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Archive for August, 2013

Steals & Deals: End Of Summer Sale On Outdoor Gear!

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Summer is slowly making its way around the globe and boots, sweaters and beanies will soon appear all around us. I almost wore pants to work today. I rocked a long sleeve running shirt on the trail yesterday morning, and I’ll probably wear a thin pair of gloves for tomorrow’s jog. But I like it. I don’t mind the cooler temps because they mean winter is on the way and snow will be falling soon. Plus, the best season for hiking is late summer and fall, it’s not too hot mid-afternoon, the bugs have stopped bugging, and the summer colors turn to fall colors. If you’ve never rode a mountain bike through an Aspen grove on singletrack covered in yellow leaves (picture the Yellow Brick Road on steroids, without evil flying monkeys), you must add it to your to-do list this fall.


Summer turns to fall. Green turns to yellow. Good mountain biking in those Aspens down there. Photo credit: Adam Is Stoked

In light of the season change we’re putting some top gear and apparel on major discount. There are literally over 600 outdoor gear items for all sorts of activities, from camping and hiking and summer swimwear to backcountry skiing and even disc golf. Just follow this link to see all of our outdoor gear on sale.

Featured below are seven of the many great products we’ve marked down. These wicking t-shirts are perfect as base layers under a sweater and the trail running and hiking shoes are ideal for all-day comfort during autumn adventures. The men’s hiking pants are rugged and ideally articulated to promote movement, the jacket is a best-seller meant for high-output activities in chilly weather, and the women’s handbag comes in a convenient size and quirky colors, just like the approaching months.



Marmot Sara Short Sleeve Shirt – Women’s

marmot sara short sleeve shirt

Reg: $47.95
Sale: $38.35

The Marmot Sara Short Sleeve Shirt is perfect for ladies who are active outdoors (or anywhere, really) and need a good top that will work hard for them so they can focus 100% on the task at hand. The wicking fabric manages moisture and resists odor, and the cute button-collar adds some class to an already cute women’s workout shirt. Marmot women’s clothing doesn’t slack on performance or comfort – This Marmot shirt is the perfect top for active women.








Kuhl Fugitiv Pants – Men’s




Reg: $74.95
Sale: $48.71

The Kuhl Fugitiv pants burly, comfortable and scream “style!”. Five well-placed pockets stash your phone, wallet, keys and other items without feeling bulky. Articulated seams at the knees and butt help promote movement when you’re taking big steps uphill or scrambling rocks, but these Kuhl Pants also look great as casual pants you can wear from the workplace to the trail and back!








Montrail Mountain Masochist II – Women’s


Reg: $99.95
Sale: $79.95

The Montrail Mountain Masochist 2 is aggressive and durable, with excellent traction and support underfoot and an arch that accommodates a wider range of feet than other shoes. The breathable upper hugs the foot nice and snug, and a roomy toe-box is ideal for wider forefeet and longer runs that cause swelling. Every woman needs good support, and these Montrail running shoes






Running For Two: Healthy Tips For Active Mothers During Pregnancy

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Can I run while pregnant? Is it healthy for my baby, and my own body, to run during pregnancy?

work in sweats mama


Nicole Goodman is an avid runner, occasional triathlete, and forever outdoor enthusiast. Her idea of a fabulous vacation involves lots of GORP while backpacking in the National Park system, although trail running and stand-up paddle boarding in Hawaii are close seconds. She writes about motherhood, running, travel, and her obsession with athletic apparel at Work in Sweats Mama.



I am a runner. I’ve raced the mile to the marathon and pretty much everything in between.

When I found out I was expecting in 2009, I had no intention of swapping my active lifestyle for a sedentary pregnancy.

Thankfully, long gone are the days of letting your running shoes gather dust for nine months!

My OB knew I was a runner, so she wasn’t surprised when I walked into my first prenatal appointment and bombarded her with questions about pregnancy and fitness.

Pregnancy is not the time to crank up your mileage or train for a marathon, but my OB gave me the all-clear to keep running, as long as I felt comfortable.

I decided to take it day-by-day, and I promised myself I’d only run as long as I felt comfortable and safe.

Now I’ve got bragging rights for life! I ran through both of my pregnancies, even logging three miles the day I went into labor with my first.

And when it was show-time, labor and delivery went pretty darn smooth and quick, a fact I attribute to my overall fitness and endurance…and a little help from a fabulous epidural!

My postpartum recovery was also faster, and I was running just three weeks after my girls arrived.

nicole goodman creek crossing

Nicole doesn’t have any major prego pics, but in this early-stage race she placed 3rd Overall.

If you’re a fierce and fearless mama-to-be, follow these tried & true tips:

    • Talk to Your Doctor – Start an open, honest dialogue with your doctor at your first appointment, so she can provide the best advice and care throughout your pregnancy. If your OB tells you exercise isn’t advisable or permissible, consider switching doctors.
    • Listen to Your Body – Some days it really is better to skip your workout, put your feet up, and watch trashy TV. Your body is working overtime, so don’t feel guilty when you need to swap a run for a nap.
    • Grin & Bear It – You’re going to get funny looks and inappropriate comments from total strangers and concerned family. The sweet little lady on the next treadmill will repeatedly ask if you’re all right. Others will be more direct and downright rude. Just smile politely, nod, and keep on running!

      nicole goodman trail running

      Nicole also took 3rd Overall in this trail race.

