Tahoe Weekly https://thetahoeweekly.com Lake Tahoe's Complete Events, Entertainment, Recreation, Dining, Art guide Wed, 08 Jan 2020 20:19:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://thetahoeweekly.com/files/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/cropped-SiteIcon_Tahoe-2-32x32.png Tahoe Weekly https://thetahoeweekly.com 32 32 Tahoe Weekly now out on Wednesday! https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/tahoe-weekly-now-out-on-wednesday/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 20:00:06 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56189 We’re kicking off the start of the new decade with some big news – Tahoe Weekly will now be out on stands on Wednesdays. (Actually, we quietly started delivery on Wednesdays in mid-October to test it out, but now we’re officially doing it.) Tahoe is busier now and we all know it. And, more people […]

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A skier enjoys fresh, untracked powder at Northstar California on a bluebird day in the Tahoe Sierra. Read Priya Hutner’s adventure exploring “First tracks at Northstar: A date with pristine, untracked groomers” in this edition or at TheTahoeWeekly.com. Photography by Chris Bartkowski | northstarcalifornia.com, @northstar_california

We’re kicking off the start of the new decade with some big news – Tahoe Weekly will now be out on stands on Wednesdays. (Actually, we quietly started delivery on Wednesdays in mid-October to test it out, but now we’re officially doing it.)

Tahoe is busier now and we all know it. And, more people are coming to Tahoe for longer stays and extending those weekend trips to come on Thursday. There are also a lot of events on Thursdays now and more of the weekend festivals kick off on a Wednesday or Thursday. So, it made sense for us to make the move.

Look for Tahoe Weekly out on Wednesdays online and in stands every two weeks from mid-October to Memorial Day (with extra editions out during holidays) and weekly from Memorial Day to mid-October. Happy New Year!

Tahoe Weekly’s top 10
I’ve been watching and reading the 2019 recaps of the so-called biggest news from local and national news outlets and I’ve been surprised at what they consider the most important stories over the last year.

I spent 20 years in newspapers, so I understand the tendency for news outlets to focus on the more shocking, and frankly depressing, aspects of news reports. But there are always important social, cultural and environmental issues that impact our lives even more sometimes than hard news.

So, I took a look at our social media channels, at TheTahoeWeekly.com, at reader feedback we’ve received and what’s been talked about the most in 2019 to see just what were the most read, most popular and most relevant features we covered. You won’t find any death, destruction or mayhem here.

Tahoe Weekly’s Top 10 stories

  1. Lake Tahoe clarity improves 10 feet (this is a big one folks)
  2. Tahoe’s Best Lift Ticket Deals for Family Fun
  3. Tahoe Music, Events & Festivals guide
  4. Echo Lakes gateway to Desolation Wilderness
  5. Emerald Pools await at Silver Lake Potholes
  6. Tahoe gets 7 feet in 2 days
  7. Penny Bear to stay in Tahoe City
  8. 19th Annual Tahoe Downhill Ski Guide
  9. Skiing at Squaw until July 7
  10. Forest Service eyes plans on snowmobiles
  11. 41 feet of snow in 2018-19

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The call of back-country ice skating https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/the-call-of-back-country-ice-skating/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:59:02 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56255 Imagine effortlessly ice skating across a crystal-clear lake of pure glass. The air is cool on your exposed face as you glide by a backdrop of granite peaks and stark blue sky. Now imagine hiking 20 miles to get there. Would you do it? Pennsylvania native Steve White was skating on Mill Pond in Bishop […]

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Steve White skates in Granite Park in the John Muir Wilderness. | John Dittli

Imagine effortlessly ice skating across a crystal-clear lake of pure glass. The air is cool on your exposed face as you glide by a backdrop of granite peaks and stark blue sky. Now imagine hiking 20 miles to get there. Would you do it?

Pennsylvania native Steve White was skating on Mill Pond in Bishop 30 years ago during a cold, droughty winter when he was struck by a crazy idea.

“How the ice talks, how it looks, how it behaves — it’s just magical. I’m a back-country powder junky and I like a good ice day as much as a good powder day. You go home with a feeling that you really touched Mother Earth.”  –John Rossetto

“The light bulb went off in my head,” says the wily White. “I’ve skied through the High Sierra. I know the lakes freeze. There must a time when they freeze before the snow falls.”

White had grown up skating frozen ponds in the Adirondacks and Poconos. He called up his adventure buddy and photographer John Dittli. What started out as a couple of diehard back-country skiers killing time until the snows came is now one of the greatest and most graceful of frontiers in extreme sports.

For safety tips and to check ice conditions, visit https://bit.ly/2ZGwOmk.

