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Five Things to do in North Tahoe in April

 

By Tim Hauserman

While the snow is still deep in the high country, many ski areas are winding down with closing dates either the middle or end of April. With too much snow to hike and mountain bike in many places, but the ski areas closing, now what do you do?

Snowshoe

The spring is a great time to go for a snowshoe. The snow is usually firm so you won’t sink too much as you walk, and with fewer crowds you can experience nature quietly. You can head out from Tahoe Meadows to Chickadee Ridge and enjoy an awesome view of Lake Tahoe and birds that are quiet friendly, or find yourself tromping through Page Meadows to catch a glimpse of Twin Peaks. Wherever you go, snowshoeing is just like walking with large feet.

Fly through the air

Check out the Tahoe Treetop Adventure locations at Granlibakken in Tahoe City and at the North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista. Tree top parks include zip lines and series of wobbly bridges that take you high above the ground between the pines, firs and cedars of a Tahoe forest. Don’t worry, while it is exhilarating, you are secure in a harness. northtahoeadventures.com

Take a hike

While many trails are still under lots of snow, or face swollen stream crossings, two popular hiking trails are most likely hikeable now. In Emerald Bay you can take the Vikingsholm trail down one mile to the shore of Lake Tahoe, or the Stateline Fire Lookout trail in Crystal Bay, which in less than a mile brings you to two different panoramas of the lake just a stone’s throw from each other. While both trails are most likely not yet snow free, they’ve been packed down by lots of previous walkers and should be easy walking for those with a sturdy pair of hiking boots once this current storm passes.
Take a stroll around Tahoe City or Kings Beach.

Both towns provide great shopping and dining opportunities, and each comes with its own unique flair and vibe. Each has a lovely beach on the shore of Lake Tahoe. In Tahoe City, be sure and check out the Tahoe City dam to witness all that water roaring into the Truckee River.
Go see a film

The Tahoe Art Haus and Cinema in The Cobblestone in Tahoe City serves beer and special popcorn along with unique film presentations, music and dance performances, and first run movies. tahoearthauscinema.com

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
What a difference a year makes

By Tim Hauserman

Everyone knows Lake Tahoe’s level has been rising rapidly this winter thanks to the copious quantities of snow and rain that we have received. But I’ve been too busy shoveling and skiing to go down to the lake shore to take a gander until now, and it is a treat! The beaches are smaller, the lake is much closer, and the Truckee River is roaring.

Check out these four pictures which tell the tale.

The top shot is from just over a year ago from April of 2016. I couldn’t get a shot from that spot today because: a) the water is cold and I would be up to my neck in water and b) I can’t get my kayak out of the basement yet to paddle to that spot because there is still a five foot wall of snow hard against my basement door.

 

The second shot is from the Lake Tahoe Dam a year ago. Just a bit of a trickle.

The third picture is from the Lake Tahoe Dam this week, where under my feet six gates were open delivering over 700 cubic feet per second of delicious Tahoe water into the Truckee River (that’s a whole lotta water).

The fourth picture is from the Commons Beach. While last April it was a long and rocky walk to reach the lakeshore, now the beach is literally right there. And boy is it purdy.
Note that the pier in the shot that was pretty much high and dry last year, is again a pier surrounded by water.

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
Spring Skiing


By Tim Hauserman

This winter it has seemed like we’ve spent more time shoveling than skiing, so it is pretty dang nice to have experienced the past few weeks of warm sunny weather. All that sunshine not only shrinks the pile of snow on our roofs and decks but also reminds us that deep under that packed icy stuff there is actually a driveway. But what this warm sunny stuff really gives us is the joy of spring skiing.

I’m a cross-country skate skier so for me spring skiing might mean something different than it would to a downhill skier or snowboarder, but what we have in common, is we love the corn. We love the Goldilocks combination of not too fast and not too slow. Here is what I found this past week to confirm what I know about spring skiing:

-The snow can be just perfect. Fast enough to make the skiing easy and fun, but not so hard as to be icy.
-This is a limited time offer. Between 8:30 and 10:30 the conditions are primo. The snow starts out a bit crusty, and then begins to get sticky at the end, but in the middle it is oh so delicious. There is no problem getting an edge and the skiing is smooth as silk, but still fast. Yummy.
– From about noon on, however, the mashed potatoes arrive, creating go and stop conditions as you ski from shade to sun.The skis move slower, and a lot more effort is required.
-Another springtime special is that you can skate across Antone Meadows at Tahoe Cross Country and Euer Valley at Tahoe Donner Cross Country with no need for a trail: if you go early and stay in the sunny parts of the meadow, and a freezing and thawing cycle has been going on for at least a week.

