your buddy) before it picks it up — regardless of the direction you or he/she is facing. This is critical because many avalanche beacons report range in optimal conditions, when the antennas are facing each other. And instead of having a circular range, they project more like an oblong oval — much shorter ranges at off angles.

Second, Pieps uses strong 3rd antennas, critical for detection not just on a horizontal plane, but vertically for buried transmitters, i.e. what you’re likely using your avalanche beacon for.

Let’s take a look at what that means. In this video, a BCA Tracker, one of the more common 2-antenna beacons around, is passed under (we put the sending beacon up high instead of digging in the sand to simulate that vertical dimension) a beacon. Because of the “apple” shape of the signal sent out, you’ll see the beacon think it’s close before the beacon, farther away right above it, and close again just past it. With the 3-antenna Pieps DSP (2nd clip in the video), it reads closest when it’s actually closest.

Now let’s look at what’s new for Pieps for the 2011–12 winter season.

Pieps Vector Avalanche Beacon

This beacon is a game changer — due on our shelves some time in January. Not only does it increase its range to 70-80 meters (that’s over 230 feet!), it brings GPS functionality into the game. That means as it’s picking up a signal, it triangulates the position, bringing you on a straight course to the burial, rather than following the curve of the signal, shortening the time it takes to get to a buried person, where seconds count. You also get all the fun functions of a GPS, like tracking your trip — downloadable into your home computer. And while it’s plugged into your computer, it’s also recharging — no more dumping alkalis! This will be the beacon to have when it reaches the market.

Pieps DSP Avalanche Beacon

The DSP is the professional standard, perfect for the serious backcountry enthusiast, search and rescue professional or ski patrol. With a range of 50 meters and the ability to distinguish multiple signals in a multiple-burial scenario for coordinated rescue efforts, this is the beacon you want in the hands of your rescuers. The scan feature quickly tells you how many and how far away each signal is and the marking function lets you move on to the next without interference. A frequency measurement function can even diagnose other beacons to see if they’re still transmitting in the right range!

Pieps DSP Tour Avalanche Beacon

The DSP Tour has all the guts of the DSP, but without the scan and frequency measurement functions, at a significantly reduced price. This is where a lot of non-professional backcountry enthusiasts should be looking — excellent send and receive abilities, three antennas, 50 meter range – without the specialized tools of the DSP. If you enjoy backcountry skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling, start here. This is what a lot of people we know will be carrying this winter.

Pieps Freeride Avalanche Beacon

The Pieps Freeride Avalanche Beacon is the smallest and lightest of the group, and the least expensive.  As small as a cell phone, there’s no reason not to bring it along. It only has one antenna, however, making it a less powerful rescue tool for people serious about the backcountry. Instead, if you are skiing big terrain in-bounds at a ski resort, occasionally head into the sidecountry of a ski resort or are at the resort on a big snow day, this is the beacon for you. It’s also popular with rando-racers trying to go as light as possible.

Pieps TX Dog Avalanche Transmitter

Here’s a clever new innovation from Pieps: a transmitter for your dog or snowmobile. It doesn’t transmit on the same frequency as a normal beacon, so priority goes to buried humans, but the DSP and Vector can switch over once done finding people to finding canine victims or lost equipment carrying this little transmitter. We know a lot of powder hounds who bring along their best friend on backcountry tours, so we think this is a great idea — perfect for working dogs at ski resorts too.

Hiking the PCT – Sugar Bowl to Squaw Valley

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
PCT on Donner Summit

PCT on Donner Summit

WHO: Dave and Pam – Tahoe Mountain Sports’ owners

WHAT: Fall hike on the Sierra Crest

WHERE:  Pacific Crest Trail from Donner Summit to Squaw Valley

WHEN: 3rd week of October, 2011

GEAR: Pam had on her Lole Circuit Walk Shorts, Mountain Hardwear Butter Hoodie and Smith Rosewood sunglasses and Dave used the Deuter Speed Lite 30, Salomon Synapse Shoes, which will be out next year, and a Smartwool Merino T-Shirt.

