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After Dark in Colombia – Trail Running with Brody Leven

June 5th, 2014 By   

After being continually denied permission to ski in Colombia, Brody Leven decides to take some of the country’s most popular mountain bike trails by foot.

Brody 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. Do your best to keep up with him on Instagram and Twitter: @brodyleven


A beautiful Colombian countryside at dusk.

It’s the middle of the night and I’m trail running in the Colombian countryside. A local guy is hot on my heels. He has brought me here, though I have absolutely no idea where I am. It’s pouring rain, we’ve crossed multiple rivers, the trail is consistently ankle-deep mud, and I haven’t been able to lose him. He’s fast. My headlamp’s batteries are almost dead, so I’ve turned it off. I’m using the light of his trailing headlamp without his consent. We sneak through Colombian farms called fincas and the barn dogs bark as we try to silently open the barbed-wire gates. They are unleashed, uncollared, presumably unvaccinated, and loudly scamper alongside our bare ankles. He recommends crossing some fincas instead of others; he knows which dogs are meanest.


Interesting finds in the foliage, for sure!

Alfonso isn’t a random Colombian, but a friend I met at a climbing gym that he runs in Manizales. He’s gracious to take me on one of his favorite runs, and I’ve brought him a specific pair of Salomon running shoes that he was unable to find in Colombia, but dearly wanted. Another puddle stretches the width of the trail, and his right foot lands directly in the middle of it with a splash deeper than I expected. It’s his first run in a pair of shoes that mean so much to him, but in Spanish he simply says, “That’s what they’re for.” He’s training for a prestigious 100-kilometer race in his home country.

I’m actually using new shoes, too: the new Salomon S-Lab XT 6. I only travel with one pair of running shoes, so when I decided to bring them, I questioned if their intense sole pattern would be overkill for whatever I’d be running in Colombia. As I nearly come to a halt in sticky mud on a section of jungle-entombed singletrack, I know that I’ve made the right decision. At no point do the lugs pack with mud, even given the variable trail surfaces, tacky and soft. I wish they also warded off whatever creatures lay beneath the thick blanket of jungle.

I am a staunch skeptic of waterproof clothing—such as the super light rain shell that I’m wearing—because I seem to be cursed. Nothing ever keeps me dry consistently. But this is doing just that. Ever the disbeliever, I decide it’s largely due to the comfortable temperature: I’m able to keep my Salomon Minim jacket on, fully zipped, with the hood (and its genius, inventive, elastic headband) up, and not overheat. But we stop to discuss route options for the first time after 5.1 miles and I notice that my torso is dry. My back isn’t sweating in the rain jacket, per my norm, and my arms aren’t soaked, also per my norm. This is most notable around the wrists, where I always get wet. Whenever I use a rain jacket, I think I’m not doing it right. I feel like there is a secret that I don’t know, because they never work for me. But this one is working. And I can’t believe I’m running this comfortably. We decide to head right, up a steep hill, to the highest point on the ridgeline. As our rest trot turns once again into a jog, he asks how far we’ve gone, as his watch has already died. “Ahh, Suunto,” Alfonso says with a thick Colombian accent. “Muy bueno.” I try to convert it to kilometers. Nine?


You see so much more traveling by foot. Just imagine the possibilities out there.

I don’t look at my Suunto Ambit 2 again until we’re nearly done with the loop. The temperatures are ideal, Alfonso’s headlamp is bright, and he clearly knows where we are going. I don’t need to know my pace or elapsed time because, although this is a regular run for him, it’s as good as an adventure run for me. I’m running in the middle of the night in Colombia, so who cares? I have eight ounces of water in a Salomon Soft Flask in one hand. With as much motivation as it took to put my running clothes on after eating a delicious dinner of greasy Colombian food, and the additional motivation needed to get out of the car after it had started pouring cold rain on the way to the trailhead, I couldn’t be happier I mustered it.


No pics came of our dark and rainy run…instead, here’s a random shot from horseback on a rest day.

Only two miles before we end, I pull out the energy chews that I brought because I knew they’d be a treat for him. The main energy food that athletes use on the trails in Colombia is an assortment of gels. And if Alfonso is anything like me, he can barely stomach those things. He, too, enjoys the candy-like chews as we run side-by-side. After showing me a trail that I never would have found on my own, it’s quite literally the least I can do to show my appreciation.

