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Archive for July, 2014

JTreeRockLife Instagram Contest: Share Rock Climbing Pics to Win!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Win Tip-Numbing Climbing Chalk and a Dopp Kit from Joshua Tree Skin Care!

 

What climber couldn’t use some free organic skin salve for their gnarly knuckles, scrapes and sunburns? And don’t act like your hands are too tough for scented, soothing chalk. That’s like saying you’re too macho to kiss your own mama in public.
Nobody is too tough for Joshua Tree Skin Care products.

 

How to Enter

Share rock climbing photos on Instagram with the hashtag #JTreeRockLife and tag @tahoemountainsports, @jtreelife and one (1) or more of your climbing buddies.

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Tahoe Mountain Sports will pick a winner on August 13 and notify them by leaving comment on Instagram. Winner will be asked to provide shipping information via email.

Winning photo based on cool factor (creativity/relevance), not necessarily the highest quality image or number of likes. Let’s see what you’ve got! Anyone who climbs and can take a photo (or have their friend take one) is encouraged to enter.

Chalk (100 g) contains naturally soothing sources of menthol. Dopp Kit includes Organic Skin Salve (1.7 oz), Sunscreen (.35 oz) and Lip Balm (SPF 15, flavor: Mountain Mint). Must be 13+ years to enter. Winner pays shipping outside continental U.S.

Gear Review: Manduka Pro Yoga Mat – Eco-Friendly, Most Comfortable

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Truckee-Tahoe local Coral Taylor loves riding bikes, exercising, and exploring the Sierras with friends and family. She is a licensed civil engineer who works for the Tahoe City Public Utility District, a passionate yoga practitioner and recently certified instructor, as well as an ambassador for the Team LUNAChix Tahoe Mountain Bike Team. Tahoe Mountain Sports is proud to have Coral representing us as one of our elite TMS Ambassadors!

“This is the mat I would buy for a friend or family member, which means a lot, because I try to spend my money mindfully on quality products.”

manduka-pro-yoga-matWhatManduka Yoga Black Mat PRO, 71”

Where – I got myself a new yoga mat as a gift for completing my 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training this spring. Since then, I have rolled this mat out at home, on my deck, at various studios in Truckee, Kings Beach and Squaw, and even on the lawn at West End Beach of Donner Lake.

Pros – I really appreciate the thickness of this mat; with my bony knees and elbows, it makes kneeling or elbow-based poses much more comfortable than other mats I’ve used, especially on uneven surfaces such as grass or sand. During a recent outdoor class, I was very glad to have this mat, which stayed put while other mats were tossed about in the wind.

I also appreciate Manduka’s commitment to the environment and to its customers; this mat has a lifetime guarantee, which minimizes waste. As a lover of nature and a citizen of planet Earth, Manduka’s sustainability practices such as zero waste and emission-free manufacturing make me feel good about purchasing a new consumer product.

This cool video explains Manduka’s recycling efforts behind manufacturing:

 

Cons – The Manduka PRO Mat is relatively heavy, so if you’re carrying it for a ways or bike commuting, it would weigh you down after a while. Initially, this mat was very slippery, which is pretty common with most new yoga mats. However, the “Break-In” technique recommended by Manduka, which involved sprinkling sea salt then scrubbing the mat with a little water and air drying in the sun, seemed to help. The more I use this mat, the stickier it gets. This mat also has a hefty price tag, but if you look at the return on investment, and plan to buy just one mat the rest of your life, it is well worth it.

manduka-pro-71-yoga-mat

 

Suggestions – I like how Manduka offers some additional color options in their PRO limited edition. It would be nice if this mat was less slippery when first using it, and if the mat could weigh a little less while still retaining the lifetime guarantee and all the aforementioned  cushion, that would be nice as well.

 

Summary – So far… so great!  I love my new Manduka yoga mat and look forward to using it for this lifetime of practice. This is the mat I would buy for a friend or family member, which means a lot, because I try to spend my money mindfully on quality products.

