Plenty to do without snow on top of Heavenly

Jessie Marchesseau flies along one of the ziplines at Heavenly with Lake Tahoe in the distance. Photo/Kathryn Reed

By Kathryn Reed

Zip on” –  it’s a phrase being echoed through the trees at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

At speeds of 35 mph it’s almost like Lake Tahoe is a blur of blue flying by. A series of seven ziplines and two sky bridges on the Skyway zipline tour are hidden in the woods; starting behind the Tamarack Lodge and finishing just below the midway station of the gondola. The longest being 950 feet.

On this particular day four members of the Lake Tahoe News team had an opportunity to tryout whatever we wanted at Epic Discovery, the summer playground Heavenly has created at the top of the gondola.

None of us had been on the Skyway; in fact, this was a first for Jessie and Terra to experience any of the summer amenities. For Sue it was her inaugural time on a zipline.

There is no arguing this is an incredibly scenic and unique way to experience the Tahoe forest.

Sue Wood on belay as she descends the last tree platform. Photo/Kathryn Reed

It takes about three hours to complete the tour. This does not include getting the gear on and off. It definitely takes a certain amount of fitness to even walk to the starting point with harness et al, and then to be able to pull yourself in on the line.

We took a little longer than usual because one person had to leave early and therefore be belayed from one of the tree platforms, and another didn’t stop correctly so she had to be pulled in by one of the guides.

A big shout out to Mikey and Jackson who were exceptional guides. Their instruction, patience and encouragement were outstanding.

After a bite to eat we took a spin down the tubing hill. While at the bottom it doesn’t look like much, it goes faster than you expect. Ask the attendants at the top for a spin to make it even more fun.

One of two bridges to cross along the Skyway zipline tour. Photo/Kathryn Reed

While Jessie and I were up for doing more, we didn’t want to take the time it would to complete one of the ropes courses. We figured if there were a next time, we’d do the ropes course first and then one of the zipline courses. However, there is a limited number of people allowed on many of the apparatuses and some require reservations, so timing could be tricky.

Even though the Skyway had views of the lake, the Silver Rush zipline actually seems better because it has fewer (five ziplines, longest 1,510 feet). The seven seemed like too many, with a bit of redundancy.

Unfortunately, my favorite element of summer fun, the coaster, was not open that day, though it is now. It was closed all last summer because it had to be completely rebuilt after Mother Nature ripped it apart in the winter of 2016-17.

Tubing is one of the activities at the top of the gondola. Photo/Kathryn Reed

Before going make sure everything you want to do is operating. Just like in winter when Heavenly charges full price when a fraction of the mountain is open, in summer it’s full price no matter the amenities that are functioning.

The three of us at the end assessed whether we would have paid the $199 each (fourth person is free) for what we did. No – was the answer. That fee included one of the zipline tours, three ropes courses, coaster, tubing, and rock climbing wall. Extra are the two single ziplines and the expedition tours. Yes, it was our choice not to do more. Maybe had we paid we would have found the gumption to go on one of the ropes courses. We called it day, still wondering if we would recommend all of this to our out of town guests who would be arriving with disposable income for something like this.

As states legalize sports betting, will media go all-in?

By John Affleck, The Conversation

Widespread, legalized sports gambling could change the way you watch your favorite sport.

It could also soon change how the media cover sports.

Since the Supreme Court in May gave states the option to allow sports betting, it seemed like a vast, untapped well of revenue had been opened. Until then, illegal sports wagering had been an industry worth about $150 billion a year.

Since the May ruling, Delaware and New Jersey have each implemented sports gambling, with Rhode Island, West Virginia and Mississippi not far behind. All of these states will be able to tax betting. Their casinos will be able to open sports books to lure customers. And leagues are lobbying for a cut of each wager, though that hasn’t yet come to pass.

Lost in all this has been the question of how the sports media will respond.

When I was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, I saw first-hand how traditional media outlets were slow to adapt to the internet, much to their detriment. Now, with sports gambling, editors and reporters will ideally adjust appropriately, attracting more readers and subscribers by providing information that’s useful to bettors. A potentially disastrous outcome would be if already cash-strapped media outlets are reluctant to change, and are slow to meet readers’ needs.

A new lens of analysis

“To not acknowledge sports betting would be to do a disservice to your audience,” Barry Bedlan, director of sports products for the AP said in an interview for this piece.

Bedlan had spoken hours earlier at a panel on sports betting at the annual convention of the Associated Press Sports Editors, the body of the nation’s print and digital sports editors.

Bedlan predicted that in a few years major papers and websites in states with legalized betting will have a position in the sports department in which a reporter writes exclusively from a bettor’s perspective. Reporters on a team’s beat, meanwhile, may start to inject gambling into routine coverage – noting the impact of a star player’s injury on the betting line, for instance, or saying whether a winning team covered the point spread in a game recap.

The Associated Press highly values its credibility and strict adherence to journalistic ethics. The news agency has long provided point spreads – the number of points teams are expected to win or lose by – to its clients. But expect its offerings to expand.

“Straight predictions and picks should gain renewed importance – Team A will beat Team B, and here, quickly, is why, according to our experts,” Jeff Rosen, assistant managing editor for sports of the Kansas City Star, wrote to me in an email.

