Photo Board: The Real Tahoe

On a steamy spring bluebird snowmobiling day in the back country of the Sierras, specifically North Lake Tahoe, Xena totally stole the show. Xena’s the dog, half husky and half malamute, but totally a baby. There’s something about hanging in the snow way up in the mountains, dog in tow, with her running wildly beside the snowmobile but never losing the scent or the crew.

I met up with my friends Theresa (Dreamcatcher) and her boyfriend Talon for a few days of fun in the snow and sun. They’re Northlake locals, and that’s what I love about them. It’s great to have friends with snowmobiles if you’re a rider like me, I spent most of my life in Colorado during college riding the back country, so I miss it a lot in my city living lifestyle.

We packed up the truck with plenty of hydration, a few snacks, a snowmobile and a snowboard. My snowboard. Theresa opted for snowshoes. I don’t make it up to Tahoe as much as I’d like, so I was dying to catch a few freshies down the mountain.

I read in Condé Nast Traveler a few years ago – on the Reader’s Choice Awards – that Lake Tahoe was the #1 traveled place in the U.S. and the #2 in the world. It’s kind of easy to believe once you’re there. The scenic stops beyond every curve never get old. Literally. It’s hard to describe. You just have to go there. At least once.

That’s my board in the back of the truck. It’s like, RIDICULOUSLY old. In fact, it’s my board from college. I graduated in 2000. Whatever. You do the math. But I love it, and I can’t seem to move on, though my brother inundates me with the crazy technology of the new boards and how much better off I’d be. Maybe I’ll test a few next year. Maybe not.

We set up a base camp halfway up the mountain – with a shade spot for Xena – and took a few trips to the top. For anyone who’s never ridden a snowmobile, it’s taxing on the body. The trails up the mountain can be super bumpy and I bounced all over the place on the back seat, holding onto my board along with all of the other stuff we had to lug up there. It’s a great workout for the inner thighs. And totally worth it. It was super hot – t-shirt weather – and we spent a few lazy hours basking in the sun.

There were tons of other snowmobilers on the mountain. They wizzed around us in all directions, making their way up to the top of the ridge and then racing down a fresh track. So exciting!

That’s me getting hauled by Theresa on my board. The rope was pretty short, tons of snow kicked up in my face, and I ate shit a few times, but basically killed it. You have to get up the mountain somehow, and it’s super hard work on the arms. Not gonna lie, I was sore. Maybe that’s the girl in me talking, I don’t know.

Theresa and Talon were amazing hosts…

End of day. Getting ready to make my way to the bottom, back to where it all started. And yes, it was an amazing ride, super soft snow, intermittent trees and lots of fresh tracks. Check out below the views from the top. Lake Tahoe is epic.

We met these guys at the bottom at the end of our mountain trek. Nothing like chugging a cold one after a day of riding. And axe man below… I just liked his look. He was carrying that axe with him before we went up and still had it on him when we were done. I had to take a pic.

Finally back at the crib, I was totally exhausted, but always aware of the dream catcher hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen. My dreams were great that night. Only thing on my bucket list now? A day on the snowmobile in the powder. Like bawling snow. Or maybe that moment of quiet just after storm. After all, it is God’s country. If there is a God.

All photos by Abby Wilcox

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