For one of their first objectives, Dittli and White set out for Tulainyo Lake beneath Mount Russell on the Inyo and Tulare county line. At 12,800 feet, it’s the highest body of water in the Sierra Nevada.

“Nobody knew anything about it,” says White. “It was crazy. I since found out there are a few people who made forays. They were doing it in a dry winter because they couldn’t ski. It’s a reason to go out in November with easy hiking to these beautifully frozen lakes. It’s another level of magic. It’s another level of beauty. It’s a gift from nature. Nature has frozen a lake and someone is here to take advantage of it.”

Karey Todd is all smiles on the crystal clear ice at Stony Ridge Lake. | John Rossetto

Not for the faint of heart
Keep in mind this activity is not without its obvious hazards. For starters, you’re skating on untested ice at high altitudes miles from your car and possibly much farther from definitive medical care — that is if you make it out of the water alive. Almost every experienced back-country skater goes in at one point or another. It’s recommended to carry rescue picks, a throw rope and extra dry, warm clothes to go along with the rest of your typical back-country survival kit. An ice-climbing screw can be used to test the thickness of the ice. Amazingly enough, one can skate safely at as thin as 2 inches in the correct conditions.

White has fallen through twice. One time he hopped right out like it was nothing. (Many alpine lakes are actually quite shallow, especially around the edges.) The next time on Evolution Lake 15 miles from the trailhead, he wasn’t quite so lucky.

“As I fell forward on my chest, the ice held,” he says. “I didn’t get submerged but I cracked a few ribs. I knew the ice was getting thin and I wanted to know how far I could go. I’m wiser now. There is a perception of risk. It’s an adrenaline rush. You know that it’s 4 inches thick, but you can see the bottom whizzing by. It’s the horror of falling through. We all have that.”

In addition to long, dark silent hikes, part of the peculiar delight of back-country ice skating is just how unpredictable it can be to find the proper lake at the ideal time. Oftentimes committed seekers will plan a trip that passes by several lakes at various elevations and aspects in hopes of finding the perfect conditions.

“It’s like Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear,” says White. “You never know until you get there, but sometimes one will be just right. Part of the fun of the sport is you really have to pay attention to it. You almost have to be obsessed.”

Together, Dittli and White have skated countless hidden, sublime lakes in iconic destinations throughout the High Sierra such as the Kuna Crest, Rae Lakes along the John Muir Trail and beneath the shadow of Mount Whitney.

“Steve and I have always been really secretive of the lakes we skate,” says Dittli. “We’re coming from a background of wanting to preserve a place. You don’t want crowds of people showing up at a lake because of the impacts that can happen in a fragile environment. We joke to ourselves that we never imagined that back-country ice skating would ever get popular. But I said the same thing about back-country skiing in the 8os and how wrong was I?”

Peter Underwood explores the ice falls alongside Angora Lake. | John Rossetto

Back-country skating in Tahoe
With warmer weather and lower elevations in Lake Tahoe, finding the appropriate conditions for ice skating can be even more elusive. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t folks who don’t try.

John Rossetto and Peter Underwood have been exploring the skating of alpine lakes in our region for years. They’ve had success in Desolation Wilderness where they skated a plethora of obscure corners including Azure, Half Moon, Heather and Susie lakes to name a few. Others have reported good conditions at Frog Pond and Summit Lake high on Donner Summit. Last season, people skated on Emerald Bay for one day.

“It’s a fine edge you are going after here with safety and the fun of it,” says Rossetto. “How the ice talks, how it looks, how it behaves — it’s just magical. I’m a back-country powder junky and I like a good ice day as much as a good powder day. You go home with a feeling that you really touched Mother Earth.”

And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, the ice speaks. One Christmas night Rossetto was camping with his wife on Gilmore Lake in Desolation Wilderness when the enchanted ice quakes began.

“You have to hear it,” he says. “People say it sounds like everything from whale noises to an original Star Trek photon torpedo. The tone is hard to describe. It’s truly otherworldly.”



ICE SKATING SPOTS
Always check conditions before going onto the ice.

Coldstream Canyon, Truckee
Boca and Prosser reservoirs, Truckee
Donner Lake, Truckee
Sawmill Pond, South Lake Tahoe
Caples Lake, Kirkwood
Lake Davis, Beckwourth
Indian Creek Reservoir, Markleeville


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First tracks at Northstar | A date with pristine, untracked groomers https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/first-tracks-at-northstar-a-date-with-pristine-untracked-groomers/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:58:52 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56193 The alarm rings, I squint one eye open and look at the time. Part of me wants to hit the snooze button and bury my head back in my pillow, but criminal attorney Alison Bermant and I have a date with some pristine, untracked groomers at Northstar California. I get up out of bed. It’s […]

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The author makes her way down the hill. | Alison Bermant

The alarm rings, I squint one eye open and look at the time. Part of me wants to hit the snooze button and bury my head back in my pillow, but criminal attorney Alison Bermant and I have a date with some pristine, untracked groomers at Northstar California. I get up out of bed. It’s still dark out.

