Tahoe Weekly https://thetahoeweekly.com Lake Tahoe's Complete Events, Entertainment, Recreation, Dining, Art guide Fri, 22 Feb 2019 23:33:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 Briefing on West Shore parking, access plan https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/briefing-on-west-shore-parking-access-plan/ Fri, 22 Feb 2019 20:32:17 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50433 A project briefing for the State Route 89 Recreation Corridor Management Plan will be presented at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board meeting on Feb. 27 at 9:30 a.m. at the office in Stateline, Nev. The Project Management Plan, expected to be released in June, is looking at impacts in Highway 89 including traffic, […]

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Courtesy TRPA

A project briefing for the State Route 89 Recreation Corridor Management Plan will be presented at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board meeting on Feb. 27 at 9:30 a.m. at the office in Stateline, Nev.

The Project Management Plan, expected to be released in June, is looking at impacts in Highway 89 including traffic, pedestrian access, trail access, parking and other issues.

The SR 89 Recreation Corridor Management Plan boundaries are from West Way just outside the City of South Lake Tahoe and extend to the county line at Tahoma. However, neighboring areas of influence will also be investigated for potential improvements that may assist in improving traffic flow, multi-modal access and visitor experience.

View project area map

State Route 89, a two-lane mountain roadway, is the only access route to many of Lake Tahoe’s popular recreation areas and residential neighborhoods. Almost 12 miles of undeveloped shoreline offer beach access to Emerald Bay, Meeks Bay, Sugar Pine Point State Park, Baldwin Beach, Camp Richardson and Pope Beach. Seven trailheads provide day-hike access to waterfalls and alpine lakes, as well as back-country and wilderness access for overnight recreation opportunities.

Project information is available at trpa.org


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Tahoe snow approaches 400 inches https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/tahoe-snow-approaches-400-inches/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 20:00:07 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50332 The snow is falling steadily outside my office window again as we prepare to send this edition to the press on Feb. 15, with yet another snowstorm at our door expected to bring a least 2 more feet of snow on top of our bulging snowpack. Some Tahoe ski resorts have already received 400 inches […]

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Connery Lundin skis the Vikings Home Chute toward Emerald Bay during a beautiful January sunrise. “January is one of my favorite months to shoot photos as we can often shoot sun-exposed slopes with cold and blower powder,” says photographer Ming Poon. “We always remember the experience of sunrise and never remember the 4 a.m. wakeup. Lucky to have hard working friends like Connery and Jeremy Jones who are always motivated to start and end their days in the dark. Hard to beat days like this.” Read about skiing the Emerald Bay Chutes in Sean McAlindin’s feature “Adventures in Emerald Bay Chutes” in this edition and at TheTahoeWeekly.com. | MingPoonPhotography.com, @Ming.T.Poon

The snow is falling steadily outside my office window again as we prepare to send this edition to the press on Feb. 15, with yet another snowstorm at our door expected to bring a least 2 more feet of snow on top of our bulging snowpack.

Some Tahoe ski resorts have already received 400 inches of snow as of press time, with Tahoe’s annual average snowfall for the entire year usually 409 inches. And, there’s still two months left in the ski season. Many locals are already betting that the season will extend into summer at some local ski areas.

As I was digging out my car from a fresh, 2½-foot snowfall in 24 hours, I was chatting with my neighbor about the wonder of Tahoe. The breathtakingly beautiful white world that the storms have created, the serenity of snowshoeing in the quiet forests, the powder skiing, the growing snowpack, the anticipation of a long season of skiing and the anticipation of an equally breathtaking wildflower season this summer.

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Adventures in Emerald Bay Chutes https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/adventures-in-emerald-bay-chutes/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:59:01 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50336 It’s a misty morning in Glenshire as I set out for the West Shore on a week day. The cold air is still trapped over the Truckee River for 20 miles to Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City. A perfectly long inversion layer of moisture rests weightlessly in a dreamlike projectile over the lake. In the […]

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The view atop Emerald Bay Chute. | Sean McAlindin

It’s a misty morning in Glenshire as I set out for the West Shore on a week day. The cold air is still trapped over the Truckee River for 20 miles to Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City. A perfectly long inversion layer of moisture rests weightlessly in a dreamlike projectile over the lake. In the distance, I see the ridge connecting Jake’s Peak to Rubicon Peak, a vast Sierra Nevada back-country playground where skiing is at its finest. The parking lot by the winter gate is half-full and quiet as I ready by the entrance to the Spring route.

