Try This Beer: GoatHouse Brewing Co, Lincoln, CA

I visited one of my new favorite breweries last month – GoatHouse Brewing Co! GoatHouse not only has delicious beer, it is also features GOATS. I grew up with pygmy goats, and they will always take any excuse to spend time with them. So GoatHouse Brewing combines beer and goats, two of my all time favorite things.

GoatHouse Brewing // tahoefabulous.com

“Goats are an integral part of the GoatHouse farm. Farm-to-tap takes on an additional meaning as the herd of dairy goats provide abundant milk (and cheese) for our family. The ever-expanding herd also endlessly entertain with their quirky personalities, and present an opportunity to educate people about animal husbandry, where milk comes from, cheesemaking, and 4H. The goats take on an important role in the hops by pruning and subsequently fertilizing the fields. In the Spring, after the babies arrive, Goat Yoga is intermittently offered to immerse yourself in an authentic farm experience. Last but certainly not least, is the herd protector and crowd favorite, Rory the donkey.”

GoatHouse Brewing // tahoefabulous.com

GoatHouse Brewing is located out in the country, northeast of Sacramento, near Lincoln. Greyson and I stopped by after riding the Culvert & Confluence trails in Auburn. While it’s not as close to the awesome Auburn biking as Knee Deep or Moonraker, it’s only about 25 minutes away and worth the drive.

The brewery is kid and leashed & well behaved dog friendly and you can bring in your own food. There’s goat yoga on Saturdays during baby goat season in the spring! I’ve also been there when there was a food truck, but the line was looooong. As far as the beer goes, I really like it!

GoatHouse Brewing // tahoefabulous.com

Beer:
Hazy SOB (3.5/5) Low octane, big flavor New England IPA
IPA Brah (4/5) Single IPA featuring Citra, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops
Blondage A Go-Go (4.25/5) Blonde Ale that will have you screaming for more.

If you’re in the Sacramento area and looking for a fun, unique brewery experience – check out GoatHouse Brewing Co.

Dakine Hot Laps 2L Review

As someone who grew up in the 90’s, I was very into fanny packs in elementary school. That said, I was a little surprised when they became so popular for mountain biking. I thought they’d be too small and move around too much, but after reading a bunch of reviews and trying on several different models, I got the Dakine Hot Laps 2L Hip Pack for Christmas from Greyson. I’ve done quite a few rides with it, ranging from a short lap of a smooth flow trail to a 20 mile gravel/singletrack/road combo ride to a steep, rocky, and loose route. I’m really impressed!

Dakine Hot Laps 2L Bike Pack Review // tahoefabulous.com

When I was shopping, I knew that I wanted something without a bladder, ruling out the popular Osprey Packs Seral. I also knew that I wanted a way to hold a water bottle, so the low profile Dakine Hot Laps Stealth wouldn’t work. The Hot Laps 2L was one of the few packs that met my criteria, and it had great reviews.

Now that I’ve worn the Hot Laps on a half dozen rides, I think that I can give my review on the bag. Even when packed full, the bag doesn’t bounce around when it’s worn and tightened correctly. For shorter rides, I’ll only use one water bottle, stored in the cage and not use the water bottle loop on the Hot Laps. In that situation, I center the bag in the middle of my back. If I am using the bottle holder, I orient it slightly to the side, so the heavy bottle is closer to the center of my back, which evens out the weight to reduce bounce and side to side sway.

Dakine Hot Laps 2L Review // tahofabulous.com
Photo from fanatikbike.com

For comfort and stability, tighten the hip belt really tight on the downhills and loosen it on the climbs, if possible. I don’t really like things tight around my waist, and I was worried that would be something I couldn’t handle with a waist bag. The Hot Laps hasn’t bugged me at all in that way, I think in part due to the fact the hip belt strap is wide, so it doesn’t have the “cutting in” feeling that thinner straps do.

For its small size, the Hot Laps can fit a fair amount of gear. I’ve maxed out the storage to fit a multi tool, tube, phone, snacks, and thin additional layer (the Patagonia Houdini, which packs really small) or tube, pump, tool, phone, and keys, depending on the ride. This isn’t a pack to take if you’re going very far or alone. I’ve generally used it on rides that are short, close to home, or with another person who is carrying most of the tools (thanks, Greyson!). If I’m going on a longer ride or going by myself, I stick with my 10 L CamelBak Solstice.