    • Stay Hydrated – Keep your favorite water bottle handy and drink. All. The. Time. Hydration is critical for both mom and baby during pregnancy.
    • Be Prepared for Pit Stops – With the extra water and increased pressure on your bladder, you’re going to feel like you need to pee. All. The. Time. Plan your routes around clean, public restrooms.
    • Less Trails, More Treadmills – I love trail running, but I stuck to smooth road and treadmill runs during my pregnancies. As your center of gravity shifts, you may feel less stable and more wobbly. Minimize the risk of falling by avoiding technical trails and rough roads.
    • Find a Buddy – I rarely ran alone when I was pregnant. Enlist your running buddies so there’s always someone to help in case of a fall or accident. If you do run solo, let someone know.
    • Support Your Girls & Bump – Your belly isn’t the only part of your body that will expand during pregnancy. Give the girls the TLC they need with the most supportive sports bra you can find. While you’re at it, splurge on some new running shorts or skort to accommodate your blossoming bump.
    • Treat Your Feet – Keep your tootsies, knees, and joints happy with proper footwear. Your feet may grow during pregnancy, so make sure your shoes are the right size.
  • Forget About Time & Pace – Early in pregnancy, you won’t notice a huge difference in pace, but you may be too tired or nauseous to log your normal miles. As pregnancy progresses, you’ll transition from a run to a jog and finally to a wog (waddle + jog). Leave your pedometer, watch with GPS, and expectations at home, and you’ll be much happier.

Most importantly, just keep moving! You may discover running isn’t the best prenatal exercise for you, and that’s okay!

There are countless ways to stay fit and fabulous throughout your pregnancy, whether it’s running, swimming, hiking, yoga, or spinning. While some activities, like downhill skiing, water skiing, and horseback riding are off-limits, most exercises are safe in every trimester. When in doubt, consult your doctor.

Before you know it, you’ll be crossing the finish line of the best race ever and meeting your baby for the first time!

Ironman Lake Tahoe Events: Free Footwear Demo & Group Fun Run

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Friday, 20-Sep  – 10am-5pm – Free Footwear Demo with The North Face, Salomon, Suunto and more!
Open to the public. All ages and abilities welcome. Try out the latest developments in trail running shoes, hydration backpacks and sports watches with GPS, pedometers and more, all for free!
Friday, 20-Sep – 1 pm – 2 pm – Group Fun Run with 35-time Ironman Mark Kleanthous
If you’re watching the race on Sunday, take a casual group jog with TMS and 35-time Ironman triathlete Mark Kleanthous on Friday! Travel two-to-four miles on the great trail network behind Kings Beach.

Start getting excited for this upcoming event during the week of Ironman Lake Tahoe. It’s going to be a BIG WEEK, and if you haven’t already heard, Tahoe Mountain Sports is the Tahoe triathlon headquarters – you can safely bet we’ve already started stretching.


Taken during setup of our last free Salomon footwear demo.

For this particular highly anticipated event, we’ve partnered with the best adventure sports companies in the world to bring a FREE gear demo to our store on Friday, September 20, 2013. Two days before the inaugural Ironman triathlon you can come try out the latest developments in trail running shoes, hydration backpacks, sports watches with GPS, and more new gear from The North FaceSalomonSuunto and more industry leading brands!

FAQ: Can I demo a pair of shoes, a pack and a watch all at the same time?
A: Of course you can!

Stop by any time between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., pick out whatever gear you want to borrow, use it to your heart’s (or lungs’) desire, then come back for more!  The swim (and bike start) will take place directly in front of our store in Kings Beach, so while you’re here scouting the course be sure to stop by 8331 North Lake Blvd and demo the best new outdoor gear on the market.

Click here for more info about all of our events preceding Ironman Lake Tahoe.

mark kleanthous ironman lake tahoe

Mark Kleanthous

In conjunction with the Ironman Lake Tahoe Free Footwear Demo we’re hosting a Group Fun Run from 1 – 2 p.m., and you won’t believe who is going to lead it…35-time Ironman Mark Kleanthous. Mark is arguably the most experienced triathlete in the world. He has been helping others achieve their triathlon dreams for more than 25 years, so he is a very experienced and qualified triathlon coach. This Group Fun Run will be a great opportunity to run at your own pace with the company (and expert advice) of such a highly-regarded professional athlete! We’ll travel two-to-four miles on the great trail network behind Kings Beach. One great thing about our large group runs is that we can break up so everyone can run at their own pace. This fun run is for all ages and abilities, so bring your friends and family along to share the good time!



