My Favorite Tahoe Brands

While the Tahoe area may be made up of small towns and unincorporated areas, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have some amazing local brands and companies. Here are some of my favorites.

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Coalition Snow, Incline Village, Nevada
This ski and snowboard company Coalition Snow combines two of my favorite things: products for women by women and bright colors! Their motto “We Make Women’s Skis and Snowboards That Don’t Suck” gets right to the point.

“We’re a bunch of ladies hailing from Lake Tahoe who believe that women’s skis and snowboards shouldn’t suck. Rather than wait around for someone else to design the gear we actually want to ride, we did it ourselves. It’s that simple.”

Coalition Snow Collage
All photos by Coalition Snow

I supported their kickstarter last year, and I was rewarded with amazing leggings, a kickstarter-only tank top, a hat and adorable earrings. The leggings and tank top are perfect for yoga, and I love wearing the leggings under my snowboard pants for a hidden but awesome shot of color.

When I upgrade my snowboard in the next couple of years, I’ll definitely be looking at Coalition Snow for my purchase. Plus, how adorable is this Queen Bee All Mountain Snowboard? P.S. If you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll get a weekly dose of women in adventure news, highlighted with the Coalition Snow irreverent sense of humor.

Arcade Belt Company, Olympic Valley, California
I love these belts! I own two, and I’ll be buying more as soon as I can justify the purchases of more Arcade Belts to myself.

“Arcade reinvented the most overlooked of accessories with a few sewing machines and simple ingenuity. Built with comfortable stretch materials and simple yet durable buckles, Arcade belts are designed for those that live by their own rules, choose quality over quantity and want products that fit their lifestyle.”

Arcade Belts Neutral
All photos by Arcade Belt Co.

Personally, I love the adventure belts – they’re stretchy and comfortable, easy to adjust, and, since they have no metal, you don’t have to take them off at the airport. They’re perfect travel belts. The first one I bought was the heather gray Foundation. These belts are unisex, and I discovered that a lot of women’s pants have really narrow belt loops, so it was occasionally a struggle to feed the belt through a couple of pairs of pants. (They always fit, I’m just a little lazy when it comes to belts.) Luckily, Arcade makes a range of belt-widths. I bought The Midnighter Slim in black, and it fits through the narrowest of lady pants belt loops.

colored arcade belts
All photos by Arcade Belt Co.

Now that I’m well stocked on neutral belts, I have my eye on some fun colors! Greyson has The Blackwood, and I occasionally borrow that one. I think it’s a prettier green in real life than in looks on the internet. Here are the ones I’m thinking about: The Larry Sherbert, The Del Mar, and The Drifter. Maybe I’ll branch out for The Kate. P.S. Do you think I could pull off these suspenders?

Alanna Hughes Pottery, Truckee, California
Greyson got me one of Alanna Hughes gorgeous ceramic coffee mugs for Valentines Day last year, and it remains one of my favorite presents ever.

Alanna Hughes Bike Mug

Aspects of Alanna’s pottery are left unglazed leaving a window to view the natural clay body. Her work is modern with a twist into nature. By using bold and vibrant colors along with elegant shapes, her clay pieces are intriguing. Her pottery is food, oven, dishwasher safe and made to be used functionally.

She makes beautiful mugs, platters, vases and other ceramic art that you can buy at Riverside Studios in downtown Truckee, and she often is selling her goods at local farmers markets and community events in the summer. She often has ceramics for sale on the Riverside Studios website, like this bike mug, similar to mine. You’ll have to come to Truckee to check out her full collection though!

bigtruck brand, Truckee, California

Hats from bigtruck are my go to gift for my non-local friends. I love their bright colors (sensing a pattern?), unique designs, ability to customize, and the fact that they are locally handmade.

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My best friend Jodi, making a “hat face” in her birthday bigtruck hat.

“Rather than a business proposition, bigtruck brand was founded on a vision to create a movement and community connecting people through creativity and fun first. Since 2010, bigtruck has specialized in the design, marketing and manufacturing of hats. From it’s initial two men team, bigtruck has evolved from a small Lake Tahoe hat company into a global community that has chosen to reflect their passion for life in what they wear. With increasing demand, bigtruck continues to strive to inspire others to live life with a fun first mentality.”

bigtruckhats
All photos by bigtruck brand

They have a few different basic designs: the classic with their quickly-recognizable logo, the og goggle kt22 (referencing Squaw Valley’s classic lift), og om, og mcconkey (100% of proceeds go to the Shane McConkey Foundation), and happy sock beanie, among many others. While bigtruck has a ton of great hats available online, it’s totally worth it to visit their hat bar in their Truckee location. You can customize a ton of the details or check out their on-site only hats that their designers cooked up.