I also love that my back gets so much less sweaty when wearing this pack. i’ve worn it on a couple of hotter rides, and I was so glad not to have the sweaty, bulky pack on. I think the Dakine Hot Laps 2L is an awesome pack for a specific purpose – shorter and hotter rides when you don’t want or need to pack a ton of stuff with you. I wouldn’t have the Dakine Hot Laps as my only biking bag, but I’m glad I’ve added it to my gear closet.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!

Point Reyes Gravel Bike Ride

Point Reyes Gravel Biking // tahoefabulous.com

Last month, Greyson and I took our new-ish gravel bikes down to Point Reyes and rode a ~20 mile loop. I had taken my Diamondback Haanjo Trail (full review coming soon) on a few road rides and on one trail ride, but they were all pretty short and I was excited to see how the bike did on a longer route with a mix of road, trail, and gravel riding. I can’t take credit for this route, Greyson did all of the research and put it together. It was challenging (especially the road climb!) but fun, and it had amazing views.

Point Reyes Gravel Ride // tahoefabulous.com
Trail Map via Strava

We started from the Cottages at Point Reyes Seashore, which is on Sir Frances Drake Blvd, near Chicken Ranch Beach. We turned left onto Sir Frances Drake and headed west, immediately uphill and climbed about 350 feet in about 0.75 miles before heading down again. I’m not a huge fan of riding with cars, and Sir Frances Drake is pretty narrow and highly trafficked on the weekends. That said, cars seemed to expect to see bikers and gave us plenty of space. After about 2.3 miles, we turned left onto Mount Vision Road for another section of climbing. I spent a lot of time on the trainer this winter, so I wasn’t entirely out of bike shape. That said, this climb was really hard, especially as my first long, outdoor ride of the season. The climb is more than 1,200 feet in about 4.5 miles. Part of the road is currently washed out, and passable by bikes but not cars. It was awesome to ride without worrying about vehicles, but we did have to hike a bike through the landslide section.

Point Reyes Gravel Ride // tahoefabulous.com

Mt. Vision Road dead ends at a trail at the top of Mt. Vision (after quite a few false summits!) and there’s an awesome view of the whole point. Greyson and I took a break here to have a snack and rest our legs. The road ends and turns into the Inverness Ridge Trail about 4.5 miles from the Sir Frances Drake turn off. It starts as a fairly wide double track, but quickly gets pretty narrow and on the steep side. While it’s definitely doable by a competent rider on a gravel bike, I think it would be pretty challenging for someone with beginner bike handling skills. However, that’s a pretty small percentage of the Inverness Ridge Trail section, and the rest of it is much more rideable. There’s a mix of single track, double track and fire road, which was really fun on our gravel bikes. This section is multi use, so watch out for hikers and equestrians! The Inverness Ridge Trail section is about 2.7 miles and drops 450 feet with a couple of short climbs sprinkled throughout.

The trail ends at Limantour Road, which we turned left on for a long, fun downhill road ride. This road had a nice wide shoulder for the most part and less traffic than other sections. Limantour Road actually parallels a couple of trails, but, unfortunately, they’re not open to bikes. Limantour Road dead ends at Bear Valley road after about 4.5 miles and ~770 feet of descent. We turned left on Bear Valley Road, which turns into Sir Frances Drake after less than 0.5 miles, to head back towards the Cottages. This section is almost entirely flat, and I was glad to get out of the drops on my bike and stretch out my back. It was a little unnerving to be so close to cars again after being on trails and empty, wide roads for so long, but again cars were great about giving us space.

Point Reyes Gravel Ride // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava

We arrived back at the Cottages at almost exactly 19 miles, so I rode around the property until I hit 20! All in all, this was a fun, challenging ride, and I’m excited to try it again when I’m in better shape. Maybe mid-summer? If you’re in the Point Reyes area and looking for a ride with a nice mix of road, gravel, and single track, I highly recommend this loop. Click here to check out my Strava Route.

Trail Stats:
Location: Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Mileage: 19 miles
Elevation: ~2,300 feet
Coast Miwok & Graton Rancheria Land

My Recent-ish Favorite Outdoor Films

The organization I work for is hosting the 4th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival Truckee in a couple of weeks. I’ve been involved with WSFF since I moved to Tahoe back in 2010, and this year will be my 9th year helping to run an on tour venue. The Film Festival is one of my favorite events I get to do each year, and one of the main reasons why is that I get an excuse to watch a bunch of awesome outdoor films. Over the years, there’s been an increase of outdoor films focused on more diverse individuals. I love this! There are so many valuable stories that are missed when outdoor and adventure films only focus on super extreme white guys.