Team JaS Racing: Tahoe Locals’ High-Performance Ironman Seminar

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Sherwick and Jami Min, a couple of local Ironman triathletes who moved to the Tahoe area so they could train at high-altitude, are coming to Tahoe Mountain Sports to share their racing experience during a fun and educational seminar on September 18 from 5 to 6 p.m. We are excited to learn more about how to train our bodies (and minds) to perform their very best, and we’re sure any attendees (Ironman triathletes or not) will take away loads of useful information to apply toward their own athletic performances.

Team JaS racing

One discussion topic of the evening: How Motorsport Helps Multisport

Team JaS Seminar: “Habits for High Performance”

Here are some topics we will be covering which will help you have your own epic day:

Setting Up Base Camp For Peak Performance – tips on training including technique, aerobic/anaerobic periodization, strength and flexibility

The Fourth Event – tips on fueling and recovery including micro/macro nutrients, nutrition periodization, body fat, sleep, massage

Make Racing Enjoyable – tips on race prep including equipment choices, key workouts, benchmarking vs. time trials, race simulations, tune-up events

How Motorsport Helps Multisport – tips on mental fitness including facing your fears, motivation, concentration, setting goals using inputs vs. outputs


Jami at Ironman Timberman



Sherwick at Ironman Timberman















Bio of Team JaS (pronounced “jaz”)

My wife and I are a Team in Training AND in Racing. We have always been drawn to outdoor challenges, and in fact met during a rough-water swim in Santa Cruz! We each started competing in duathlons and triathlons in the early 90’s. Since then, we have traveled the world in search of epic destination races (over 30 Ironmans) and are extremely thrilled that the destination this time is our own home town! Over the past twenty years, we have been privileged to cross paths with some of the sport’s most provocative personalities and have been personally mentored/coached by triathlon legend The Grip himself, six-time Hawaii Ironman World Champion, Mark Allen. We’ve had some success as well, each qualifying for Kona in our very first Ironman and then returning for redemption another couple of times! Lately we’ve been focusing on the half-ironman distance and will have raced in the past four 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas (including the one two weeks before Ironman Lake Tahoe). We wanted to share with you some things we’ve learned along the way as well as from our racing adventures outside of multi-sport.

 We hope to see you there!

Sneak preview – Jami shot this quick tip for the best wetsuit transition with Ironman legend Mark Allen:

Visit Sherwick and Jami’s multimedia page at Team JaS Racing for more educational videos about triathlon training and preparation.

35-Time Ironman Mark Kleanthous: ‘Ask The Expert’ & Book Signing

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

What: Presentation, “Ask The Expert”, and Book Signing with 35-time Ironman triathlete Mark Kleanthous
When: Thursday, September 19 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Where: Tahoe Mountain Sports, 8331 North Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143

mark kleanthous ironman

About The Event
Come along to meet Mark Kleanthous during the days leading up to Ironman Lake Tahoe! From 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 19, you can “Ask the Expert” about Swimming, Cycling, Running, Triathlon, and Sports Nutrition. Purchase a copy of the The Complete Book Of Triathlon and have it signed by the author. See the products, clothing, footwear and Ironman triathlon gear available for purchase at Tahoe Mountain Sports.

About The Author

Mark Kleanthous is arguably the most experienced triathlete in the world. He has competed for 31 consecutive seasons from a 22-year-old to 53-year-old as a triathlete. During that time he has finished an incredible 460 triathlons worldwide, from a super sprint triathlon to a triple iron distance involving a 7.5-mile swim 336-mile cycle and triple marathon (78.6-mile run) in under 46 hours without any sleep. Mark has twice finished the world Ironman triathlon championships in Hawaii.

Mark is the first Britain to write a book from start to finish for the Sprint Olympic distance triathlon half and full Ironman Triathlon. Mark competed in the first triathlon ever held in the UK at Reading in 1983, and since then has covered more than 6,000 miles swimming, 170,000 miles cycling and 51,000 miles running and racing. He has run 73 marathons in less than three hours during the past 30+ years. Mark has been helping others achieve their triathlon dreams for more than 25 years, so he is a very experienced and qualified triathlon coach.


About The Bookthe complete book of triathlon

The Complete Book of Triathlon – The book explains how to fit training into a busy lifestyle. It’s not just about triathlon, but covers Swim, Bike, Run, Nutrition and Injury Prevention. The book also explains training and lifestyle stress. It has helpful tips on which training exercises to do and how to keep fit when life gets in the way. The book, jam-packed with essential tips and information for any serious competitor, will become an essential point of reference, and priced at just $19.95, offers great value for the money.


Mark will also lead a Group Fun Run during our Free Footwear Demo on Friday, September 20, from 1 to 2 p.m. You can try out new shoes, hydration packs and sports watches from Salomon, The North Face, Suunto and more! We’ll travel two-to-four miles on the great trail network behind Kings Beach. One great thing about our group runs is that we can break up so everyone can run at their own pace. This fun run is for all ages and abilities, so bring your friends and family along to share the good time! Click here for more info about the Ironman Lake Tahoe Free Footwear Demo and Group Fun Run.

