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Archive for the ‘Lake Tahoe Area Info’ 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).



Leave No Trace: Adventure Dining Guide

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

By Michelle Shea

Who: Sam and Jenna, the Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers. Michelle Shea (host), Skyler Mullings (cameraman), Connor Stohlgren (sound)
What: Paleo car camping meal and Leave No Trace cooking methods
Where: North Lake Tahoe
When: August 2015

Click on the photo to learn more about leave-no-trace cooking techniques.

Click on the photo to learn more about leave-no-trace cooking techniques.

Spending time with Leave No Trace experts Sam Ovett and Jenna Hanger during their visit to Tahoe emphasized the importance of taking care of all the little details when cooking outdoors. By planning ahead and paying attention to what we might be leaving behind, we can all do our part to keep the wilderness pristine.

Sam and Jenna are ambassadors of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The duo live, work and travel out of a brand new Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. Sam and Jenna came to Lake Tahoe in August to work several events and were kind enough to sneak in an afternoon of hanging out on the beach, stand up paddle boarding and Paleo car cooking with the Adventure Dining Guide team.

This is an episode you don’t want to miss! Click the “view recipe” to get some more Leave No Trace tips and learn how you can prepare this healthy Paleo meal on your next camping excursion:

Check out Tahoe Mountain Sports for your outdoor culinary needs:

I hope that this episode of Adventure Dining Guide encourages you to always be responsible and to always Leave No Trace!

This post comes from Guest Blogger Michelle Shea. Michelle lives at 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 it’s about time backcountry meals get the recognition they deserve”. Learn more at


Still Time to ‘Fall’ into Your 2015 Sierra Adventure Bucket List

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Autumn is making its presence felt over the Sierra, but Tahoe Mountain Sports ambassador Coral Rose Taylor says there still is time to do many of those summer-like adventures before the snow flies.

So with fall here, Coral is re-evaluating those activities and checking her gear bag to see what she can check off her 2015 Bucket List.

Hiking in Yosmite.

Hiking in Yosmite.

Hiking: Being lucky enough to live in the mountains, I sometimes take these geographic formations for granted. However, any time I’m lucky enough to get on the trail for a hike, I re-connect with myself, with nature, with a different perspective on time.

Here are some of the hikes I would love to do this autumn:

Tallac – An iconic Lake Tahoe hike, which I am embarrassed to admit I have not yet done, even though I’ve lived in Truckee/Tahoe for 13 years now. The challenge will be to do this before the snow flies.

Rose – Another local favorite that I haven’t yet put foot on. I’ve hiked parts of it, and around the Mt. Rose meadows, but haven’t made it to the summit proper yet.

Boundary Peak – As a native Nevadan, I feel like I owe it to myself to summit the Silver State’s highest peak. If the weather holds, I’m thinking it would be fitting to do this on Nevada Day, observed on October 30, aka Halloween Eve. This will require an extra day; with a timeline that will account for driving down 395, camping at the trailhead, hiking up, then camping another night.

Mountain biking on the Hole in the Ground Trail, with Castle Peak in the background.

Mountain biking on the Hole in the Ground Trail, with Castle Peak in the background.

Mountain Biking: Where do I start? There are so many trails in the Truckee/Tahoe area. If you add in the trails in Reno, Carson, Nevada City, Auburn, etc., you will have your work cut out for you trying to ride all of them. So, I’m putting some of my top hit-list trails on here and will see what happens. I love mountain biking in the cooler weather; the temperature is that much more conducive to longer days in the saddle without running out of water or overheating.

Flume Trail: Another Tahoe icon I have not yet been on. I’ve heard all the hype about the epic views and a few exposed sections; which I’m sure are true, I just need to get in the saddle for myself to check out.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: Living in North Lake Tahoe/Truckee over the years, I have not explored the trails of South Lake very much at all. In fact, I only rode Anderson, Anderson Connector and the Corral trails for the first time this July. This sounds like an all-day adventure, but the opportunity to check out some South Lake Tahoe restaurants after a day’s hard work will make me proud to earn my turns.