When the spring conditions are here, it is all about timing. Ski in the morning when the conditions are right, and plan to do all those other activities you need to get done after you’ve put that silly grin on your face.

Oh and one more thing. Get out there now, because by the time you read this, the next set of storms are probably already lining up to bring back winter again.

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
LUNAFEST Tahoe

By Tim Hauserman

Head to the Tahoe Art Haus in The Cobblestone in Tahoe City on March 9th for LUNAFEST: nine short films designed to compel discussion, make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings. While the film’s content is diverse, the common thread is they are by, for and about women.

The 90 minute event is a fundraiser for Girls on the Run Tahoe, which has a mission “to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”

So you can experience the win-win of watching some incredible films, while helping a very worthwhile local organization.

“This year’s LUNAFEST films show us again how women from around the world experience the same joys and challenges and need for connection, regardless of their age or social standing,” said Joyce Chambers, Girls on the Run Tahoe Board Member and coach.

Why is Girls on the Run a great program? Ask Coach Heidi Bushway-Verkler. “I love working with Girls on the Run because it is not only rewarding for the girls it’s also rewarding for the adults who get to work with the girls. The girls not only learn about being healthy physically but being healthy socially and emotionally by making good choices and being true to who they are.”

The Scoop
Thursday, March 9th. Time: 7 pm. Tahoe Art Haus, 475 North Lake Blvd. Tahoe City. Price: $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
tahoearthauscinema.com
lunafest.org

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Posted in Winter in Tahoe
Snowfest 2017!

 

By Tim Hauserman

Here it comes! The 36th annual Snowfest in North Lake Tahoe March 2-12th. Snowfest is a great chance to party with old friends and meet new ones at a host of fun activities.

Events include:

March 2-Gar Woods Kick Off Party. Tons of great food and drink for just $35 as well as a live band and the coronation of the 2017 Snowfest Queen! All the proceeds go to support Snowfest.

March 3-Grand Opening Fireworks ceremony: This year moved from Squaw Valley to The Commons Beach in the center of Tahoe City, across from The Cobblestone. Don’t miss the fireworks at 8:30, but come early and enjoy what Tahoe City has to offer.

March 4-Tahoe City Parade Day, which includes not only a great parade (keep your eyes open for the Hauserman Rental Group entry) but a host of other events in Tahoe City: Pancake Breakfast, Snowball dropping contest, snowman painting contest and a party at Moe’s supporting the Tahoe Community Nursery School. Later that day, it’s back to Gar Woods for the Polar Bear swim.

HRG 2016 Snowfest Parade

Russ, Dan, and Tim 2016 Snowfest Parade

Russ, Dan (clock tower) and Tim 2016 Snowfest Parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 5-Sunnyside is having it’s annual pig roast, while Fat Cat in Tahoe City will be home to a hot wings eating contest. And before that you can also race in The Great Ski Race from Tahoe City to Truckee.

March 6
Za’s Third Annual Clam Bake

March 7
Pete and Peters Bar Olympics

March 8
Ladies Night Bunco Bash at the North Tahoe Event Center

March 9
Blake Beeman Pay it Forward Music Festival at The Blue Agave in Tahoe City

March 10
Bridgetender Rib Fest

March 11
It’s Kings Beach’s turn to shine with the Kings Beach parade, a Chili cookoff at the Kings Beach Library, and pancake breakfast at the North Tahoe Event Center.