Playing Tahoe Vista: Lake Of The Sky Disc Golf Course

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

This post come from Justin Weilacher, a friend of TMS and avid disc golfer (PDGA #41309) residing in Sacramento, CA. With extensive knowledge of the game from years of experience playing in a variety of environments and weather conditions, Justin is a great resource for all sorts of disc golf advice. Read more from Justin at his blog,

I have lived in California for three years and have spent most of my free time playing as much disc golf as life allows at as many courses as my wallet allows. I recently played several of the Tahoe region’s courses. I played the Bijou course to practice the high elevation disc golf skills needed for the 19th Annual Tahoe Pro/Am, Sierra Tahoe Series #4. I also played the Truckee course for an Ace race last year. These two courses are very similar in their basic nature – they are both mainly flat, high desert courses with a good mix of technical holes and open, longer arm-testing fairways.

Tahoe Vista disc golf

Most recently, I played North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista, Ca. This course is by far my favorite course in the area. I learned to golf in the mountains of Flagstaff so I appreciate the elevation change of a good mountain course. The Tahoe Vista course, as the locals call it, has a really good mix of elevation, technical shots through the trees, and shots that challenge your arm.

Hole One starts with a brisk walk up the hill in front of the parking area – I wondered if I should have brought a hiking pole. The walk is well worth it when you realize the first view you get of the course is a maintained grass fairway in the foreground with Lake Tahoe and surrounding peaks in the background. It is gorgeous. Be wary of the wind and the way your disc could either hyzer out into the short manzanitas on the left or flip into the parking lot on the right. After that, make your way through the manzanitas to the left of the basket.

Tahoe Vista disc golf course hole 1

Looking out at Lake Tahoe from the tee at Hole #1

The next several holes challenge you with tight lines around the pines. Some elevation change makes holes that seem easy much harder. The manzanitas play several roles on this course – your disc will rarely get any skip or slide here. If the tee signs – which are professional, clean, and very useful – read that the hole is 250’, that is how long your throw has to be. You will not be able to reach that 350′ hole with your usual 275′ drive and 50′ skip, so make the adjustment and throw your disc accordingly. You will also have to keep a close eye on your discs because the manzanitas can make finding them difficult – almost dangerous; play with some friends so it is easier to find discs and have more fun.

Tahoe Vista disc golf tee

A great platform to tee-off from.

The tee pads are rubber mats, which sometimes I don’t like, but these tee areas are really well designed with reinforced landscaping keeping them flat and consistent.

The holes meander back and forth up the slope until they make a right turn back down toward the soccer fields. Once you start playing around the soccer fields, the holes open up and you are challenged with some more distance for a few holes. There are still gaps to hit, but usually just one. There are also still elevation changes to navigate as you play around the other side of the practice fields. Test your arm, get a few of the rare skips on the course, and play the big hyzer lines that don’t work on the really technical holes. After several arm testers, the holes approach the soccer fields again, ending the front nine on a monster uphill drive over a gorgeous rock slide. (more…)

Best of 2013: Women’s Backpacking Gear Guide On Active Junky

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

“When most people think female-specific outdoor gear, they’re bound to think of pink mummy bags and water bottles with flowers plastered on them. Now, while a few flowers never hurt anyone, we think gals deserve a little more thought than that.”

womens backpacking gear guide

The 2013 Women’s Backpacking Gear Guide features some of the best female-specific backpacking and camping gear on the market, plus other gear (for any sex) that female testers just happened to rank very high this year. From lightweight camping stoves boasting record boil times to backpacks and sleeping pads designed especially for women’s bodies, Active Junky picked the best of the best and put them all in one place, along with detailed product reviews and ratings, to simplify your shopping experience. But that’s not all. When you shop through Active Junky you get cash back on your purchases. This is ideal if you a) shop for gear online, and b) like saving money. We teamed up with Active Junky to put on the 2013 Women’s Backpacking Gear Guide and help you save on outdoor gear. Here are a few of this year’s featured products that we recommend for women who can’t help but adventure outdoors and demand high-quality gear to accommodate.


Here’s how it looks:

MSR Reactor tahoe




Campsite Cooking

MSR Reactormsr reactor packed
At 14.7 ounces, this stove is incredibly light. It also boils a liter of water in 3.5 minutes. Plus, fuel efficient would be an understatement; the MSR Reactor 1 Liter stove milks an 8-ounce canister of camp fuel for almost an hour-and-a-half of burn-time. Cooking under wind gusts on an exposed ridgeline? No problem. This MSR stove gets the job done in the worst weather, and is ideal as a winter camping stove. Let’s do the math: a camp stove (and 1-liter pot!) that weighs less than a pound and efficiently boils water really, really fast, even in crummy weather. That’s a winner in anyone’s book!