In celebration of the increasing diversity of outdoor films and because I’m so excited about our Film Festival (happening Friday April 19th at the Community Arts Center in Historic Downtown Truckee – tickets still available – click here!), I’m going to share some of my favorite outdoor films from the past few years.

Follow Through WSFF
Photo via Wild & Scenic Film Festival

1. Follow Through
People have opinions about skier Caroline Gleich: Inspirational. Gumby. Social media star. Role model. Model masquerading as a mountaineer. At sixteen, she stumbled upon a copy of the cult classic guidebook The Chuting Gallery. Irreverent and wonderfully arbitrary, the guidebook lays out a set of 90 ski mountaineering lines across Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. They were difficult and dangerous. When she first said out loud she wanted to ski them, she was met with laughter. “Maybe it was because I was five feet tall, or I was a little blonde girl, but I remember that clearly — and it didn’t feel good” says Gleich. After a decade building her skills, Gleich set out to complete her vision and become the skier she dreamt of being. “Follow Through” is a story of loss, belonging and desire for respect. In this age of hyperconnectivity, which voices do we choose to hear and which do we ignore?

2. The Mirnavator
Ultra-runners overcome obstacles on every trail. In this film, Force of Nature Mirna Valerio overcomes the negative voices that don’t believe she belongs in the sport.

Photo via Outside Online
Photo via Outside Online

3. Sacred Strides
Bears Ears National Monument is one of the most talked-about public lands under threat, though the dialogue often glosses over how sacred it is to many Native Americans. In March 2018, a group of tribes put their differences aside and came together to run 800 miles to Bears Ears – and to send a message of unity. The Sacred Strides for Healing Prayer Run wove from tribal homelands across the Southwest to Bears Ears. Watch to meet the people who are participating in the public lands conversation with their feet and learn about why this land is so important to them.

4. Super Stoked Surf Mamas of Pleasure Point
Through surfing and a love for the ocean, five women become friends. So when they all become pregnant around the same time, it is natural that the women turn to each other for support and encouragement. Ignoring people who tell them to stop surfing while pregnant, the women decide instead to listen to their own bodies and continue doing what they love — just with some extra precautions and modifications. The women in the film discuss the challenges they face as their bellies grow bigger and their wetsuits no longer fit, but also the joy of being in the water with their unborn child inside them experiencing the ocean together as one.

Photo via Snowbrains
Photo via Snowbrains

5. Evolution of Dreams
What happens when the passion for your dreams fades? Do you just stop? Or do you search for what’s missing and uncover new dreams and goals? Eva and Jackie’s journeys have taken them from regulated ski courses to big mountain skiing which allowed them more freedom. Throughout that journey, they’ve discovered another aspect of skiing, ski mountaineering. In this new discipline, they have to tackle new challenges and conquer new fears. It’s their evolution of dreams.

6. RJ Ripper
Rajesh Magar has been obsessed with bikes since he was a small child growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal. When the other kids were studying, he’d be dreaming about, designing and drawing bikes. As the son of a construction worker and housemaid, however, a bike wasn’t easy to come by. Undeterred, he built one, a clunky Frankenstein, but a mountain bike nonetheless. He started racing, and his drive and raw talent got noticed, leading to a job as a mountain bike guide and a path to professional racing. Today, Nepal’s National Champion is living proof that it pays to stick to your passion, no matter how implausible it seems.

7. Brotherhood of Skiing
Since 1973, the National Brotherhood of Skiers has overcome barriers by bringing soul and smiles to the mountain. Formed during the height of the black power movement, the organization is dedicated to creating a welcoming space for people of color on the slopes and supporting black youth in snowsports. Today, the NBS hosts the largest gathering of black skiers in the United States and represents 53 ski clubs with over 3,000 members across the country.

Photo via Wild & Scenic Film Festival

8. Where the Wild Things Play
Friday night at the local watering hole and … where the ladies at? Answer: BASE jumping from high desert cliffs, performing tricks on slacklines, climbing granite routes, shredding singletrack, skiing backcountry lines and generally leaving you fellas behind. This rowdy ode to female athletes by Krystle Wright leaves no doubt about the state of women in today’s outdoor world: badass.

9. SHIFT
SHIFT is a half-hour documentary about the indigenous youth from Carcross, Yukon who have spent the past 10 years converting traditional trails around their town in to a world-class mountain biking destination — and transforming their community and themselves along the way.