There are no lift lines and no waiting. I relish in the quiet with only the sound of our skis skimming and crunching atop the snow.

It’s a balmy 18 degrees as we drive through Martis Valley. We park the car in the VIP parking area. The sky is just beginning to lighten. We slip on our ski boots, zip up our ski jackets and hoist our skis onto our shoulders. The village is eerily quiet as we make our way to the Platinum Club in the Northstar Village for our Platinum First Tracks adventure. Once all of the participants arrive, we are guided to the base of the gondola, where the Northstar Ski School director Don Yuhas welcomes the small group of people who have signed up for the 7:30 a.m. activity. We break up into groups and head up the lift.



Platinum First Tracks

Jan. 19, Feb. 2 & 16, March 1 & 15


The opportunity to explore untouched groomers is both exciting, exhilarating and awe-inspiring. Here out in the elements with sweeping views and no one around is pretty epic. The cold air on my cheeks is enlivening. The sun is just rising at the top of the Comstock Express. The freshly groomed snow glistens and sparkles. We lap untouched runs named Stump Alley, West Ridge and Axe Handle.

Sunrise at Northstar California. | Alison Bermant

We ski East Ridge to Dutchman and West Ridge to SpringBoard with no one else around. There are no lift lines and no waiting. I relish in the quiet with only the sound of our skis skimming and crunching atop the snow. The rising sun warms me. Alison lays down on the ski run and shoots some photos. The views of Martis Valley are stunning. The pines and woods like silent sentries surround us.

It’s a beautiful experience to ski before the lifts open for the day. I have only skied Northstar once before; it was lovely to tour the mountain with highly qualified ski instructors. We continued to lap runs for a couple of hours before the resort starts spinning its lifts, which open at 8:30 a.m. People appear from what seems as out of nowhere.

We ski over to Zephyr Lodge, where we are served a beautiful breakfast buffet with eggs, bagels and lox, fresh fruit and juices — all included with the Platinum experience. When we finish breakfast, Alison and I go out to ski some more. We explore some of the other runs on the mountain. The runs begin to get crowded as more people arrived. We decide to head off-piste to explore different parts of the mountain that neither of us are familiar with; it provides a bonus to our adventure.

We ski down to Northstar Village for an afternoon Bloody Mary with a shrimp, onion, olive and pickled bean on a stick along with a celery stalk — basically a salad on top of our cocktail. It is tasty and hits the spot after a day of schussing down the hill.

Northstar offers the fun and fantastic pre-dawn experience of Platinum First Tracks on Jan. 19, Feb. 2 and 16, and March 1 and 15, which includes VIP parking and breakfast for $225 a person, all ages.

There is something about fresh tracks that is thrilling, whether it’s riding on the newly groomed corduroy or fresh fluffy powder. | (530) 562-3500, northstarcalifornia.com


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Theo Katzman is Modern Johnny https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/theo-katzman-is-modern-johnny/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:57:55 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56198 Capturing zeitgeist in song has always been elusive at best. The question is: How does one compress a moment of time into a single musical statement? Look no farther than Theo Katzman’s latest record “Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe” for an answer. Watch the in video of “Like a Woman Scorned”: […]

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Theo Katzman won’t be actually be playing the electric guitar with a violin bow in Crystal Bay, but this photo does encapsulate how he feels about being in Lake Tahoe.

Capturing zeitgeist in song has always been elusive at best. The question is: How does one compress a moment of time into a single musical statement? Look no farther than Theo Katzman’s latest record “Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe” for an answer.

Watch the in video of “Like a Woman Scorned”:

 

Katzman was raised by two musical parents. His mother was the child of classical musicians, his father tops in the 80s Los Angeles jazz scene as a trumpet player on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

“Through my years growing up my parents never pushed me. I wanted to do music and they supported me. Hell, they let me put my drums in the living room.” —Theo Katzman

“Through my years growing up my parents never pushed me,” he says. “My dad would drop these gems of wisdom though when I was practicing — these little nuggets. I wanted to do music and they supported me. Hell, they let me put my drums in the living room.”

Jan. 17 | 9 p.m.
Crystal Bay Casino | Crystal Bay, Nev.