 

 

 

Tahoe Mountain Sports also carries the Manduka eKO Lite and the PROlite mats for those looking for something on the thinner side:

Manduka Yoga eKO Lite Mat - 4mm
Manduka Yoga eKO Lite Mat – 4mm
MSRP: $63.95
Manduka Yoga PROlite Mat 71
Manduka Yoga PROlite Mat 71″
MSRP: $77.95

 

Camping for Two: Testing Relationships in the Tahoe Backcountry

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

There’s no better way to test a relationship’s longevity than camping. Think you’re in love? Go camping together. You’ll either find out you’re indeed meant for each other or… well, you know, taking out a last-minute life insurance policy is always an option, too. Here are some of the Tahoe basin’s best couples camping spots, which my relationship has survived relatively unscathed.

 camping with your girlfriend

Desolation Wilderness

This federally protected wilderness area sitting to the west of Lake Tahoe comes in just shy of 64,000 acres. It’s packed with peaks, lakes and numerous places to camp. We’re talking about backpacking here, so this is a good place to put optimum levels of relationship-testing stress on yourselves. If 30-pound packs aren’t enough to overcome the miles of serenity, here’s what you can do to make the journey a bit more trying: Start at night, in the rain. That’s what we did my first time backpacking. Fortunately, my better half had previously spent many a night in the backcountry under far worse conditions. Oh, you thought the female was the one you had to worry about in this story? That’s very sexist of you. Jokes aside, she wasn’t worried, so neither was I. The rain and darkness just made for a greater adventure.

When I woke the next morning, stepped out of our tent and got my first look at Lake Aloha, I knew I was somewhere special. We kept on the move and the next few days were a nonstop orgasm for my eyes. You could spend weeks out there without visiting every picturesque alpine lake. If you do choose to spend weeks in the backcountry, show your darling you care by bringing the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower. There’s nothing more luxurious in the backcountry than a hot, pressurized shower.

Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness

Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness

 

Free Secrets

Rates for car camping are quickly approaching those of Motel 6. That’s probably why I feel like I’m about to give away the secret Indiana Jones fought the Army of the Dead for. Ready? You can camp for free in Tahoe. And I don’t mean sleeping in your minivan in a casino’s parking garage. I’m talking about quality campsites in a woodsy setting. But the only other clue I’m going to give you is that where I’m talking about is on the south side of the lake. I live on the north side. If things get rocky with your significant other while car camping, vacate that collapsing relationship of doom immediately. That’s what Indiana Jones would do.

Breakfast at Aloha

Indiana would also make a killer backcountry breakfast.

Star Lake / Freel Peak

Freel Peak is the Tahoe basin’s tallest summit at 10,891 feet. And it’s a bit off the beaten path. My lady and I haven’t bagged it yet, but we will later this month. Our goal has never been to be the best at exercise, so we don’t need to prove anything by doing it in a day. The plan is to backpack in to Star Lake, which sits at the base of Freel’s neighbor, Jobs Sister. Leaving most of our gear at base camp, Freel should be easily conquered with a mellow day hike.

The hike to Star Lake is actually the more challenging part of this trip, but you’ve got a few options. The shortest involves a miserable trudge up a long, steep, dirt Forest Service access road. We have a lot of experience with this route as it also accesses one of Tahoe’s less-trafficked mountain biking trails. If Freel sounds like a fun adventure for you and your special someone, this route would be a great way to ensure you never have to plan another trip again. Curious about the other options? Stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports and buy a map or a guide book. Or just Google it and add another relationship-risking variable to your foray into couples camping. Make wise choices here and you can probably get away with the romantic Nemo Tango Duo 2-person sleeping bag. Make poor choices and be ready to enjoy a bone-chilling night outside at 9,100 feet. (more…)

Gear Review: Inov-8 TrailRoc 255 Mountain Running Shoes

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Formerly a collegiate miler and cross-country runner, Danny Jenkins has run ultras for the past eight years. He is a freelance adventure writer/photographer, fundraiser for youth services and addiction recovery programs, and past community addictions counselor based in Truckee, California. He lives to run free in the Sierra every chance he gets, regularly uses his running to raise money for local charities, and is a founding member of the Donner Party Mountain Runners.

“No matter where I’m running, it will perform well and definitely get the job done.”

inov8-trailroc-255-review

Ready for anything the trail throws your way. Click image for more info.

I’m liking the Inov-8 255‘s. More support than I’ve had in a long time and my legs are appreciating it. Incredible traction, as you might expect from Inov-8, and performs well in just about all conditions and all trail surfaces. It’s slightly heavier than I like, but it’s almost an insignificant factor. The fit is a little wide (for my taste) because I do a lot of technical running (my strength), but this is a shoe I like to call my “rover” – which means no matter where I’m running, it will perform well and definitely get the job done.