Hauling Outdoor Gear

Deuter Futura Pro 34 SLfutura pro 34 sl
This lightweight women’s specific backpack is perfect for a big day on trail or an overnight getaway with minimal gear. When you load the Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL to the max it remains comfortable on your back, thanks to Deuter‘s AirComfort ‘trampoline-style’ back system that keeps weight off your back to increase breathability and maximize comfort. The hip belt moves with you to keep the pack vertical and stable, even when you’re hiking across a steep slope, and the padding is especially comfortable on a woman’s wider, cone-shaped and generally bonier hips. Dual vertical side pockets offer plenty of storage and dual hip belt pockets keep your camera, snacks and other on-the-fly items within easy reach.





Replenishing Thirst

Sipping beverages made from clean, refreshing mountain spring water and glacier melt is mandatory in the backcountry. You’ll love these innovative ways to both filter and carry your fluids:

Platypus GravityWorks Water Filterplatypus gravityworks 4 liter
Talk about easy-peasy water filtration! This may seem too good to be true, but you literally just fill up the bag with non-potable water, hang it from a tree, tent, rock or the top of your pack, and kick back and relax while up to four liters filter themselves! The water moves down a tube from the “dirty” bag, through the Platypus carbon filter, and into the “clean” bag. That’s all it takes! Kill two birds by washing your dishes or cleaning up camp while your water filters on its own; it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to fill the entire Platypus GravityWorks 4-liter bag with 99.9999% bacteria and protozoa -free water! At less than 11 ounces and small enough to roll up and tuck away in a pocket, it’s no wonder this quick and convenient water filter was Editor’s Choice this year.




Expert Advice: Gear Successes On Denali With Pro Skier Brody Leven

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Brody Leven is a professional skier, author and all-around badass residing in Salt Lake City. His work has been featured by Red Bull, Teton Gravity Research, Freeskier Magazine, Powder Magazine,…the list goes on. He recently returned from an epic ski-mountaineering trip on Denali with big dogs like world-renowned climber Conrad Anker and big-mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones, and Tahoe Mountain Sports is stoked to share this summary of Brody’s most memorable gear on “The High One”, North America’s tallest mountain peak. Do your best to keep up with Brody on Twitter: @brodyleven


I was the only person with the mad scientist glasses, but everyone on the glacier had some sort of sun protection for eyeballs. Glacier glasses have extremely dark lenses and a snug fit, effectively eliminating snow blindness from the list of mountaineering experiences. Most Denali climbers also choose to use a nose guard, like the NozKone one I bought in Anchorage for $4.99. It isn’t as distinct as those that Conrad Anker gave each member of our team—made out of one of his old Everest summit hats—but it covered my entire nose and fit well on my glasses. Don’t forget to lather up the bottom and inside of your nose, though; my nose was crusty and uncomfortable most of the trip. By the end of our climb, I was sleeping in my Julbo glacier glasses. Not only is it still bright in the middle of the night, but the bright yellow tents magnify the light, making you squint, in your tent, at three o’clock in the morning.

True story: Before leaving for Alaska, I tried on all of the glacier glasses at the shop. As soon as I put these on, I thought, Man, these are It. Just what I imagined myself wearing. Perfect. But isn’t everyone else going to have them, since they’re obviously the coolest pair of the bunch?
Well, as it turns out, no one else on the entire mountain had them, and I spent a month getting made fun of.

goal zero solar panel

You can charge almost anything (simultaneously) with a Goal Zero solar panel.


Goal Zero solar panels were everywhere – glacier glasses, not so much :(











The sun charged our electronics. But it often hides behind clouds, snow, storms, or some really cool glacier glasses that you bought, kinda as a joke, but ended up never removing. With just a few pounds of Goal Zero solar panels and power packs, our 14-person team was able to keep our collection of cameras, phones, laptops, e-books, iPods, and GoPro Hero3 Black charged by harnessing the free, healthy, and sustainable power of the sun.
I can’t believe we didn’t start a farmer’s market up there, too.


Brody Leven skis off the summit in Dynafit – yes, DYNAFIT – boots and bindings.

Skiing down vs. walking down. I’ve done a lot of walk-up/walk-down mountaineering in my short mountain life. A climbing trip to Peru a few years ago solidified my preference for skiing down after climbing up. And when I got altitude sickness on Denali, I may have not been able to descend fast enough (or surefooted enough) if I had to downclimb. On skis, though, I was able to get down and get rid of that darn headache.

Granted, a lot of people approach skiers on the mountain like this: Oh yeah, cool, nice skis. I’m a skier too. I totally would have brought them, I just, um, are those Dynafit bindings? Sweet yeah I have Dynafits, too. But I usually ski really hard so I need Dukes, you know? What’re those underfoot? Oh cool yeah mine are 130. I ski a ton of powder. Oh, him? Yeah he’s my friend, well, I mean, he’s my guide, but, you know I’ve climbed tons of mountains, I’m totally self-sufficient, I just, (guide: “Diiiinner’s reeeeaaady!!!”) yeah, um, yeah I wish I would have brought my skis. K bye.


Jermey Jones (front) and the crew use kiddie sleds to transport gear.