There is no better time of year to go hiking then the Fall, at least in my opinion. The air is cooler, the sky is clearer and there are less people around so it is way more peaceful. On a rare day off together (sans child), Pam and I found ourself looking to do one of the longer hikes in the Tahoe region and we chose the PCT from Donner to Squaw due to its length, exposure and incredible views. We were also looking forward to encountering a little snow, but alas, there was not very much of it.

Snow on the PCT in October

Rounding the back side of Sugar Bowl

The hike is around 18 miles and we did it as a car shuttle, leaving 1 car in the Squaw parking lot and leaving the 2nd car at the top of Old Highway 40, near Sugar Bowl Ski Academy. We encountered a little bit of snow on and off throughout the hike, but the only decent drifts were on the back side of Sugar Bowl, just as we gained the main ridge of the Sierra Crest. You can see some snow in this pic on the right.

Otherwise, it was very smooth going with a few encounters with some other parties but for the most part, pretty quiet and peaceful. This hike can take anywhere from 5-8 hours depending on your pace and we finished in just under 7 hours and we made two 30 minute stops along the way to enjoy the scenery. The trail parralels the ridge for the most part until after Tinker’s Knob where it drops down on the west side of the Crest only to climb back up to the Granite Chief ridge on the outskirts of Squaw.

PCT Trail Marker

PCT Trail Marker on the back side of Granite Chief

You actually descend quite a bit here, even beginnning to think that you might never gain the ridge again, but alas, you then hit this creek and this sign and realize you are about to climb back up for one final climb to the ridge and then down the Shirley Canyon trail. The autumn colors were in full effect in all the drainages and below the ridges. Especially beautiful were the aspens and the willows on the way down the trail and back into Squaw Valley. As your knees and feet start to feel tired, the beauty of the Sierra Nevada in its full Fall splendor reminds you why you live here and recreate here.

As for the gear, we could not have asked for better setups. We were both wearing our Smartwool base layers and they proved invaluable for the constantly changing temperatures along the way and my Deuter Speed Lite backpack was the perfect size for carrying all the necessary essentials for an extended day hike. Until next time, enjoy your outdoor adventures wherever they take you!

Autumn on the Shirley Canyon Trail

Autumn on the Shirley Canyon Trail





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

5 Under $50: Ladies Picks

Monday, October 24th, 2011

With Ladies Night fast approaching (this Wednesday, October 26th), I’ve picked a few items from the shop to whet your appetite for our big, one-night sale for women. Note that all prices listed below are non-sale prices, so you’ll pay a lot less if you shop with us at the store on Wednesday night.

Be there from 5 to 8pm for killer deals (up to 60% off), wine and cheese, and freebies from Lole, the North Face and Wigwam, including these stylin’ Wigwam knee-highs for every purchase over $100.

1) Outdoor Research BackStop Gloves $34.95

Pair these technical glove liners with ski gloves for extra warmth, or wear them alone on trail runs. They’re soft and wicking so they’re quick to dry. Plus, they’ve got GORE Windstopper on the back of the hand to protect skin from the harsh winter elements.

2) Haiku Escape Bag $41.95

Haiku by Sharon Eisenhauer bags are poetic creations of style and utility. Each bag’s pattern is slightly different, having been made from recycled fabrics. This model makes a great travel purse, fitting all your essentials plus a notepad or book.

3) Prana Tattoo Long Sleeve Tee $39.95

Flaunt a tattoo this winter! This Prana longsleeve has a little edge thanks to its water-based henna tattoo design that runs from the front to the upper sleeves. And because it’s made by Prana, you can count on it lasting a lifetime.

4) The North Face Shadow Fox Cord Skirt $44.95

I’m not sure what a shadow fox is, but it must look good if it inspired this North Face skirt. Corduroy stretch material keeps it casual, yet the pencil fit can take you from dancing on the weekends to work meetings on weekdays.

5) SmartWool Jovian Stripe Socks $18.95

Once you go wool, you’ll never go back. This pair from SmartWool is one of my favorites to add a splash of color to my wardrobe.

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.

Salomon Vitane Boot Review, from a flat foot

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Our Salomon Nordic gear has arrived! I can’t wait to test it all out, but for now I’ll write what I know, and that’s a review of the women’s Salomon Vitane boot.