Photo via Inspire Film Festival
Photo via Inspire Film Festival

10. For the Love of Mary
The first time 97-year-old runner George Etzweiler completed the race up the northeast’s tallest peak, Mount Washington, he was 69 years old. Despite having a pacemaker, the State College, Pennsylvania resident continues to compete in the grueling 7.6-mile race up nearly 4,700 feet of paved road, breaking his own record each year for oldest finisher. In addition to his ancient, lucky, green running shorts, Etzweiler carries something else special with him: The memory of his late wife of 68 years, Mary.

Spring Mountain Biking in the Sierra

It’s definitely the shoulder season here in Truckee. The sky is gray, the snow piles are dirty, and I am ready for summer! Unfortunately, we have a ways to go, and I need to find ways to enjoy the spring. Luckily, spring means the start of mountain biking season here in the Sierra. Spring riding is a little different than biking in the summer or the fall, but it can be a bunch of sloppy fun.

Spring Mountain Biking // tahoefabulous.com

Trails
Depending on how much snow we get in the winter, the lower trails in Truckee and Tahoe start melting out in March and April. The earliest rideable trails in Truckee are usually Emigrant, Jackass, and Elizabethtown Meadows. In South Lake Tahoe, Powerlines, Railroad and Lower Corral in the Corral Trail Network are among the first to be rideable.

In a winter like this, the Tahoe and Truckee trails might not be rideable until summer. In that case, I drop down into the foothills to ride. My favorite spring foothills trails are Hoot Trail in Nevada City and Foresthill Divide and the Culvert/Confluence Loop in Auburn.

Trail Conditions
The biggest question about spring mountain biking is – can you ride your mountain bike when it’s been wet and raining? The answer – it depends! There are regions where the very idea of riding in the wet makes responsible mountain bikers recoil in horror and others where, if you didn’t ride in the wet, you would never ride at all.

If a trail is well designed and is mainly composed of sandy and rocky soil and drains well, it is probably safe to ride when it’s been raining. If a trail has clay type soil and the water tends to puddle in the flat spots and/or create erosion ruts, it’s not safe to ride. If you’re riding a trail and leaving tire tracks for long stretches, you shouldn’t be riding. It sucks, but if the spring conditions are such that you are damaging the trail, you should bail on the ride.

Riding on wet trails increases erosion ruts, damages jumps, berms and other features, and contributes to trail widening and reroutes. When you’re unsure if a trail is rideable due to conditions, do some research ahead of driving out to the trail. Local trail groups, like TAMBA in Tahoe or BONC in Nevada City often have up to date trail conditions reports on their websites. Regional facebook groups, like Tahoe Mountain Biking Meetup, are another great source for finding trails that are rideable. Finally, the location specific forums on websites like MTBR often have the most up to date trail data, though be sure to take personal recommendations with a grain of salt, and be ready to turn around if the trail is unrideable.

Spring Riding Gear // tahoefabulous.com

Gear
For wetter spring riding, it’s nice to have some specific gear. Layers are always good, and I decide what I want based on what the weather is actually doing. If it’s going to be actively raining, I’ll wear an actual rain coat. I have a Patagonia Torrentshell, which is a very waterproof coat. It’s not very stretchy or packable, though, and I’m interested in trying out something like the Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow which looks to be smaller, lighter, and more comfortable than a typical raincoat. When there’s no rain in the forecast, I just got a new softshell, the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody, which I think will be perfect. If there’s a slight chance of rain, I’ll often throw my Patagonia Houdini Jacket into my hydration pack. It’s tiny enough that I don’t even notice, and while not fully waterproof, it will help if I get caught in the rain. On the bottom, I like to wear full length chamois tights if it’s cold or particularly muddy. I have the Pearl iZUMi Escape Sugar Thermal, which I like, though I wish they were a little longer. If anyone knows any good full length tight chamois that fit someone 5’11” – let me know! Greyson likes to wear water resistant baggy shorts over his chamois, but I haven’t found any water resistant women’s baggies, unfortunately. When it’s grey, cloudy, and wet, I’ll switch to clear lenses in my Smith Squad MTB Goggles. I also carry sunglasses with me in case the sun comes out, because I cannot function when it’s too bright.

A couple of other things that are nice to have during the spring is a foldable saw, like the SILKY F-180, which is useful if you encounter trees downed across the trail and something like the Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower, which is great for rinsing mud off your bike.