Ash Canyon: This new trail has been getting rave reviews by local mountain bike groups, but I was leery of riding in the high desert on an exposed trail during the heat of the summer. I think this autumn will be the perfect time to finally ride here.

Staying warm in the Sierra.

Staying warm in the Sierra.

Camping / Backpacking: Sleeping outside, even in a tent, is such a different experience than in the comfort of my own bed. During a recent camping trip to June Lake, I was woken throughout the night by a pack of coyotes; listening to their vocalizations was so interesting and entertaining – who needs Netflix? Although the cooler weather is a challenge for me, I hope to get another night or four in a tent.

Pyramid Lake: The terminus of the Truckee River, this desert lake’s austere beauty appeals to me; even more so without the brutal heat of the high summer. The lack of trees makes for great stargazing and the salinity of the lake improves my rudimentary swimming skills! This is an easy spot for car camping, so it makes for a quick overnight.

Lola: Practically in Truckee’s backyard, there is a year-round trail here, with ample backpack camping sites near White Rock Lake or along Cold Stream.

Lake Aloha: Yes, I know that the trail out here can be as busy as Disneyland, but there’s a reason Lake Aloha is so popular – it is gorgeous and accessible. I was able to meet my sister and her boyfriend while they were through-hiking the PCT earlier this summer, but I didn’t get to spend the night there, so it’s on my hit list.

Filtering water along the trail.

Filtering water along the trail.

Gear Needed: General gear for this time of year includes the following: map (or competent guide friend), compass, cell phone (in airplane mode to disconnect from modernity and connect to self and nature), headlamp (shorter days mean this is even more important), extra layers (light windbreaker, puffy coat, beanie, gloves, emergency rain poncho), sunscreen (the Joshua Tree sunscreen smells delicious, is made in the USA, and free of nasty chemicals), electrolytes, food and water are critical.

This past year, I have been making more of my own food to bring on the trail, in lieu of bars and gels, and am really fond of the baked rice balls in the Feed Zone Portables cookbook. The date/almond rice balls are super easy and the sweet potato/bacon are a delicious savory flavor.

I love that hiking is one of the least gear-heavy activities we can do around here, but a good pair of hiking shoes (I really like my Merrell Capras – the sticky soles offer great traction, and the wider toe box is really comfortable), and a daypack (I prefer a hydration pack so I can have my hands free) are necessary. Bonus items are trekking poles, a fancy watch, a Spot (just in case), and a GoPro to capture those epic summit pics.

Besides the obvious mountain bike, helmet and gloves, some bonus items to bring are a cyclometer (if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen), a camera, and a cold beer/cider waiting for you at the car. Depending on the temperature, I may also wear pants or knee/leg warmers.

Camping and backpacking require the typical tent, sleeping bag, and pad, as well as a backpacking pack. Depending where you go, a bear canister is necessary. Trekking poles help, especially on descents, and I really like the MPOWERD inflatable solar lanterns for lightweight disco-fun illumination. A water filter, spork, mess kit, Jetboil, AeroPress, coffee and cup are needed as well.

I love the change of seasons and the crispness in the air, but I plan to clutch onto the last vestiges of summer as long as possible by doing as many of these adventures as I can. If you want to join me, let me know!

“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir

Namaste, Coral

Coral Taylor is 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!

Polar Opposites: A photo journey of Antarctica in Truckee

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Todd Offenbacher and Tahoe Mountain Sports host an early season pow wow for pow featuring Todd O’s slideshow from Antarctica.

Who: Todd Offenbacher – Mammut athlete, mountaineer and Tahoe local
What: Polar Opposites: A photographic journey of ski mountaineering in Antarctica and Svalbard
When: Oct. 21 | Doors-shopping specials: 6 p.m. | Program: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Tahoe Mountain Sports; 11200 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee
Why: Get stoked for snow and raffle benefiting Sierra Avalanche Center

Truckee, CA — Join Tahoe Mountain Sports on Oct. 21 to get psyched for snow with Todd O and his Polar Opposites slideshow.