I drop in and immediately feel the grip of the soft snow. Picking up steady, yet controlled, momentum, I work my way down the slender shaft and into the widening meadows below. The steepness lets up a bit, but not much and its hero turns all the way.

The 2,400-foot climb from State Route 89 to the saddle between Jake’s Peak and unnamed Peak 9,195’ is not for the faint of heart. On the way, I pass early risers making tracks through freshly warmed, corn down the bowl toward Emerald Bay. Like a beacon, Fannette Island smiles in the distance at us humans knowing such joy in her morning presence. Nearing the pitch before the saddle, I’m met by forecaster Andy Anderson of Sierra Avalanche Center.

Andy Anderson and Spencer Heusman skin up the Spring route. | Sean McAlindin

The forecast for today is moderate near and above the tree line and he appears calm. Anderson’s report submitted later in the afternoon read as follows: “Sunshine, warm air temperatures and light winds had caused enough melting for 1 to 2 inches of soft corn snow to form on SE-S-SW aspects of Jakes Peak by 10:30 a.m. This snow rested on a supportable layer of consolidated melt-freeze snow. As we skinned up, the snow continued to soften, but the wet snow never got deeper than 2 to 3 inches.”

Jim Moore skis the Emerald Bay Chute. | Sean McAlindin

Corn snow is generally found in the spring when melt/freeze cycles meld large grains of snow together overnight, which loosen as the sun warms them during the day. The Goldilocks of snow, it’s soft and forgiving, but not too wet and slushy. This is what Jake’s Peak is known for, at least on the south side. The north and eastern glades often hold powder stashes for several days when the conditions are right.

On reaching the saddle after 90 minutes of steady climbing, I’m greeted by North Shore Adventures ski-mountaineering guide Jim Moore.

“I’m thinking about heading for Emerald Chutes today,” he says. “The snow should be just right.”

We wrap around the west side of Peak 9195’ hoping to find a ribbon of snow leading to the elusive entrance of the main chute. The warm weather and windy storms of January have exposed the granite boulders and gnarled old trees of the summit. We boot pack, post hole and boulder in ski boots through slow-going, yet exquisitely beautiful, terrain, a wide-open view of Desolation Wilderness in winter gently unfolding before us. When we reach the notch at the head of the chute, I am glad I came along with Moore for my first time here.

“There’s a waterfall at the bottom,” he says. “Sometimes I bring a climbing rope, but we should be able to get through by hanging off the willows.”

Such words of confidence ne’er bespoke a man before dropping into the steep and narrow confines of upper Emerald Bay Chute. Moore slices with precision the deepening corn between the granite walls on both sides before vanishing beyond the corner below.

I drop in and immediately feel the grip of the soft snow. Picking up steady, yet controlled, momentum, I work my way down the slender shaft and into the widening meadows below. The steepness lets up a bit, but not much and its hero turns all the way. We’re all smiles as we reach a small platform where the canyon narrows into willow-filled cataracts.

I work my way through the dense branches with my skis on my back. Every time I post hole, they hit the snow with a dull thud. I resort to sliding and crawling backwards on my tummy until I reach the waterfall proper. I hang onto the willow branches and lower myself down the 5.6 climb onto the skiable snow below.

A quick ride out the lower fields and we’re at Eagles Falls, one-fourth mile from State Route 89. If we’d planned ahead, we’d have left one car down here, but this was a random adventure today. After a few minutes a man in a pickup truck turns around to give us a lift back up to the gate. It’s just another day at Jake’s Peak.


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Chi McClean | Lake Tahoe’s Après-Ski Troubadour https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/chi-mcclean-lake-tahoes-apres-ski-troubadour/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:58:17 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50341 “I keep thinking I’m hearing my name,” says Chi McClean as we sit down as Coffeebar in Truckee. The easygoing singer, songwriter and freeskier with long, brown hair and a laid-back accent was born in Manhattan and grew up in Oyster Bay, Long Island. “It’s the same town as Billy Joel,” says the rootsy folk […]

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“I keep thinking I’m hearing my name,” says Chi McClean as we sit down as Coffeebar in Truckee.

