Backcountry Tahoe_part 1

Hey all, Coming at you this week with a backcountry adventure with a couple friends near Lake Tahoe. Ryland Sweigard, Chris Geisen, and myself had a free day the other day and decided to venture out into the upper regions of Mt. Rose on the Nevada side of the Lake Tahoe basin. We got a late start and began the hike at around 10:30am. We drove up to the parking area along Mt. Rose Highway where we gathered our snowboard equipment and Ryland and my camera gears. It was supposed to be a sunny day but with a high of only 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but as we reached the location the temps had increased quite a lot. We started out from the car immediately dropping into a large shallow frozen lake that we snowboarded to and hiked across. It turned hot quick with all the layers I had worn for the expected cool temperatures. Stripped off a few base layers and a sweatshirt and I was set to hike the rest of the way. It was not an easy task to hike as the camera bag must have weighed at least 45 lbs. Either way I was excited as it was going to be my first real backcountry hike session.

Being my first time I had none of the necessary equipment except a collapsable shovel in case of any incidents. I strongly disagree with what I did however. Even though the conditions according to the Sierra Avalanche Center ( said the threat of an avalanche was low; it is never a good idea to hike without a proper beacon and probe just in case. My new acquaintance Chris Geisen has been roaming the backcountry for a while now as he lives and rides every day around Lake Tahoe. He is well versed in different situations and it was comforting having him explain what the dangers were before we began our trek towards the piste.

We hiked for only about an hour before we reached the first location where we shot a few intricate lines in between partially exposed boulders and of course some powder shots. My videographer/photographer buddy, Ryland was behind the video camera and I behind the still lens as we both captured Chris on his decent. After a few runs we broke for a quick snack and a couple brews and made our way towards another location. We spotted a fresh section with a few rocky areas that looked promising for something cool. Chris was super helpful with his input and creativity on how he thought a good photograph would look and then left it up to me to really capture his idea. I thought it was a great camaraderie working together to be able to get the right angle and shot.

It was definitely a great first day out in the backcountry. I cannot wait for more snow in Tahoe and more chances to hike out into areas I have only seen from the lake or the top of a resort. Although extremely tiring, hiking is incredibly rewarding. I had some serious leg burning going on with all the walking and weight on my back really not helping the situation at all. What an unbelievable feeling it was to spend an entire day with good people, snowboarding, exercising, and having fun all at the same time. If you get the chance to explore one day..DO IT!..Just be safe and buy the proper equipment. Until next time, keep an eye out for more stories and adventures! Many more to come soon!


Surfing Tahoe - A Rarity

Can you believe it!? A lake 6224’ feet in elevation with waves big enough to surf on. That was the case this last Thursday, December 11, 2014. With one of the largest and most windy storms to hit the Bay area since 2008, it delivered extremely strong winds in the upper regions of the Sierra Nevadas. Reported wind gusts of over 100mph and a mix of rain and snow.

My buddies Matt Mehan (@mmehan21) and Trevor Johnson (@treverjohnson) and I all got together and decided to check out the shoreline around Carnelian Bay. The wind was ripping so we knew the waves would be good sized but when we got there we were in for a big (no pun intended) surprise. ..The waves were peaking near 8 feet! I have never witnessed the lake receiving such strong winds and the resulting built up waves. Matt had all the wetsuit gear to hop in since the air temperatures were reaching below freezing and the rain whipping against your face felt like sand from a nasty offshore breeze at the ocean. It was quite the event! Lots of other people went surfing that day and there were reports of people surfing Sand Harbor, Kings Beach public park, Carnelian Bay, and Agate Bay, even down towards Tahoe City and West shore. Most definitely took some skill in some areas as the waves would peak and crash in different areas and with none of the consistence of the actual ocean.

Check out the images of the day below:


Spot #1 - Smokin Snowboards

With the lack of snow falling in the Sierra Nevadas, it has been extremely difficult to really feel passionate about getting out into the urban setting to snowboard. Everyone has been riding the few resorts up and running in the area to get their feet back underneath themselves. Open terrain parks like Northstar California and Boreal Resort are amping up their features and terrain as we speak. However, last week’s storm brought with it a lot of rainfall, and in the upper regions of Donner Summit a considerable amount of snow.

The Smokin’ boys hit me up, saying they’re setting up a spot near Soda Springs. I drove out and when I arrived I saw all the guys working hard on the lip and the run in and the landing. It was a winch powered pull-in delivering you straight towards a lip built up to the edge of a metal roof with a banked landing. Definitely a sweet first spot of the season. Riders: Jordan Cruz, Troy Vasila, and Matt Busedu (@matt_busedu) all took a wack at the feature, attempting to lock down some video shots for the year. Backblunt sameway, front tail pretzel, and hand plants were some of the tricks that went down! All bangers!

Smokin’ Snowboards is a Lake Tahoe based snowboard company that has been perfecting their craft for 20 years! These guys are dedicated to winter, snow, and snowboarding. They carry a large following around the area which is only testament to the quality they showcase in their board creations. A deep love for frozen water keeps these guys’ passion alive! It was a great experience to shoot with them and see the love they have for the sport, the culture, and the community behind snowboarding. Thanks again!!

Check out this quick video, more like a GIF file of some of the tricks put down in sequence:


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