We approach his car, parked under a streetlight in Lucitania. My Suunto reads over 12 miles, and I’m pleasantly surprised. For the last 10 miles, I’ve been asking him what we’re going to do—we are so dirty, and his car is so clean.  A mile ago, on the final dirt road, we crossed a creek that washed our shoes really well. Now he pulls out seat protectors designed for dogs, and it’s suddenly as if we hadn’t just run through a muddy jungle for two hours. After immersing ourselves entirely in the rainforest, its thorns and leaves and puddles and bugs becoming part of our being, it’s the clean upholstery and vacuumed floor mats from which we choose to buffer ourselves. I think Alfonso and I have a lot in common.


Brody’s Colombia night running gear list:



Soaking wet and surely stoked.


Salomon Agile Belt
Salomon Agile Belt
MSRP: $64.95

Father’s Day Gift Guide – Good Sons & Daughters Get Him Outside!

June 3rd, 2014 By   

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

You’ve heard it before. On Father’s Day, what dads really want is to be left alone. Men are biologically wired to hunt and gather, to be outside, getting weird in the woods. Want to truly stoke out the father in your life this year? Start the day with a big, black cup of coffee and one of these gifts, then send him on his way. He’ll come back with a smile, feeling refreshed.


Manhood starts with a Leatherman

Leatherman Fathers Day Gift



Seriously, no man feels complete without one of these puppies, but choosing which one to get him can get complicated. Let’s start with what’s most important. Obviously, all a man really needs is a corkscrew to open his lady a nice bottle of wine at the end of this most epic Father’s Day. The pliers, knives, screwdrivers, etc. he’ll need for who-knows-what are just a bonus on the Juice CS4. But he’ll be grateful just the same.







“Man’s best friend” is actually his belt



Now that he has a Leatherman, he’ll need a proper place to put it. That’s on his belt. We grow as attached to our belts as we do our dogs, and still, a good belt might outlive a good K-9. Arcade Belts has changed the game, too. Put one on and there’s no going back. Arcade has a belt for everyone; dressy belts that are still great outdoors and all-elastic belts that are great for everything, everyday. Tahoe Mountain Sports’ Director of Online Marketing, Adam Broderick, even wore his black Midnighter to a recent wedding when he forgot his dress belt. Nobody knew the difference.





Real men wear real slippers



None of that K-Mart nonsense for us. The Sanuk Pick Pocket Slip On Shoes are life-changers. These textured hemp slip-ons sport a custom print, soft canvas lining, high rebound Instaplay footbeds, Happy U Rubber outsoles and a large stash pocket for emergency taco money, or whatever. Sandals are great, but their uses are limited. These are so much more versatile and, as those of us privy to the cool evenings of Tahoe know, wear well far beyond dusk, when sandals can quickly become a bit of a bummer.






A better bag for geeking out




You know that thing he fixed last week? The one he kind of made better, but kind of made worse at the same time? Yeah, that. Chances are he figured out how to botch that repair job by using a tool almost as important as his Leatherman: his laptop. Help him keep it safe and carry this evening’s picnic supplies, too, with the Deuter Giga Pro Daypack. It has all the features he needs, perfectly organized and protected, with an extra-padded, removable laptop compartment.







Style him out a bit, too




Now that we’ve covered all the super-masculine necessities, let’s get that guy looking a little snazzier. The Life is Good Grateful Dad Tee says it all and the Mountain Hardwear men’s DryTraveler Polo does it all. The latter will have him looking good and feeling comfortable at the office, on the disc golf course or at a casual lakeside dinner. Its poly/spandex blend offers the feel he gets from cotton but dries quickly and will stretch with him comfortably, while the antimicrobial finish helps eliminate odor and the UPF 25 protects him from the sun. Finally, no man’s wardrobe is complete without a plaid button down. The Marmot Newport Short Sleeve Shirt will keep him looking charming through sun-drenched days in seaside cities and mountain towns alike.





It might be best to end this post with a little disclaimer: I’m not a father, but I am a man, sort of. I’m a full-grown, thirty-year-old man-boy. The boy part is the key here. Kids or not, we men all need to feel like boys from time to time. Fact: the responsibilities of parenthood leave most men experiencing that feeling less often. Presents are a good way to bring it back, but being outside is better. So, this Father’s Day, if you really want to do the right thing, just make sure he gets to be outside, experiencing a new place, a new activity or an old favorite that he doesn’t have as much time for these days. And if anybody wants to get me an honorary Father’s Day gift, I’d like the Sanuks please.

P.S. I love you dad, thanks for everything.