The easygoing singer, songwriter and freeskier with long, brown hair and a laid-back accent was born in Manhattan and grew up in Oyster Bay, Long Island.

“It’s the same town as Billy Joel,” says the rootsy folk rocker. “But our music couldn’t be any more different.”

The son of financial consultants, McClean received formal music training at Greenvale School in Glenhedge, N.Y., and Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. In 1976, everything changed when he heard Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin on his school-bus driver’s eight-track tape player.

“I had my first rock-star moments and I told myself I’m never gonna do a job that I don’t believe in again.”     –Chi McClean

“His name was Big Mike,” says McClean with a tear in his eye. “He played great music, but one day we convinced him to take us through the drive-thru at Burger King and he got fired.”


Feb. 20 | 6 p.m.
Resort at Squaw Creek | Olympic Valley

Feb. 21 | 3 p.m.
22 Bistro | Olympic Valley

Feb. 22 | 2:30 p.m.
Martis Camp | Truckee

Feb. 22, March 1 | 6 p.m.
Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge | Tahoe City

March 2 | 3 p.m.
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort | Norden

March 8 | 6 p.m.
FiftyFifty Brewing Company | Truckee

March 9 | 2 p.m.
Village at Squaw | Olympic Valley


Meanwhile, the able youngster had learned to played “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” “Stairway to Heaven” and other classics on a black and white Stratocaster. His middle-school garage band, Feedback, was paid in Chinese food for its first gig at Golden Wok.

Following graduation from Colgate University, where he once opened up for Coolio at the spring fling with college group Flat Soul aka The Chi Tones, McClean spent time skiing in Bariloche, Argentina, before blowing out his knee on the professional freeskiing circuit.

“I relocated to San Francisco, cut my hair, got a good job and worked in the financial sector,” he says. “I felt lost.”

When his stake at the next big thing in music startups (Liquid Audio) tanked, McClean was already playing more and more gigs in the San Francisco Marina. He’d go surfing at Pacifica Beach in the afternoon before putting on the popular Chi Time show in the city at night.

“I had my first rock-star moments and I told myself I’m never gonna do a job that I don’t believe in again,” he says.

McClean’s 2009 debut record “Something Out There” was released to a sold-out crowd at S.F.’s Café du Nord. A one-off performance on CBS’s “The Early Show” led to several years of songwriting and performing in Nashville where his original songs appeared on television shows such as “Hart of Dixie.”

“The whole process not knowing anybody in the music business, it is this whole journey of discovery,” he says. “If you’re [in Nashville] and you’re a halfway decent guy, a good musician and a fun hang, you can get along in this town. But in some ways, it’s this hollow, soulless place.”

On tiring of unproductive writer’s rounds and low-paying gigs, McClean moved back to California to ski and play his Southern-tinged folk rock on the resort circuit nearly 200 days a year.

“I love the lifestyle up here,” he says. “While it might not be the best place for my music career, I can make a living, ski and be just a few hours away from world-class surf.”

After riding all day on the mountains or ocean, McClean heads to any number of local watering holes to croon and strum for the après-ski crowds.

“It’s a fun continuation of an already fun day,” he says. “The music is just the icing on the cake.”

In the springtime, he mellows down to Sonoma County where he makes a decent living performing at local wineries.

“People say I’m living the dream, but I do everything on my own,” says the musician based out of his 2014 Dodge Sprinter Van. “I’ve worked an office gig for a long time. This is what I consider my day job. I show up, I load in and I make people happy.”

During the ever-brighter days of midwinter, McClean is dreaming up bigger things, writing more than ever and working on a fourth album with engineer Richie Biggs, who is known for his work with neo-folk group The Civil Wars.

“All the co-writers in Nashville, they always say to write what you know,” he says. “What I know about is spending a lot of time alone on the road, failed relationships, things that haven’t gone as planned. It’s just real life stuff. If you’re on the road and music is your mistress, other things fall to the wayside. It’s not necessarily negative or positive, but that’s how it is. I think if I ever had a chance to do something with my music, this [album] is going to be the one.” | chimcclean.com


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Anastasia Keriotis | Building connections through art https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/anastasia-keriotis-building-connections-through-art/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:57:00 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50344 Walking into Dharma Love in South Lake Tahoe, one is greeted with warm and welcoming smells and sights: roughly sketched hearts; photographs of Buddha, lilies and old-school bicycles adorn greeting cards; beanies, T-shirts, tote bags, artwork and other made-with-care gifts. Standing behind the counter next to a medium-sized smiling Buddha sculpture is Dharma Love’s founder, […]

