Protect Our Winters teams with winter sport industry to generate activism to slow climate change.
BY DANNY KERN
As Jeremy Jones glides along the wind-scorned ridge, his split board crunches through the sun baked snow like teeth biting into a piece of toast. He’s been skinning since the sun rose over the vanilla dipped peaks that line the eastern horizon. His excitement boils as he nears his favorite bowl hidden away deep in the Sierras. Sweat droplets emerge from the pores of his face, instantly freezing once released from the security of his warm scruff covered chin.
He stops to take a break. Looking around like a night owl in search of prey, he notices unfamiliar faces painted across the surrounding mountains. In past years, the rocks in front of him were hidden under the snow. He can’t recall a time he has witnessed such low snow levels.
Jones continued to his destination, breaks down his skins, put his board together and begins his descent back to civilization.
Thousands of people have witnessed scenes similar to this in Jones’s documentary snowboard films, “Deeper”, “Further” and “Higher”.
Jeremy Jones is a renowned professional snowboarder and activist who has seen first hand the impact of climate change on our mountains, according to his story on Protect Our Winters website. POW, is a non-profit organization based out of Truckee that was founded by Jones in 2007 to address the gap between the winter sports community and action being taken to address the issues of climate change.
BY Rebekah Ashley
Asst. News Editor
The Sierra Nevada College snowboard and ski teams are nearing the end of their pre-season training as snow begins to fall in the Sierras.
For the Eagles, pre-season training began at the end of August and continues until lifts open and the athletes can bring their training to the slopes.
According to freestyle skier Aiden Lee and snowboarder Colleen Healey, the freestyle team’s pre-season training consisted of running at Diamond Peak, workouts at both Incline High School and Ski Beach, and Woodward Tahoe trampoline and foam pit sessions.
“I’ve never been part of a ski team before so this whole experience is new to me, but it’s been super helpful in preparing for my season,” said Lee.
According to Healey, it was an intense pre-season of dryland training.
“We mainly focused on getting in shape through cardio workouts at the beginning and then began to introduce core and leg workouts. We started out small and then worked our way up to more difficult training regiments,” she said.
Alpine skiers Viking Roald and Elias Stürz say for the race team, pre-season is a time the team come together at the Village Green, Diamond Peak, Mount Rose and High Altitude Fitness.
“Every training we do, we do together as a team, either if it means running for miles in the Tahoe mountains or hitting the gym,” Roald said. “This preseason, we have pushed ourselves harder than ever.”
The first competition for the freestyle ski and snowboard team will be on Jan. 18, 2015, at Diamond Peak.
“I’m not nervous about it, I actually think it’ll be kinda fun to compete,” Lee said.
BY JAMIE WANZEK
With a small patch of snow, blue skies and 60 degree weather, Boreal Mountain welcomed its 50th season on Nov. 8.
“Opening weekend has been going extremely well. Everybody in California wants to come up here and ride. We are starting the season off right because it’s our 50th season,” said Tucker Norred, Sierra Nevada College alumnus and events & social media coordinator at Boreal Mountain.
Many SNC students can be found riding at Boreal in the winter months, being the only resort in the area with 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. operations.
“It was fun to ride with everyone while getting sunburn in 60 degree weather. The park was much better than I thought it would be,” Junior Brain Walther said.
Due to the drought and warm weather, Boreal was the only ski area open in California as of Nov. 8. The mountain kicked off the season with a local DJ and outside BBQ to complement the excitement of the new winter.
“Opening weekend got me ready to ride. Boreal starts everything off right, every year. There are always a bunch of weird people doing weird stuff,” Junior Bryant Davis said.
Boreal was able to open the Castle Peak Quad lift with mid-mountain operations, on a minimal patch of snow to the bottom. As the only section of snow on the mountain, the Boreal terrain park crew was able to set up six features of rails and boxes.
“Opening weekend at Boreal was a blast! Nothing beats wearing sunglasses and t-shirts while riding at Boreal in November. Even though the conditions were minimal, it was fun to be back snowboarding with everyone,” Sophomore Jada Garcia said.
Big Bear Lakes, California: an unassuming, countrified nook tucked in the underskirt of the San Bernardino mountains. These mountains are a homey getaway from the swarming ruckus of Southern California; a sip of mother nature; the oasis in the desert. Big Bear is also the breeding ground for a certain caliber of snowboarding, synonymous with the terms “legend”, “OG” and “timeless.”
Big Bear’s 11th annual “Hotdawgs and Handrails” attracted thousands of spectators to the resort on Sept. 20. It’s the premier pre-season snowboarding event that, in the past, has elevated relatively unknown riders (including Keegan Valaika, Zak Hale, Ryan Paul and former Sierra Nevada College student Tommy Gesme) to the limelight of the snowboard industry. Although this year’s podium held some more familiar names, this will still stand as a breakthrough for folks who had to compete on two courses rather than just one. To start things off Luke Haddock, a Vermont native, hustled for the entirety of the session, aiming for idyllic execution. It was Haddock’s clean full cabs on the down bar that landed him in third place.