These are just a few of my favorite companies that call the Tahoe area home. While most of their products are available online, if you’re in the Tahoe area, I highly recommend you check out the local businesses that sell these awesome products. What are some of your favorite local brands? I’m always on the lookout for new products to try.

Note: I didn’t get any free stuff or sponsorship to say nice things about these brands. I just like them that much. None of the links are affiliate links either.

Happy New Year + a Winter Bucket List

Happy 2016 everyone! I thought 2015 was pretty great, but I’m looking forward to the new year with my eye on a few goals. I made a Fall Bucket List, but between sickness and business, I didn’t check off too many. Now that the snow has begun to fall (already more than fell ALL of last winter), I have some goals and experiences for my Winter Bucket List.

winter bucket list tahoe fabulous

Join a Gym and Start Swimming: So, I didn’t join a gym, despite it being a goal for the fall. With winter’s early darkness, cold temperatures, and icy trails, it’s definitely time for me to join a gym. I’m going to go along with all of the other January Joiners and start working out after work. Relatedly, I’m going to find a public pool for lap swimming. My trip to Indonesia is coming up (in March!), and I want to be in good swimming shape by then.

Try Out New Winter Activities: I’ve gotten decent at snowboarding over the last five winters, but there are a ton of winter and snow sports I’ve never tried or only done once. Some ideas: cross country skiing, snowshoeing (I actually tried this one last week), fat biking, downhill skiing, ice skating, skijoring, etc.

riding at northstar

Snowboard Twice as Much as Last Year: This should be easy – since I was mountain biking at 7,000 feet in February last year.

Take an Avalanche Safety Course: I want to get into backcountry snowboarding, and step one is learning how to stay safe. There are a bunch of avalanche safety courses in the Tahoe area. I just need to pick one and go.

backcountry skiing mammoth
Photo by Greyson Howard

Try Backcountry Snowboarding: After I get educated, I’ll be ready to try backcountry snowboarding! I’ll hopefully be able to borrow most of the gear I need, before I invest a ton of money. I’ve already got a snowboard and snowshoes, so I’m partway there! There’s a ton of great backcountry riding in Tahoe, and I’m excited to start to experience it.

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Try Out New Resorts: The last few years, I’ve had a Vail pass that let me ride at Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood. This year my pass is at Sugar Bowl, and comes with a few tickets at Squaw/Alpine Meadows. I’ll hopefully be able to ride with friends at a few new resorts this year – Diamond Peak, Mt. Rose and Homewood.

Trail Report: Hiking Winnemucca Lake via the Pacific Crest Trail on National Trails Day

I spent National Trails Day hiking from Carson Pass to Winnemucca Lake and Round Top Peak via the Pacific Crest Trail. The hike is a fairly easy, 5 mile round trip jaunt to a gorgeous glacial lake.

The fairly easy hike up can be exposed and buggy (especially when passing Frog Lake!), so don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, and bug spray. You’re rewarded with gorgeous views of the surrounding peaks, valleys and lakes during the whole hike.

Winnemucca Lake Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Round Top “peaks” through the trees less than a mile into the hike.

About 1.3 miles into the trail, the Pacific Crest Trail spurs off to the left. Be sure to follow the trail to right to arrive at Winnemucca Lake. This early in the summer, it’s still a little snowy, and we had to cross a few snow patches. None were longer that 200 yards or so and on flat trail, so not too difficult to navigate. This hike is famous for incredible displays of wildflowers. Unfortunately, we were a little early for the fields of color, but we found a few patches of wildflowers that we tried to identify.

Winnemucca Lake Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Greyson references the Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada.

It was a perfect sunny day for sitting on the shore of Winnemucca Lake, soaking in the view.

Winnemucca Lake Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Winnemucca Lake panorama.