Some more good Fathers Day presents, just for good measure:

Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat
Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat
MSRP: $35.95

TMS Ambassador Program: Representatives Wanted

May 30th, 2014 By   

Tahoe Mountain Sports Ambassador Program

As most of you already know, Tahoe Mountain Sports is the place to outfit yourself for adventures in North Lake Tahoe and beyond. Sure, we ship lots of gear to outdoor enthusiasts worldwide, but our hearts are here in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the Eastern Sierra. So, we got to thinking: How do we spread our love for mountain sports throughout the region? What are the best ways to channel our passion for our favorite pastimes and share them with others? Then, it hit us like a sack of bricks to the face. People talk about their interests and obsessions, and they rely on other peoples’ opinions when researching new ideas, activities and equipment. No matter how much someone loves your business, they’re going to listen to your customers before they take your word for…well, just about anything. People talk to people, and personal relationships rule above all.

We’re all consumers in one way or another, and we read reviews and second-guess critics. Social media is in front us no matter how much we try to avoid it. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or the next platform coming down the pipes to consume our “free time”, conversations via the world wide web are a dominating force for the 21st century.

This is why we are launching the TMS Ambassador Program. We are looking for Ambassadors who have the ability and desire to share their love for sports and the outdoors through photographs and gear reviews on a regular basis. Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports will inspire others to get outdoors and enjoy life!

Benefits of being a TMS Ambassador

TMS Ambassadors will receive product for field testing; sometimes to keep, sometimes just to test. They will receive discounts on the best outdoor gear and apparel and have potential to provide input on product selection for the TMS store and e-commerce site, in addition to attending Outdoor Retailer and other trade shows. Imagine the expanded network of friends and industry connections you’ll gain with access to the newest equipment and trends!

What do we expect of TMS Ambassadors?

We expect a variety of things from our Ambassadors, including trip reports, gear reviews, attendance at TMS events, etc. More information will be provided regarding our expectations during the application process.


Want to be a TMS Ambassador? Complete and submit the following questionnaire. We will review it and contact you via email within ten (10) business days. >>  TMS Ambassador Questionnaire


And now, we introduce two TMS Ambassadors we’re already excited to have on-board:


Chris Cloydchris-cloyd-tahoe-mountain-sports-ambassador

What core sports do you participate in?
Running, Cycling, Triathlon. Snowboarding and mountaineering in the winter. 

What is your most epic outdoor adventure to date?
Any number of backcountry snowboarding/mountaineering trips that have pushed my psychological boundaries. A ridiculous approach/climb to a line in Verbier, Switzerland last winter comes to mind. Wild.

What community organizations are you involved with?
Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso (Manager, Trainer), The High Fives Foundation (Trainer), The Donner Party Mountain Runners (Board Member), BigTruck Brand (Ambassador Athlete), Big Blue Adventure (Ambassador Athlete)

Why do you want to be a Tahoe Mountain Sports Ambassador?
I want to represent a shop and brand that I respect, introduce newcomers to the outdoors, develop a community enthusiasm for group activities outdoors, and give some small amount of gratitude back to the community here that has given me so much. I want to shed light on the great things that our Lake Tahoe Basin offers in my own way – articles, photographs and community events. I want to share this place.


Coral Rose Taylorcoral-taylor-tms-ambassador

What core sports do you participate in?
Mountain biking, road biking, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, yoga (just completed a 200‐hr teacher training), hiking and camping.

What is your most epic outdoor adventure to date?
I took a snowboarding trip this spring to the Swiss and French Alps with my boyfriend and a few friends. I pushed my boundaries, progressed my riding, enjoyed great company, met some new friends, and ate lots of cheese, pastries, and chocolate. It was a lot of fun, and absolutely stunning, but as with all travel, it made me realize how amazing my home is and how much I love it here.

What is your favorite type of workout?
I love anything that is exciting, engaging, gets me sweating and is with friends. I like to mix up time in the gym, yoga classes, and time outdoors (bikes and hikes in summer, snowboarding and cross-country skiing in the winter). It’s important for me to vary activities, which challenges my body, keeps my mind engaged, and allows me to spend time with different friends who have different interests. I also like trying new things, even if it means coming home with new bruises and scrapes.

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by people who have found, and are living their dharma, their life purpose. I am inspired by people that are not afraid to be themselves and to follow their own path. One thing I love about the Truckee/Tahoe area is that it is a community of choice – a lot of people are here because they choose to be, and have made decisions, sometimes sacrifices, to have the quality of life that is important to them, so that they can live their life to the fullest.


Want to be a TMS Ambassador? Complete and submit the following questionnaire. We will review it and contact you via email within ten (10) business days. >>  TMS Ambassador Questionnaire

#TahoeBikeLOVE Instagram Photo Contest – Win ZOIC Bike Clothing!