Trail Work // tahoefabulous.com

Trail Work
Trail work is a great way to give back, and spring is a time where a lot of trail work gets done. After the snow melts out, there’s often debris and garbage all over the trails. Trails are rutted out and features have been damaged. Additionally, trail builders might be cutting new trails. Some trail groups and governmental agencies might have a trail builder on staff, but all rely heavily on volunteers to get trails built, repaired, and maintained.

While anybody can just go out and pick up litter from a trailhead, trail building requires some knowledge and training, and the best way to get that is to volunteer with groups that organize trail days. Beyond the warm glow of giving back, volunteering on trails often has other benefits – you’ll almost always get at least a beer. It’s also a great way to meet other riders in your area, and once, Greyson and I even got a free shuttle to the top of Mills Peak! Here are some great trails groups in the Sierra that host trail days:

I’m hoping to get out this weekend and do some riding, but the weather that’s coming doesn’t make that likely. I guess I’ll deal with a couple more weeks of winter.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!

Try This Beer: The Hangar, South Lake Tahoe, California

A couple of weekends ago, Greyson and I went down to South Lake Tahoe, we were able to check out a fairly new taproom and bottle shop – The Hangar.

The Hangar South Lake Tahoe // tahoefabulous.com

 

The Hangar is an awesome venue – the taproom (featuring free popcorn) is a reused shipping container with only a few seats, and most of the seating is outside at long picnic tables. There are a few covered, heated geodesic domes for winter weather, too. The bar is leashed dog friendly, and there’s an off leash dog area right next door. The Hangar is just off of Highway 50 and next to the Upper Truckee River. The one downside to this spot is that it can get a little loud from traffic noise, but not anything that ruins the ambience. It’s a great spot to sit outside and enjoy the sun.

The Hangar South Lake Tahoe // tahoefabulous.com

The Hangar obviously cares about quality beer, and I found lots of interesting beer to try. The taps switch out regularly, and you can check out the current menu here. When I was here, there was a nice mix of Sierra beers, like Sidellis Lake Tahoe, Moonraker Brewing, and Alibi Ale Works, and those from further away, like Pizza Port Brewing Company, Russian River Brewing Company and Figueroa Mountain Brewing. I really loved the Russian River STS Pils.

If you find yourself in South Lake Tahoe, I highly recommend that you check out The Hangar – it’s awesome!

Spring Mountain Biking in Reno

While another snowstorm is barreling towards Truckee (urgghhh, I’m ready for Spring!), I’m dreaming about mountain biking. While we’re still buried in snow in the higher elevations, the Sierra foothills will be ready for riding soon. Last year, when we had a pretty mild winter, Greyson and I found a couple of fun loops to do less than an hour away at Peavine Mountain in Reno, Nevada.

Mountain Biking Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

The first route we did was a lollipop that involved a chunky climb up and a smooth ride down. It was fun, but for my style of riding I think I’d ride it the other way next time. We covered about 7.2 miles and ~880 feet of elevation in a moving time of 1:17.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava
Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava

For this loop, we parked off of Kings Row (which is a residential neighborhood, so be polite if you park here!) and hopped on to Halo Trail and started climbing. We didn’t take the full Halo Trail, but took the left fork on to Curt’s Cut Off at about 3.8 miles. At about 4 miles, Curt’s dead ends into another branch of Halo Trail, turn left, and the climbing is over at that point! At about 4.2 miles, we took the left fork on to Bacon Strip for another short, flat section. Coming from Truckee, I love riding at Peavine because of the wide open views!

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

At about 4.4 miles, we started on the real downhill section by taking the left fork on to Crispy Bacon. We descended just over 200 feet in almost 1.5 miles – the descent was pretty mellow. Honestly, it was a little on the boring side. I’d climb up it, if I did this route again. The next section of the descent, starting at mile ~5.8 back on Halo Trail, does get a little spicy! This part of the trail is rocky and little exposed, which to me seems a lot more noticeable on the downhill, versus when we were climbing up. This segment is about 1.4 miles and drops ~380 feet. With that, we got back to the car.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

On the next loop we did, we took a group with a wide variety of mountain bike experience, from total beginners to experts. Everyone seemed to have a great time! It was easy enough that the beginners could handle everything, but had enough features of interest that the experts weren’t bored. This loop was about 5 miles with just under 1,000 feet of climbing, with a moving time of 48 minutes. This route was much smoother than the previous loop, with very little rocky or technical riding.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava
Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava

This loop started from the East Keystone Trailhead, a paved parking area with lots of parking. We headed up Keystone Trail, a fairly mellow climb. We were looking for a left turn on to Total Recall at about mile 1.7, but we turned too early on to a fire road – don’t make that mistake. We figured it out pretty quickly, hopped back on Keystone, and found the correct left on to Total Recall pretty quickly. At about 2 miles, there’s a fork in the trail, and we went left on to Poedunk Trail. The first mile of Poedunk is the last bit of climbing on this route, rising up about 260 feet.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

At about mile 4, Poedunk forks, and we needed to make sure that we got back to the correct parking area. We stayed right and stayed on Poedunk (though you can also take the left fork on to P Drop Trail). When Poedunk ended about 0.1 miles later, we went left on Rancho Connector until it re-crossed P Drop at about 4.4 miles. We turned right on P Drop, which dead ends back on Keystone Canyon, at about mile 4.8. From there, it’s just a short bit back to the car. This was a fun loop, but next time I do it, I’ll just take the left fork onto P Drop, as it’s a simpler route back to the car.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

Peavine Mountain is an awesome trail network where you can build routes for all ability and fitness levels. I found it was pretty easy to navigate – many trails have signage, but not all. Having an app like Trailforks to help navigate was nice for that reason. Since Reno is such a quick drive from Truckee-Tahoe, the Peavine trails are a great option when the weather isn’t cooperating up higher. Some of the Peavine trails don’t drain especially well and get think, tire clogging, peanut butter type mud when it’s wet, so be sure to pay attention to the trail conditions. Greyson and I learned the hard way once, and had to turn back after less than a mile!

I’m excited to explore more of what Peavine Mountain has to offer this spring, and I plan to write up some more, longer routes.

These trails are on the Ancestral lands of the Washoe Peoples.

Spring Skiing & Snowboarding in Tahoe

Spring Skiing and Snowboarding Tahoe // tahoefabulous.com

It’s light out in the evenings, it’s starting to warm up, and it’s officially spring on the calendar! While I appreciate a powder day or storm riding session as much as the next person, spring is my favorite time of year to get on the mountain in Tahoe.

Only in California are we #blessed with such a long spring ski season, and, with the amount of snow we got this winter, it’s going to be extra long in 2019! The days are long, it’s usually warm and sunny, everybody is more relaxed, and the resorts get much less crowded. What’s not to love?

However, there are a few tips to get the most out of the spring ski and ride season.

1. Check the weather. It’s probably going to be warm and sunny, but we can get snow storms basically every month of the year in Tahoe. And, the weather can change really quickly so be prepared for winter driving, even if it’s April or May.

2. Dress appropriately. Nothing will ruin my day faster than being overly hot, while others are miserable when cold. Know which type you are, and that will help you dress for the in-between weather. For spring skiing, I like to wear thin, light pants (like Arcteryx Sentinal Pants or Patagonia Powderbowl Pants), a light weight base layer (like the Patagonia Midweight Capilene or this Midweight Base Layer by Stoic), a down or synthetic vest (I live in my Marmot Aruna Down Vest) and a light wind shell (like the Patagonia Houdini Jacket or the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket).

Good spring #skiing and #riding at @sugarbowlresort today. #selfieselfie

A post shared by Lynn (Tahoe Fabulous) (@tahoefabulous) on

3. Make sure you have sun glasses and/or dark goggles. Suncloud is my favorite brand for nice, polarized sunglasses that aren’t too expensive. For goggles, I wear the Smith Squad Snow Goggles in both winter and spring, just switching out lenses based on conditions. I’ve had other goggles that make my face sweaty when it’s warm out, but I haven’t run into that with the Smith Squads. They ventilate well.

4. Find sunscreen that doesn’t sweat into your eyes. I try to find environmentally friendly sunscreen that isn’t tested on animals, doesn’t turn my face white, and doesn’t run directly into my eyes the second I heat up. So far, Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer is the best thing I’ve found for my face. I don’t care as much about my neck/arms/body turning white, so for that I use thinksport.

5. Get your board or skis freshly waxed and tuned. If you’ve been riding a lot all winter, your skis or board might be a little beaten up and in need of some work. Some people like to use a softer “spring” wax for warmer weather to help glide faster in wetter conditions. Note: some waxes contain fluorocarbon additives which aren’t great for human health or the environment. PFCs from the wax persist in waxers blood streams, likely enter water sources and soil from skis and snowboards, and are manufactured using toxic chemicals that end up in water pollution. Good news, there are green ski wax alternatives available. I bought a variety pack of Purl Wax for Greyson for Christmas. We haven’t tried it out yet, but I’ll report back on how it works.