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Dharma Love’s Anastasia Keriotis. | Courtesy Anastasia Keriotis

Walking into Dharma Love in South Lake Tahoe, one is greeted with warm and welcoming smells and sights: roughly sketched hearts; photographs of Buddha, lilies and old-school bicycles adorn greeting cards; beanies, T-shirts, tote bags, artwork and other made-with-care gifts. Standing behind the counter next to a medium-sized smiling Buddha sculpture is Dharma Love’s founder, Anastasia Keriotis.

“I want to send something beautiful and positive out in the world and so when people tell me their stories that means everything to me.”     –Anastasia Keriotis

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the California College of the Arts and continued to pursue her love of painting, ceramics, making jewelry and film photography. She’s had her artwork in galleries in Palm Springs and Reno, Nev., and traveled to developing countries to capture different cultures on film. Keriotis began creating greeting cards that she would give to loved ones and found a niche.

Dharma Love bags. | Courtesy Anastasia Keriotis

Stores around California started carrying her cards. Next, she started making onesies because according to her: “People don’t think twice about buying baby clothes.”

In 2006, Keriotis named her greeting card and clothing line Dharma Love, bought a heat-transfer printing press and made a number of signature products.

Dharma Love hemp. | Courtesy Anastasia Keriotis

“The line keeps evolving. People wanted greeting cards, then hats, so I started making hats and they became our No. 1 selling product. Then I started making sweatshirts,” she says. Keriotis also did a lot of research in order to source hemp and certified organic/socially accountable cotton garments to print her images on.

“There are no children involved [in the making of the garments]; people work in good conditions. These hemp products sustain a weaving village in Guatemala,” Keriotis says.

The sustainably sourced fabrics she uses and the imprints on her bags, hoodies and beanies wash and wear well. One customer in the Dharma Love store says that the messenger bag that she’s had since Dharma Love’s inception is still holding up beautifully.

Dharma Love Freshies. | Courtesy Anastasia Keriotis

Keriotis first moved to South Lake Tahoe in 1996, but left and came back three times, finally settling in South Lake in 2013.

“Part of me wanted to be in the city and part of me wanted to be in the mountains,” she says. Keriotis’ brother is a local writer and literature professor and she came to embrace outdoor mountain culture over fast-paced city life.

“I have a beautiful community here and my friends kept telling me to come back,” she says.

For Dharma Love, Keriotis found a house that could fit her production process to keep up with the demand from the wholesalers, but then her customers mentioned that it would be nice if Dharma Love opened a storefront. Keriotis may have had some major ebbs and flows in her life, but her customers have always led her down the right path. In 2017, she opened a flagship store in the Swiss-looking shopping center at 2520 Lake Tahoe Blvd. A section of her space is partitioned off to hold her two small printing presses and works in progress.

Keriotis has also been selling Dharma Love products at music festivals and farmers’ markets. It’s one of her favorite aspects to the business because it allows her to personally connect with her customers.

“One woman came up to me and told me about her bag that she had for 10 years that she bought in Cupertino. She called her husband over and said, ‘This is the woman who made the bag that I love.’ It gives me chills just thinking about it,” Keriotis says. “People ask why I still do these events. It’s to connect with people. That’s what makes you who you are. I want to send something beautiful and positive out in the world and so when people tell me their stories that means everything to me.” | dharmalove.com


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Snowshoe with a view | Boyles Rock and Cinder Cone https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/snowshoe-with-a-view-boyles-rock-and-cinder-cone/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:56:04 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50350 When snow conditions at lake level are good, moderate to advanced snowshoers may enjoy the steady ascent to Boyles Cross and beyond to the prominence known as Cinder Cone. The beautiful view of Lake Tahoe and the peaks rimming the Basin is a suitable reward for all the labor to get there. The short trip […]

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An incomparable view awaits from Cinder Cone. | Mike White

When snow conditions at lake level are good, moderate to advanced snowshoers may enjoy the steady ascent to Boyles Cross and beyond to the prominence known as Cinder Cone.

The beautiful view of Lake Tahoe and the peaks rimming the Basin is a suitable reward for all the labor to get there. The short trip to the cross and back only requires about an hour or so for the average snowshoer, while the much longer route to the 1,250-foot higher cone will take the better part of a day to complete.

