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March 25, 2014 | Tim Hauserman
The 2014 Outside Magazine Travel Awards have recently been announced, and Lake Tahoe won the award for Best Lake in the world. Well, those of us who live here already know that, but still it doesn’t hurt to get a nice pat on the back. Congratulations Tahoe!
Outside Online said it was Lake Tahoe’s variety and quality of ski resorts, incredible hiking trails, world-class mountain biking, and, “surprisingly solitary beaches,” that made Tahoe Number One. They summed it up by saying that Tahoe is “freakishly perfect for just about every outdoor pursuit.”
While Tahoe is blessed with a cornucopia of physical beauty, it is the people who call it home that turn it into a recreational paradise. In fact, an example of the kind of people that make Tahoe what it is, can be found in those same Outside Awards. Amongst several awards given for Best Guides, was Tahoe’s own Lel Tone. While she won the award for her skills at leading heli-skiing trips in Alaska, those of us who live in Tahoe City know her as a Squaw Valley Ski Patroller and Avalanche Education guru. If you want to learn Avalanche Safety, take one of her classes. Outside said of Lel, “she shows up with an infectious enthusiasm for what she does every day.” Yep, that is Lel. But she is not alone. Infectious enthusiasm to get out there and enjoy what the mountains give us, is a way of life for many Tahoe folks. It’s the people who get up early to backcountry ski before work, or go for a paddle on the lake, or hike the Tahoe Rim Trail, or skate to the Silver Hut just to catch the first rays of sunshine, that make this place what it is. Because those are the same people who looked out and said, “hey, we could build a trail that goes all the way around Lake Tahoe,” or “wouldn’t it be cool if we put a mountain bike trail on the route of this old water flume?”
So in honor of the Outside Magazine award and for those who worked hard to give us the places to play, I propose we get out there and do whatever it is that makes you love Tahoe. And then afterwards you can sit on the deck, ponder the alpenglow, and raise a glass to the beautiful lake we call home.