TMS will host its free, all-ages, in-store season kick-off with adventure skier and climber Todd Offenbacher (Todd O) as he takes us on a photographic journey of ski mountaineering in Antarctica and Svalbard. Along with Todd O’s stunning photography, Tahoe Mountain Sports will feature a raffle to benefit the Sierra Avalanche Center, of which Todd O is a board member.

“Penguins in the south and polar bears in the north,” Todd O says about Polar Opposites. “With a little bit of big wall climbing thrown in for fun.”

From 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., TMS will be offering shopping specials for those stocking up on their stoke due to Todd O’s adventures.

“It is a funny and inspiring show,” he says. “I try to explain how to get invited, or invited back, to the best trips in the world.”

The South Lake Tahoe resident and Mammut athlete is also a guide for Ice Axe Expeditions, the host for Outside TV Lake Tahoe and the creator of Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, which will premier this year on Dec. 11 at the MontBleu in South Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Mountain Sports – 536-5200


Sunday, September 13th, 2015
Need a race-day wetsuit or just want to take one for a demo swim? Contact TMS and we’ll get you zipped up.

Need a race-day wetsuit or just want to take one for a demo swim? Contact TMS and we’ll get you zipped up.

Tahoe Mountain Sports can’t do much to lessen the elevation for those taking on Ironman Lake Tahoe on Sept. 20, but TMS can help racers and their support crews handle chilly mountain temperatures and the cold water of the Sierra Nevada.

Whether it’s in the lake, on the bike, out on the run or spectating, Tahoe Mountain Sports has everything to cover the pre-race, post-race and race-day nutrition and gear needs of triathletes and their families.

Starting Monday, Sept. 14, Tahoe Mountain Sports, located just off the bike course in Truckee at 11200 Donner Pass Rd., kicks off its annual Ironman appreciation days with a variety of steals, deals and schwag. Make sure to stop by the store to stock up that transition bag and at the TMS booth in the Ironman Village at Squaw Valley for a chance to win gear.

Forget race-day nutrition? Don’t stress; Tahoe Mountain Sports stocks all the best offerings from Hammer, Clif, Gu, Nuun and Epic Bars.

From goggles and swim caps to wetsuits, Tahoe Mountain Sports boasts Truckee-North Tahoe’s best supply of triathlon-specific gear from Tyr, Nathan and 2XU. Need a race-day wetsuit or just want to take one for a demo swim? Contact TMS and we’ll get you zipped up.

And whether it’s a racer taking on the 26.2-mile run leg of the triathlon or the family exploring the area’s trails, Tahoe Mountain Sports has a top-of-the-line selection of footwear for road and trail running and hiking.

From free wetsuit demos and the chance to win a $100 store gift certificate, Tahoe Mountain Sports welcomes those taking on the challenge of Ironman Lake Tahoe. Good luck!

@ TAHOE MOUNTAIN SPORTS (11200 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee)

Mon-Weds (9/14-9/16) – Take 20 percent off all nutrition products, compression and warm/cold weather gear. Check out brands like Hammer Nutrition, Gu, Clif, 2XU and CEP compression.

Ironman Week (9/14-9/20) – Free 2XU wetsuit demos all week long. While supplies and sizes last, stop by the store and take a 2XU wetsuit out for a swim in Tahoe or nearby Donner Lake. 24-hour rental rates are free; anything over 24 hours is $25/day. Race day rentals are available for $25. Inquire at the store for available sizes and rental reservations.


Thurs-Sat (9/17-9/20) – Visit Tahoe Mountain Sports and 2XU at the Ironman Village at Squaw Valley. There will be a huge selection of 2XU compression and triathlon gear and clothing. And don’t forget to stop by, say hi and enter to win a $100 gift certificate by signing up at the booth during the expo.

Castle Peak 100K Runners Go Big

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015
Chris Cloyd, TMS ambassador and Truckee local, placed third overall in his Salomon Running kit at the inaugural Castle Peak 100K.

Chris Cloyd, TMS ambassador and Truckee local, placed third overall in his Salomon Running kit at the inaugural Castle Peak 100K.

By all accounts the inaugural Castle Peak 100K trail race on Aug. 29 was a success, but by no means easy.

