Start Haus staff has headed south to South Lake Tahoe to check out mountain bike trails at that end of the lake, and one of our favorites is Corral Trail.
Tied into a great network of trails, including Armstrong Connector (also in the video), Sidewinder, Cedar, Powerline, Railroad Grade and even Mr. Toads, the Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association (TAMBA) recently put some serious work into the singletrack, and it shows.
Really fun trail with great banked turns and a fun jump line stand out, and the ability to shuttle using a paved road lets you take the easy way up when you want.
The variety of trails really lets you pick your own adventure for the day, with different trails to climb, descent, connect and lap for anything from a quick afternoon ride to an all-day session. The views higher up on Armstrong Connector can’t be beat either.
If you don’t have a lot of suspension travel on your mountain bike, we recommend Sidewinder Trail for the first half, reconnecting to lower Corral Trail for swooping berms and flowing jumps. Connector is more advanced with some technical sections, but Cedar is fun for anyone.
Don’t miss out on the last Free Fun Paddleboard Race this Friday! Come on down to the Donner Lake West End Beach starting at 5 p.m. to check out our demo boards for free, then join in on a fun race starting at 6 p.m.
The Nordica Vagabond is a new ski for the 2013-14 season and is one of many new skis from several makers in the 105-108mm width range.
The Vagabond shares the construction that has become the standard classic from Nordica on such highly successful skis as the Steadfast and Hell and Back. This is a wood/glass/carbon layup ski with a lightweight composite stringer down the center of the core to reduce weight.
The 2015 Volkl Mantra came as a surprise, reinventing one of the most popular all mountain skis in the industry – but its a rebuild in-line with Volkl’s design philosophy – and after extensive testing – we think a really great ski for the right skier.
The old Volkl Mantra, 98 underfoot, cambered, with tip rocker and a stiff flex, was a Tahoe go-to for hard charging skiers who wanted a do-it-all ski for the various conditions we get out west. The stiff flex, especially in the tail, made it less accessible to some skiers though.
Enter the 2015 Mantra – Volkl upped the waist width to 100 mm and flipped it to full rocker, what they call ELP (extended low profile) tip to tail, much like the Gotama or the RTM series. It keeps metal laminate construction and a fairly stiff flex (though less so than previous generations).
The Start Haus crew got out on a wide variety of 2015 skis for 2015, getting a feel for the latest and greatest.
After an early season test had to be cancelled due to low snow, Sugar Bowl stepped up to host the event to give ski industry employees the ability to get the hands-on experience we need for next year’s skis.
With a crew of five Start Haus testers on the slopes, we were able to put a wide range of skis through the ringer on groomers, in crud and in soft, heavy snow left over from a recent storm.
The Start Haus crew is at Outdoor Retailer this week in Salt Lake City, checking out the latest and greatest stand up paddle boards, gear and clothing for next summer. Here are a few photos they snapped while walking around the show:
The Infinity Slater Trout Cutthroat Stand Up Paddle Board is a high performance pro model for Slater Trout, perfect for racing with a stripped down, no-nonsense design.
Both very fast and with a lot of glide, this is a super fun board. Slater ranked top 10 in Battle of the Paddle, and podiumed in races around the world, including a few first places on this exact paddleboard.
A displacement entry nose and a concave exit tail makes for a really quite, smooth ride in flat water, and the narrow design keeps your paddle closer to your body for more efficient paddling and maximum power.
Swing by the shop to check the board out, take out a demo, or learn more online here.
Our testers spent a week testing next year’s ski boots at Mount Bachelor outside of Bend, Oregon with America’s Best Bootfitters. We’ll have tons of reviews and videos coming, but for now, here’s a few photos from the trip:
James putting Technica R9.8 130 Ski Boots through the paces.
A look at the boot testing rack in the lodge.
Allison testing out the women’s Nordica La Nina.
James and Allison deep in boot testing discussions.
The Downieville Classic, one of mountain bikings coolest events, is happening just north of Truckee this weekend. If you get a chance, it’s a fun one to check out. A few weeks ago, James and Allison of the Start Haus decided to check the ride out for themselves:
James’ take: “It’s easy to see why Downieville has become a premier bike destination; with 14+ miles all straight downhill the ride is a kick in the pants. The trail is diverse from alpine rocky descents to forested, flowy and fast as hell. The trails are top notch and I find myself shocked that it keeps on going when any other ride I’ve been on would be a fraction of the length. And with the shuttle service it’s never been easier to get to the top of a trail. I can’t wait to check out some more trails up there. Keep up the good work people!”
Allison’s take: “Anyone who is an intermediate level biker and beyond will have a blast riding the Downiville Downhill trails. It is about 15 miles of downhill, ending in more flowy terrain, with about 4,000 feet of descent. There is very little climbing throughout. Here are a few notes from my experience riding the course:
There are two shuttle companies that provide rides from Downieville to the top of the course at Packer Saddle (Downieville Outfitters and Yuba Expeditions), both offering $20 rides, scheduled numerous times throughout the day. I’d recommend talking to employees at the shop or people on the shuttle about which route to take, as there are a few options, some being more preferred or different skill levels. There are also maps at the shops in town and on their websites.
I am an intermediate/advanced female, and I wear typical mountain biking attire, with minimal accessories. For more serious bikers, many/most are wearing more protection and pads. Depending on ability and your pace, the ride could take an hour, or over 2 hours if you stop regularly. Although the ride is nearly all downhill, it is still exerting, so water and a snack or gel would be recommended. Most people flat on this trail, so a few extra tubes, repair kit, and tools are definitely important.
The trail seems like endless singletrack that glides through varied terrain – from wooded forests, to river crossings, and more hot, bare, rocky areas, and so on. The final section is is single/double wide trail above the river as you cruise into town. The trail is tons of fun, and at intermediate level, can succeed in nearly all technical sections. A less experienced rider could also get by.”
They took the Downieville Outfitters Shuttle – which you can check out here. You can see the Strava of their ride here.
The Boga Tiburon has been one of our most popular paddlboards, blending speed, lightweight and stability, great for lighter paddlers.
At only 25 pounds, its easy to get to and from the water, and at 11 feet in length, its not unwieldy either. Once you’re on the water, it’s displacement hull shape glides smoothly and quickly through the water, great for racing and touring.
At 30 inches wide, it’s nice and stable too. Bungees on the front make it easy to stash gear for the day on the water.
Boga’s construction is top-notch and they’re beautiful looking boards that are built to last. If you’re around 160 lbs or under, we can’t recommend it highly enough. Check one out at the store today, take out our demo or read more here.