 

I am totally confident with these trail runners underfoot on hard-packed dirt, steep ascents, sandstone, granite, fire trails, sharp rocks, smooth single track, and managing technical terrain. Rates okay in the mud, but there are probably better choices if it’s raining and crud is the call.

 

Trail and mountain runners who thrive on good shoe flex will like the 255. It “gives” in technical mountain terrain, yet won’t lend enough freedom to “twist.” The lightweight toe-guard makes for pretty minimal protection in front, but I didn’t have any issues with Superman-type aerials, even on runs at places like Mt. Tallac in S. Lake Tahoe (which brings every type of terrain imaginable).

 

inov8-trailroc-255-trail-running-shoes

Danny flies downhill with confidence.

Comfort factor rates a 9 out of 10, right out of the box. Break-in period was short; maybe 9-10 hours of running and you’re gaining every benefit the 255 has to offer.

 

The TrailRoc 255 is a flexible trail runner (with meta-flex near the toes) that excels in technical mountain terrain. The soft, flexible heal counter helps in lending the shoe a slipper-like feel, while the anatomic last provides a wider toe box than those found on other Inov-8 models. This roomy upper has accommodated thicker socks and some foot swelling on longer runs.

 

The 255 represents the most protective end of the spectrum for Inov-8’s Trailroc lineup, designed with the most cushioning of any TrailRoc running shoe. An ideal shoe for high-mileage training and racing, the 255 blends awesome durability with grip and is capable at a wide range, from 10K trail races to 100-mile mountain ultras.

 

I wore these mountain running shoes on every training run (mountain and trail only) for two months, and I am currently training for the Headlands 100 in Sausalito, Ca., on Sept. 13th. The training territory is North Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Tahoe Donner, Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) and any other initial on our local Tahoe trail map. Nothing but trail stoke…..Cheers!     -Danny Jenkins

 

Beautiful Spring Imagery from Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada

Friday, July 11th, 2014
rachel-mccullough-climbing
This post comes from our newest TMS Ambassador, Rachel McCullough, an avid mountain biker, rock climber, yogi, cross-country skier and photographer living in Truckee, CA. She hopes her photos and stories will inspire others to get outdoors and appreciate all it has to offer. Her motto: “Be grateful for everything you have, every day.” We’re excited to have Rachel contributing to TMS! Follow @rachelmcphotos on Instagram for stunning images of beautiful Sierra scenery.

 
 

Enjoy the views!
Black-Bear-swimming-in-Summit-Creek-tahoe

 

1) Mama bear taking a dip in Summit Creek at Donner Lake
This was taken right from my backyard at the time – I could actually see the mama bear from my living room and ran out onto our dock to get this shot. It seemed like she was gone in seconds. Her cubs were shy and hiding in the bushes. I spent the next year running out to the dock anytime I heard or saw anything. Most of the time it was my neighbor’s black lab going for a swim. I never spotted the bears again! Sometimes the most special moments happen unexpectedly and aren’t meant to be repeated.

 
 

Thunderbird-Lodge-Lake-Tahoe-lighthouse

 

2) Lighthouse on a stormy afternoon at Thunderbird Lodge
I’ve always thought the east shore was one of the most spectacular places along Lake Tahoe. Its ultra-clear water is scattered with granite boulders and this stretch of shoreline is much less populated than the north shore, in part thanks to the original Thunderbird Lodge owner, George Whittell’s change of heart. He purchased over 10,000 acres on the east shore with the intention of developing it, only to later decide it was too special. Well played, George.

 
 

Moonbow-upper-yosemite-falls

 

3) Upper Yosemite Falls lunar rainbow
Having lived in Yosemite, I had witnessed the lunar rainbow a few times before this. It usually only occurs during spring runoff and during the full moon, so a road trip from Tahoe has to be timed perfectly. I’ve gone on this adventure a couple of times, once leaving after work and shooting the moonbow in the early morning hours, and then hitting the road back home after a few hours of sleep. This trip turned out worthwhile, and very memorable.

 
 

2014 blood moon donner summit

(more…)

Free Hiking & Running Shoe Demo on Mt. Rose / Tahoe Rim Trail

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Free Footwear Demo Tahoe Rim Trail

Join us for another great outdoor event, free to the public as usual! On Saturday, July 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., leading footwear brands Salomon, Merrell, La Sportiva, Scarpa and Darn Tough will be on the Mt. Rose portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail, and you can demo as many pairs of this year’s best trail shoes as you’d like; it’s all free!