Of the 55 runners who started the race at 5 a.m. Saturday at Stampede Reservoir, 48 crossed the finish line at Donner Memorial State Park — the majority in the dark.

Shout out to Tahoe Mountain Sports ambassador and Truckee resident Chris Cloyd, who finished third overall. Cloyd covered the 62.5 miles and 11,000 feet of elevation in 12 hours 42 mins. Jace Ives, of Ashland, OR, hammered the course finishing first at 10 hrs 53 mins. The first woman was Roxanne Woodhouse of Weaverville, CA at 13 hrs 02 mins.

Congratulations to all who took on the Castle Peak 100K challenge. TMS looks forward to Chris’ recap of the event, next year’s race and what race organizers — Donner Party Mountain Runners — have in store for the future from racing to group runs.

And while Donner Party Mountain Runners is a great place to connect about the trail running scene, TMS has all your trail-running gear needs covered. Whether you’re gearing up for an ultra-running event or just hitting the area’s amazing trail offerings for your own running adventure, TMS has you covered from head to toe.


Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.32.00 AM

Salomon’s S Lab XT 6

If running 100k wasn’t challenging enough, the Castle Peak 100k threw in another surprise at mile 49 — ascending a steep, exposed cliff band in the Palisades between Mt. Disney and Mt. Lincoln. How steep? Steep enough that runners tackled the ascent assisted by ropes.

OK, not everyone is hitting rated pitches on their trail runs, but wearing shoes designed for mixed trail types will cover most situations. Salomon’s S-Lab XT 6 Trail Racing Shoes offer the company’s Contragrip, which features outsole hardness combinations for a blend of grip and durability.

The shoe company that’s taken the trail-running world by storm the last few years is Hoka. You’ve undoubtedly seen the unique shoes on the feet of your hardcore running friends. Hoka’s thick, rolling rocker and midsole geometry features a high volume, soft density rebounding foam that scores of runners swear by.


Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 12.05.29 PM

Ultimate Direction’s SJ Ultra Hydration Vest

The distance of your run will dictate your hydration needs. Will a hydration pack, vest or hand-held water bottle do the job? Whatever your needs, TMS has it all. For those long runs the Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Hydration Vest allows for plenty of water with two 20oz bottle holders and space to accommodate a 70 oz. bladder. Another cool feature is the stretchy pockets so the vest expands as you need it.

If you’re heading out for a shorter run or just don’t like wearing a vest or pack, a hand-held water bottle may be your best option. The Salomon Park Hydro Handset  features an innovative 16-ounce flask that compresses as you drink and eliminates annoying sloshing as you deplete your liquids nearer the end of a run.

For more on the Salomon Park Hydro Handset checkout this TMS review.

Footwear and hydration are just two aspects of what will help you out on the trail. Find everything for your trail running needs from technical apparel, nutrition, headlamps and more at Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Ladies Night at TMS with Michelle Parker (11/22)

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014


Ladies Night Featuring Michelle Parker @ Tahoe Mountain Sports
A Benefit Event for S.A.F.E. A.S. Clinics – Women’s Avalanche Safety Workshop Series

What: Special Ladies’ Only Inspirational Evening with Professional Skier Michelle Parker and Exclusive Women’s Shopping Deals
When: Saturday, November 22 | Doors-Shopping Specials: 5:00 p.m. | Official Program: 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: Tahoe Mountain Sports, 11200 Donner Pass Rd. E5 Truckee, CA 96161(Safeway Shopping Center)
Presented by: Mountain Hardwear and Tahoe Mountain Sports

Join your fellow ladies in the Truckee-Tahoe area for a fun night at your local outdoor gear headquarters and get excited for winter along with the rest of us! Tahoe City, CA native and inspirational pro-skier, Michelle Parker will lead a motivational discussion on her career and what it takes to be a successful action sports athlete. Additionally, attendees of this FREE event will enjoy store-wide savings and special deals on women’s specific apparel, footwear and gear. Utilize this great evening as the perfect opportunity to do some holiday shopping, or to simply spoil yourself! A portion of proceeds from Ladies Night will benefit the SAFE AS Clinics, a local non-profit organization that fosters exceptional opportunities for women to learn about the skill sets needed to become a well educated skier or snowboarder.