Along the way, the trees part just enough to allow views to the west of brightly clad alpine skiers descending the slopes of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

From the Fairway Community Center in Tahoe City, cross Fairway Drive and climb moderately northwest up a slope covered with the classic mixed forest common to the hills immediately above the shore of Lake Tahoe comprised of Jeffrey pines, sugar pines, white firs and incense cedars. After about one-fourth mile, the grade mellows on the approach to an old wood cross poking out of the snow — unless there’s been enough snow to bury it.

If this is your planned destination, an opening in the forest cover is a fine spot to place an insulated pad on the snow, plop down and enjoy lunch with friends, perhaps share a bit of wine, some cheese and a fresh loaf of sourdough bread, and marvel at the excellent view of the lake.

Dan Palmer taking in the view of Lake Tahoe from Boyle’s Cross. | Mike White

As the story goes, William Boyle, a former resident of Tahoe City, was laid to rest at his request at this spot on Feb. 12, 1912. He supposedly asked his drinking mates to bury him here so he could keep them under his watchful eye. Whether or not the tale is true, the grand vista of Lake Tahoe provides Boyle with a more than adequate final resting place.

Those who wish to carry on should continue the ascent through the forest, passing below a set of power lines and emerging into a pair of clearings; soon after climb moderately through the trees again. The grade eases a bit farther on and at about 1¼ miles into the journey, veer to the north to follow a prominent ridge. Along the way, the trees part just enough to allow views to the west of brightly clad alpine skiers descending the slopes of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

Proceed up the ridge to a crossing of the snow-covered road known locally as the Fiberboard Freeway — a popular mountain bike route in the summer — so named for the Fiberboard Corporation, which was the major landowner in this area years ago. Among the company’s other holdings were Sierra-at-Tahoe and Northstar ski resorts. In winter, the road carries snowmobilers from Brockway Summit into the North Tahoe back country.

Boyle’s Cross above Tahoe City. | Mike White

Away from the Fiberboard Freeway, you continue climbing generally northwest and then north along the ridge. Approaching the top, the route curves east and arrives at a rocky clearing atop Peak 7572’, where a very fine view unfolds of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The southern exposure may afford the opportunity to plunk down on an exposed rock on which you can sit, relax and enjoy the remarkable view of almost the entire lake. As numerous Tahoe landmarks are visible from this aerie, packing along a small-scale map to help identify some of the major features scattered around the Basin would be helpful.

On thoroughly enjoying the vista from the east flank of Cinder Cone, follow your tracks back to the Fairway Community Center. With extra time and energy, rather than backtrack you could head west three-fourths mile to the true summit of Cinder Cone (7,668 feet), descend the south ridge to the Fiberboard Freeway and then follow the road back to the trailhead. If you choose this alternative, be aware that encountering snowmobilers along the road is likely.

How to get there | Drive to the intersection of State Route 89 and Fairview Drive in Tahoe City, which is one-fifth mile north of the wye junction with State Route 28. Follow Fairview Drive for one-fifth mile more to the parking lot on the right-hand side for the Fairway Community Center and park your vehicle as space allows.

Be aware | The Fiberboard Freeway (Forest Road 73) is a major access for snowmobilers between Brockway Summit and Tahoe City. You may see and hear these machines at times along this route. Without a marked trail, snowshoers must be able to navigate safely to the destination and back, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Avalanche danger is usually minimal in this heavily treed area, but recreationists can consult daily reports at sierraavalanchecenter.org.


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Capturing snowflakes for science https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/capturing-snowflakes-for-science/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:55:48 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50355 When I was a kid, I remember being told that no two snowflakes are the same. Snowflakes form when cold water droplets freeze onto particles of dust. Each snowflake has a unique crystalline structure and this structure tells a story about the atmospheric condition, like temperature and humidity, when the snowflake was formed. These snowflake […]

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Michelle and Anikin Allen take photos of snowflakes for Stories in the Snow. | Katherine E. Hill

When I was a kid, I remember being told that no two snowflakes are the same. Snowflakes form when cold water droplets freeze onto particles of dust. Each snowflake has a unique crystalline structure and this structure tells a story about the atmospheric condition, like temperature and humidity, when the snowflake was formed. These snowflake stories can help scientists better understand the climate.