May 29th, 2014 By   




Contest ends June 21 at midnight PST.

Do you love biking? Want to win $150 in free ZOIC bike clothing? Maybe you just like riding your bike and you have some cool pictures to share. Either way, you can win! Here’s how:

- Between now and June 21, share photos from your biking adventures on Instagram

- Use the hashtag #tahoebikelove and tag @TahoeMountainSports and @ZOICclothing

- Share your photo and ask your friends to LIKE it

- Photo with the most likes by midnight on June 21 wins! (Count begins when you submit the photo, not when you first uploaded it to Instagram.)

It really is that easy. The options for road biking and mountain biking in Lake Tahoe are seemingly endless, so you must have a new (or old) photo somewhere on your phone or computer. It could be you or a friend. Action-packed or simply a pretty picture. You don’t have to be “catching air” in the photo, or doing anything “impressive” at all. All you have to do is show us your #TahoeBikeLOVE!










Share as many photos as you like; entering multiple times can greatly increase your chances.  Winner will be notified via Instagram, so watch for comments from @TahoeMountainSports after the contest has ended. Winner will be instructed to send an email with shipping information from a valid email address. Must be 13 or older to participate. Winner pays shipping outside continental U.S.


Here are just four of the great options you’ll have when you style yourself out in new ZOIC bike clothing:


Zoic Ether Bike Short - Men's
Zoic Ether Bike Short – Men’s
MSRP: $79.95

Platypus GravityWorks Water Filters: Lightweight, Fast & Oh-So Easy

May 28th, 2014 By   

The Platypus GravityWorks water filtration system works so fast you’ll initially have to double-check you’re using it properly. It’s so easy, it seems too good to be true. All you do is fill it up with non-potable water, hang it from a tree, rock, tent or the top of your backpack, and relax or get some camp chores done while it does the work for you. No. Pumping. Necessary. 

But how?

Water succumbs to gravity and moves down a tube from the “dirty” bag, through the hollow fiber filter, and into the “clean” bag. That’s all it takes! Think of all the things you can do in those few minutes: clean dishes, brush your teeth, take down your tent, apply sunscreen, or stretch out your hammies. When you’re done, you’ll have 99.9999% bacteria and protozoa -free water! When it’s time to move out, roll up the reservoirs and tuck them into your pack or a cargo-pocket. 

Pretty cool, huh? Perhaps this kind of effortless efficiency is why it was awarded Editor’s Choice by Outside Magazine.

So, after all this, why do pump-style filtration systems dominate the field of water treatment? Well, they’re a bit more compact. At least, they were until Platypus said, “Here you go. Meet the GravityWorks 2.0 that fits in your pocket. BAM!” All of the parts needed to get the job done roll up to a size no larger than a standard pump filter.

This video highlights the GravityWorks 2.0 Water Filtration System, the smaller version that’s ideal for two person backpacking trips or solo adventures:


There’s a 2-liter version and a 4-liter version. Hmm…which is best for me?

GravityWorks 4.0 - best for groups (families, scout troops, outdoor leadership courses, etc.)
Dimensions: 9.5″ x 3.25″
Weight: 11.5 oz.
Flow: 1.75 liters/minute
Cartridge Life: 1500 liters (depends on water quality)
Includes: Two 4-liter reservoirs, fast flow hollow fiber filter cartridge, hoses and all fittings

GravityWorks 2.0 - best for one or two people (or larger groups that can rotate reservoirs)
Dimensions: 9″ x 3″
Weight: 11.5 oz.
Flow: 1.5 liters/minute
Cartridge Life: 1500 liters (depends on water quality)
Includes: Platypus Push/Pull Cap adapter and 2-liter Platypus Soft Bottle, fast flow hollow fiber filter cartridge, hoses and all fittings for use as a complete system with 4-liter carrying capacity


First, dip it. The wide mouth is easy to fill.


Next, hang it. Ain’t that cool?













Once you have safe drinking water, either plug a drink tube in and slip it into your pack, or detach it all and take your Platypus reservoir practically anywhere…like up Mt. Shasta for a sunrise and some fun spring skiing. The reservoir makes for a great soft water bottle, but you can also connect the adapter (included) to another Platypus soft bottle. Either method is easy to transport and incredibly compact, especially after you suck it dry.




Have you ever used a GravityWorks water filter? Spoken with anyone who has? What did you/they think? Our readers’ feedback is always appreciated in the comments section below.