“I was shocked to find out I made the podium, the level of riding was extremely progressive,” Haddock said.
Second place fell upon Denis “Bonus” Leontyev, the Russian rail wizard.
“I thought the course was really fun. I really enjoyed the fact that there were two different courses,” Leontyev said.
His resounding consistency and eye-catching trick selection, regardless of the feature at hand, was what paid off for him in the end. However, it would take more than technical precision and unmitigated riding to walk with the $10,000 prize.
Local surfers had the ride of their lives Sept. 25, thanks to high winds that churned up a giant swell on Lake Tahoe’s northern shores. Sierra Nevada College senior Conner Wagner is an avid surfer and tries to make it out on the lake whenever there are waves.
“Some of these waves are overhead,” said Wagner. Wagner spends his winter breaks surfing the north shores of Oahu, Hawaii, and he snowboards in Tahoe when he returns.
“These are the biggest waves I have ever seen on the lake,” said Wagner.
Surfing on Tahoe has become sort of a novelty. According to locals, there is nothing else like it.
“When you duck-dive a wave, the water is crystal clear, and it’s warm. It’s like surfing in Hawaii,” said Incline resident Russell Conway.
In the summer Tahoe water temps can reach 70 degrees. But wintertime temperatures cause the water to dip into the low 40s. The surfers congregate at one of the best breaks, which is at Hidden Beach just outside of Incline Village. The large boulders off the shore of the beach generate breaking points for the waves rolling in.
“You can get clean rights and lefts all day,” said Conway.
It has to be pretty windy to surf Tahoe, usually the wind has to be a consistent 25 plus mph.
“Most storms come in during the fall and winter, but you can get some great surfing in the summer too,” said J.P. Donovan, a lifeguard at Sand Harbor. “The wind normally blows from the southwest, west or northwest.”
“Coming Home,” a film by Tahoe local Martin Rubio was shown Sept. 25 in Patterson Hall on the Sierra Nevada College campus. The movie was originally planned to be shown outside on the grass, but wind and rain forced a last minute change of plans. Many dedicated students had blankets and sleeping bags ready to go in preparation for an outdoor viewing.
“It was great. I was kind of nervous ‘cause five minutes before the show there was no one here and then right as the show started 70 students walked in. It was more than great,” said Martin Rubio, co-founder of Tall Treez Designs.
While Rubio and Tall Treez Design’s main goal was the showing of this film, Rubio also saw this as an opportunity to inspire students to not give up on passions and dreams while in school.
“I was really inspired just to do this show and to be able to talk to the kids and students and maybe inspire them,” Rubio said. “While they’re in school, you’re still able to follow your passion because school is a great thing. You can learn a lot, but we all have things we love to do, like our calling. Even with school and everything, you can still work hard and still pursue your passion.”
Rubio started Tall Treez Designs in high school with his brothers, Sal and Luis. Based out of South Lake Tahoe, the crew started the grassroots company in an effort to express their love for Tahoe, mountains and tall trees.
“We’ve always loved the adventure lifestyle. Living in Tahoe, we’ve always skied and just been in the outdoors. In high school, we learned how to make clothing from a screen-printing class, so we began making our own stuff. We always knew we wanted to start a company, but we didn’t have the money or the resources. Then it all came together. We got a screen press; we all got jobs. We got the idea for the name from a piece of wood that had ‘Tall Treez’ carved into it. My brother and I looked at each other and we knew right away that was going to be the name of our company,” Rubio said.
The film features alumni from the school as well as local pro riders. Kyle Smaine, pro skier and SNC alumnus, has been riding with the crew for the last couple of years and has appeared in films and edits by the team. He has competed in both the Dew Tour and the U.S. Grand Prix. Tall Treez also sponsors local pro Jamie Anderson, who has won gold in slopestyle in several winter X-Games events and the inaugural women’s slopestyle event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The Tall Treez owners have even tried their hand at pressing boards in the past, but they remain dedicated to their roots.
“We’ve pressed snowboards, but that’s a different market. When the time and opportunity comes, we will work really hard to try that,” Rubio said.
The film was not the only thing drawing students to Patterson Hall. Paintings and photographs lined the walls around the floor showing images of guitars and elephants. Rubio’s friend, Will, brought tons of his colorful artwork to show the efforts of artist collaboration.
“Will’s an incredible artist,” Rubio said. “He moved here from Boise, and I just really love his artwork. We’re all just artists. We’re all trying to do cool things and I thought ‘Why not bring him along?’ What he’s doing is great. We’re just trying to build a group. It’s most important to inspire artists and having Will bring his work here gives him confidence, knowing that his work is incredible.”
The company is always looking to the future to improve and inspire young minds, but after this major project, Rubio is keeping things consistent for now, he said.
“(We’re) just working on a new video. We’re always working on new things and all of that can be found on our website,” Rubio said.