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Archive for the ‘Tech Talk’ Category


Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Part 2 of Avalanche Education Series set for Dec. 9 with final installment Jan. 27


TRUCKEE — Tahoe Mountain Sports hosted a full house on Nov. 18 for the first installment of its 2015-16 Avalanche Education Series.

With a lineup of experts that included NOAA meteorologist Zach Tolby, Don Triplat from the Sierra Avalanche Center and Steve Reynaud from the Tahoe Mountain School, attendees of the first-of-three avy ed sessions were briefed on what El Niño could mean for the Sierra as well as avalanche basics.

KTVN out of Reno was in the house with a live shoot for the evening’s broadcast. Check out the station’s recap of the event.

The free, three-part series presented by Ortovox continues on Dec. 9 with the “Beacons and Beers” session. For more information about part 2, check out the TMS Facebook pageExperts will go over basic transceiver and shovel use and group-rescue strategies. Attendees will break into small groups for outdoor beacon practice including burial scenarios. In addition to in-store discounts, TMS can update Ortovox, Mammut, Barryvox and Pieps transceivers for $5 on event night.

Part 3 of the series takes place on Jan. 27. For more information about part 3, check out the TMS Facebook page. The evening will focus on the physics behind avalanche airbag packs and understanding the differences between passive and active backcountry safety gear. TMS will offer free exchanges of all air or gas cylinders on event night only to practice and to test systems. A season-ending raffle supporting Sierra Avalanche Center will follow with the grand prize of a Mammut airbag pack ($900 value) highlighting the evening.

While the series is not intended to be an end-all education on avalanche safety, it is an exceptional opportunity to learn directly from Truckee-Tahoe’s resident mountain guides, avalanche safety instructors, meteorologists and local non-profits, such as the Sierra Avalanche Center.


Saturday, October 31st, 2015



With forecasts of El Niño ushering a potentially epic winter into the Sierra, Tahoe Mountain Sports’ upcoming Avalanche Education Series will help ensure the safety of you and your backcountry partners.

Tahoe Mountain Sports’ 2015-16 Avy Education Series presented by Ortovox is a free, three-part opportunity to learn practices that can keep you safe while participating in backcountry snow sports.

In addition to free, hands-on activities aimed at learning rescue techniques and how to use and service beacons and avalanche airbag packs, TMS will offer special, in-store deals each night during the series and raffles benefiting the Sierra Avalanche Center.

While the series is not intended to be an end-all education on avalanche safety, it is an exceptional opportunity to learn directly from Truckee-Tahoe’s resident mountain guides, avalanche safety instructors, meteorologists and local non-profits, such as the Sierra Avalanche Center.

All events are free and held at Tahoe Mountain Sports; 11200 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee. Doors open at 6 p.m. Programs start at 6:30 p.m. For more information contact TMS at 530-536-5200 or

Part I – Reading Avalanche Reports, Understand Mountain Forecasts & Making Good Decisions
Weds. Nov. 18 – 6:30 p.m.
Zach Tolby, a NOAA meteorologist, will discuss mountain-specific forecasts and what a strong El Niño means for the Sierra. Don Triplat from the Sierra Avalanche Center and Steve Reynaud from the Tahoe Mountain School will discuss problem solving in winter scenarios and safe backcountry movement. Interactive weather and decision-making scenarios will follow in a small group setting. Great raffle will cap it all off. Ortovox presents this event with additional support from The North Face and Black Diamond.

Part 2 – Beacons and Beers
Weds. Dec. 9 – 6:30 p.m.
Learn the basics of avalanche rescue including proper transceiver and shovel use and group-rescue strategies. Jared Rodriguez of Ortovox and Steve Reynaud of Tahoe Mountain School will discuss the history and tech behind avalanche transceivers. Attendees will break into small groups for outdoor beacon practice including burial scenarios. TMS will offer discounts on products in the store this night only. TMS can update Ortovox, Mammut, Barryvox and Pieps transceivers for $5 this night only. Ortovox presents this event with additional support from The North Face and Arva Equipment.

Part 3 – Avalanche Airbag Sessions – Rep War & Party
Weds Jan. 27, 2016 6:30 p.m.
Learn the physics behind avalanche airbag packs and understand the differences between passive and active backcountry safety gear. The night’s highlight will be the “Rep War,” where representatives from major airbag companies debate each other on who makes superior airbag systems. TMS will offer free exchanges of all air or gas cylinders this night only in an effort to practice and to test your system. A season-ending raffle supporting Sierra Avalanche Center will follow with the grand prize of a Mammut airbag pack ($900 value) highlighting the evening. Ortovox presents this event with additional support from The North Face, Black Diamond, Mammut and Backcountry Access (BCA).