How to Choose the Perfect Stove for Backpacking and Camping

May 27th, 2014 By   


Compressed Gas vs. Liquid Fuel Stoves

One burns more fuel than the next. This one weighs less, but this boils water faster. You’ll be in windy, sub-zero temperatures at the top, but basecamp is in the desert and you want one stove to do it all. Or, one for each. In this video, Mountain Safety Research (MSR) and Tahoe Mountain Sports talk with Tahoe Rim Trail Guides about the various camping and backpacking stove options, edited down to everything you could ever want to know in 12-minutes:


Key Benefits

Compressed Gas
Lightweight and compact. No spills means no cleaning. Best flame control. No fuel odors or priming/pumping required.

Liquid Fuel
Greater heat output. Unaffected by altitude or cold temperatures. Most affordable. Reusable and easily disposable. Widespread fuel choices.


Key Drawbacks

Compressed Gas
Empty canisters must be packed out and disposed of (check with your local recycling center). Difficult to gauge fuel level (pack an extra canister). Performance decreases as canister empties. Usually less stable.

Liquid Fuel
Heavier/bulkier. Require pumping/priming. Fuel lines can clog. More field maintenance required. Leaking fuel requires wiping. Soot builds up on cookware.

Best For

Compressed Gas
Ultralight backpacking.

Liquid Fuel
Group camping. Winter camping & melting snow. High altitudes. International travel.

Key Notes
- Use a windscreen with liquid fuel stoves to enhance performance, but be careful doing so with canister stoves because they can overheat and explode!
- Always pack an extra lighter and/or waterproof matches.

Comparison Chart

Product Fuel Type Weight (oz) Boil Time Burn Time
(200 ml/gm)
Heat Output
Snow Peak GigaPower Stove
Snow Peak Gigapower
Canister 3.75 3 min 48 sec (1 Liter) 50 min 10,000 $49.95
Snow Peak LiteMax Stove
Snow Peak LiteMax
Canister 1.9 4 min 25 sec (1 Liter) 50 min 11,200 $59.95
Jetboil Flash Cooking System
Jetboil Flash
Canister 14 2 min 30 sec (.5 Liter) 120 min 4,500 $99.95
Jetboil Sol Titanium Cooking System
Jetboil Sol Titanium
Canister 10.5 2 min 15 sec (.5 Liter) 120 min 4,950 $159.95
MSR Pocket Rocket Stove
MSR Pocket Rocket
Canister 3 3 min 30 sec (1 Liter) 60 min 10,000 $39.95
MSR Reactor Stove
MSR Reactor (1.7 L)
Canister 17.5 3 min (1 Liter) 104 min 9,400 $199.95
MSR Dragonfly Stove
MSR Dragonfly
White Gas 14 3 min 30 sec (1 Liter) 42 min 10,500 $139.95
Kerosene 14 3 min 54 sec (1 Liter) 51 min
Diesel 14 3 min 30 sec (1 Liter) 46 min
White Gas 13.2 3 min 30 sec (1 Liter) 37 min 10,500 $159.95
Kerosene 13.2 2 min 48 sec (1 Liter) 33 min
Diesel 4 min 30 sec (1 Liter) 57 min
MSR Whisperlite
MSR Whisperlite
White Gas 11 3 min 54 sec (1 Liter) 46 min 9,500 $89.95
MSR Whisperlite Universal Stove
MSR Whisperlite
White Gas 11.5 3 min 30 sec (1 Liter) 110 min 9,500 $139.95
Kerosene 11.5 4 min 24 sec (1 Liter) 155 min
Canister 9.5 3 min 48 sec (1 Liter) 75 min
MSR Whisperlite International Stove
MSR Whisperlite
White Gas 10.9 3 min 30 sec (1 Liter) 110 min 9,500 $99.95
Kerosene 10.9 3 min 24 sec (1 Liter) 155 min

*Did we miss any important features you think shouldn’t have been overlooked? Please let us know in the comments section (below).


@ Folsom International Triathlon, Thanks for the Great Race!

May 20th, 2014 By   

This post comes from Chris Cloyd, a TMS Ambassador and lover of endurance sports. When Chris isn’t training for his next big race or out exploring the Eastern Sierra on foot or bike, he’s managing the Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso. Watch for more race reports, gear reviews and fun reading from Chris and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.


Chris crosses the finish line to take First Place.

It’s always a treat to start off the season with a great result. It’s a much greater pleasure, however, to race in perfect conditions, in a great town, supported by an unbelievable race organization and volunteer team. Fortunately for me, I was able to do both this past weekend at the Folsom International Triathlon down in Granite Bay.