Watch a video on how Stories in the Snow works 

To capture the story of the climate of the Tahoe-Reno area, the Desert Research Institute has developed the Stories in the Snow program. The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a nonprofit environmental research lab for the higher education system of Nevada.

The Stories in the Snow kit. | Katherine E. Hill

Through Stories in the Snow, DRI’s goal is to collect scientific information about the region’s climate. They also aim to promote student interest in art, science, math and geometry. Stories in the Snow kits provide students with the tools to take photographs of snowflakes and share them with DRI scientists.

Each Story in the Snow kit includes a Citizen Science case, macro lens (magnifying lens), thermometer, compass and snowflake crystal capture card. Using the macro lens on a Smartphone camera, participants can take photos of snowflakes and send them to DRI through the free Citizen Science app.

Using the macro lens to photograph snowflakes. | Luke Allen

The Citizen Science app also includes platforms for reporting your observations on algae, local species, water quality and beach conditions in Tahoe.

Being a science nerd myself, I was intrigued when I heard about the Stories in the Snow project. What a great way to enjoy the snow while teaching my son, Anikin, a little something about science. So, we ordered a kit, downloaded the app and waited for the snow to fall.

Michelle and Anikin Allen submit their observations on the app. | Katherine E. Hill

After anxiously waiting for a few weeks, we finally got our opportunity to use the kit. Anikin grabs the kit and dumps the contents on our birchen table. I remind him that we have to be careful with the macro lens as we check out our new scientific tools.

My husband, Luke, puts the macro lens over his phone’s camera lens, places the snowflake crystal capture card in the falling snow and takes a picture. He also takes a picture of our surroundings and the current conditions as indicated by the instructions in the kit.

Luke texts the images to me and as I pull them up, I marvel at the beauty and complexity of the crystals captured in great detail by the macro lens. I open the Citizen Science app; I click on the Stories in the Snow selection and follow the prompts to upload the photos. I tell Anikin we are now officially citizen scientists and we are helping other scientists learn more about the natural world.

We do the experiment several more times over the next couple of weeks as we get hit with round after round of winter weather. Anikin and I decide we will try to take photos of snowflakes whenever we have the chance and buy more kits to give to our friends.

Stories in the Snow kits can be ordered online for $25 each but rely on community support and donations to supply the kits for free to schools. | dri.edu/stories-in-the-snow


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Tips for hiring your own chef https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/tips-for-hiring-your-own-chef/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:54:41 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50361 You live in and work in Tahoe and are too busy to cook and are planning a special occasion and want to throw a party. Or, the snow is falling and you want to get out on the hill, but there is no food in the house and the last thing on your mind is […]

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Dinner table set and ready for a party. | Priya Hutner

You live in and work in Tahoe and are too busy to cook and are planning a special occasion and want to throw a party. Or, the snow is falling and you want to get out on the hill, but there is no food in the house and the last thing on your mind is food shopping and cooking. This is where a private chef, personal chef or caterer can come to your rescue.

“I would encourage you to get creative with the vendor and see how you can achieve a great event at your price point.”     –Tommy Adkins

What is the difference between a personal chef and a caterer? Private chefs commonly work for one individual or one family preparing all their meals. A personal chef prepares food for multiple clients sometimes delivering meals or preparing food in the clients’ home or vacation rental. Both adhere to their clients’ dietary needs. A caterer generally prepares food for large groups on special events.

Kabobs and salad ready for a party. | Priya Hutner

The range of services chefs and caterers offer varies as do the prices. There are many factors that affect pricing and the cost of services. How fancy of a menu are you looking to serve? How many courses would you like? Do you want to serve organic food or develop a menu with special dietary preferences? How labor intensive is the meal or how difficult are the ingredients to procure and how expensive are they? All these influence the final cost.

The location of an event is also a consideration — an event in the middle of the woods with no power, on a mountain or on the shores of Lake Tahoe are unique and require special equipment to support the event.

Mediterranean fish dinner plated by caterer. | Priya Hutner

Chefs’ rates differ. Some charge hourly and add the cost of goods on top of the rate. Rates can range from $40 to $95 per hour, depending on the time of year. Expect higher rates during the holiday season. If your party is large, generally a per-head rate is applied. This could be anywhere from $25 per head on the low end for a simple menu to $150-plus per head for a high-end meal that includes appetizers, soup or salad, entrees, side dishes and dessert.