When he was a teenager, the family moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., and Katzman attended the University of Michigan jazz program where he founded Vulfpeck. But rather than tour with the uber-popular proto-funk supergroup this winter, Katzman is focused on his solo project and a 37-date North American tour that begins in Seattle on Jan. 10.

On Dec. 6, he released the first of three parts of the new album in a three-song EP dubbed “Modern Johnny Tackles The Issues.” It’s a tongue-in-cheek exploration of current events ranging from President Trump to income equality and women’s rights.

“Modern Johnny is a feeling,” says Katzman. “It’s a concept. It’s closer to Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout than Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. He is an archetypal character who represents the journey, the reality, the plight of the singer-songwriter trying to make it in today’s music world.”

The lead single is called “You Could Be President.”

“Sarcasm is my chief literary device,” says Katzman. “Right now there are a bunch of world leaders acting truly terribly and it’s sort of winning. So what I did is take an honest look at what I see in terms of their behavior and listed it in terms of what you can do with the prize being your president.”

The second tune could be Bernie Sander’s new campaign theme song: “(I Don’t Want to Be A) Billionaire.”

“I was just feeling burnt out on how much we talk about billionaires in our culture, the fact that this is so valued,” says Katzman. “That level of success is truly not appealing to me. I want to have enough money to take a real acoustic piano on tour.”

Then there is “Like a Woman Scorned,” which is a personal song from a man’s perspective in light of the #metoo movement. It’s also one of the best pieces of indie songwriting since the late-2000s Ray LaMontagne and The Shins or more recent works by Laurel Canyon sweethearts Dawes, whose marvelous pianist Lee Pardini plays in Katzman’s band.

As he was walking one day around L.A., Katzman stumbled on the adage, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” which originally comes from the 1697 play “The Mourning Bride” by William Congreve. Then Katzman thought about a recent news report he’d read on how rare it is for females to be perpetrators of school shootings or for that matter violence in general.

“I tell you sometimes I don’t remember what a song started with,” says Katzman. “I have no memory of the process. It’s sort of like you black out. Even Paul McCartney said, ‘Well, I don’t really know how to do it [insert Liverpudlian accent].’ I like to distinguish between discovery and design. Design is something you set out to do. I’m gonna draw it and I’m going to see it. Discovery is I have no idea what this is. Let’s find out more.”

Before settling on a final draft of the dynamic and vulnerable composition, Katzman ran it by an inner circle of friends including Michigan songstress Daisy May Erlewine who’s only advice was to take it further.

“I played it initially exclusively for women because I wanted female feedback,” he says. “One hundred percent of the feedback was the same. Everything in there is how I feel. I’m trying to hold a mirror to what I see in the world without pointing a finger. Is anyone else noticing this? There is a problem with men and it’s pervasive and it’s all of history.”

The second part of the Katzman’s album, which dropped on Dec. 20, is called “Modern Johnny Wallows in Introspection & Gently Goes Mad.” The final six songs will be released on Jan. 10.


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SkiDuck wants to bring all kids to the slopes https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/skiduck-wants-to-bring-all-kids-to-the-slopes/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:56:35 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56202 Imagine living in an area with world-class ski resorts but never being able to experience downhill skiing for snowboarding because it was too expensive. For many children in the Tahoe Sierra and Northern Nevada, that’s a reality with the expense of equipment, lessons and tickets making the sport out of reach. The goal is not […]

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Courtesy SkiDUCK

Imagine living in an area with world-class ski resorts but never being able to experience downhill skiing for snowboarding because it was too expensive. For many children in the Tahoe Sierra and Northern Nevada, that’s a reality with the expense of equipment, lessons and tickets making the sport out of reach.

The goal is not to turn the kids into skiers and riders but to allow them to see the world from a different perspective.

That’s where Clint Lunde came in. An avid skier, Lunde enjoyed his time on the slopes and says he always made a point to stop and take a moment to be grateful when he was skiing. In 2009, he was injured while skiing and even during his recovery he was able to find gratitude. He was thankful for the beautiful mountains, the time spent with friends and the ability to ski. He wanted to share this gratitude with others and was inspired to create the SkiDUCK program, to bridge the financial gap by providing access to skiing and snowboarding to underprivileged kids.

“The best way to be grateful is to share with others the things we love,” Lunde says.

The SkiDUCK program is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization dedicated to teaching skiing and snowboarding (Ski) to disadvantaged and underprivileged children and older kids (DUCK). SkiDUCK held its first on-slope event on Feb. 7, 2010, at Squaw Valley. In its first season, the SkiDUCK program introduced more than 100 kids to skiing and snowboarding. SkiDUCK has held events at other Tahoe area resorts and across the country but its partnership with Squaw Alpine has continued since 2009.