This was my first year entering the Folsom race and my first event with Total Body Fitness (TBF), who host the race, and I look forward to coming back next year. Mark and his team did a phenomenal job putting together all of the logistics, coordinating the volunteers, and managing all of the raceday chaos. It’s often lost in all of the speed and excitement of a race like this, but I try to remember that NONE of our sport can exist without the support of all of the guys and girls who put these events on and the volunteers who offer their time and energy on raceday (and, many times, the day before setting up the course and the day after taking down all the pomp and circumstance). I’d like to offer a BIG HIGH-FIVE to everyone who helped make it possible for us to measure ourselves against a great course this past Saturday – thank you!

Waking up at the entirely rational hour of 5:45 on raceday was a pleasant touch – the “late” 8 a.m. start afforded us all a chance to sleep in some ahead of all of the mayhem. I love triathlon, but sometimes the early-up starts are a little much to bear. I understand the rationale behind starting events (especially Iron-distance races) at 6:30 a.m., but that doesn’t change the fact that it was very pleasant to get started at 8 a.m. at Folsom. By then, the sun was out in force, the lake was appealing, and the temps were already rising.

Our swim was extremely well marked, and the start was well controlled. It didn’t take long for racing to begin once the gun went off, and within minutes we were split into more than a few pace-lines and were fighting for position in the water. Unfortunately, I missed the split for the front group and, after a failed bridge effort on my part, I slowed up and made contact with the second group in the water. We worked together to hold a good pace to the last buoy, but at that time myself and another competitor decided to go out on our own and opened up a gap. Our pace wasn’t much faster than our original group’s, but it was enough to get us into T1 (Transition 1) in 3rd and 4th position.


The Race Kit

I had been looking forward to this race for a number of reasons, but the bike leg had to have topped my list. Some rollers and punchy climbs dictated the first 2/3 of the course, but the back end of the ride was almost all downhill or negotiably flat. This is a rare occurrence in our sport, and I was excited about the idea of a short and aggressive section on the bike followed by an all-out speedway effort back to the transition area. I knew that if I could put in a hero effort on that first 2/3 of the course and build a lead, I had a chance to stay away on the drag race back to T2. I was able to catch the two athletes ahead of me by mile ten, and put a big dig in on the last few hills of the course to gain some real time. I don’t think I even shifted out of 53×11 from mile 17 to the end of the bike leg, and hit T2 with enough time to feel good about my chances of staying ahead during the run.

The run started out benignly enough, but there were certainly plenty of teeth on the course! Mark and the TBF team couldn’t have done better finding a world-class run course if they tried – every stride was paired with gorgeous views of Folsom Lake and the park around it. That buoyed my spirits and helped me keep the pace high through the turnaround, and I started to catch other racers on their way out as I dug through the second half of the run. After negotiating some serious hills on the way back (I almost considered using my hands to help scale one of the climbs!), I finally saw the finishing chute and the kite marking the line. After two plus hours of racing, I was proud to be able to cross the line first.

I’ve stolen this idea from Scott Jurek, the world’s best ultra marathoner (in my opinion): If I’m able to bring home the win, I try to stay at the finish line and high-five the other competitors as they finish. Everybody is out there suffering, and everyone deserves the same amount of enthusiasm as they cross the line. Moreover, I love sharing the finishing moment with everyone who competes – it’s a rare opportunity to embrace real accomplishment with fellow athletes as they complete such outstanding efforts and realize such great goals.

The beauty of sport is overcoming, as is watching others overcome. That pursuit – the allure of chances to define our best self – is a huge reason I race. I fully believe everyone should measure themselves from time to time; if not against others, against ourselves. Racing provides that opportunity – whether you’re aiming for a course record, a personal best, or a first finish.

Here’s to the season!


First Place Feels Oh…So…Good!


2XU Compression Calf Guards
2XU Compression Calf Guards
MSRP: $44.95


SAXX Underwear and the Evolution of Man

May 17th, 2014 By   

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

The evolution of men’s underwear preferences goes something like this: we start with those hideous tighty whities, placed on us by mom before we are old enough to think for ourselves. Her motivations are obvious: they’re cheap and might contain a small amount of feces when an accident happens.


Real men wear real underwear. Ben Lanier fishing from a whitewater raft on the Rogue River, Oregon.

As we begin to develop an individual outlook on the world, we feel as though our junk is being held captive. So, we switch to boxers as soon as we’re given the choice. Freedom. Ahh… But, somewhere between adolescence and our mid-twenties, we begin to ‘grow’ out of one side or the other and make a reluctant return to a more supportive solution.

