Spinning to Paradise and Back

Spinning to Paradise and Back

Riders approaching the Durham Rest Stop, photo by Dave Wyman. Chico’s 30-year-old Wildflower still one of the best centuries to test your riding legs, even for a rookie over 50 By Tim Hauserman When you get to a certain age — say when the women you are riding with says, “Oh, yeah, my Dad’s about your age” — you begin to think about ways to test your physical capabilities that are challenging but don’t require jumping off rocks or screaming down mountains. A century ride fits the bill. A hundred miles on a bicycle is certainly a physically challenging day. And just about every weekend in the spring, summer or fall you can find a unique century somewhere in California. Last year, I decided to embark on one of the most popular, the Chico Wildflower. For most of the last 30 years, bike riding for me has meant mountain biking...
Mammoth Extends Reach

Mammoth Extends Reach

Mammoth Mountain is a massive sleeping volcano that last erupted some 50,000 years ago when it was even bigger, perhaps as high as 18,000 feet. The Main Lodge is bottom right. With daily flight service from the Bay, Mammoth lures Nor Cal skiers to the High Sierra By Pete Gauvin  •  Photos by MMSA/Peatross It is only by virtue of geographic inconvenience that Mammoth Lakes is considered more a playground for Southern California than Northern California. If it were not for a wall of snow-caked mountains in the way — chiefly Yosemite National Park and the Ansel Adams Wilderness — Mammoth would likely be Nor Cal’s winter alternative to Tahoe. Look at a map: Mammoth is directly east of the Bay Area, at virtually the same latitude as Hayward and San Mateo. By way of the bird, the Bay Area is closer to Mammoth than Los Angeles. If you had...
Scenic Sliding at Spooner Lake XC

Scenic Sliding at Spooner Lake XC

Uncrowded groomed tracks, like the Saint’s Rest Trail (above, photo by Tim Hauserman), and stunning lake views await skiers at Nevada’s lone cross-country resort, run by husband-and-wife Max Jones, skate skiing (right), and Patti McMullan, at the Wildcat Cabin (below right), one of two wilderness log cabins available for rent. Photos courtesy of Spooner Lake XC A mountain bike mecca in summer, Tahoe’s east shore is just as spectacular in winter but much less crowded By Tim Hauserman Many adventurers in the summer and fall head to Spooner Summit on the east side of Lake Tahoe for epic riding or hiking on the Flume Trail. Some are not aware that this area is equally fine during the winter, when it becomes Spooner Lake Cross Country Ski Area, Nevada’s only groomed cross-country ski resort. Since 1985, Max Jones and his wife Patti McMullan, have operated Spooner Lake Cross Country. For Max...
Skate Skiers Unbound

Skate Skiers Unbound

Temperature inversions during clear sunny stretches in Sierra Valley can produce a skiable crust on meadows. Backcountry skate skiing captivates, doles out lessons to Tahoe writer Story and photos by Laura Read In the early spring, when warm days melt snow crystals into a fine paste and frigid nights freeze them to a crust, Mother Nature extends an invite to skate skiers to stray from the confines of machine-packed trails onto an open canvas of boundless gliding and backcountry exploration — no groomed tracks, no trail passes, no limitations. Indeed, when the freeze-thaw cycle persists and the snowpack settles into a dense and supportive surface resembling frozen cheesecake, skate skiing provides the swiftest means of traversing a snowy landscape under one’s own power, allowing for speedy forays deep into Sierra canyons and across open meadows and frozen high-country lakes. Though best suited to flat and rolling terrain, the gliding efficiency...
Three Classic Eastside Couloirs

Three Classic Eastside Couloirs

North Couloir, Red Slate Mountain For some skiers, nothing beats “getting walled” Story and photos by Brennan Lagasse Although California’s ‘Range of Light’ is known for many things, to backcountry skiers it’s famous for some of the best couloirs found anywhere on the planet. Striking corridors of snow easily identified by the rock walls that make up their borders are plentiful in the Sierra, nowhere more so than off that black ribbon of mountaineering dreams, Highway 395. Peak bagging, chasing powder, dropping a steep cliff face — these are all easily understood and revered for their worth in the ski world. However, those of us who look for the most aesthetic line on any given peak know couloirs offer some of the most unique and satisfying ski descents any snow slider can find. Some choose to look past the adventure that’s found when couloirs become primary ski objectives while others...
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