Take advantage of special discounts on gear and clothing this night only! There are great prizes to be won in the raffle (benefiting the SAFE AS Clinics), including a Ghost Whisperer hooded down jacket (valued at $300) from Mountain Hardwear and lots more (including gear from Vapur and Pistil)! With winter just around the corner, Tahoe Mountain Sports has everything you need to stay warm outside. If you’re into hiking, yoga, Crossfit, rock climbing, skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing or Nordic skiing, we’ve got the gear to get you out there! Enjoy special shopping deals in an intimate and customized setting that will leave you inspired to take your skills to the next level.

Michelle Parker is a 27 year old professional skier who was born and raised in Squaw Valley and has been a member of the Squaw Valley Freeride Team since 2006. After competing in X Games events for Slopestyle and Halfpipe Michelle turned her focus on filming with Matchstick Productions and has been featured in the latest film ‘Days of My Youth’ as well as ‘Superheroes of Stoke’, whereupon she was awarded IF3’s and Powder Awards ‘Best Female Performance’. Michelle is addicted to chasing winter in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and has spent the past 9 summers guiding and coaching in Argentina at South America Snow Sessions.. Michelle spends most of her time in the mountains skiing, climbing, and mountain biking. She co-founded SAFE AS, is an advisor for High Fives Non-profit Foundation, is an ambassador for both Alpine Initiatives and Climate Reality, and has raised over $18,000 for the Sarah Burke Foundation. Philanthropy is equally as important to her as she see’s skiing as an outlet to inspire and create a positive change.

SAFE AS (Skiers Advocating and Fostering Education for Avalanche and Snow Safety): Created by Elyse Saugstad, Jackie Paaso, Lel Tone, Michelle Parker, Ingrid Backstrom, and Sherry McConkey, the SAFE AS clinics goal is to heighten community snow safety and avalanche awareness by hosting women’s intro to avalanche safety workshops. These leading ladies of skiing hope to foster an open, welcoming environment by which to encourage participation and communication.

“By sharing their own mistakes, uncertainties, and bad decisions, these women taught us that it’s okay to be unsure, and that we all will make close calls at some point—and that’s alright. They also taught us that those close calls are a chance to learn exactly what not to do, and go out smarter and safer the next time.” – SAFE AS Clinic Participant – Abbie Barronian from

safe as header
If you can’t make the event but would still like to donate to a wonderful, women’s cause, please check out the SAFE AS website. Thank you to Mountain Hardwear for sponsoring the 2014 Tahoe Mountain Sports Ladies Night with Michelle Parker!

RSVP to the event on Facebook:
Join the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Adventure Group:

Tahoe Mountain Sports proud to work with Michelle Parker. The above video introduces episode one of Michelle and SASS Global Travel’s latest venture, “Argentina Calling”. Throughout the first installment of this three-part series, Parker shows us what drives her to South America from her home in Lake Tahoe, CA each summer. Enjoy watching the lady shredder chase pow while she gives us a taste of what’s to come in the next two episodes.

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 Mambo Duo Synthetic Comforter (2-person sleeping bag). Make poor choices and be ready to enjoy a bone-chilling night outside at 9,100 feet. (more…)

How To Stand Up Paddle Lake Tahoe: Best Places to Launch and Tour

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

This review comes from Scott Johns, an adventure cinematographer, mountain biker and snowboarder living in Incline Village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. When Scott’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. Find more of Scott’s work at


With 72 miles of coastline, stand up paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe ought to be a straightforward endeavor of endless options, right? Well, half of that statement is true. The options are nearly endless. From scenic Emerald Bay to the elusive hot springs of the North Shore to the best beaches, on the East Shore, Tahoe has something for every paddler. But where to launch and how long it will take to reach your destination of choice can get a little messy.

Much of Tahoe’s coastline isn’t ultra accessible by land when you’re carrying a 10-foot-long, 30-pound paddleboard. Going with an inflatable SUP can help solve that problem, but some of it still isn’t accessible by land, regardless. Here’s a guide to the best launches and day trips, with an overnighter and a hike-in option for the more adventurous of our ranks.


