The Lift Up: Tahoe surf season one for the books |

The Lift Up: Tahoe surf season one for the books

Dylan Silver

Surfing takes patience. Surfing in Lake Tahoe takes more than that. Luckily for the region’s diehard watermen, this has been a particularly good surf season.

“This past month has been beyond memorable,” said Brennan Lagasse, a writer for, who’s been riding lake waves since 2004. “I’ve never seen so many memorable days stacked on top of each other.”

Lake Tahoe’s wind waves are big enough to surf just a handful of days throughout the year. The recent spurt of surfable swells has those who might otherwise be getting their kicks on the slopes (if there was snow), out in the water.

The photos and video footage of the surfers rapidly found its way around the Internet and brought new attention to Lake Tahoe.

“I’d definitely give it a shot at some point,” said Chris Greacen, a Bay Area surfer, who saw pictures on the San Francisco surf blog “I’ll bet it’s a different kind of cold to deal with.”

Cold it is. Photographer Ryan Salm said he froze just trying to shoot the action from the shore. The spray blowing into the beach had him ducking behind trees to stay dry, he said. Even with 5 mm wetsuits, hoods, gloves and booties, it’s not uncommon for Tahoe surfers to last just a matter of minutes.

“I lasted 30 minutes one January session,” Lagasse said.

Though it’s no Banzai Pipeline (Pipe Masters is streaming live online now), Tahoe’s waves this year have actually had some power and size, rarely either of which is expected by surfers here.

“I’ve found more often than not you’re checking the lake, hoping there’s enough energy in the water to actually surf a wave,” Lagasse said. “That hasn’t been the case these past few sessions. The waves have been strong and plentiful.”

So far this season, only resorts with snowmaking prowess have been able to spin their lifts, but it looks like that’ll change this weekend.

Mt. Rose Ski Resort kicked off its season Friday with Northwest and Ponderosa chairlifts open. Alpine Meadows is slated to open Saturday with Meadow and Roundhouse chairs expected to open.

Sugar Bowl Resort and Kirkwood open for another Saturday-Sunday weekend sampler with a smattering of runs between them.

Open seven days a week, Squaw Valley, Northstar and Heavenly continue to offer up new terrain, though just a fraction of all the mountains” continues to be open. Squaw starts the Squaw Creek Chair on Saturday. Heavenly revamped their Ante Up Terrain Park. Northstar started the Backside Express Lift Friday for another 1800 vertical feet.

Sierra-at-Tahoe and Homewood have not signaled the start of their seasons yet.

Looks like Northstar’s newest team rider Shaun White has hit a bit of a crossroads in his career: snowboarder/skateboarder or nude model?

TMZ reports that someone is shopping around naked photos of the action sports superstar, though no publication has forked over the cash.

The photos, which TMZ staff has seen, were apparently taken at hotel party in 2009, the report states. White is supposedly posing with an unidentified blond woman.

At least one publication has publicly refused the photos.

“All I want for Christmas is for the naked pictures of Shaun White to stay unpurchased and unpublished,” writes Richard Langford of

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