September 20, 2019 was a typical fall Friday for Clint – chock full of obligations and appointments. As a father of three and a busy professional, his calendar appeared as it typically does: mornings dedicated to my family, the day stacked with back-to-back appointments in different locations, and a soccer game in the evening. But somewhere before that last commitment of the day sat a slim, magical, empty block of time. Ninety minutes of freedom. The Block of Hope.Through the years, Clint’s desire for outdoor exploration had grown with all the madness. Pairing that with a desire to stay physically fit and healthy, mountain biking had become his go-to activity. So with that “block of hope” identified and tentatively reserved on this Friday, he threw his bike and gear in the car in the morning. But of course, as they usually do, his meetings wrapped up later than planned, triggering an anxious debate in his mind throughout the day. Which one?
Which one is he going to sacrifice today? His health and maintaining a sense of adventure? Or being there for the soccer game?
He leaned toward canceling the bike ride he’d been looking so forward to, but just as Clint was about to pull the plug on it altogether, he made a last minute negotiation.
WHAT DID YOU DECIDE?
I decided I would go for it and keep the entire ordeal — changing, riding, loading up, and leaving — to just under 75 minutes. No matter what. After all, missing my kid’s soccer games is an unacceptable outcome. I can ride bikes for a long time, I figure. They’ll only play soccer for so many years. With a new plan in place I rushed to throw on my gear and hop on my bike.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Eager to test the true accessibility of the community we are building; I started my ride at the “Coming Soon” sign at the entrance to the ColdStream community.
Within a couple hundred yards, I found myself enjoying a single track that ran along the road dividing the project and Donner State Memorial Park. To my surprise and extreme joy, from that point forward, I ended up enjoying single track for about 95 percent of my ride. Of course, the mountain bike trail system around Lake Tahoe is virtually endless but the possibility of fun, manageable, yet challenging single track right out of one’s front door is a new kind of exciting.
From Cold Stream Canyon, I took a connector trail under the train tracks and over to Jackass Ridge, which is a loop full of berms, jumps, and rock features.
DID YOU PASS ANYONE ALONG THE WAY?
Yeah I did. It was fun to see others enjoying the variety of other activities all around. Campers at Donner Lake, a couple of teenagers fishing. Cold Creek, an off-road Bronco navigating Old Emigrant Trail Road, and my personal favorite, a father and son duo on mountain bikes working their way around the same loop.
With a watchful eye, Dad was trailing his son, who attacked the trail with a huge smile on his face. “As he should,” I told myself — the Jackass Trail is maintained by Truckee Trails, making it an amazing experience and the favorite of many.
Still intent on making it to my daughter’s soccer game — 50-minute drive ahead of me and all — I was pushing it pretty hard. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I’d enjoyed the entire ride in just over an hour, still leaving plenty of time to load up, hit the road, and cheer on my daughter.
DID YOU HAVE AN “AH-HA” MOMENT FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
During the drive, I couldn’t help but reflect on how amazing the experience had been. I’d packed in a full day of work followed by an outdoor adventure many will travel thousands of miles for, and all of it with enough time to drive 50 minutes and watch my daughter play soccer by 6:30, leaving me feeling accomplished, grateful, and dreaming of more.
Imagining how many more adventures and experiences we will have as a family as the ColdStream Community comes to life is one of my new favorite past times.
It gave my block of hope a whole new meaning.
CS: YOU REALLY ENJOY SNOWMOBILING. WHAT’S SO UNIQUE ABOUT DOING THAT HERE IN COLD STREAM CANYON SPECIFICALLY?
Cold Stream Canyon provides access to one of two sled ski areas on the Pacific Crest south of
Interstate 80, it has quality snow conditions year round, and it offers the area’s only snowmobile-accessible views of Lake Tahoe. The ridge line between Tinker’s Knob and Anderson Peak lead straight to the Granite Chief Wilderness and there are also ski and snowboard lines leading into the North Fork of the American River drainage.
WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE EXCURSION YOU HAVE HAD HERE?
AND HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF SHARING THIS ACTIVITY WITH YOUR FAMILY AS THE KIDS GET OLDER?
