January 2016. In typical Tahoe fashion, January brings sunny skies and cool temps but not a drop of moisture on the radar. We’re secretly welcoming a break in the weather; the past 31 consecutive days of powder-filled splitboarding have left our bodies thrashed. December absolutely went off. November’s colorful leaves hadn’t finished falling before a few feet of snow blanketed the forest floor, causing widespread powder-panic. Optimism and hope surged throughout the Tahoe community, especially within our crew, after the past few drought years brought thoughts of finding a new place to call home. But it’s hard to leave this oasis nestled between the East and West crests of the Sierra Nevada mountain range—a sanctuary which that has harbored such a large part of snowboarding’s history and community. Lake Tahoe and its magical waters fed by an average annual snowpack of 300 to 500 inches is a special place to call home. Or as longtime snowboarder and Tahoe local Roan Rodgers simply puts it, “It’s easy to live here and be a ski bum.”
Like most mountain towns, people have long arrived in Lake Tahoe seeking to indulge in the ski-bum way of life. It starts behind the kitchen doors of a seasonally thriving restaurant scrubbing a vacationer’s plate clean to pay rent, put gas in the truck, and afford a season pass. Powder is the church, and attendance is mandatory. We befriend others seeking the same nirvana, tap into our seasonal groove, and take pride in a community basking in the simple life. A long time ago, in this Northern California sanctuary, somewhere between washing dishes and scoring quiet, midweek pow days, an elevated state of the ski-bum life began to grow as internationally acclaimed snowboarding videos surfaced from the Tahoe basin.