I’ve heard this trail can get pretty busy during the height of the wildflower season, but we ran into very few other hikers. From Winnemucca Lake, you can continue on to other beautiful spots, like Fourth of July Lake and a couple of campgrounds. We didn’t end up going any further due to the snow and a high-ish creek crossing, but I’m looking forward to coming back to this spot later in the summer.

Winnemucca Lake Hike // tahoefabulous.com
Trail Map via Strava

Hike Totals:

5.2 miles, 532 feet of elevation gain in 1:53

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!

Trail Report: Donner Peak Hike

I had a little incident at the climbing gym on Wednesday:

Donner Peak Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Luckily, it’s just a strained tendon.

I wanted to take it fairly easy on my hand this weekend (no biking or climbing), so I went on a hike! Since I started mountain biking three years ago, I haven’t tended to do a lot of hiking, as I’d generally rather be on a bike. I’ve been doing more hiking recently, and I was reminded how awesome it can be.

Greyson, Sylas and I decided to climb to the top of Donner Peak, a hike they’ve both done many times.

Donner Peak Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Greyson and Sylas enjoy the view from the top.

The hike starts on the Pacific Crest Trail, just off Highway 20 in Truckee. It’s just under 4 miles, with 1.8 ish mile climb up. You take the PCT up for about a mile, then turn left onto the Judah Loop. The last part is an off-trail scramble to the top of the peak.

Donner Peak Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Donner Peak Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Donner Peak boasts incredible views.

Donner Peak Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Some overly friendly wildlife.

Donner Peak Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Bring binoculars. We spotted a couple of waterfalls rushing in the distance.

I tracked our hike via Strava. The hike up took about 43 minutes to cover 1.8 miles with 933 feet of elevation gain. We definitely weren’t rushing on this hike, stopping to enjoy the views and throw some snowballs. At this point in this low-snow year, there’s not really any snow on the trail, but some of the sections of trails are very muddy and covered by small meltwater streams. Wear boots or expect wet feet! We stopped several times on the hike down to examine and identify wildflowers. While the wildflowers aren’t going crazy yet, I imagine that this hike will be excellent for wildflowers in the next couple of weeks.

Donner Peak Hike // tahoefabulous.com

Hike stats: 3.8 miles, 933 feet elevation gain, 1:27

Click here for more information and better directions to this hike.

Flashback Friday: Beginning Climbing at LTCC

Back in March I took Beginning Climbing as a PE Class at Lake Tahoe Community College. The class consisted of two Wednesday lectures where we learned about climbing history, technique, safety, etc., and two Fridays & Saturdays out climbing in the field.

I’d done a little climbing (mostly indoor at the gym) in college, and was interested in trying it again, but nervous to get started. The Beginning Climbing class at LTCC was the perfect introduction!

The first two days, we climbed at 90 Foot Wall just outside of South Lake Tahoe. We practiced rappelling, learned to belay and put the climbing techniques we discussed in class into action.

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Nice view!

Beginning Climbing // tahoefabulous.com

Tiny green instructor at the top of 90 Foot Wall for scale.

For our second Friday of climbing, we headed to tackle some more difficult climbs at the Cosumnes River Gorge near Placerville. We did another, much more nerve wracking rappel with all our gear and then beat up our hands with our first crack climbs and squeezed into some interesting chimneys.

Beginning Climbing // tahoefabulous.com

Setting up the scary rappel while our awesome instructor Damien checks my set up.

Beginning Climbing // tahoefabulous.com

Cosumnes River Gorge. Can you spot the slackliner?

Beginning Climbing // tahoefabulous.com

Two of my classmates try to figure out a weird section.

For our last day of class, we headed back to the South Lake Tahoe area and went to Pie Shop. This day definitely had the hardest routes, including a multi pitch that our instructor set up. While he was doing that, we watched the instructional assistants do a trad climbing demonstration on a 5.10 crack that I eventually climbed when they had the top rope set up. That route was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!

Beginning Climbing // tahoefabulous.com

A classmate on the difficult crack.

Beginning Climbing // tahoefabulous.com

A view of the multi-pitch climb.

Beginning Climbing // tahoefabulous.com

Great hand and foot holds on this section of the multi-pitch.

Beginning Climbing // tahoefabulous.com

LTCC Beginning Climbing class.

The other really cool thing about our last day of class was that we were way up high and had a great view of the “Golden Celebration” parade that went from Meyers to Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort to celebrate the three women from South Lake Tahoe who won medals at this year’s Olympics.