“I was a boxer man for years, but now I wear boxer briefs,” my friend and valet extraordinaire, Tim Ganyard, told me, verifying this totally scientific hypothesis. “It’s not comfortable to run with your guys bouncing around.”

Some of us find further benefits to the support of boxer briefs. I’m talking about saggy sack syndrome. If you don’t know what I mean, you must have the good fortune of never having had your best friends touch the water when you sit on a toilet. Thanks to boxer briefs, I’ve seen a massive reduction in such occurrences.

A couple years ago, a buddy suggested I try out some premium underwear, like Saxx. He swears by them. It took a while to convince myself that spending more than ten bucks for a three-pack of underwear was a reasonable proposition.


SAXX – Give thanks to those who support your freedom.

Eventually, I found some inexpensive, high-end drawers at a once-a-year sale and bought one pair as an experiment. They didn’t even have Saxx’s patented package pouch, but I immediately wished I had bought more. Leaving cotton and cheap synthetics behind, for materials that actually wick moisture and won’t stretch out into non-briefed boxers after a few hours, will change your life far beyond simply switching to boxer briefs.

Fast forward a couple of months and I’m handed this blog assignment and a pair of Saxx boxer briefs. “I didn’t even know ‘over the fence’ was an option; I’ve always just used the access hole,” said Dave Polivy, owner of Tahoe Mountain Sports, as we brainstormed ideas for this post. See, SAXX has done away with the access hole in some of their products, especially high-performance models like Saxx Kinetic Boxers.


A soft, unobtrusive pouch for your pouch.



If you’re anything like Polivy, that might take some getting used to, but how many times in your life have you poked through when you didn’t intend to?


The real innovation of Saxx, though, is the built-in hammock for your ham hawk. “It’s all about keeping the man parts from roving around, without being so tight that you lose sperm count,” says Ben Lanier, the dude that originally convinced me to step up my underwear game. After recently spending three days straight in a single pair of Saxx, doing a lot of driving, mountain biking and camping, I have to agree.

Keep everything in place. Prevent unwanted friction and movement to reduce chafe. Get contact-free support. Buy Saxx Underwear.


Scott Johns (left) and Tim Ganyard covered in mud outside the Black Rock Mountain Bike Area near Falls City, Oregon, on Johns’ third day straight in a pair of SAXX. Might be time for a fresh pair.


Thank you, Scott, for the (extremely) detailed and animated review. We’re glad you’re so stoked on your new underwear.

– The TMS Crew


SAXX Pro Elite Boxer - Men's
SAXX Pro Elite Boxer – Men’s
MSRP: $29.95
SAXX Kinetic Boxer - Men's
SAXX Kinetic Boxer – Men’s
MSRP: $36.95


AOTW: Camping and Bouldering in Washoe, Nevada

May 15th, 2014 By   

Adam Broderick manages the web content at Tahoe Mountain Sports. When he is not in the office, he tries his best to be in the field doing something awesome.




Who: Kevin, Jeremy, Eric and myself
What (activity/event): Car camping and bouldering
Washoe Boulders, N.E. of Carson City
This past weekend
Gear: La Sportiva Mythos Shoes, Black Diamond Momentum Harness, The North Face 2-man tent, SOL Facestick

Did you know there’s a miniature bouldering heaven less than an hour from North Lake Tahoe? I didn’t either, until myself and a few buddies drove to the high desert east of Washoe Lake last Saturday night. We showed up after dark, found a sweet flat area with a fire ring and a killer view of Carson City, and pitched three different two person backpacking tents. Why not have three tents for four guys? After all, we were car camping and had the option to get as comfortable as we pleased. Once we had a good fire going (it randomly snowed as we left Tahoe and temps had already dropped into the 30′s), Kevin fired up his new JetBoil Flash backpacking stove. He and Jeremy shared dinner while Eric and I enjoyed a couple cold brewskies. We didn’t need to cook dinner; we had each crushed fatty burgers at Five Guys on our way through town and were already feeling a bit lethargic. This would come in handy the next morning however, when we would need as much energy as possible to climb rock after rock and sustain our strength through mid-day.




When we woke up the next day I was blown away with all the climbing options just steps from our tents. Sure, it’s all somewhat sharp Tuff and can hurt the hands (Tuff - extrusive igneous rock that forms from the tephra ejected during explosive volcanic eruptions. –, but I appreciated how many holds there were…everywhere! You could stay on-route, or choose your own adventure. I chose the latter for most climbs that day, making each as difficult or simple as I wanted. Sometimes I would casually explore while preserving my energy for later, and other times I would max out and reach for more difficult holds in an effort to get as much of a workout as possible. I’m kind of back and forth like that. Thus, the beauty of bouldering; freedom to climb up, down, right or left at your own pace.

