Earlier this month, the First Ascent Ski Guides and Snowsport Athletes gathered in Lake Tahoe to critique and test clothes and gear for the 2012 season.
By Zach Crist
Photography by Chris Vestal and Jim Harris
Along the way in life, I’ve heard people say “you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure” and “never choose a friend as a business partner.” I never really got that. I still don’t get that. Of all the people out there in the world, there can’t be anyone better to trust than a friend who’s likely to be honest, accountable and hardworking based on the relationship fostered long before a business opportunity arrived. And when I’m away from home and the work is done, it’s a lot more fun when I’m with friends.
After two fruitful days of product development meetings in Tahoe, it was time to get outside and sample the local recreation. With 20 people at the house, the bonus day of our stop in the Sierras had potential to get confusing and disorganized. That’s when it helps to have a group full of professionals known for being organized and serious about having fun.
Admittedly, we woke up handicapped from the previous night’s BBQ. Team manager Caley George had delivered on the promise of grilling an assortment of meat to perfection, which we promptly washed down with an ample supply of beer and wine. But as Guides, we’re always committed to an early morning rally under any circumstances. Kent McBride stepped up as if he were the lead guide on a remote hut trip in the Tetons, brewing coffee and cooking up a buffet of eggs and bacon enough to smother any hangovers and fuel a day of play on the lake.
Lel had talked her local buddy, Eric Lowell, into bringing his boat over to the dock for a surf session. With half the team aboard, Eric’s boat delivered a knee-high peeler over glassy conditions with a phenomenal backdrop of snow-covered peaks. After everyone had a turn surfing the world’s longest wave, “Sarge” idled over in his 60-foot sailboat with enough room to entertain the whole crew. With a nickname that matches his presence and a fine sense of humor, Sarge might well be the patriarch of all the fun-hogs in Tahoe (and there are many).
It was the kind of day you hate to end: classic fall weather in the Sierras of California. There are few places as beautiful as Lake Tahoe, and when you’re in the company of good friends and amazing hosts, the quality of the experience raises the standard for any day of recreation in the mountains. As I soaked in my last few hours of Lake Tahoe, I reconfirmed my belief that mixing business with good friends is the only way to travel through life.
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