Salomon Park Hydro Handset Review

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Formerly a collegiate miler and cross-country runner, Danny Jenkins has lived in Truckee for the past seven years, racing distances from half-marathons to 100-mile ultras. He has been a fundraiser for youth services, including Girls on the Run-Sierras and is also a former community addictions counselor. His passion is simply running free in the Sierra every chance he gets. Danny can be found on Instagram at @midnightspirit10.


Ph: Danny Jenkins

Swag is good. Swag that works is better. My girlfriend walked away with a free Salomon Park Hydro Handset at the Truckee Running Festival in June. Catching some shade under the Salomon tent paid off. “The rep said you’d love it!” Her enthusiasm overrides mine by a clear mile every time, but she’s usually right.

I stashed it on the shelf next to my front door, along with handhelds I’ve collected and used from half a dozen other manufacturers. A week later I grabbed it for a test spin and a week after that, I grabbed a second Park Hydro from Adam at TMS. One black, one red – toe nail colors for runners. I tested both over a six week period on runs ranging from 6 to 15 miles, with workouts at my usual haunts like the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), TRT (Tahoe Rim Trail), Donner Rim Trail, Sawtooth Trail Loop, Squaw Valley & other local “backyard” trails in Truckee and Tahoe Donner.


Ph: Danny Jenkins

It’s difficult to find something “new” in the world of nomadic hydration. Handhelds are pretty basic; slip your hand in, pull the tension and go. But, the Park Hydro is a little different and shows some unique thought and results from Salomon. First, the Park Hydro is designed to be bottom mounted, and sitting in-line with the under-side of your forearm. Two finger holes near the top lead the way. I wasn’t fully comfortable with this, so I just started playing with different angles and fits. The wrap-around velcro strap (that goes around your wrist and secures on the other side) allows for versatility and I found a better angle (around 130 degree set) without using the finger holes, with virtually no slippage and no need to actually grip the handset if I didn’t want to. It stayed put – no soreness, no fatigue. The ability to find your own “comfort zone” is a huge plus.


Ph: Danny Jenkins

The outer shell is made of 100% polyester; hassle free, comfortable and durable. They got wet. They got muddy. They got hail. I threw them on rocks, in the dirt, sat on ’em & kicked ’em, and yes….wiped my nose with them (an often overlooked quality in handhelds). They never tore and always retained their shape. Good stuff. The Hydrapak softflask (reservoir) holds 17oz and comes with a bite valve for controlled drinking. Sealed properly, it never leaked on me and was super easy to use in any situation, especially on the run and even on fast downhills. The side zipper pouch runs the length of the outer shell and inner softflask. At max capacity, it would hold my car keys, a couple of gels and a nutrition bar. If you really need to, an iPhone barely fits.

I didn’t find many negatives to this new and unique form of portable hydration from Salomon. The wrap around velcro strap, while adaptable to most any size arm, could use more velcro reaching the length of the top-side strap itself. I have thin wrists, so once secured, there is some excess length; nothing that can’t be tucked in, but more velcro is a clear improvement Salomon could look at. The 17oz. softflask seems ideal but I would also like to see how a 20oz. version would handle.


Ph: Danny Jenkins

The Salomon Park Hydro Handset was perfect hydration for runs between 6-10 miles and I simply carried two if I was going up to 15 miles or had chances at re-fueling (maybe Heed in one, water in the other?). I try and prevent putting anything on my back if I can help it (I like to run light), so the Park Hydro fit into my summer hydration inventory nicely. It has a uniquely secure, comfortable fit and feel (think water-bed for your hand & fingers) and didn’t leak after several beatings and approximately 300 miles of trail & mountain running over six-weeks. Revolutionized handheld hydration – Salomon nailed it here.

Coral Loves the Merrell Capra Sport Hiking Shoes!

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

This post comes from TMS Ambassador – Coral Taylor, an avid mountain biker, yogi, snowboarder and outdoor enthusiast living in Truckee, CA. Follow @c_ros on Instagram for rad photos of her adventures around Lake Tahoe and beyond. In addition to getting after it on the snow, Coral is also a Team LUNAChix Tahoe Mountain Bike Team Ambassador!

Hiking Shoes Reviewed: Merrell Capra Sport Hiking Shoes – Women’s
Color: Royal Lilac/Adventurine
Size Reviewed: Women’s Size 7

First thing out of the box, I noticed the awesome color of these shoes. I know, I know – don’t judge a book by its cover and all that; however, I can’t help it. I want my gear to have function AND form. Form – check.