It is important to realize that it isn’t just about the cost of the ingredients; time and labor are huge factors. Planning menus, shopping, travel, prepping, cooking and cleaning are all part of the cost of a job. The chef or caterer may need assistants depending on the number of people at the party and whether it’s a sit-down dinner or buffet. Hiring additional assistant cooks, servers and bartenders are all part of a chef’s ability to create a successful event.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with whipped cream and berries plated for clients. | Priya Hutner

Tommy Adkins of EATS Cooking Company hosts special events in the Tahoe area. EATS stands for Ethical and Tastefully Simple. I met him at a benefit event for the Send It Foundation where he was preparing paella for people living with cancer.

“Negotiating a caterer’s price is much like negotiating any other good or service,” he says. “It is first beneficial to remember that you have different options to adjust the extent of the service and the price of the event. For example, if a caterer proposes a price that is out of your budget, I would encourage you to get creative with the vendor and see how you can achieve a great event at your price point by reducing some unnecessary features or services. Secondly, it can be helpful for the client to begin the process by providing a desired budget. With this budget revealed, it is then easy for a caterer to show a client exactly what can be offered for the price point without the back and forth banter of contract negotiations.”

Contracts and deposits with contingencies are imperative. Sticker shock is no fun and if you are not accustomed to hosting a party, the costs can creep up quickly. Chefs and caterers are in business to serve the client.

For the client, the benefits of hiring a chef or caterer is he or she won’t need to worry. Personal chefs and caterers alleviate the stress of planning the meal, shopping for the menu, cooking and serving — leaving the client free to enjoy the party and the guests.


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Winter 1874 Challenged Transcontinental Railroad https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/winter-1874-challenged-transcontinental-railroad/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:53:38 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50367 During the month of May this year, communities across the western United States will be celebrating the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the completion of the world’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869. For many of these cities and towns, the railroad was their sole reason to exist in the beginning. But railroad commerce and activity solidified […]

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A 1874 Bucker plow at work. | Courtesy Nevada Historical Society

During the month of May this year, communities across the western United States will be celebrating the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the completion of the world’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869. For many of these cities and towns, the railroad was their sole reason to exist in the beginning. But railroad commerce and activity solidified and expanded their footprint on the map and those that survived are now permanent and thriving. In the 1870s, the isolated town of Truckee, which received its moniker when the railroad came through in 1868, shipped more freight than any other point on the Central Pacific line.

The chugging locomotives riding that shiny ribbon of steel that promised year-round travel across the country in safety and comfort were more problematic in the mountains west of Truckee.

Truckee has activities, lectures and interpretive walks planned throughout this spring, summer and fall. Truckee Donner Historical Society and Donner Summit Historical Society, along with the Truckee Donner Railroad Society, have put out a call for local artists of any age for artwork to brand the official logo for this Golden Spike celebration.

The transcontinental railroad represented a transportation revolution for the country that stitched the U.S. together coast to coast. The epic engineering project had been delayed for years due to obstructionist politics in Congress based on tensions over the issue of slavery between Northern and Southern states. The polarized parties could not even agree on which route the track should take in its path across the country, along with other issues. Secession by Southern states in 1861 offered President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to sign the 1862 Pacific Railway Act authorizing federal loans and land grants for the massive construction project, as well as financial support for the first transcontinental telegraph line.

When the transcontinental railroad was finally completed on May 10, 1869, promoters stated that — unlike the Donner Party — instead of taking months to cross just the western two-thirds of the country, New Yorker’s could ride to San Francisco in about 10 days. It was an incredible leap forward that would only be exceeded by aviation more than half a century later. But the chugging locomotives riding that shiny ribbon of steel that promised year-round travel across the country in safety and comfort were more problematic in the mountains west of Truckee.

During the winter of 1874, 145 years ago, severe winter conditions between Donner Pass and Blue Canyon shut down the line for days at a time. Despite heroic snow removal work by hundreds of Central Pacific Railroad crews, the blinding blizzards confirmed that safe and comfortable travel could never be guaranteed in the stormy Tahoe Sierra.