6. Wear your helmet! Just because it’s mellower skiing and snowboarding doesn’t mean you don’t need to protect your brain. Even if you’re not worried about your own abilities, worry about someone else crashing into you!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!

Garmin Forerunner 35 Review

Garmin Forerunner 35 Review // tahoefabulous.com

At the end of 2018, my formerly trusty, now almost 4 year old Garmin Forerunner 910xt started to be not-so-reliable. It only seemed to track my rides on about one out of three outings. So I started shopping for a new GPS watch.

I wanted something that could track steps and heart rate without a chest strap, and I wanted something that I could wear as a day to day watch. I didn’t need something to track open water or pool swims, because my 910xt is still functional enough for that. I also knew that I wanted to pay under $300. I knew I wanted to stick with Garmin (bad experience with a Fitbit), and pretty soon narrowed it down to a Garmin Forerunner 35 ($169.99) and the Garmin Forerunner 235 ($249.99). The main benefits of the 235 over the 35 is that the Forerunner 235 has a color LCD display and the ability to control the music on your smartphone. While those features would be nice, it was not worth the almost $100 price difference to me. Additionally, the Forerunner 35 has a slightly longer battery life. I bought my Garmin Forerunner 35 in mid-January, and I’ve worn it nearly every day since then. The Forerunner 35 is a smart watch, GPS tracker and activity tracker, and I think it does a good job at all of these.

Garmin Forerunner 35 Review // tahoefabulous.com
Photo from Garmin.com

GPS Tracker
The ability to GPS track my mountain bike rides was the number one reason I wanted a new GPS watch, so this is the most important function to me. So far, I’ve worn it on two mountain bike rides and ten or so days snowboarding. (The downside of buying it in winter).

It’s worked great on mountain bike rides! It’s so much lower profile than my 910xt, so I don’t worry about bashing it in a crash nearly as much. I’ve bumped it into a few things just in daily wear, and there hasn’t been a scratch on the glass screen. I haven’t crashed my bike while wearing it yet, though. It also finds the satellites very quickly, usually within a minute, which means I’m not waiting around at the trailhead waiting to connect. After a ride is complete, the ride connects with the Garmin Connect app over bluetooth and uploads as soon as I get somewhere with service. I have my Garmin Connect account connected to Strava, and my ride appears there within a few minutes. This is a huge improvement over my old 910xt, which needed to connect over the ANT stick on my computer.

The automatic activity choices on the Forerunner 35 are Run Outdoor, Run Indoor, Bike, Cardio, and Walk. Unfortunately, the Cardio activity doesn’t connect with GPS, so if I want to track a non-bike or run outdoor activity, like snowboarding, I have to select run and manually change the activity to snowboard on Garmin Connect and Strava after uploading. It’s not the biggest deal in the world, just a little annoying. I wish there was an “Other” cardio option that launched GPS tracker.

Activity Tracker
The Forerunner 35 is an awesome daily activity tracker. It tracks heart rate, calories burned, activity minutes, steps and tells me to move when I’ve been sitting too long. I was curious about the heart rate tracker, because I know the wrist sensors aren’t as good as the heart rate straps (though it’s way less annoying to me!). After I’d had the watch for a few weeks, I went to my annual physical, and my resting heart rate measured there was within one of what my Forerunner 35 said! Where it does seem to be a little off is when I’m working hard – I think it tends to measure my heart rate as lower than it is. The calorie burn is based on your heart rate and activity throughout the day as well as the height and weight you set up in the Garmin Connect profile.

Garmin Forerunner 35 Review // tahoefabulous.com

I think the step counter on the Forerunner 35 is much more accurate than the basic Fitbit I used to have, which seemed to overestimate the amount of steps. I also really like that the step goal adjusts based on how many steps you take, creating an achievable goal to strive for. The Forerunner 35 will tell you to “Move!” if I have been sitting too long, which is great for someone with a mostly office job, like me. The Forerunner 35 tracks sleep and active minutes per week, though I don’t pay a ton of attention to those features. If that’s something you’re interested in, you can keep track with this watch.