Best SUP Launches


East Shore Ease: Sand Harborsand-harbor-stand-up-paddle-tahoe

This Nevada State Park offers a short carry coupled with a quick paddle to get the goods. The rocky coves and soft sand of Tahoe’s east shore give it many of the best beaches around the lake. Sand Harbor is probably the best known of those and boy, is that water turquoise! An ever-popular snorkeling spot, Sand Harbor is also great on an S.U.P. Just look down.


South Shore Seclusion: Camp Richardson

Okay, Camp Rich isn’t exactly secluded, but the undeveloped coastline between there and Emerald Bay certainly is. So bite off as much of it as you can chew or go for the whole enchilada. Emerald Bay from Camp Rich is about a three to four hour paddle, round trip, depending on your skill level. Pack a lunch and some biodegradable sunscreen (to protect our precious lake!) and start early.



Inflatable SUP – lightweight, firm, stable, and won’t ding on rocks!

North Shore: Kings Beach State Park

Just across the street from Tahoe Mountain Sports, Kings Beach State Park presents a super-easy launch right next to the parking area. Swing by TMS before to rent a paddleboard (only $25 for 3-hours or $40 for a full day) or drop in afterward to let us know how it was! The Coon Street Boat Launch and nearby Speedboat Beach are also your best access points for the Tahoe hot springs wild goose chase. Good luck with that! Hint: It’s private.


West Shore Wonder: Meeks Bay

With a campground, marina and sandy beaches, Meeks Bay has everything you could ask for. Need I say more? Okay, the scenery doesn’t suck either. Oh, and do yourself a favor and stop by the Tahoma Market PDQ for a fantastic sandwich on your way over.

SUP Trip Ideas

sneaky-scott-johns-stand-up-paddle-lake-tahoeBest SUP Day Trip: Tahoe City to Sunnyside

I have a confession to make: I’m not that bright. The summer I moved from the South Shore to the North Shore, I took my girlfriend to Tahoe City to rent some kayaks for our first anniversary. We thought it would be no big deal to paddle from there to DL Bliss and back. We were wrong. That is not a day trip, unless you’re Superman. Sunnyside is a much more feasible destination, and what we ultimately opted for. Paddle over, take a break and grab some lunch, then paddle back. It’s a good time, and there are many a lakefront mansion to drool over. We even snuck onto someone’s property to snap this picture with their pet bear. That is not something I recommend doing. It’s kind of trespassing, you know?


Best Hike-In SUP Trip

By far, my favorite beach on Lake Tahoe is any one of the little coves surrounding Nevada State Parks’ Whale Beach, but it’s a journey. So, if you want to go paddle there, which you definitely should, you’re either gonna need an inflatable SUP or someone else’s arms. We’ve got you covered on the inflatables. They deflate and roll up to fit in the included backpack for easy transport, and Tahoe Mountain Sports has them for both rent and sale. Once you’re on the water, a SUP is the best way to explore every single one of these coves. Notice: Beware of naked people. They don’t bite or anything, they’re just naked. Some people think that’s gross, but they obviously don’t. Also, see if you can find the hidden strip of sand just big enough for two people. I might already be there, but bring some beer and we can probably work out a deal.


Best Overnight SUP Trip: Camp Richardson to D.L. Bliss

Let me tell you about a little gem called DL Bliss. This might be my favorite spot on the lake. Start at aforementioned Camp Rich, cruise through Emerald Bay on your way over and you’ve reached a whole new level of epic. If you don’t want to schlep all your gear, drop a car off there first and you’ll be living in luxury. That may not be the hardcore route, but it’s the best way to ensure a plentiful supply of your favorite beverages after a long paddle. This State Park also has some great hiking and cliff jumping, so spend some time here and please be careful. I’m not sure on total paddling time, because I’ve never actually done this, but I’m guessing it’s about the same as Camp Rich to Emerald Bay and back. However, I am the guy who thought Tahoe City to DL Bliss would only take a couple of hours. So, best of luck!


Now that you have the beta, it’s time to get out on the water!



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