Unlike many big winters that often open with early season snowstorms, the winter of 1874 did not get started in earnest until the first week of December. But for the next four months the Storm King relentlessly battered the mountains. The first of many potent and cold Gulf of Alaska storms slammed northern California beginning on Dec. 2. Freezing temperatures plummeted to sea level after the frontal passage and in a rare event nearly 6 inches of the white stuff blanketed Petaluma, Vallejo and other coastal valley locations. Temperatures were the lowest in memory for residents in San Francisco, where fortunately most of the snow melted as it hit the ground. The storm pounded the Tahoe Sierra with deep snow. Five feet fell in Truckee and on the shoreline of Lake Tahoe, raising Big Blue’s level 6 inches in just two days — more than 19 billion gallons of water.

On Jan. 8, 1874, the Truckee Republican newspaper reported: “Nature has been acting wildly for several days past, and yesterday in particular it turned out the worst weather that has been manufactured in this vicinity in the memory of the earliest inhabitant.” Recently shoveled walkways from the saloons and businesses on Truckee’s Commercial Row to the railroad depot were re-filled with snow. Billowing drifts across the railroad tracks blocked freight and passenger trains. The town had no communication with the outside world due to downed telegraph lines at multiple points between Reno and Sacramento.

For several days residents were snowbound because roads in all directions were buried and impossible for horse-drawn sleighs to travel. The work of breaking open roads through the drifts was tedious, tiresome and expensive. On Jan. 21, George Schaffer took charge of opening the road from Truckee to his sawmill in Martis Valley, about 4 miles away. Schaffer, sometimes called the “Father of Truckee,” had co-founded the area’s first sawmill and built, owned and operated the town’s first water system. Schaffer engaged a crew of men with shovels and an 11-yoke team of oxen to bulldoze through the drifts. Simultaneously, road breakers with oxen were shoveling their way from Brockway Hot Springs at Lake Tahoe toward Truckee. It took them eight days to forge a passage 14 miles long. To top it off, the temperature sunk to 30 degrees below zero in Truckee on Jan. 24.

By March the snow was nearly 10 feet deep and clearing roads took up to 40 yoke of oxen, meaning 80 of the beasts harnessed together. But conditions were worse in the higher elevations and as strong storms continued to pummel the region through February and March railroad men were reeling from the onslaught. Through Herculean efforts, Central Pacific crews managed to keep trains moving through the Sierra. They were aided by wedge-shaped Bucker plows pushed at high speed into the drifts by four to 10 engines depending on the depth. They were effective at the time — powerful rotary snowplow technology was still 15 years away — but the Buckers frequently derailed.

There’s a classic story from the winter of 1874 that I published in my book, “Western Train Adventures: Romance, Robberies & Wrecks,” about Truckee Republican editor Charles McGlashan’s frightful ride on a Bucker snowplow. The train derailed at high speed throwing McGlashan under the wheels of a locomotive, but he miraculously survived with only a small tear in his overcoat.

Another weapon against the relentless snowfall were the miles and miles of wooden snowsheds that Central Pacific had constructed over the tracks in the heaviest snowbelt zone. The sheds held up that winter for the most part, protecting the right-of-way from snow and avalanches.

It’s impossible to know how much snow fell that winter because Central Pacific Railroad didn’t start measuring it until 1879, but there’s little doubt it was a monster season. The railroad crews were overwhelmed at times, but they never gave up and they broke blockade after blockade to keep rail service running.


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Photo exhibit highlights Nevada https://thetahoeweekly.com/2019/02/photo-exhibit-highlights-nevada/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:51:03 +0000 https://thetahoeweekly.com/?p=50370 Nevada Arts Council has unveiled a new traveling photo exhibition, “Home Means Nevada,” currently on display at the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nev. The exhibition features the works of 15 contemporary photographers, whose works echo famous photographs and artwork from the late 1800s and early 1900s. The exhibit highlights some of the unique treasures […]

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“Standing Stately: The Ancient Bristlecone Pine” Kelly Carroll | Nevada Legislature

Nevada Arts Council has unveiled a new traveling photo exhibition, “Home Means Nevada,” currently on display at the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nev.

The exhibition features the works of 15 contemporary photographers, whose works echo famous photographs and artwork from the late 1800s and early 1900s. The exhibit highlights some of the unique treasures found on federally managed lands across the state from bighorns to Burning Man, to the ancient rock art and petroglyphs in the Gold Butte area. | nvculture.org/nevadaartscouncil


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