Category Archives: Tahoe

Pain McShlonkey 2013

Rachael Burks asked me to help her with the Pain McShlonkey while we were in Alaska and I was all in! If you haven’t heard of Shane McConkey, you don’t live in our world, the big mountain ski world. He was the most influential big mountain skier ever. Also, he was hilarous and never forgot that skiing was supposed to be fun. The Pain McShlonkey, or PMS, is held annually at Squaw Valley around the time of his death 4 years ago. It features a Chinese Downhill and an Extreme Small Mountain Competition – all competititers are on snow blades, snowlerblades, fruit boots, whatever you call them. It is an ode to Shane’s iconic character, Saucer Boy.

Shane McConkey as Saucer Boy


I decided to take it to another fruity level and mount my snow blades with telemark bindings. I was warned I should practice before the big event – actually, at least 2 people said to me “you’re going to die.” It wasn’t as hard as I thought, and I hope to get an entry of my own next year. Here is a video of my practice session.

The day of the event, we were nervous since our run required a lot of coordination. I mean, Rachael had a title to defend. We chose to reenact the Shane scene from Matchstick Productions’ Seven Sunny Days, which was a play on James Bond.

We had a chase, a rumble, and fireworks, but the audience didn’t quite get it, so we ended up in second to a deserving Lindsey Vonn, who came back from a knee injury to compete, complete with Tiger Woods in tow. It was a super fun event and I hope to be a full on competitor next year, and I also hope we made Shane proud.
Here is the video my friend Greg captured with his iPhone as well as some photos from the day of fun and here is a write up on the event from Powder Magazine.

The camel coming through the finish at the Chinese Downhill

The camel coming through the finish at the Chinese Downhill


The chase during the extreme small mountain comp with fireworks exploding

The chase during the extreme small mountain comp with fireworks exploding


Rach and I after our run. Gangster, per usual.

Rach and I after our run. Gangster, per usual.


A few of the PMS Winners from Small Mountain and Chinese Downhill

A few of the PMS Winners from Small Mountain and Chinese Downhill


No Can Do!

No Can Do!

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Filed under Fundraising, Skiing, Tahoe

Help South Lake Tahoe Improve Trails!!!

I hate to admit it, but biking season is right around the corner.

Juliana enjoying the view around each corner from the Flume Trail on Tahoe’s East Shore.

Readers and friends, can you help my home South Lake Tahoe win a $30,000 grant? It’s easy, just visit http://on.fb.me/YgAoS4 and under “Flow Trail Projects” select Corral Trail in South Lake Tahoe, CA! Encourage your friends and family and share this on their Facebook page! Last day to vote is April 12. Thank you!!!!

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Filed under Biking, Fundraising, Tahoe

Staying Motivated

Getting after it despite the conditions – that’s been my goal for the past few weeks and it’s tough to adhere to it. It hasn’t snowed much in Tahoe since January 10th. I was lucky enough to take a quick trip to Utah and the Rubies and find some good snow, but I haven’t hit one of those epic powder days in over a month. So my friend Domi and I made a pact to ski something that is scary or hard once a week in spite of the conditions. Last week it was the Crescent Moon Couloir off Roundtop. We met at 6 am and rallied out there, booting up the chute around 8 and skiing surprisingly edgeable snow that sloughed as we descended the 40+ degree pitch. We felt better immediately – accomplished.

Looking down the Crescent Moon Couloir from 2/3rds way up


Domi looking excited (?) to drop into the line.


If you think you get after it, ski with Domi, she charges always. Even when she’s “taking it easy” she is scoping out cliffs and chutes to add excitement to her descent. She both scares the crap out of me and motivates me to be better. We’re making a video to enter in the SheJumps contest for an all expenses paid trip to Tailgate Alaska. Stay tuned for the video or if you’re a female and have a backcountry partner, start filming and apply yourself!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Random rambling, Skiing, Tahoe

Wow Part 2

I’m finally equipped to report on last week’s awesomeness. It started off by me throwing and mostly landing eight backflips on a kicker I built with fellow Kirkwood Freeride teammates Will B and Trout. The session made me feel strong and ready to throw them while freeskiing.

Then I had two great full days in the backcountry – one was home in Tahoe where we found powder nearly 10 days after the last storm.

Powder in the Desolation Wilderness

Powder in the Desolation Wilderness

The other was down in the Eastern Sierras where we finally figured out the lay of the land outside the Twin Lakes area and were able to find the Incredible Hulk. Conditions in the couloir were a bit firm for me to ski it as I had forgotten my whippet, but I’ll definitely return. All in all it was another beautiful day in the backcountry with great people.

The Incredible Hulk and one of its couloirs (Photo by Jeremy Martin)

On Monday morning I awoke to the amazing news that my team was the recipient of the 2013 Polartec Challenge Grant! Our proposed trip was to sail from Iceland to Greenland with an all female crew and ski first descents! We are extremely honored and have a lot of planning and preparation to do over the next few months!