(Photo: Coral Taylor)

Onto assessing function. I like my hiking and running shoes to typically be a little larger than my normal shoe size, to account for swollen feet on the trail and thicker socks, but the Capra runs true to size and my standard size 7 works for the size 7 in these shoes. It seems like Merrell knows what they are doing and made accommodations accordingly.

The light weight of these shoes was noticeable as soon as I put them on. They are heavier than my trail runners, but MUCH lighter than any hiking shoe or boot I have ever worn. Walking with these shoes around the house to get a feel for their lacing and to start breaking them in, the stiff sole was noticeable, although there is a point mid-sole where the shoe gets more flexible.

I decided to take these hot new kicks for a trial hike/run after work one day. I hiked up the lovely Donner Canyon, which is mostly fire road, with some rocks, loose gravel and dirt, and a little mud in the lower sections. These shoes performed well and maintained traction even in a few parts where the trail was eroded with spring runoff from the recent rains.

I detoured off the trail, onto one of the granite boulders offering a stunning view of Donner Lake, and the Capras continued their grippy action, allowing me to walk up the side of the boulders as easily as if I were walking on the street.


(Photo: Coral Taylor)

I enjoyed the view then took a short, much needed meditation break, with the sound of the forest and the scent of the pines. Afterwards, a quick glance at my phone revealed that dinner would be ready in a few minutes, so it was go time – trail run back to the car! The Capras were heavier and bulkier than my trail running shoes (naturally), and I stumbled a few times, as I was adjusting to the larger shape of my foot in these shoes. However, compared to my few pathetic attempts at jogging in any other hiking boots, the Capras far out-performed them in their flexibility, lightness, and nimbleness. Towards the end of the trail, my clumsiness subsided as my proprioception increased, and the Capras felt more comfortable.

For my second, longer hike in the Capras, I went to the Redwood Forest of Mendocino. The Capras were comfortable on steep uphill and downhill sections, and were excellent at avoiding banana slugs and poison oak (yikes!). They maintained traction in the loose loam of the upper trail area, as well as the sandy beach and slippery log that I had to precariously balance on in order to cross the flowing Russian Gulch Creek. The second time wearing these shoes made a big difference – they already seemed more broken in and fit my feet better.


Watch out for Banana Slugs! (Photo: Coral Taylor)

I wore them again the following day for an outrigger canoe paddling trip up Big River, where they performed well by keeping my feet dry and warm (much needed due to my sloppy paddling skills) and they gave me ample traction on the sandy beach to get a good running start for the rope swing over the river.

All in all, I think these are an excellent all-around hiking shoe! I look forward to wearing the Capras on longer hikes this summer and on a few backpacking trips, including meeting up with my youngest sister who is currently somewhere on the PCT.

– Lightweight
– Supportive, but flexible
– High traction sole

– Lack of ankle support
– Need to be broken in (like any other hiking boot)
– Spend time wearing the shoe to get to know its width

Brand Highlight: Ultimate Direction – FREE Demos!

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Water is the essential element for peak training, racing and performance. At Ultimate Direction, their employees and sponsored athletes know this first hand. That’s why they craft the best hydration products to keep you on the move. Keep on moving!

Try-before-you-buy for FREE with a demo of the new Scott Jurek Ultra Vest 2.0 or the Women’s Ultra Vesta and see what everyone’s talking about first hand! Available for a limited time (while supplies last).

Click HERE to see our full line-up of Ultimate Direction products!

The SJ Ultra Vest is the result of collaboration with Scott Jurek, the world’s most dominant ultra runner. Weighing in at 11 ounces (16.5 with bottles) and offering 7.0 L of storage space, the SJ has the best weight-to-capacity ratio of any hydration pack on the market.












Designed by the Women’s Collective, the Ultra Vesta is ergonomically shaped to fit perfectly and perform flawlessly. Front-facing bottle optional pockets offer quick, immediate access to hydration and lower large-volume pockets keep your phone, camera, salt tablets or gels within reach. Bounce-free and moisture-wicking Air Mesh provides support and is soft to the touch for all day comfort.

















Keep Moving with Goal Zero Rechargers

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Tahoe Mountain Sports is proud to carry solar panels and solar-powered gadgets by Goal Zero. Charge your laptop, phone, audio device, batteries and other electronics while in the field with your own portable power device.