March 12
Snow sculpture Contest at the River Ranch

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
And then the snow finally stopped

Tim Shoveling Snow January 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Tim Hauserman

January has been an interesting month for weather at Lake Tahoe. And by interesting I mean record amounts of snow and periods of torrential rains, all leading to road closures, power outages, and folks with very sore shoulders and backs from the relentless shoveling. But it all finally came to a halt for a few days this week. Here is what you will now find on a gloriously sunny day at Lake Tahoe:

-Lots and lots of snow. In most neighborhoods there is five plus feet of snow lying in yards. Many single story homes have snow up to nearly the roof line. While shoveling one side of my garage roof last week the challenge was where to put it, because where I was standing off the roof was higher up then the roof itself.
-If you have a roof that is not metal and has not been at least partially shoveled, you may want to consider doing so. I found an industrious fellow that in an hour and a half took about half the weight of the snow off my roof. I’ve been pulling off what I can reach from below, and warming temperatures are also helping to lower the weight.
-Plows have been doing an amazing job, but the roads are still narrow and parking is at a premium. Coming to Tahoe? Carpool.
-The skiing is absolutely, positively gorgeous. But apparently you and I are not the only ones to notice this so the morning and afternoon traffic to Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Northstar is substantial. Plan ahead and give yourself some extra time. Perhaps now is a good time to try Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area.There is little traffic and just a short walk to the trailhead.
-Amazing beauty. Whether it is the snow in the trees or the thick blanket along the lake shore, it is stupendous and jaw dropping out there. Enjoy.
-Lake Tahoe has risen from below the natural rim to over two feet over the rim in the last few months. Given the huge snow pack, we can probably expect a nearly full lake by summer time. Great for boaters, but you will have to get to the beach early to find your spot.

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
Making lemonade!

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By Tim Hauserman

A few days ago we got a deluge of rain at lake level. While we would have preferred snow, it was a much needed infusion of water that brought Lake Tahoe up above the rim of the lake. For the first time since September, water from Lake Tahoe was again trickling into the Truckee River.

Hopefully impending storms will bring lots of the fluffy white stuff in the next week, but in the meantime I wanted to cross country ski and knew that I needed to go high, above 8000 feet, to find snow. When it rains at lake level, the go to place to find snow is the top of the Mt. Rose Highway which is above 8500 feet. While it seems a long way, it’s just a 35 minute drive from Tahoe City to Tahoe Meadows, and I found out, it was well worth the drive.

I arrived at a snowy paradise. The sky was that deep, after a storm, dark blue that just makes you smile and say ahhh. The snow was shining bright and pretty dang deep, especially compared to what you could find a 1000 feet lower.

I started out skiing away from the road on a pair of striding skis. As I made my way downstream across the meadow I quickly realized that the snow had frozen hard, it was smooth, not disturbed by a lot of tracks, and my skis were floating right at the surface of the snow…hey, lightbulb, I could skate ski this!

I strode back to my car, switched gear and then began floating across the smooth meadow on my skate skis. It didn’t take long until I had an unstoppable grin as I flew up and down the gentle slopes in a state of blissful peace.

Being able to skate ski on a meadow away from a groomed trail is a special treat that is usually reserved for the late spring when the freezing and thawing cycles of warm days and cold night create firm snow. But in this case, wet snow followed by freezing temperatures did the work toot suite, creating awesome meadow skating conditions in the middle of December.

My skate skiing surprise points out an important factor to remember to enjoy all that the Tahoe outdoors has to offer. You have to pick your time, place, and sport based on the weather conditions. Sometimes you have to drive to that one special place where you can find the snow, which might even be much better snow than you expected. Other times you ride your bike instead of ski. And sometimes, hopefully very soon, it dumps feet of the soft cold powder, and then the choice is so much easier.

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
Tahoe Film Festival December 1-4th

By Tim Hauserman

The Tahoe Film Festival will bring twenty-three full length films to the Incline Village and Northstar Cinemas between December 1-4. The Festival, which supports SWEP, the Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships, is focused on films about the environment as well as award winning independent films covering a wide range of topics. Most importantly, it is an opportunity for people at Tahoe to see amazing films that would otherwise not appear in the region.
Films include:
“Certain Women” a story about several women facing personal crossroads staring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern.
“When Two World’s Collide” , a Sundance Film Festival Award winner about the battle between indigenous people from the Amazon, and the President of Peru.
“Before the Flood” which tells the story of climate change staring Leonardo Dicaprio.
“Antarctic-Ice and Sky”
“For the love of Spock” by Leonard Nimoy’s son Adam Nimoy.
“The last laugh” a documentary in which famous Jewish comedians including Mel Brooks and Sarah Silverman discuss joking about the holocaust.
“A man called Ove” is a funny and heartwarming story that has won the Audience Award at several festivals.
“Thank you for your service” about mental illness in the military
“Casting by” about the life of a casting director.