I took a quick walk-thru video of one of the rocks with the most routes on it. There were even some cool tunnels to climb through and plenty of overhangs to practice on. I got about a quarter of the way around before my phone died.

top-rope-washoe-bouldersAfter hauling around the crash pads for about four hours, we found a cool overhanging rock with a bolt on top. The rock was 20-25 feet tall and cast a nice shady spot where those who weren’t climbing could relax (and talk smack to whomever was). Since we planned to stop by Ballbuster (top roping area on the east shore of Lake Tahoe) on our drive home, we already had rope, harnesses and protection in the truck. Why not bust it out early and “hang” for a bit? It was the perfect opportunity to stretch out our time here even longer, so we hooked up and spent some time messing around with problems we knew we couldn’t finish. It’s nice to be able to push yourself past your limit and know you won’t fall to the ground.










We camped out and woke up to warm, sunny weather. We climbed whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We saw three other people the entire day. It was epic. I felt like I was back in the Buttermilks near Bishop, only Washoe offers a lot less rocks – and they’re not granite, the climber’s favorite.

*Hopefully I don’t expose anyone’s favorite getaway via this blog post. I don’t mean to give away any secrets…just trying to share the love!


Black Diamond Mojo Chalk Bag
Black Diamond Mojo Chalk Bag
MSRP: $16.95

New Sierra Designs Backpacking & Camping Gear For 2014

April 29th, 2014 By   

Why carry more than necessary on trips that require distance travel over uneven terrain? That’s just foolish. When you put effort into cutting down your weight load, you increase your comfort level and enjoy yourself more. After all, hat’s why we explore the great outdoors; to find solace outside of our “hectic” lives (#firstworldproblems). New for 2014, Tahoe Mountain Sports is proud to carry the supremely comfortable, minimalist sleep systems from Sierra Designs.

If you’re into lightweight hiking and backpacking, you’re going to LOVE a sweet new Sierra Designs sleep system:

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed

600 Fill Duck DriDown 600 Fill Duck DriDown
As recipient of a 2014 Backpacker Magazine Editor’s Choice Award, the Backcountry Bed provides the comfort you get from your bed at home…in the backcountry. Enter this awesome zipper-less sleeping bag via a large port in the top and seal it off with an over-sized, integrated comforter that wraps naturally to your preferred sleeping position. This allows you to sleep naturally on your back, side or stomach and adjust to varying temperatures. What’s cool about the “Caternary Shaped Opening” is that it’s smaller than the width of the bag, so when you push outward the walls push back, sealing any drafts that could let in colder air. A security sleeve holds your sleeping pad in place so you feel like you’re in a real bed, and a self-sealing foot vent gives you access to the outside but blocks potential wind-tunnels to keep you comfortable no matter the wind levels.
Ladies, there’s a female version too. The women’s Backcountry Bed is four inches shorter, three inches more narrow at the shoulders, and uses two ounces more DriDown filling where women lose more heat than men.

Sierra Designs Mobile Mummy

800 Fill Duck DriDown 800 Fill Duck DriDown
The Mobile Mummy moves when you do, so you can sleep on your side, stomach or back without feeling constrained. The arm ports have no zippers, toggles or hook-and-loop closures to get in your way. You can wear it like a shirt to sit up with free hands, and/or store the foot box and walk around camp wrapped in deluxe comfort. The zipper is easy to operate so you won’t get stuck inside with a full bladder, and dual sliders can be zipped from the bottom to increase ventilation. A draft collar, comfy tube and “curtains” keep cold air out and warm air in so you can drift off into dreamland without compromise. At 2-lbs, 4-oz, this lightweight sleeping bag is ideal for longer treks.
For campers between 6′ and 6’6″, they designed the Long Mobile Mummy. It’s $20 more expensive to cover the cost of that extra 20D Nylon Ripstop outer material and more down insulation.

While you’re busy dropping weight and boosting comfort, you may as well round out the whole package with some lightweight backpacking clothing and apparel for hiking and endurance sports. Check out the new collection of Sierra Designs jackets, shirts, pants and more.

Sierra Designs is leading a movement they’re calling Intelligent Minimalism. According to a recent blog post, “Reduce the physical clutter and you’ll clear the mental clutter too.” Follow this link to read about Sierra Designs’ philosopy: Intelligent Minimalism



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