Since Goal Zero became a company in June of 2009 their mission has been to empower people by putting reliable power in the hands of every human being. As they’ve grown over the years their mission has stayed the same and they’ve been lucky enough to connect with people around the world. They’ve been amazed by the steady flow of stories we receive about the good that our friends around the world are doing. In order to help share these stories they’ve created Solar Life.

Solar Life is about the feeling you get waking up to a frost-encrusted tent before dawn. It’s hiking a high mountain ridge to watch the sun rise. It’s bringing light into the lives of those in need, but most of all it’s having the freedom to get out and stay out doing the things that you love without compromising. Solar Life exists to capture and share the stories of those seeking adventure and empowering others. These stories come from their ambassadors, employees and, most importantly, you.

Whether you’re at base camp for months, camping in your backyard, or serving your community, these stories are for you. Goal Zero hope they inspire, empower, and help you live a Solar Life of your own.

Check out the awesome the Flip 10, Guide 10 Plus and Switch 10 USB Multi-Tool Kit rechargers below!





Adventurous Dining at the Peter Grubb Hut

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

This post comes from Guest Blogger Michelle Shea. Michelle lives in Lake Tahoe and is the host/creator of the outdoor series Adventure Dining Guide. She created Adventure Dining Guide because “food is the unrecognized hero of our journeys, and its about time backcountry meals get the recognition they deserve”. Learn  more at

Who: Chef Brian Robinson from the Clair Tappaan Lodge, cameraman Calvin Scibilla, dogs Bella and Shogun, and myself
What: Hike to Sierra Club’s Peter Grub Hut and cook lunch in the hut
Where: Tahoe National Forrest and the Clair Tappaan Lodge
When: November, 2014

This was the first official episode that I filmed for Adventure Dining Guide with a cameraman, a script and an experienced chef. I was both nervous and excited for this adventure and spent weeks making sure everything turned out as planned.


Calvin and I arrived in the morning to the Clair Tappaan Lodge to be greeted by Chef Brian and the friendly staff and volunteers who were at the lodge. We all sat down to enjoy a family style breakfast, where Calvin and I were able to hear some great stories about the lodge and its long history.


Prepping the taco meat ingredients in the Clair Tappaan kitchen


Thanks Technical Equipment Cleaners (TEC)!

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Technical Equipment Cleaners (TEC), located at 10607 W. River St. Suite 1D, Truckee, CA specializes in cleaning, waterproofing, & repairs for outdoor sports apparel and equipment.

TEC utilizes “Green Cleaning, NOT dry cleaning” – All water cleaning, All ECO friendly, All ways…

Learn more at and follow them on Facebook.

Recently, #TMS employee, Kevin Snow had the misfortune of sitting on an (open) energy packet in the car after split-boarding up Tamarack Peak in the Mt. Rose backcountry. Kevin had on his new Arc’Teryx Beta AR Pants. These hyper-durable pants were not ruined but definitely needed a cleaning to get the GU off them.

These awesome pants are packable, waterproof pants featuring minimal bulk, exceptional waterproofing, and reinforced knees, seat, and lower legs to ensure a long lasting construction.


Enter TEC. Daniel Cates (Owner of Technical Equipment Cleaners) in Truckee, CA came to the rescue. His professional cleaning service shined brightly as he washed, brushed, washed and brushed again the incredible Beta AR Pants.

Thank you to TEC for bringing Kevin’s pants back to life!


Watch the video below to see the aftermath of Kevin’s mishap and our tour up Tamarack Peak!

Salomon Rocker 2 100 Skis – Review

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

This post comes from Colorado native Tiffany Hansen, a guest blogger ( and Boulder, CO resident who recently relocated back from Southern California to be closer to the mountains, the snow and the great Colorado outdoors. When Tiffany isn’t working on behalf of her clients, she is finding new adventures in the backcountry and fine-tuning her collection of backcountry gear. Watch for more gear reviews and fun reading from Tiffany and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.


Tiffany Hansen

Salomon Rocker 2 100 Skis

*What: Solomon Rocker2 100, 170cm

*Where: I have owned these skis since September 2014 and have put them to test on multiple varieties of Intermountain Colorado snow both on and off-piste ranging from the early season crust of Andrew’s Glacier, Dragontail and the Apron in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) to the fresh-dry powder of Terrain Park (RMNP Lake Haiyaha area), the packed and fresh powder of Breckenridge, and fresh powder on top of hard pack at the East Portal trail up to Forest Lakes. These skis have traversed the Colorado Front Range and have given me the confidence to take them into the backcountry of the San Juans for some serious spring backcountry adventures.