In addition to the films, there will be a SWEP Gala on December 4th, and an Opening Film Party on December 1st. Many directors and actors will be in attendance at the festival to discuss their work with the audiences.
Go to tahoefilmfest.org for ticket and schedule information. The festival not only supports the very worthwhile programs of SWEP, but the concept of a film festival in Tahoe, so get out there and buy some tickets!

Posted in Fall in Tahoe
Ward Canyon

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By Tim Hauserman

As winter approaches it’s time to enjoy those last few hikes and mountain bike rides before the glorious white stuff covers the ground. One of my favorite last chance spots is the top of Ward Canyon. Here the views of the surrounding Pacific Crest, contrast beautifully with the deep blue sky. Closer in, you can marvel at the gnarled still standing dead trees, and the live ones laden with sticky pine cones while listening to the gentle rustle of Ward Creek pounding over rocks.

 

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The drive to the top of Ward Canyon begins just south of Sunnyside on Tahoe’s West Shore. Turn off Highway 89 and take Pineland Drive. Roll through Pineland, and then suddenly you escape the houses and begin a several mile journey through undeveloped forest in Ward Canyon. Enjoy glimpses of Ward Creek and Ward Peak and pass a trailhead for the Tahoe Rim Trail, before reentering the civilized world in the residential community of Alpine Peaks. Continue to follow Courchevel Road to it’s end, where you find a small parking lot close to the base of Alpine Meadow’s Sherwood chairlift.

Follow the dirt road which begins here as it winds over ski runs up the slope to the top of the Sherwood chair. It’s a gentle rise with stunning views in every direction. At the first major switchback, a hiking trail heads straight. Follow this a short distance to a grove of humongous western white pines. They sit at a vista above the meeting of two Ward Creek tributaries which are diving swiftly into a deep ravine.

Back on the road, views of Twin Peaks get better and better as you gently climb. Rounding the open slope into a grove of trees you meet a junction. Straight ahead leads to the base of Alpine Meadows, and a left turn continues to the top of Sherwood. A series of switchbacks leads to a rocky precipice, a great place to ponder Lake Tahoe and much of Ward Canyon. You can continue on to the top or meander along this ridge to a panoramic view into Alpine Meadows.

At the top of the Sherwood chair, the road ends, but you could keep going, following use trails along the ridge to eventually reach the top of Ward Peak. Whether you venture all the way to the top or just wander for a bit close to the trailhead, the views are spectacular, and well worth stretching your legs.

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Posted in Fall in Tahoe
A river roars through it

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By Tim Hauserman

When we think of Tahoe weather it is sun and snow that primarily come to mind. Tahoe is famous for blue skies or white powder. But the gray days of rain, like the glorious torrential events we’ve seen this fall, are a rare opportunity to see another kind of Tahoe beauty.

On the third day of a recent rainstorm I escaped the computer, donned my rain gear and walked from my house in Tahoe Park to Ward Creek along the bike trail. Even over the wet waves of sound coming from the wakes the cars made plowing through sheets of water, I could hear the creek well before I could see it. It was a rolling, churning mass of gray water, rushing to get to the lake.

I strolled into Ward Creek State Park, following the creek bank upstream. Granite rocks glistened with lime green lichens. Grasses and matts of pine needles wafted a gentle musty odor of decay and transition. The wet bark of Jeffrey pines and firs shown bright red. And the rain, kept coming down. Making puddles and building tiny streams. Dousing the recently parched land, and beginning the long and important process of filling up the enormous lake.

As the rain slowly stopped, the first rainbows lit up the sky and dipped their legs into the pile of liquid gold that is Lake Tahoe. Then the sun reemerged and the water quickly settled into the dirt, creating those trails perfect for mountain biking or hiking, while we enjoyed the last vestiges of the colors of autumn. A final chance to enjoy the fall before the winter snows are sure to roar in.

Posted in Fall in Tahoe

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