Smart Watch
When you are in range of your smart phone, you’ll get notifications on the screen of the watch over Bluetooth. I get text, call, and email notifications – basically anything I set up as push notifications on my phone. Since the screen isn’t huge (0.93″ x 0.93″), I don’t see a large portion of the message, but usually there’s enough to get the gist. It’s not the most advanced smart watch out there, but it functions well enough, and I like that the smallish screen size makes it more wearable.

Additionally, I LOVE that the main face is just a basic watch. I haven’t worn a watch since college, but it’s so nice to check the time by just glancing at my wrist instead of digging out my phone. I do wish that it was easier to control which notifications came through on the watch. There are some push notifications that I want to come through on my phone, but not on the watch, like social media alerts for work accounts and new podcast downloads. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet though.

The battery life for the watch has been great for me. It supposedly lasts for 13 hours on GPS mode and up to 9 days in smart watch mode. I’ve never run it all the way to dead, I usually charge it overnight every 5 or 6 days. It also charges pretty quickly, within a few hours.

Pros
– Accurate GPS tracking that locks on to satellite quickly
– Tracked activities transmit over bluetooth to smart phone
– Wrist heart rate monitor tracks activity and resting heart rate
– Low profile is great for mountain biking or other outdoor activities
– Works well as daily activity tracker
– Good battery life
– GREAT value for its price, especially compared to other GPS trackers

Cons
– Silicon band gets stinky with daily wear
– Push notifications not easily customizable
– No GPS “Other Cardio” option

All in all, the Garmin Forerunner 35 is a great value GPS watch, especially for mountain biking. The activity tracker and smart watch features work well and are beneficial additions. If you’re looking for a lower cost GPS watch, I highly recommend this model.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!

Resort Report: Diamond Peak, Incline Village, NV

Diamond Peak // tahoefabulous.com

After nine seasons of snowboarding in and around the Tahoe-Truckee area, I’ve gotten to ride at quite a few resorts. I especially love checking out the smaller, quirkier local resorts like Diamond Peak, located above the east shore of Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, Nevada.

Diamond Peak Facts:

  • Diamond Peak is a community owned resort – it’s owned and operated by the Incline Village General Improvement District, so it tends to be one of the more affordable resorts in the Tahoe area.
  • It tops out at 8,540 feet, which isn’t one of the tallest peaks in the area, but it has a vertical drop of 1,840 feet – the 4th highest in the Tahoe Basin.
  • The longest run at Diamond Peak is 2.1 miles, and the resort has 655 skiable acres.
  • Diamond Peak has been in operation since 1966 (originally as Ski Incline) – more than 50 years!
Diamond Peak Ski Resort // tahoefabulous.com
Trail Map from Diamond Peak.

Pros:

  • The view of Lake Tahoe from the top of Diamond Peak is incredible. While there are other ski resorts that also have lake views, like Heavenly or Alpine Meadows, I think that Diamond Peak might be my absolute favorite.
  • There are some really fun tree glades that hold snow well. And, since the mountain tends to be more family oriented, the more difficult terrain doesn’t get tracked out super quickly.
  • The mountain has a small town, down home feel! It’s not corporate, and you can tell that the people who work there care about their customers.
  • Food and drinks are cheaper here than most other resorts, especially the large ones owned by Vail or KSL.
  • The resort is very family friendly, and beginner oriented if you or people you ski or ride with are just starting out.
  • If you’re under 6 or over 80, you ski or ride for free!

Cons:

  • Since it’s a smaller resort, it doesn’t have the variety of terrain that larger resorts have.
  • Most of the lifts are older and aren’t detachable style. One even has a  mini magic carpet for onboarding, which can make things challenging for snowboarders and newer skiers.
  • For snowboarders, there are quite a few flat-ish and narrow cat tracks that you need to use to get around the mountain.
  • There is less advanced terrain than other mountains.
  • It’s not a party mountain, if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s much more local and family oriented.

Ticket/Pass Prices:

  • Adult Season Pass: $479 with no blackout days! There are deals for children, youth, seniors, and Incline Village residents. You also get quite a few free days at partner resorts all over the Western US.
  • Adult Value Lift Ticket: $89 (Opening day – December 21, midweek January 7 – March 17, March 17 – Closing day)
  • Adult Weekend Lift Ticket: $99 (Non-holiday weekends January 12 – March 17)
  • Adult Peak Lift Ticket: $109 (December 22 – January 6, Martin Luther King Jr Weekend, Presidents Day Weekend)
  • Beginner Lift Access: $49 – $69
  • There are also discounts for children, youth, and seniors

Diamond Peak // tahoefabulous.com