*Pros: The Rocker2 is a lightweight ride and an ideal all-mountain ski, having proven itself worthy of handling the gravely diverse snow conditions found throughout any given day in the Colorado backcountry. I love groomers and packed powder and prefer a ski that can effortlessly carve the hard snow. The Full Woodcore offers optimum stability and rebound, while maximizing ski to snow contact while filtering vibrations. The twin rocker tips and the loose camber underfoot glide through turns and don’t get grabby and allowed me to maintain control at higher speeds, even though technically this ski is built for lower speeds. The hook-free taper of the big rocker tip moves the skis widest point to the middle and performs well in dry powder, allowing me to keep the ski flat to easily float through pleasure turns. Conversely, I gain maximum control if I roll and apply power and engage a hard edge for sharper handling. The ski is immediately responsive delivering impressive terrain adaptation making it a blast to ride in the conditions I prefer the most.


Product Features:
Twin Rocker shape, full wood core and full sandwich construction, the Rocker 2 100 is equally at home in the park & pipe as it is off piste in powder. One-stop-shopping for both freeriders and the less acrobatic on and off piste adventures looking for an energetic, all-mountain ski that does it all.


Technologies include: 

– Full Woodcore: full-length wood laminates, from tip to tail, giving optimum stability and rebound, while maximizing ski to snow contact and filtering vibrations

– Full Sandwich Walls: laminate construction with fll length ABS sidewalls give extraordinary smooth ski/snow contact and a great terrain adaptation. Laminated construction enables us to combine optimum materials layers for targeted performance

– Pulse Pad: a layer of rubber all along the edges and in critical zones of the ski for smoother ride & improved ski-snow contact

– Hook Free Taper: the widest point in the sidecut tapers in toward the tip earlier for less drag and hooking in powder. Swing weight is also reduced making the ski even more maneuverable in difficult snow

– Wide Edges: thicker edges for increased durability and improved shock resistance

– Total Edge Reinforcement: fiber reinforcement directly on top of edges improves durability, edge grip, and shock resistance

– Twin Rocker: long, medium height rocker profile at the tip and tail enables easy pivoting with maximum flotation and maneuverability in powder. The ski retains a long contact zone on edge with camber in the middle of the ski for stability and edge grip

– Carve Zone: the traditionally cambered section of twin rocker skis where the sidecut is focused on more power, energy and edge grip

– Glossy


*Cons: These skis have proven to be more difficult in both resort and backcountry “mashed-potato” or soft powder due to the narrow waist. These conditions are more easily skiable with a fat ski. However, given all the other technology packed in to the Rocker 2 100 this is a minor grievance.


*Suggestions: It’s hard to say what modifications would improve this ski. Increasing the width to accommodate soft powder would have a negative influence on carving performance. Unless you’ve got quite the quiver, for an all-mountain ski that covers many conditions, I feel this ski has hit the target and I wouldn’t change a thing.



*Summary: Solomon Rocker 2 100 are worthy of their mid-range price tag. The twin rocker/camber combo delivers an impressive all-mountain performance on most every terrain that is difficult to come by in a single pair of skis, especially in this price point. The next offering in this profile is the K2 Annex 98 Freeride at a slightly higher price point. However, you don’t get the twin rocker which is attractive to the new-style skier. If you do not want to have to pack multiple pairs of skis, this is definitely your best bet for the money!

Salomon Rocker 2 100 Skis
Salomon Rocker 2 100 Skis
Sale Price: $479.95
Arva Neo Avalanche Beacon
Arva Neo Avalanche Beacon
Sale Price: $287.96

Demo Alpine Touring Skis, Snowshoes and More in Truckee!

Friday, February 13th, 2015


Tahoe Mountain Sports offers a complete selection of  Volkl, K2, Blizzard, G3, Coalition, Black Diamond, BCA, Mammut, Ortovox, Pieps, Dynafit, Garmont, Scott and Dynafit alpine touring and safety equipment for rental in Truckee, CA to be used Lake Tahoe, CA or around the country. All backcountry skis, telemark skis, Salomon Nordic skis (boots and poles) or MSR snowshoe rentals can be picked up and dropped off during our business hours. All rental rates are good for a 24-hour period and user of equipment must be present to rent backcountry gear.

Click here for the Tahoe Mountain Sports Outdoor Gear Rental rates.

If you would like to demo or rent something not on the list, just call (530-536-5200) and we will be happy to coordinate your outdoor adventure. All rentals or demos can be put towards the purchase price if you decide to purchase the equipment up to $150.


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