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Sierra Stories

  • Lansford Hastings: Donner Party Villain?

    By Mark McLaughlin on March 22, 2017
    This winter marks the 170th anniversary of the tragic tale of the Donner Party. Many mistakes were made by a variety of people, but historians have labeled California land promoter Lansford Hastings as the villain in the story. Hastings was the man who steered the Donner Party wrong, enticing the wagon train to take a primitive, untried trail through the […]
  • 1969 Squaw World Cup: Storms & shooting stars 

    By Mark McLaughlin on March 7, 2017
    Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will be hosting the FIS World Cup women’s slalom races on March 10 and 11. The biggest names in professional skiing will be competing, including U.S. Olympians Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin. Media networks will be broadcasting the competitions and festivities across the United States and throughout Europe. As during the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw […]
  • 1960 Winter Olympics: Talent & determination 

    By Mark McLaughlin on February 21, 2017
      Squaw Valley is hosting the Audi FIS Ski World Cup women’s slalom races in March this year. The world’s top professional skiers will be there and television networks will be broadcasting the event across the United States and Europe. It will be the first World Cup at Squaw Valley since 1969 and all the hoopla will also evoke memories […]
  • Diamond Peak: A Lake Tahoe gem

    By Mark McLaughlin on February 8, 2017
    Celebrating its 50th anniversary this winter, Diamond Peak is probably the most overlooked and underrated ski resort in the Tahoe Basin. With an impressive 1,840 feet of vertical, a variety of trails and breathtaking views of Big Blue, Diamond Peak is without a doubt a premier Tahoe ski destination. This hidden jewel boasts miles of unpopulated runs, open tree skiing […]
  • Winter Survival in the West, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 25, 2017
    Story by Mark McLaughlin  ·   Search and rescue headlines usually focus on skiers and snowboarders who venture outside resort boundaries and lose their way. Winter travelers in the West must also play it smart if they expect to come out alive. Food, water, gasoline, warm blankets and winter attire are minimum requirements — avoiding sketchy back-country roads and paying […]
  • Winter Survival in the West, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 12, 2017
    Search and rescue headlines usually focus on skiers and snowboarders who venture outside resort boundaries and lose their way. The recent rescue of a family of three on Dec. 25, 2016, at the Grand Canyon serves as a reminder that winter travelers in the West must also play it smart if they expect to come out alive. Food, water, gasoline, […]
  • Rex the Blizzard King: Truckee’s Canine Superhero, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on December 28, 2016
    By Mark McLaughlin ·  Read Part I at TheTahoeWeekly.com Many Americans are familiar with Hollywood’s version of heroic dogs — canine superstars such as Lassie and Rin Tin Tin — but few have heard of Rex, “The Blizzard King.” Rex was the real McCoy and he played an important role in critical search and rescue operations near Truckee and Donner […]
  • Rex the Blizzard King: Truckee’s canine superhero

    By Mark McLaughlin on December 14, 2016
    With its wide-open spaces, clear streams and lakes, and absence of ticks and fleas, the Tahoe-Truckee region is a dog’s paradise. By the 1860s, sled dogs were common in the mountains along with horse-drawn sleighs. In the early decades of the 20th Century, Truckee thrived as the dog-sled racing capital of the United States, attracting thousands of spectators each winter. […]
  • The Sierra’s Snowiest Winter

    By Mark McLaughlin on November 30, 2016
    Drought-busting seasons come along every so often (we could use one now), but even after 110 years, the epic winter of 1906-07 continues to reign as the snowiest on record in the Sierra Nevada. Powerful Pacific storms that year buried elevations above 8,000 feet with a snowpack that averaged 30 feet deep. California established its greatest seasonal snowfall total of […]
  • Typhoon Freda washed out World Series

    By Mark McLaughlin on November 16, 2016
    October, the month when baseball fever is at its peak, is usually one of the driest times of the year in California. This year, however, the Tahoe Sierra was pounded by moisture-laden atmospheric rivers that dumped near-record amounts of rain on the region. It was a nice dose of medicine for our drought-stricken lakes, streams and reservoirs. The Golden State […]