I skate skied with this boot for two seasons now and love it. The Salomon Vitane is pure comfort. It’s cush yet stable, but if you like a super stiff boot, this is not the one for you. The interior padding not only adds comfort but warmth. My feet are never cold. I love the Kevlar Quicklace system because it’s secure and easy to tighten and take off. The red ankle strap/supporter adds even more stability. The narrow heel is perfect for my foot. I’ve never had a blister with the Salomon Vitane! Last season I completed all 30 kilometers of the Great Ski Race in these boots, and my feet felt great.

Me, left, in Salomon Vitane boots, and another pair far right

Though I have to admit, I have feet issues (like virtually every other skier out there). I am entirely flat footed, and prone to heel blisters. My flat feet don’t give me trouble in most sports, but the repetition of movement and outward stance of skate skiing was a huge problem for me. I tried everything, including every color of Superfeet, from blue to black. But what worked for me was an interior heel wedge, which I cut to fit on the inside edge of each insert (the Salomon ones that came with the boot). These gave me enough lift to relieve the underfoot pain and stress I was putting on my arch with each stride. Helped my knee alignment too!

If you have a Salomon Vitane review, submit one to our site on the Salomon Vitane product page.

Mountain Biking Mount Rose Meadows to Chimney Beach

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

WHO: Lis and 9 friends

WHAT: mountain biking

WHERE: Tahoe’s East Shore, from Mt. Rose Meadows to Chimney Beach

WHEN: October 16, 2011

GEAR: SmartWool PhD socks, polarized sunglasses

Oh man, I can’t get enough of this ride! Mountain biking from Mount Rose Meadows off Highway 431 to Chimney Beach is definitely my current obsession, and the trails are prime right now. With sun in the sky but moisture in the soil from the past few weeks’ snow and rain, it doesn’t get much better for mountain biking in Tahoe. The Chimney Beach downhill can get pretty sandy and loose, so it’s a treat to catch it in this condition.

You’ll need to prep for this ride with some shuttle drops. We managed to make it happen with 10 people (yeah, we were a big crew!) and one car at the bottom of the Chimney Beach downhill (two folks hitchhiked back up, and two cars had to return back to pick up the other riders).

The best map of the ride I found was from Here’s the full Mount Rose Meadows to Chimney Beach map, with other options also highlighted. As you can see there are loads of ways to do this. I’ve taken the Flume (which is a must-do) but recommend the Tahoe Rim Trail to Marlette Peak route (which we took on this trip) for an extra cardio kick and to bypass the Flume crowds on weekends. I’ve zoomed in on a few key sections below so you can really get a view of the important turns.

Here’s the starting point off Highway 431, Mt Rose Highway (start on the trail on the east side of the highway, just to the meadow’s right, and take the trail that looks like it leads left):


Ladies Night is Back!

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Mark your calendar: You don’t want to miss this night of shopping on Wednesday October 26.

We are devoting the whole store to ladies from 5 to 8 pm for exclusive shopping deals, and free wine and cheese. Uncorked will open up their best bottles for you, while Westminster Cheddar brings some nosh for pairing. Plus, our generous sponsors are donating free gifts to go along with every purchase. Look for freebies from The North Face, Wigwam and Lole.

15% off all fall/winter gear

20% off all fall/winter apparel

up to 60% off all out-of-season apparel

See you at the shop! See who’s coming and RSVP at our Ladies Night Facebook event.

Tahoe Mountain Sports 5th Annual Pro/Am Disc Golf Tournament a Huge Success!

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The Tahoe Mountain Sports 5th Annual Pro/Am Disc Golf Tournament was a huge success October 8 and 9, selling out to the full 90 player capacity for the first time in five years!

The tournament, a PDGA Sanctioned “B” Pro/Am event brought high-caliber disc golfers from nine states across the country to the Tahoe Vista course.


Mountain Hardwear’s Cash for Clunkers

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Now is the time to get geared up for winter, and we’re seeing lots of fun, early-season promotions this year. Mountain Hardwear‘s Cash for Clunkers is a great way to save some cash and get a rocking new jacket with the latest technology. All you have to do is bring us your old waterproof jacket, and we’ll give you a $50 credit towards any new Dry.Q Elite jacket we have in stock.

