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!
So, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and if you want to rail against the Hallmark establishment and write this off as a bogus holiday that encourages consumer spending, blood diamonds, and making singles feel less-than, all the power to you. In that case, consider February 14 to be Lupercalia and howl at the injustice.
However, if you want to celebrate the day with your significant other, there a lot of fun, and free, or inexpensive ideas out there that involve spending time together getting active, not just eating an over-priced dinner at a busy restaurant or buying each other jewelry and cuff links. (Bonus: physical activity and conquering fears lead to increased libido, saving you money on those oysters!)
The rink at Northstar is free, skate rentals are $10, or you can bring your own pair. The rink at the Truckee Regional Park charges $5 per adult with skate rentals for only $2.50. Bring your own snacks and hot chocolate (with or without the Peppermint Schnapps) to either place and get all Cutting Edge out there! Toe pick!
Night Time Snowshoeing / Hiking & Stargazing
If you need something to gaze into besides each other’s eyes (windows to the soul, etc.), turn your sights upward. The full moon is on February 3rd, and the new moon is on the 18th, so the sky should be relatively dark. Grab your binoculars or telescope and some notes on identifying the constellations, and head out to your favorite make-out spot for stargazing. Combine a little snowshoeing or hiking with Stargazing and you have one helluva date. Scope out your destination and route before-hand (i.e., in the daylight), bring a map and compass, your headlamp (use the red light settings to preserve your night vision), and get out in the woods with your honey. Bring a blanket and fortifications, dress warmly and be smart, so that the Search and Rescue people can enjoy their evening as well. The same walk you take in the daylight is much more challenging and exciting at night time – the change in perspective might just be the kick start your relationship needs!
Stand-Up Paddle boarding (SUP)
We are fortunate to live by a few bodies of water that are accessible for SUPers, novice and experienced alike. Grab your board and your sweetheart and get your paddle on. Keep it mellow for conversation or race them to get your heart rate going! Challenge your balance and board handling skills by getting close enough to hold hands or even steal a kiss. Dawn and sunset are gorgeous and the water is generally pretty calm at these times as well.
Snowboarding / Skiing
Use your time on the chairlift to hold hands, talk, and do your best to annoy everyone around you with PDIs. Then, get some sweet POW turns (fingers crossed), or shred the spring corn/groomers. Time on the mountain is always fun.
If you want to earn your turns, make sure to check the Avy Reports, and bring all necessary backcountry gear including beacon, shovel, probe, maps, headlamps, layers, food, water, etc. Getting in the backcountry also gives you a great opportunity to practice effective nonviolent communication skills (I love the book, What We Say Matters on this topic), which help build knowledge and trust, and leads to a safer and more enjoyable experience for all parties.
Bike dates are fun, plain and simple. Bring a picnic and a tasty beverage, or bike to and from your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, etc. Wear a helmet, gloves, extra layers, and put some lights on your bike for increased visibility. (NOTE: Tandem bikes are NOT acceptable; they are the co-dependents of the bike quiver, and should be used only in jest. Ride your own bikes; you are not wounded half souls that “complete” each other; you are whole individuals that “complement” each other.)
If you want a mellow ride together, allowing for handholding and sight-seeing, The Town of Truckee plans to keep the Truckee River Legacy Trail open all winter, making it a perfect trail for this type of riding. Otherwise, scope out the road riding in Truckee, Tahoe, Reno, and Auburn or the mountain bike trails in Truckee, Tahoe, Reno, Carson, or Nevada City, based on road/trail conditions and temperatures. #morebuttsonbikes
Partner Yoga aka AcroYoga
If you have always wanted to run away and join the circus, you might just fall in love with AcroYoga. It’s a lot of fun and involves strength, balance, flexibility, trust and communication. Check it out, Friday nights at Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center. (All levels are welcome, and you don’t need to bring a partner to the class). Once you’ve got the basics down, you can practice at home as well.
Want a mellow, romantical activity to do? Try slow dancing. A tried and true favorite. You aren’t in Middle School anymore, so get up close and personal, whisper sweet nothings, and let the music take you away. If you are out on an adventure, bring your tunes with you and rock out to the smooth jazz, slow jams or whatever your song is.
If you do want to make reservations for Valentine’s Day, consider a non-conventional route and enjoy your meal at the Winter Discovery Center Yurt at the Tahoe XC Center. This dinner will be prepared by Doug Baehr of Uncommon Kitchen, and starts at 6:00 pm. Cost is $70 per person, which includes a 3 course meal, tax, and a beverage, and will benefit the Tahoe XC Center Winter Discovery Program. For more info, or to make your reservations, contact Valli at (530) 405-6689 or [email protected].
To impress your loved one, or just have something delicious and good for you to eat, may I recommend the following taste treat:
Raw Cacao Truffles
1 C raw cacao powder
½ C virgin unrefined coconut oil
½ C maple syrup
¼ C + ¼ C unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients (except ¼ C of coconut) and mix until smooth. Roll into balls. Roll balls in the reserved ¼ C coconut to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours, if you can wait that long.
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and remember the sentiment is about expressing your love and appreciation for others. This can be for all people you encounter; not just your lover, so spread the love with a smile and kind word to your coworkers, friends, and random people you meet. :)
Ortovox Avalanche Rescue Kit – Zoom Beacon
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Prana Prism Capri Leggings – Women’s
Boardworks 3 Piece Dynal/Fiberglass Paddle