So there you have it! Just four days will have me smiling for months to come!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe, Travel

It was worth it!

Clear and cold conditions have made the skiing in Tahoe awesome. I’m not alone in thinking this season has completely made up for last season. I can’t remember it being this cold in Tahoe for this long and am hearing that from longtime locals as well.

Dawn at Elephants Back (Photo by Will B)

Pow turns days after the storm (Photo by Lauren Lindley)

Pow turns days after the storm (Photo by Lauren Lindley)

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe

Incredible Start to the Winter

It has been snowing a lot for December. In fact, it was announced that it was the 2nd snowiest December on record for Tahoe! It’s also been staying cold, keeping the snow in great condition. The backcountry was somewhat unstable for a while, but things seem to be calming down now and the Sierra Avalanche Center has downgraded the avalanche danger to low. I was a bit too busy skiing to document things, but here are a few photos I snapped and a quick video of one of our runs from the top of Heavenly down to Gardnerville.

Storm day skiing at Heavenly


Dropping into Kirkwood on a Christmas Eve bluebird powder day


Will B sending Kodak at Kirkwood Mountain


Stellar run down Flagpole Peak


Skiing up the ridge to access fresh powder (Photo by Patrick Kelly)


One last run to the valley


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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe

Press

We’ve been blessed with some great snow so my friend Canyon and I went out early to take advantage of it and get some shots for the local paper. We’ll, we made the cover and got some other great shots. And if you’re a photographer or know one, check out Canyon’s new company Lite Pro Gear.

Front page of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, weekend edition

Front page of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, weekend edition


Photo by Canyon Florey

Photo by Canyon Florey

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe

December Get the Girls Out Recap

Yesterday’s SheJumps Get the Girls Out at Kirkwood Mountain Resort was my favorite day of the season so far! Almost twenty women skied with us throughout the course of the day! We skied fast, jumped off stuff, high-fived, pushed each other, and whooped and hollered all day! The next one is January 13th, Chair 6, 1 pm!

Most of the crew at the top of Chair 4.

Rose Daiek is an amazing SheJumper. She encouraged women throughout the day and was a great tour guide!

Juliana, one of my best friends, does her signature move!

Another shot of the crew on top of Chair 6.

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Filed under Skiing, Tahoe

1st Get the Girls Out Day of the Season!

Women and girls, join us at Kirkwood Mountain Resort this Sunday for SheJumps first Get the Girls Out Day of the season! We’ll have two meeting times – 10 AM and 1 PM at Chair 6 and ski all around the mountain. All abilities welcome! Let’s have fun skiing with the girls!
Get the Girls Out!

RSVP at the Facebook event here!

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Filed under Skiing, Tahoe

Get Avy Savvy! Upcoming Avalanche Education Opportunities!

There are a number of really cool and affordable or free avalanche awareness clinics coming up in Lake Tahoe that I’m looking forward to attending. Some of these are women’s only, but others are open to everyone and the price is right – FREE!

Friday, December 7th: Free Community Avalanche Seminar at Alpenglow Sports, 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 8th, 7am – 5pm: S.A.F.E. A.S. Women’s Only Clinic / Squaw Valley
Women’s Intro to Avalanche Safety and FUNdraiser Day, to benefit the High Fives Foundation. Locals Elyse Saugstad, Michelle Parker, Lel Tone, Sherry McConkey, Ingrid Backstrom, and Jackie Paaso are proud to present this one-day event at Squaw Valley that will raise snow safety and avalanche awareness in a comfortable, fun, and welcoming environment. All levels welcome. The price is $80 -includes lift ticket, lunch, and yoga (all money goes to charity). AMAZING DEAL! Limited to 30 so sign up now! For more information and to register go to: http://www.highfivesfoundation.org/index.php/events/2012-11-12-19-50-00

Also, if you’re not a female and still want to get involved with High Fives and become more educated on backcountry travel, check out their B.A.S.I.C.S. program launching this year.

Thursday, December 13th: Greg Hill Slideshow, 7pm, Squaw’s Olympic Village Lodge
FREE and raffle ticket sales benefit the Sierra Avalanche Center! Come hear the man who skied two million feet speak about his journey and the deadly slide on Manaslu this past fall.

Wednesday, January 9th: Avalanche Safety-The Human Factors
Alpenglow Sports, Tahoe City / 6:30-8:30pm
Megan Michelson will share her first hand experiences from last year’s Steven’s Pass avalanche where three people were killed. Megan wrote about this tragedy in this fall’s Outside Magazine. Read the article, Tunnel Vision on her website. Megan will lead a discussion about the human factors of avalanche safety, an ever-growing field of study. What is human nature when traveling in groups? How does group mentality contribute to or hinder safety? We’ll discuss some rules of thumb to follow. Enjoy wine, snacks, and door prizes as well as 20% off everything at Alpenglow Sports (excluding skis, boots, bindings, beacons, skins and poles).

Get educated and have fun all season long! Hope to see everyone there!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Fundraising, Random rambling, Skiing, Tahoe