Ever hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail or trekked around the Mt. Rose area? Then you know how beautiful this trail is, and you’re probably looking for any excuse to get back on it. Well, this is your chance to try out new hiking and running shoes before you buy them! With the best off-road footwear on demo for everyone, spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding peaks and valleys, and no charge whatsoever, you’re not going to want to miss this event.

Are you already participating in the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge? The Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA) mascot, McLeod the Marmot, as well as TRTA staff, will be greeting hikers on-trail and encouraging Challengers as they work toward their goals. Find McLeod and he’ll give you a prize!

What is this ‘Trail Challenge’ we speak of?

“The 2nd Annual Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge continues to build momentum as over 350 hikers, bikers and equestrians and five large Reno-Tahoe based corporations engage their employees in the 2014 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge,” said Shannon Sakrit of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. “The program has inspired both novice and seasoned trail users from the Reno-Tahoe and Sacramento-Bay areas to begin tackling small sections of the Tahoe Rim Trails through six day hikes along the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Participants socialize by sharing their on-trail experiences, stories, [and] pictures on the interactive, Tahoe Rim Trail Community.” Visit www.tahoerimtrail.org for more information or to register for the Challenge. It is NOT necessary to register for this TMS Footwear Demo.

You don’t want to miss this free event! It’s not often you get the best off-road footwear brands in the same place at the same time, let alone with FREE demo shoes for everyone.

Join the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Adventure Group: http://www.meetup.com/LakeTahoeOutdoorAdventureGroup/events/193763292/

View the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/680724008673408/  

Gluten-Free Camping & Backpacking Foods – They’re Grrreat!

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

gluten-free-organic-camping-backpacking-foods

Eating gluten-free can be a pain in the butt. I know this not because I am without gluten, but because my day job is waiting tables. That’s right folks, this glamorous, blog-writing lifestyle is just a side gig. Sorry to disappoint you. Fortunately, I have some good news to lift you back up from your dismay over my underwhelming existence. Ready? The backcountry might be one of the easiest places to eat gluten free.

AlpineAire and Natural High sound like a couple of Colorado-based ‘recreation’ facilities, but they’re actually producers of some of the most gourmet, gluten and weed-free backpacking foods you can get your healthy little hands on. AlpineAire foods are actually made in Rocklin, near Sacramento, so we’ve got some local love for them. They’re ultralight, resealable and self-standing pouches have a shelf-life of 5+ years and (most of their 85+ recipes) are ready just a few minutes after adding boiling water and mixing.

alpineaire-dehydrated-gluten-free-camp-food

Scooping some Santa Fe Black Beans & Rice during an educational in-store clinic.

I’m talking about dishes like Cheese Enchilada Ranchero, Pineapple Orange Chicken, Three Berry Cobbler and Bananas Foster. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is, and I practically mainline gluten. If it were this easy everywhere to eat well without gluten, however, I might stop. Why not, right? I mean, given the choice, who’d say, “No thanks, I prefer to be chronically bloated and inflamed.” Tea Party republicans, okay, perhaps you’ve got me there. But I have enough experience with gluten-free foods to know they don’t have to taste bad. My restaurant has this flour-less chocolate cake that’s so soft and lovely, I sometimes make myself a bed of it and jump right in.

If that last line didn’t scare you off, not only do I recommend seeking psychiatric help, but I have a couple last suggestions: Bandito Scramble and Strawberry Granola with Milk, because you deserve a gluten-free breakfast more fulfilling than two packets of GU Energy Gel. So, go to the AlpineAire and Natural High pages at tahoemountainsports.com (linked above), treat yourself to some gluten and guilt-free goodness and go bag yourself some peaks with a happy tummy and taste buds.

alpineaire-food-nutrition-info

Example Directions & Nutrition Info

 

Until next time,

SJ

-No preservatives
-No artificial flavors
-No artificial colors
-No MSG
(in the foods, not SJ)

 

 


Scott Johns is an adventure cinematographer, mountain biker and snowboarder living in Incline Village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. When he’s not creating beautiful imagery for video, he’s out ripping singletrack or shredding big lines in his backyard that we call the Eastern Sierra Nevada.

 

AlpineAire Chicken/Almond Salad
AlpineAire Chicken/Almond Salad
MSRP: $9.95
Natural High Organic Mango
Natural High Organic Mango
MSRP: $5.95
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