Kiddie sleds are for more than kiddie sledding. It’s unbelievable that these $5 sleds from the toy store are the lifeblood of Denali gear hauling. Every climber on the mountain has more food, gear, and fuel than they can carry in a backpack. This is where those stupid little sleds are essential. (more…)

Keeping Hydrated at Burning Man: Tips and Tricks

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

“Adding some flavorless electrolytes to a batch of sangria reduces it’s dehydrating effect.”

This post comes from Todd Shimkus, Web Ninja Master and occasional blogger at TMS. When Todd’s not managing our website and online store, you’ll find him climbing the Sierra’s infinite granite or floating through powdery clouds of cold smoke.

Burning Man is held in a dry lake bed in Nevada’s high desert. Daytime temperatures can soar over 100° F and the relative humidity is almost non-existent. Alkali dust covers everything that enters the Black Rock Desert and it sucks the moisture out of you in a process similar to mummification. Burning Man’s Emergency Services Department reports hundreds of cases of dehydration each year.

The desert is trying to kill you.

Steve Jurvetson -

Wild horses enter a desert battle scene from stage left.

Fortunately, dehydration is an easily preventable malady. Dehydration can be prevented, and even reversed, through…are you ready for this?…HYDRATION. Liquid water, when taken orally, is absorbed in the stomach and small intestine, and directly into the bloodstream. The water is then transported to the sweat glands where it is excreted onto the skin as a cooling mechanism, and finally evaporated by the hot sun – thus completing the vicious cycle of hydration.

How much water?

How much water do I need? The official Burning Man survival guide requires 1.5 gallons per person, per day. Granted, this equation factors in a little extra water for things like cooking and washing, but you should probably drink at least a gallon of water each day. “Piss clear” is a popular mantra in Black Rock City, and even the name of a long-running newspaper on the playa. It is sound advice, as the color of your urine is a good indication of your hydration level. The darker the color, the more dehydrated you may be.

Hydration should be a constant activity. This is especially true if you are consuming diuretics like caffeine, alcohol, or any chemical stimulants. These substances are known to increase dehydration so you will need to compensate for the extra water loss. I recommend double-fisting. If you are enjoying an ice cold beer in one hand you should intermittently drink water with the other. It’s almost [but not entirely] impossible to drink too much water.



H2O is not the only part of the hydration equation (yes, the term is slightly misleading). Electrolytes are also critical to staying hydrated. Electrolytes are water-soluble ions in the form of salts, acids and bases, and are necessary for basic cellular function. The human body requires several electrolytes to function normally, including sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), bicarbonate (HCO3), phosphate (PO42-) and sulfate (SO42-).

How do we get these electrolytes? Well, lots of ways:

  • Salty snacks – Munching on some salty snacks throughout the day will replenish the salts lost by sweating throughout the day. Roasted and salted nuts and seeds, pretzels, crackers, chips, cheese, and a whole host of other tasty treats. Bacon, which is often the foundation of the burner food pyramid, has plenty of sodium and potassium.
  • Coconut water – High in potassium, young coconut water is renowned for its ability to re-hydrate. Whole young coconuts pack the most electrolyte content but are perishable and may not survive long in the desert heat. Cans or cartons of coconut water, on the other hand, do not require refrigeration and their containers will pack out easily.
  • Electrolyte mix and tablets – I love Nuun electrolyte tabs. One tablet turns a bottle of water into a fizzy and tasty concoction of electrolytes and fruit flavors. I typically keep a tube on me for my playa travels to add a little extra electrolyte goodness to my water bottle.
  • Electrolyte add-ins – Electrolyte add-ins are virtually flavorless electrolyte concentrates that can be added to water or other drinks to impart those magical ionizing salts that make us tick. Elete electrolyte mix is all-natural and made with four essential electrolytes: sodium, magnesium, potassium and chloride. Since it has very little flavor I like to use it as an additive for cocktails. Adding some flavorless electrolytes to a batch of sangria reduces it’s dehydrating effect.
  • Powdered sport drink mixes – You can find powdered Gatorade, Powerade or some other variety of flavored sports-ade at any grocery store. This is more economical than buying a case of bottled sport drinks and you end up with less waste to schlep at the end of the week. These drinks typically contain a lot of refined sugar and artificial colors, so keep an eye out for a low-sugar or “natural” version – unless you like the idea of drinking lots of salty Kool-Aid.
  • Homemade rehydration solution – A quick online search for “electrolyte drink recipe” will yield hundreds of thousands of simple re-hydrating drink recipes. Most contain a little table salt, some form of sugar, a little baking soda, and some citrus (for flavor and vitamin C). Take a look around and find one that works for you.


Choosing the right vessel

What is the best way to carry your water or electrolyte-rich hydration solution around fabulous Black Rock City?


The author awaits a RARE desert downpour.

That comes down to personal preference, but I would strongly discourage bottled water and soft drinks. Not just because it is wasteful, but they are also inconvenient. There are no trash or recycling containers at Burning Man. If you head out for a long adventure on the playa with a few containers of bottled water you will find yourself carrying around the empties all day.

