Ear to the Ground: Feb/March 2017

News and Notes


Squaw Valley Ski Patroller Dies in Accident

Joe Zuiches, a 42 year-old resident of Olympic Valley and a member of the Squaw Valley professional ski patrol since 2012, was killed in a fatal accident prior to regularly scheduled operations, during avalanche control activities at the top of Gold Coast Ridge. The team at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows is deeply saddened by this tragic event, and ASJ extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends affected. Joe will be survived by his wife and infant son. If you would like to make a charitable donation to the Zuiches family today, check out Joe’s GoFundMe page here.

Photo: Contributed


California Drought Update
Pacific Institute reports that Pacific storms in January have brought widespread, intense precipitation to California, providing relief to some drought-stricken regions but also flooding. According to the US Drought Monitor, about 35 percent of the state is no longer experiencing drought, and the proportion of areas under extreme-to-exceptional drought fell from 38 percent on January 3rd to 28 percent by January 10th. Cumulative precipitation hit a record high, doubling the historical average for this time of year. While a weak La Niña persists, sea surface temperature will transition back to normal by February 2017. Surface reservoirs, especially in Northern California, are beginning to refill, but groundwater aquifers in many parts of the state remain severely overdrafted and will take far longer to recover.

Learn more here.


Bike Monkey Debuts New Adventure Race
Bike Monkey – producer of such acclaimed cycling races as the Boggs 8 Hour and Annandel XC – recently announced registration for its inaugural Fish Rock event out of Boonville March 11, 2017. A mixed road and gravel adventure race, Fish Rock features a 72.4-mile course with 9,670 feet of elevation gain. The fully-supported event includes timed segments, stocked aid-stations, mechanical SAG support and a post-race hoedown.

Learn more here.


Green World Cup at Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is dedicated to preserving California winters and the alpine environment for current and future generations. The resort has pledged to continue to reduce its carbon footprint, remain an early-adopter of sustainable technologies, and to work within the community to encourage peers and partners to do the same. Many of the initiatives Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows have ingrained in the culture at the resort will play contributing roles in the Audi FIS Women’s Alpine World Cup in March 2017.

Learn more about the Audi FIS Women’s Alpine World Cup and Squaw Valley’s green initiatives here.

Photo: Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows


PHIT Act Tax-Deduction
The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act bill, introduced to the House of Representatives in 2015, aspires to address obesity and preventable medical issues in the US by rewarding active Americans with lower medical costs. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and “treat certain amounts paid for physical activity, fitness, and exercise as amounts paid for medical care.” The pending legislation would allow Americans to use Pre-Tax Medical Accounts to pay for physical activity expenses, providing an incentive for adults and their children to get fit which will help prevent healthcare costs related to preventable chronic diseases. Currently,  Pre-Tax Medical Accounts are primarily used for reimbursement of medical expenses once you become sick. PHIT would allow taxpayers to place up to $2,000 a year in existing Pre-Tax Medical Accounts for reimbursement of physical activity expenses. The PHIT Act aims to “put prevention in our healthcare system. What we have today is basically ‘sickcare’. PHIT is designed to promote “wellness care” or true healthcare in the US.

Learn more about the PHIT Act here.

Photo: Pacific Coast Trail Runs / ChasquiRunner


New MTB Podcast
MTBpodcast.com covers all the latest news, racing, products, insider stories and more in the world of mountain biking. If it has to do with two-wheels, no topic is off-topic. Co-hosts Jonathan Lee and Steven Lewis draw from years of experience in the mountain biking world as enthusiasts and members of the industry to give you the info you need to know and the banter you want to hear. Jonathan’s background as a nationally ranked XC racer, certified coach and host of the popular Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast brings a level of training and racing knowledge that is unprecedented. As a competitive enduro racer and professional mechanic, Steven is an expert on all things technical and mechanical in the world of mountain biking. Listen in here.

MTBpodcast co-host Steven Lewis chases guest – and longtime ASJ contributing writer – Kurt Gensheimer down the trail in a Toyota commercial shot by James Adamson. Photo: Patrick Egan


Backpacker Maps Best Long Distance Hikes
Backpacker magazine recently published a comprehensive map of the best long-distance hiking routes throughout the US, several of which are found in California. If you enjoy trekking for days on end, covering hundreds – if not thousands – of miles in the process, check out the map here.


CA Enduro Golden Tour Events Make EWS Qualifiers
All three California Enduro Series Golden Tour events – China Peak Enduro, Northstar Enduro and Kamikaze Bike Games – have been designated as Enduro World Series (EWS) Qualifiers for 2017. Riders must have active EMBA membership to be eligible to collect EWS Qualifier Series ranking points – points will not be assigned retroactively. Learn more here.

Photo: Pro rider and ASJ contributing writer Lauren Gregg will be taking on the Enduro World Series this season. We’re cheering for you Lauren! Photo: Called To Creation


Northstar Finale for IMBA National Enduro Tour
The Northstar Enduro – the sixth stop on the California Enduro Series 2017 schedule – is the finale for the inaugural IMBA National Enduro Tour which highlights the highest paying races and best trails from premier series in six different US regions. With all six races recognized as EWS Qualifiers, this new series provides a stepping stone for athletes hoping to race at the international level. Learn more here.


Turn Loose Pros Support Up & Comers
No one knows how to best help the development of a sport than the athletes themselves, which is why Turn Loose collaborates with professional athletes across all sports. Pro athletes help develop a product or product line, and a portion of the profits will be donated to a young athlete or organization of the pro’s choosing. In what Turn Loose called the “cycle of inspiration and support” the organization keeps the stoke going by sharing the stories of the beneficiaries to further inspire the adventure community.

Learn more at turn-loose.com.


Daily Burn/Spartan Race Obstacle Race Training
Daily Burn, the leading streaming fitness service offering more than 600 workouts, announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind interactive partnership with Spartan Race. The partnership brings Spartan Race’s official training philosophy, Spartan SGX, to the Daily Burn on-demand library, which allows users to work out anytime, anywhere. Created for users who want to compete in a Spartan Race, or just experience the Spartan lifestyle, the six-week Daily Burn Spartan program prepares people of all skill levels with workouts that simulate obstacles and challenges a racer will face on a Spartan Race course. The regimen allows users to train like a Spartan at home, using minimal equipment that can be found in and around the house to increase strength, endurance, and athleticism.

Learn more here.

Photo: Ryan Kelly/Daily Burn Spartan


Applications Now Accepted for Tahoe Rim Trail Thru Hikes
Applications are now being accepted for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA) annual thru hikes scheduled for Jul 22-Aug 5 and Aug 26-Sep 9, 2017. These 15-day guided hikes raise funds to support the TRTA’s mission: to maintain and enhance the Tahoe Rim Trail system, practice and inspire stewardship and preserve access to the natural beauty of the Lake Tahoe region. Experts and guides support you every step of the way. This adventure offers an experience of a lifetime, the opportunity to meet new hiking friends, disconnect from modern life and create lasting memories of traveling through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Northern Sierra Nevada and Carson Range.

Learn more here.

Photo: TRTA

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