Squaw Alpine is now the home base for SkiDUCK and donates about 1,800 to 2,000 lift tickets, lessons and rentals to help around 500 kids per season learn how to ski or ride. SkiDUCK events at Squaw Alpine are held throughout the season on select Wednesdays and Sundays.

SkiDUCK partners with local schools like Glenshire Elementary, Alder Creek Middle School, Truckee High School and school districts of Reno. They also partner with some school districts in the foothills, Sacramento and the Bay Area and local chapters of the Boys & Girls Club, Boy Scouts and Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County and Nevada County/Truckee. These groups select kids for the program and SkiDUCK facilities the coordination with Squaw Alpine. Once the kids hit the slopes, everything is taken care of and they are free to enjoy their time on the mountain.

The youth groups provide their own transportation to the resort but through donations, SkiDUCK covers the expense for equipment, lessons and lift ticket. Squaw Alpine donates a significant amount to SkiDUCK, and they also receive donations from individuals and local businesses.

Kids in the program range in age from 7 to 8 and sometimes older. Some of the kids have had trauma in their lives or are having trouble in school or at home. SkiDUCK provides a safe environment for them to have fun and be exposed to something new. The goal is not to turn the kids into skiers and riders but to allow them to see the world from a different perspective, to find gratitude and purpose, to be motivated to do well in school or to be more responsible.

Lunde believes that with hard work and determination something good can come out of just about any bad experience. SkiDUCK strives to instill this philosophy in its participants hoping to show them a way to weather life’s ups and downs and find light even in the darkest times.

Visit the Web site to volunteer with the program, to make a donation or for a list of local schools and organizations that SkiDUCK works with. | skiduck.org


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Surrealist impressionist art of Craig Newman https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/surrealist-impressionist-art-of-craig-newman/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:54:58 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56205 Staring at Craig Newman’s “Tallac Morning” landscape painting, the observer’s eyes swirl around the surreal Van Gogh-like image. It’s colorful and at the same time relaxing, the clouds forming waves that float over a vanilla sky. A lot of Newman’s art has a modern psychedelic feel as if he acutely relays his view of the […]

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“Emerald Bay” | Craig Newman

Staring at Craig Newman’s “Tallac Morning” landscape painting, the observer’s eyes swirl around the surreal Van Gogh-like image. It’s colorful and at the same time relaxing, the clouds forming waves that float over a vanilla sky. A lot of Newman’s art has a modern psychedelic feel as if he acutely relays his view of the places, people and symbols in which he finds a distinct beauty.

“I try to capture movement, light and the emotion that takes place. I try to emphasize a lot more color contrast because I want to catch the moment of being in that place.” —Craig Newman

Newman began his unique take on art when he was about 6 years old. He would sit down with his sketchbook and crayons and start doodling as he watched famed painter Bob Ross on PBS. At that young age, Newman started drawing and painting mountains, trees, clouds and little cabins.

Craig Newman painting. | Claire Nightingale

This South Lake Tahoe native’s love of art stuck with him throughout high school. When he was 15 years old, he started taking art classes with Phyllis Shafer at Lake Tahoe Community College. His love of art continued after he graduated, and he honed his craft as he learned about perspective, composition, atmosphere and portraiture.

“[Shafer] has an effective teaching style, which allowed me to follow my own creativity by taking it step by step,” Newman says.

“Swirly Clouds Over Sand Harbor” | Craig Newman

But then he laughs and admits that he was a pain when he was a teen taking her classes. He tended to go outside the box, taking a twist on the assignments. He would be told to paint something tangible like a bottle or a brass horn and then skew it into something more imaginative. He did it so often that Shafer ended up creating a class that was pretty much tailored specifically to him called Figurative and Narrative Painting, with the artistic coursework based around a storyline and fantastical myth.

“It was a collaborative effort. She helped me see what I innately had,” Newman says.

It was with her help that Newman was able to apply his own original painting style to images of the Tahoe Sierra, adding a vibrant color and movement to favorite Tahoe landscapes.

Newman now considers himself a surrealist impressionist. His own favorite artists include Claude Monet for his use of color, Vincent Van Gogh for his use of movement and M.C. Escher for his wild and intense depictions/illusions of landscapes and structures.

“And Phyllis Schafer of course because her art has a lot of movement and liveliness to it. Nothing about it ever feels mundane, it’s very real,” he says.

Newman does a lot of commissions and prints that have Tahoe themes — especially of Emerald Bay.

“Emerald Bay is our Eiffel Tower of Tahoe,” he says.