AND THIS ISN’T JUST A HOBBY FOR YOU, WE UNDERSTAND. SNOWMOBILING HAS ACTUALLY INSPIRED YOU TO PAY IT FORWARD THROUGH THE SIERRA SNOWMOBILE FOUNDATION. WHAT’S THE MISSION?
To preserve and protect snowmobile access to the National Forest throughout the Sierra Nevadas. With 80 percent of the lands above 8,000 feet shut down to snowmobile use, the SSF strives to protect the access and riding areas that remain today.
There’s no doubt the allure of living and playing in the Lake Tahoe area lies in knowing you and your family will be spending plenty of time outdoors. Winter, summer, spring or fall, there’s always something to do and always a reason to get outside and be active. But it’s not just summers on the lake or winter weekends in lift lines. As Tahoe local Jeremy Peterson learned at Tahoe Tree Top Adventures, even something as unique as swinging through a ropes course or flying down a zip line can make for a unique family day in Tahoe.
CS: WHAT WAS SO EXCITING ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR ACTIVITY?
JP: It was something we could do as a family and something we’ve never done or even seen before — a very unique experience the kids could tell their friends about.
Everyone was nervous. My youngest is a little afraid of heights, so I was worried he wouldn’t enjoy it or even do it, but he hopped right up there and never looked back.
WHAT WERE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?
I was most excited about the zip lines but I also wasn’t sure what to expect. And even that definitely exceeded my expectations.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING INTRODUCED TO THE WHOLE ACTIVITY WHEN YOU GOT THERE? ANY SPECIAL INSTRUCTION OR GUIDANCE?
They did a great job explaining what to do and how to do it. And they took safety very serious at Tahoe Tree Top Adventures, which makes you feel safer from the get-go.
SO AS A PARENT, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE EXPERIENCE?
My favorite part of the experience was having the whole family able to do something together and have so much fun. The smiles on everyone’s faces totally made it worthwhile. And as an adult, the views were amazing. I was a little worried it would be “kiddish” but they had something for all ages that made the grown- up experience very exhilarating!
AND WHAT WAS THE FAVORITE PART OF IT ALL FOR THE KIDS?
They loved the zip lines and just getting to run from course to course.
IF YOU DID IT AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
For starters, my wife is going up there for a ladies’ trip again this weekend. For me, I’ll probably make sure to buy the gloves next time. We all made it through without them but it would have been a little nicer to have them for comfort.
WHAT WAS SKIING LIKE FOR THE FAMILY BEFORE MOVING TO TRUCKEE?
Skiing was our way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area and share an activity we all could experience together. It was a regular weekend getaway that involved a lot of planning and a huge commitment, both time-wise and financially. To improve their skills, we originally enrolled our kids in ski lessons and eventually moved them to the weekend teams. So every weekend during the winter was spent on the road and at a ski resort. We didn’t really have time for anything else so this became our regular routine during the course of the winter.
HOW HAVE THOSE FAMILY SKI WEEKENDS CHANGED SINCE MOVING UP TO TRUCKEE?
Our ski weekends have become a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. Our family spends less time on the road, sitting in traffic, trying to get to our destination, and we don’t have to worry about packing, unpacking, hauling all of our gear or late-night grocery runs when we pull into town. Everything is in one place at our home.
We have found that we are actually saving more money, too. We no longer have to plunk down ridiculous amounts of money on a vacation rental or hotel, and we have found that packing lunches and snacks for the mountain has also saved us a bundle.
And finally, it gives us an opportunity to hang out as a family mid-afternoon and share our stories about our adventures during the day. We are really fortunate just to have immediate access to so many top-notch ski resorts now, all within such a short distance of our home. It allows us to get in a greater number of ski days but there’s also less pressure to ski every weekend, knowing how lucky we are to have it all in our backyard. In fact, occasional mid-week skiing has become a treat. Crowds are minimal, lines are shorter, and we have more opportunities to get fresh tracks. Simply put, we have more time to relax and get out there doing what we love as a family, which is to ski!