For online shoppers, just purchase a Mountain Hardwear jacket, mail us your old jacket, and then we’ll refund you $50. All used jackets Tahoe Mountain Sports receives will be donated to the Project Mana holiday clothing drive.

Cash for Clunkers runs now through November 15, 2011, so clean out your closets and get the latest and greatest Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Elite today! In stock styles at the moment include: Mountain Hardwear Jovian Jacket, Mountain Hardwear Snowpocalypse Jacket, Mountain Hardwear Alakazam Jacket, and the Mountain Hardwear Kepler Jacket. Sorry, we don’t carry any Dry.Q Elite styles for women this year.

Mammut Eiger Review: It lives up to the hype

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Stop by the shop any given day and you’re likely to find our owner Dave (above, left) in a Mammut Eiger jacket. We can’t get him out of the things! He makes up all sorts of excuses to don one: company photo shoot (gotta look sharp), testing it for blog review, testing it for customer questions. And for someone who’s seen each season’s “it” jackets come and go, who’s worn everything from Gore-tex to H2no, Dave isn’t just excited because the Mammut Eiger line looks hot, he’s into it because it feels and functions great.

“The attention to detail is immaculate,” he told me as I was gathering up info for this post. “The fit is perfect and I really want all of it for myself! If I needed a jacket or pants for the most active of pursuits, whether it be skiing, climbing, mountaineering, doesn’t really matter, this would be my choice. It has incredible range of movement along with all the highest quality materials and fabrics in the industry. I have been thoroughly impressed by Mammut with this collection.”

Mammut Eiger is the brand’s upper echelon collection: full on Swiss-influenced style, with more attention to detail than ever.  The line replaces Mammut Extreme, which they took back to the drawing board for a complete redesign. In 2012 Mammut celebrates its 150th anniversary, and Eiger is ringing it in in a big way.

On the shelf, you’ll recognize Mammut Eiger by its neon accents. Bright orange, neon pink, electric blue and black distinguish the line and make it pop. The flagship Eiger style is the Mammut Nordwand Pro Jacket and Nordwand Pro pants (above), an extremely tough three-layer Gore-Tex pro shell jacket and pants for the very best waterproof and breathable performance. Among its many standout features, the Nordwand jacket boasts a reinforced visor to withstand the strongest of wind, front-reach sleeves designed specifically to support climbing arm movements, adjustable cuffs to prevent water from running into the sleeve that can adjust with just one hand, and more accessible lower arm vents. Just touching the fabric you can tell right away that this is one high-class jacket—ultra comfortable to the touch yet burly and technical, definitely tough enough for any mountaineer.

On the Mammut Nordwand pants, the continuous drop-seat zip makes long days in the backcountry more toilet-friendly, and if left half open, can also be used for ventilation. On the lower legs, the snow skirt can be individually adapted to ski or alpine boots, and the back waist is lifted for more protection.

It’s incredible all the features on each and every Eiger piece, and TMS buyers hand-selected their favorites from the line so that our shop has a bit of something Eiger for everyone. Check out the women’s Mammut Mittellegi Jacket (above, right), comparable to the Nordwand, the Mammut Eiswand Jacket (above, left), a super technical zip hard-face fleece that can work as a layer or a jacket, and the Mammut Trion Nordwand 35 Pack (above, center), a beauty of a pack with bottom access, a waterproof roll top, and all the attention to detail Eiger is becoming famous for.

This piece was written in 2011. New for 2013-2014 Mammut Eiger Collection features:
The Ultimate Nordpfeiler Jacket with GORE Windstopper stretch fabric and high abrasion resistance for high alpine activities.
The Mammut Eigerjoch Jacket, a hybrid down and fiberfill jacket for alpine and Arctic activities.

Check out Mammut women’s clothing here: Mammut Women’s Clothing – Jackets & Pants

Have you tried Mammut Eiger yet? Do you have a Mammut Eiger review for us? Drop us a comment here, or on the product pages on our main site.

Mammut Nordwand Jacket - Men's
Mammut Nordwand Jacket – Men’s
MSRP: $674.95
Mammut Nordwand Pants - Men's
Mammut Nordwand Pants – Men’s
MSRP: $489.95
Mammut Eiswand Jacket - Men's
Mammut Eiswand Jacket – Men’s
MSRP: $249.95



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