Refillable water containers are definitely the way to go. But what kind?

  • Hydration packs – Colloquially known as “Camelbacks” or “camel packs”, these hydration reservoir equipped backpacks are a really convenient way to travel with plenty of water and other playa essentials. Contrary to popular belief, there are many brands besides Camelbak that manufacture high-quality hydration backpacks. Some people don’t like wearing hydration packs on the playa since they can appear too utilitarian and unfashionable to go with their steampunk / gypsy / hot dog / bedouin / robot / geisha / chicken / Santa / martian ensemble. Many crafty burners decorate their hydration packs to better coordinate with their style.
  • Water bottles – Fill a reusable water bottle from the big jug at camp and you’ll be adequately prepared for a long expedition to the deep playa. Make sure it is at least a liter. Any less and you’ll be selling yourself short. My go-to has always been my 40 oz stainless steel water bottle with a carabiner that I can attach to a shoulder bag or sling. If you want to keep your drink cold consider a double-walled bottle and a handful of ice from the cooler
  • Soft bottles – These hybrid water vessels get their own category because they are both and neither hydration reservoirs or water bottles. Soft water bottles are great because the bottle gets smaller as your drink gets smaller, and when it’s gone you are left with a flat plastic sheet that you can roll up and tuck away. This is a great alternative to hydration systems if you aren’t too fond of sucking water through a hose.

You can never bring too much water to Burning Man but you can definitely bring too little. Err on the side of caution. Worst case scenario, if you over-pack that liquid goodness you get to wash up at the end of the week or gift it to your neighbors. Stay moist, and see you on the playa!

Wild Horses photo credit Steve Jurvetson -
Black Rock/Emigrant photo credit Patrick Nouhailler

Ironman Lake Tahoe: Preparing For A Triathlon Race At Altitude

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Carrie Barrett is a USAT Level 1 coach, endurance athlete, and freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. She is a monthly contributor to Austin Fit Magazine and her other articles have appeared on, and

Tahoe Mountain Sports is proud to welcome the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe on September 22nd.  This event features a 2.4-mile swim on the waters of  North Lake Tahoe, a 112-mile bike with picturesque views of the lake and natural surroundings,  and a 26.2-mile run that starts and finishes at Squaw Valley. About 3,000 athletes from all over the world are registered for this race, which is sure to become a new favorite on the Ironman circuit for its beautiful scenery, pristine waters, and family-friendly atmosphere. The average elevation of Lake Tahoe and its surroundings is just over 6,000 feet and, according to, the bike course will actually climb to over 7,200 feet.


Training for an Ironman is certainly rigorous, but athletes coming from sea level or lower elevation must also be aware of the effects that altitude will have on their bodies. It’s not uncommon to feel dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, and short of breath as your body adapts to less oxygen. Colten Smith, mountain climber and owner of Altimax Training in Austin, Texas,  and Meredith Terranova, ultra endurance athlete, coach, and owner of Eating and Living Healthy were kind enough to provide many helpful tips for athletes racing at altitude. Follow this advice to prepare yourself as much as possible, and when you get to Tahoe be sure to visit Tahoe Mountain Sports for many race needs and supplies. They’re located directly across the street from the swim-bike transition in Kings Beach, CA.

Intermittent Hypoxic Training– As an avid mountain and glacier climber, Colten Smith wanted to do as much as he could prior to his climbs to prepare for the altitude. After researching both hypoxic tents and intermittent hypoxic training (IHT) machines, he felt that the IHT machines were better for his performance. “I tested a tent for 30 minutes,” he said. “You essentially zip yourself in a plastic bag that blows in air with reduced oxygen. I didn’t think it would be comfortable for me to sleep in a hot and noisy tent, especially since sleep is also crucial to altitude adjustment.” In 2004, he opened Altimax Training that serviced anyone looking to perform better at higher altitudes. With IHT, you mimic interval training by wearing a mask for five minutes and then taking it off for five minutes. While the mask is on, they dial the oxygen back to about 12% and monitor blood oxygen levels. They are looking for about 78-80% blood oxygen level in the first five minutes. At this point, your body starts excreting its natural erythropoietin (EPO) and tells the body to produce more red blood cells. After a session or two, your body will adapt to the 12% oxygen level, so they’ll begin to decrease it further. The goal with IHT is to train the body to become more efficient at dealing with less and less oxygen. An optimum level is 9-10%, which simulates an altitude of 21,600 ft. Each session lasts about an hour and Colten recommends a protocol of five days per week for about four weeks leading up to your event.

While intermittent hypoxic training may not be available in your area, there are certainly other things you can do and foods you can eat to prepare your body for the inevitable effects of racing at altitude.


Collapsible soft water bottles are ideal for training and travel.

Train At Altitude- If possible, visit the course or similar elevation prior to race day to feel the effects that the altitude will have on your body. Know and understand what physiological changes will take place when you move to air with less oxygen.