He also likes to paint wild fantasy landscapes, representative nature scenes with waves, trees, mountains and more with swirls and popping color.

“I have one painting with waves, trees and the sun. They all have eyes and they’re all looking at each other, representing awareness all around. I try to capture movement, light and emotion that takes place. I try to emphasize a lot more color contrast because I want to catch the moment of being in that place,” he says.

His favorite subjects to paint include a combination of clouds, waves and mountains.

“Even though they’re completely different elements, they have similar patterns,” he says. “I like to do similar objects and repeat them throughout the whole painting.”

Throughout his adult life as an artist, Newman feels he has progressed quite a bit in his work and he admits that teaching art helps him become a better artist.

“My biggest change has been in landscapes. I teach a Bob Ross-like landscape class at Ski Run Marina, three to four times a week and just by doing that I’ve vastly improved,” he says. Because Newman had the opportunity to grow an appreciation for art at a young age, he is paying it forward by teaching art at Tahoe Valley Elementary School to inspire the next generation of artists.

“It’s fun. I plant seeds and say nice things about their work and hope they continue to paint and draw,” he says. | craignewmanart.com


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Petra Restaurant & Wine Bar | Exceptional food, extraordinary wine https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/petra-restaurant-wine-bar-exceptional-food-extraordinary-wine/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:53:46 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56210 The wine list is extensive, the menu offerings are delicious and the vibe is low key and chill. Located in the Village at Northstar, Petra Restaurant & Wine Bar is the ideal place for a date night or get together with friends for a relaxing and intimate experience. The ambiance is mountain chic with wood […]

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Tomato soup with grilled cheese | Katherine E. Hill

The wine list is extensive, the menu offerings are delicious and the vibe is low key and chill. Located in the Village at Northstar, Petra Restaurant & Wine Bar is the ideal place for a date night or get together with friends for a relaxing and intimate experience. The ambiance is mountain chic with wood tables, a lovely bar and lots of windows.

“A well-curated wine list and wine options and good food is the recipe of what we do.”

—Chris Barkman

Co-owners Chris and Kelsey Barkman have been operating partners of the group that owns Petra for more than three years. Kelsey has a background in the food industry and Chris has been in the industry for more than 14 years. He worked at Oliveto under chefs Paul Bertolli and Michael Tusk, who both came from Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Chris is a sommelier certified by Court of the Masters and knows his wine. They also operate Uncorked Truckee, Uncorked Tahoe City, and Soupa and Uncorked Squaw both in the Village at Squaw.

Enjoy one of their local Winemaker Events.

Tahoe Weekly Publisher Katherine E. Hill and I joined Chris at Petra for an evening of wine and food. Chris, along with his chef, Matt Synder, have done an excellent job curating the menu. Chris started us off with a sparkling biodynamic Chenin Blanc that was light and crisp and perfect for getting the evening rolling.

Beet salad with goat cheese | Katherine E. Hill

For food, we began with a braised beet and ricotta salad and housemade roasted garlic hummus served with toasted bread, crispy garbanzos and chili oil. This was one of the best hummus recipes I’ve tasted — outstanding — and the crispy garbanzos were a unique touch. We ate everything on our plate. Chris paired the dishes with a Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay blend from Loire Valley in France and it was the perfect accompaniment. The wine was light and fruity.

Steak and fries | Katherine E. Hill

Petra’s San Marzano Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese prepared with fontina cheese was buttery, and the bread was perfectly crispy and excellent for a winter night.

I had a Cocoa Chili Rubbed Bavette Steak with black garlic aioli, spring greens and shoestring fries, paired with a Medoc — a Bordeaux, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

“It sings,” said Chris as he poured us each a glass. The steak was cooked to perfection and I loved the rub. Hill enjoyed a vegetarian platter of polenta and beans.

Chris and Chef Synder curate their seasonal menus and they’ve added a number of new items for the winter. Duck Liver Pate appetizer, Pork Belly Sliders, Wild King Salmon pan-seared with pesto and Tuscan Meatballs braised in San Marzano tomatoes. All the new additions were inspired by seasonal ingredients.

Hummus with chick peas | Katherine E. Hill

Synder is delightful and is an unassuming chef: “I am inspired by creating something different for everybody and staying cutting edge.”

The Uncorked Wine club is a fabulous experience. Sign up and get two bottles of wine a month and exclusive benefits as part of the membership. Chris chooses wines that clients might not necessarily choose, with a a mix of Old and New World.

“I strive to find the best interpretation of that varietal and region,” says Chris.

Ice cream | Katherine E. Hill

In addition to old-world wines, he selects wines that are progressive and evolving.

One of the fun things about Petra is its flights, an excellent opportunity to try different types of wine. I loved the choices.

“A well-curated wine list and wine options and good food is the recipe of what we do,” says Chris.

I enjoyed my evening immensely at Petra. The food was delicious, and the wine was excellent. I can’t wait to return. Chris and Kelsey Barkman have created an exceptional gem of a restaurant and an extraordinary wine bar. | uncorkedtahoe.com


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Sugar Bowl: Birth of an Historic Ski Resort, Part III https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/sugar-bowl-birth-of-an-historic-ski-resort-part-iii/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:52:16 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56217 It’s been 80 years since Sugar Bowl opened in December 1939 to become California’s first world-class ski area. Hannes Schroll, an Austrian immigrant who was Sugar Bowl Corporation’s first president and popular ski-school director, brought European flair and technique to the slopes of the high Sierra. His powerful skiing style and raucous yodeling became legendary. […]

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Norman “Red” Rockholm rides the Sugar Bowl lift he helped build. | Courtesy Donner Summit Historical Society

It’s been 80 years since Sugar Bowl opened in December 1939 to become California’s first world-class ski area. Hannes Schroll, an Austrian immigrant who was Sugar Bowl Corporation’s first president and popular ski-school director, brought European flair and technique to the slopes of the high Sierra. His powerful skiing style and raucous yodeling became legendary.

Read Part I & Part II

The newly built resort had two surface rope tows, but looking to set a higher bar in its skiing experience, the company installed a chairlift that whisked skiers to the top of Mount Disney in minutes. The lift was the second one installed in the United States, preceded only by a similar single-seat version at Sun Valley, Idaho. Sugar Bowl’s innovative apparatus was designed by Henry Howard, a mining engineer. The challenging terrain and extended vertical drop the lift accessed inspired Schroll to create the Silver Belt race to draw the world’s best skiers to his resort so they could spread the word.


Sugar Bowl Silver Belt Series
Quad Crusher | March 7
Banked Slalom | March 14


Starting in 1940, top-ranked skiers of the day competed in Sugar Bowl’s giant slalom race, hoping to take home accolades and the 3-foot long, silver-studded waist belt with its big silver buckle. The trophy was based on an award given to “Cornish Bob” Oliver who had won the first official championship downhill ski race in 1867 at La Porte, when he beat all other longboard racers to take home a silver belt prize worth $75. The Silver Belt race began near the summit of Mount Lincoln at 8,383 feet, then plummeted 1,300 vertical feet down the gnarliest terrain at Sugar Bowl through gullies, cliffs and bumps.

The Silver Belt race began near the summit of Mount Lincoln at 8,383 feet, then plummeted 1,300 vertical feet down the gnarliest terrain at Sugar Bowl through gullies, cliffs and bumps.

Sugar Bowl’s inaugural men’s and women’s races were won by Friedl Pfeifer and Gretchen Frazer, two of America’s best skiers at the time. Frazer went on to qualify for two U.S. Olympic ski teams and became the first American to win an Olympic alpine medal when she earned silver in 1948 at St. Moritz, Switzerland. Pfeifer, who started his own ski school in Sun Valley and won the U.S. national title in the slalom in 1940, later fought with distinction and was seriously wounded in combat with the storied 10th Mountain Division ski troops. Both Pfeifer and Frazer are honored members of the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame. Over the years, the winners of the original Silver Belt race series (1940 to 1975) read like a who’s who of champions including Ski Hall of Fame members Alf Engen, Buddy Werner and Jean Saubert. The list also includes notable Tahoe Sierra skiers: Dodie Post in 1949, Babette Haueisen in 1955, Starr Walton in 1957 and 1960, and Eric Poulsen in 1969 and 1970. Today, that legacy has morphed into Sugar Bowl’s three-event Silver Belt Series.

During World War II, Sugar Bowl was closed by the U.S. Army to eliminate crowds and protect the transcontinental railroad tracks from possible sabotage. The resort opened again at Christmas of 1945, but Southern Pacific Railroad canceled its popular Snowball Special express trains that delivered carloads of customers. Skiers still flocked to Sugar Bowl, but now they arrived by automobile.

In 1953, Schroll and his brother-in-law, Jerome Hill, replaced their over-snow tractor system with a new gondola called the Magic Carpet, which whisked skiers to the lodge in quick, efficient style. This aerial tramway was the first of its type in the country. Hill, who had inherited some of his father’s fortune from the Great Northern Railroad, financed the deal himself. Hannes had married Jerome’s sister Maude. The suspended cable cars were detachable and carried six passengers each. As the gondola cabins filled with skiers, they were pushed along a track from which a mechanism engaged them with a moving overhead cable.