Hydration – The minute you become dehydrated, your body’s ability to deal with the altitude is diminished. At altitude, humidity decreases and the air is colder and dryer. Naturally, you begin breathing harder and expelling more moisture. Both Smith and Terranova express the importance of hydration prior to leaving for elevation. “I teach clients that there is absolutely no replacement for being well hydrated and in electrolyte balance when going to higher altitude,” stresses Terranova. “This means treating your environment, especially if you are from a warmer climate, like you are still in the heat.” She recommends 60-100 ounces of decaffeinated fluids per day with electrolyte supplements such as Nuun tablets. Smith also recommends loading up on hydration both before you leave and as soon as you get past security at the airport. “Fill up or buy a couple of water bottles as soon as you get on the plane,” he recommends, “and stay hydrated at your destination.” Athletes may consider a Vapur water bottle that travels well and collapses down to almost nothing, hardly taking up any space in the suitcase.

When to Arrive at Altitude– Examples and research are showing that, if possible, it is best to either arrive about 24 hours before your event or at least a week prior to get fully acclimated. College and professional athletes who travel to altitude for games usually wait until the night before or even the day of the event to fly since they aren’t able to get up there several weeks in advance. In essence, they are trying to beat the effects that the altitude will have on their abilities to extract as much oxygen out of the air as possible. The two-to-four day window is not recommended, but if this is your only option, remember to begin the hydration process prior to departure.


Wigwam Ironman Enduro Socks

Dress for Altitude Success- On race day, Smith recommends protecting extremities like your hands and feet, especially if the morning will be cold. Try Wigwam Ironman Endur Pro Socks. The air will be dryer and cooler at elevation. Your body wants to keep blood near the heart, which is why your fingers and toes get cold and have a hard time warming up. Athletes may want to wear gloves and extra socks for the morning, but don’t overdress. Wearing too many layers will actually start the sweating process which will, in turn, start the dehydration process. Plan to be a little cool at the start and wear moisture-wicking material to keep the moisture inside. Also, think about changing socks in between the bike and run to keep your feet dry.

Manage Expectations- Legendary mountain climber, Scott Fischer, once said, “It’s attitude, not altitude.” Your race day attitude will ultimately determine your success. This is certainly true at any elevation, but it’s vital to realize that you simply won’t be able to go as hard or as fast as you can at sea level. Don’t fight it. Instead, set realistic goals and expectations when racing at altitude. Understand that if you are struggling, it doesn’t mean you aren’t fit. It simply means your body cannot utilize the oxygen at that level. Slow yourself down and take in plenty of hydration. Work with your coach to determine realistic goals for racing at 6,000+ feet of elevation.

Wear Sunscreen- The air temperature is cooler and dryer at altitude, so many people coming from sea level severely underestimate the power of the sun. Wearing sunscreen during your Ironman is a must, especially since you’ll be exposed for most of the day. Take advantage of volunteers outside of transition who may be applying sunscreen. Five extra seconds can save you days worth of painful showers. At Tahoe Mountain Sports, they recommend Sol Sunguard Altitude SPF 40 Sunscreen.


SOL Altitude Sunscreen

Training Tips for Success – If you don’t live at elevation and don’t have access to intermittent hypoxic training, Terranova does recommend adding in some specific hill training and high intensity interval training to boost maximal oxygen intake (VO2 max) and increase aerobic fitness. She also recommends breath-control swim sets (hypoxic breathing) where you breathe every seven or nine strokes. The goal of training for a race at altitude is to best prepare your body for the rigors of having less oxygen to utilize. Again, it’s important to work with a coach who understands a good training balance and the effects that altitude will have on your body. These intense workouts aren’t recommended every day.

As a climber, Smith and numerous experts also recommend that, if possible, once you go to a higher altitude environment, it is best to sleep lower than the maximum amount you reached. For example, if you head to Tahoe to train at 6,000 feet, Smith recommends sleeping at a lower altitude. Consider this when looking for hotels and race accommodations. There will be several thousand people looking for lodging this weekend, so you may try heading down from the mountains in either direction toward Reno or Sacramento.

Eat for Altitude Success – Terranova recommends foods and vitamins shown to help with altitude and increase red blood cell production. These include foods rich in iron like red meat, dark leafy greens (spinach), beans and lentils. Folic acid is also important and found in foods like dark leafy greens (kale and spinach), beans, peas, and nuts. Athletes also want to consume foods high in B-12 and B-6 which also include dark leafy greens, red meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds. As Terranova notes, vegetarian and vegans have plenty of food options to increase their red blood cell count!

Beware of companies trying to sell supplements to decrease effects of altitude. Across the board, notes Terranova, both Vitamin C (500-1000mg) and L-glutamine were solid recommendations. With L-glutamine, the easiest way to get it is to take a Branch Chain Amino Acid supplement, which also helps with inflammation and recovery.

While you certainly can’t erase the physiological effects that altitude has on your body, these tips provide ways to prepare for and decrease those effects. Best of luck at the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe!


The author takes in a great view from higher elevation.

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