Winter access to Sugar Bowl had always been limited to in-house transportation and the lack of automobiles, trucks, snowplows, noise and congestion preserved its old-world charm. As long as most of their clientele arrived by train, the system worked well, but after World War II America’s love affair with the automobile really took off. Undeterred, Sugar Bowl refused to build a road into the village and instead became the first resort in the U.S. to ban automobiles. To accommodate their motoring guests, a three-story garage was built in 1963 along Highway 40, where skiers could park their cars, then board the Magic Carpet gondola for a ride into the resort.

In the 1930s, Austrian immigrant Wilhelm “Bill” Klein had been one of the skiers who introduced Scholl to the future site of Sugar Bowl. During World War II, Klein served with the 10th Mountain Division as a technical master sergeant in charge of the instructors, who were teaching American troops to ski. After the war, Klein returned to his ski school and retail businesses at the Sierra Club’s Clair Tappaan Lodge near Donner Pass. But when Schroll retired as Sugar Bowl ski school director, Klein took over the position.

In 1947, a European named Dennis Wiles got a job at Sugar Bowl working in the cook shack. He was a decent skier and soon asked Klein to train him as an instructor. Klein obliged and Wiles worked at Sugar Bowl; he taught skiing for several seasons. Nearly four decades later it turned out that Wiles was really Georg Gaertner, a former German prisoner of war who avoided repatriation by escaping from a New Mexico POW camp. Gaertner admitted to Klein that he had removed the military’s wanted poster from the Norden post office shortly after his arrival at Sugar Bowl. Gaertner was later pardoned and wrote a book called “Hitler’s Last Soldier in America.”

Today, Sugar Bowl has been expanded and improved in virtually every way. The resort now encompasses four major mountain peaks served by high-speed chair lifts. Bending to economic realities, a paved road was built offering access to automobiles, buses or taxis with convenient parking. On Highway 40 skiers and riders can catch the Village Gondola that will deliver them to lifts and lodging. The spectacular terrain provides skiers and snowboarders with an endless variety of challenges. With some of Tahoe’s finest off-piste terrain and deep snow, even after 80 years the area is still mecca for powder hounds. | sugarbowl.com


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Adrian Ballinger to discuss expedition https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/adrian-ballinger-to-discuss-expedition/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:51:24 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56220 Alpenglow Sports hosts professional mountaineer and founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian Ballinger as the fourth speaker in its Winter Speaker Series on Jan. 23. Ballinger will talk about his recent expedition to the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan, the trials and tribulations he and his team faced along the way and his triumphant summit of […]

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Esteban Mena | Alpenglow Sports

Alpenglow Sports hosts professional mountaineer and founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian Ballinger as the fourth speaker in its Winter Speaker Series on Jan. 23. Ballinger will talk about his recent expedition to the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan, the trials and tribulations he and his team faced along the way and his triumphant summit of the mythical mountain, K2, without oxygen.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Olympic Village Lodge at Squaw Valley. Admission is free and bar and raffle proceeds go to Truckee Donner Land Trust. All ages are welcome. The last in the series will feature Hadley Hammer on Feb. 20. The series is sponsored by Tahoe Weekly. | alpenglowsports.com


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Snowshoe Tours and Stargazing https://thetahoeweekly.com/2020/01/snowshoe-tours-and-stargazing/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 19:50:48 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=56223 Tahoe Adventure Company offers guided Snowshoe Star Tours on Jan. 20 and Feb. 24 in area venues. The four-hour tour includes a 1- to 3-mile snowshoe trek with experienced guides, a telescopic view of the starry expanse with star guide and poet Tony Berendsen, hot drinks and refreshments, snowshoes, poles and permit fees. | tahoeadventurecompany.com […]

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Courtesy Northstar California/Tahoe Adventure Tours or Tahoe Star Tours

Tahoe Adventure Company offers guided Snowshoe Star Tours on Jan. 20 and Feb. 24 in area venues. The four-hour tour includes a 1- to 3-mile snowshoe trek with experienced guides, a telescopic view of the starry expanse with star guide and poet Tony Berendsen, hot drinks and refreshments, snowshoes, poles and permit fees. | tahoeadventurecompany.com

Snowshoe Stargazing Tours are at Northstar’s Cross Country, Telemark & Snowshoe Center on Jan. 18 and 25 and Feb. 15 and 29, starting at 5 p.m. These easy-to-moderate snowshoe tours are led by Tony Berendsen, who gives a science-based talk about the cosmos. The tour will conclude at Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe with Celestron telescope viewing and hot beverages. | northstarcalifornia.com


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