Even weather reports could become more important: For example, if snow is expected on a Sunday in Philadelphia during an Eagles home game, it will likely reduce the points that are scored. This bit of information would certainly interest gamblers wagering on the over/under, a bet on the total points scored in a game.

How much of an appetite is out there?

The big question many in sports media face now is how deeply – and how soon – to cover betting.

Some of that, of course, depends on whether sports betting is legal in the state where the outlet is located. But out there for all to see is the success of the Vegas Stats & Information Network, a multiplatform gambling news outlet that launched in 2017 and enticed renowned broadcaster Brent Musberger away from ESPN to be its face.

It has a Sirius channel, podcasts, live streams and a growing following that some media executives have surely noticed.

That doesn’t mean everyone is pouring their resources into sports gambling. Some are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Kevin Manahan, sports director at NJ Advance Media, told me that a key question is whether bettors who have been making illegal bets will want more information now that the activity has been legalized, or whether they’ve already been getting what they need.

“We just don’t know what the audience is going to be,” Manahan said. closely tracks what works with readers, so if there’s an appetite for gambling analysis, it will respond appropriately.

Bill King, who covers the gambling issue for the Sports Business Journal, agrees that the big question is how much the gambling market will grow.

“What we’re really talking about is taking an illegal business and making it legal,” he said.

Does that mean new people will bet? There could be a huge swath of people who think it would be fun to lay down a $10 sports bet on a weekend, but had been turned off by the sketchiness of signing up for an illegal offshore account.

King also notes that the media in regions where betting has been legalized could benefit from advertising buys from bookmakers. Opening a betting account is more complicated than, say, signing up for a social media account. Many people will likely only have one or two betting accounts, which could lead to intense competition among bookmakers.

The Las Vegas model portends a new era

Bill Bradley, an editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, believes sports gambling can be a big draw for newspapers and their websites.

When he became assistant managing editor for sports in 2015, Bradley took a reporter who was covering sports betting part time and made that his full-time job.

The results were dramatic. The betting stories and videos were consistently among the sports section’s top draws, and betting now has its own section on the paper’s website. Even simple stories, like Sunday’s NFL lines and injury reports, have become more popular when reported and analyzed with the bettor’s perspective in mind.

“Basically, it’s found money,” Bradley said.

In fact, the work of the reporter on the betting beat was so well-received that he wound up getting hired away – by the Vegas Sports Information Network.

Certainly, in terms of journalistic ethics, offering reporting and analysis for betting demands some new rules in the newsroom, editors said. For reporters, that includes not betting on the team you cover or even the sport you cover.

And Mark Conrad, an associate professor at Fordham University and author of the popular textbook “The Business of Sports: Off the Field, in the Office, on the News,” cautioned that, amid the novelty of legal sports betting, the media also need to cover issues such as gambling addiction.

But a cultural change is afoot.

Bradley and Bedlan noted that many editors at the APSE meeting had, in the past, never bothered to learn even basic sports gambling terms such as “parlay” or “bad beat” because betting was illegal and perhaps not true to the spirit of sports.

Now they’re studying up.

Sports fans might want to do the same.

John Affleck is Knight chair in sports journalism and society, Pennsylvania State University.

Project aims to reduce Mysis shrimp at Tahoe

Mysis shrimp were introduced to Lake Tahoe in the 1960s. Photo/Robin Li/ Seamor Marine Ltd.

By Tom Lotshaw

A UC Davis research team led by civil and environmental engineering professors Geoff Schladow and Alex Forrest, along with environmental science and policy Professor Steve Sadro, is working on a pilot project to test and optimize a strategy to reduce Mysis shrimp populations in Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe.

Working with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, the team aims to reduce the abundance of Mysis shrimp, one of Tahoe’s most ubiquitous invasive species, to levels where they no longer impact the ecosystem of the lake.

Mysis shrimp were deliberately introduced into Tahoe in the 1960s to provide a food source for lake trout and kokanee salmon, popular sport fish that had also been introduced.

“The Lake Tahoe ecosystem has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, and the importance of restoring ecological function of the lake’s native species in place of the invasive Mysis shrimp cannot be overstated,” Schladow said. “Our findings in Emerald Bay will be critical in developing a plan and strategy for Lake Tahoe.”

If the number of Mysis shrimp can be reduced, native zooplankton species like daphnia, which play a critical role in eating other, smaller native zooplankton species that can reduce lake clarity, will be able to recover to levels not seen since Mysis shrimp were established in the lake. That could lead to a significant improvement in water clarity—one of the long-term restoration goals for Lake Tahoe.

The research team is using real-time, remote sensing technologies to locate high-density patches of Mysis shrimp and map out the natural variability in the distribution and migration of these organisms throughout Emerald Bay. If successful, the technology and tools developed through this pilot project will be used to provide guidance for harvesting Mysis shrimp in the rest of the lake.

The use of underwater remote sensing draws on Forrest’s research experience with autonomous underwater vehicles as data collection platforms. If this pilot project is successful, the team will use similar platforms in the future in other parts of Lake Tahoe that can’t be surveyed using boat-based techniques.

“Applying emerging technologies and untethered, autonomous robotics enables an understanding of aquatic habitat and ecosystem assessment not available today,” Forrest said.

The California Tahoe Conservancy contributed $390,000 in Proposition 1 funding and Nevada Division of State Lands provided $60,000 in federal funds through the Clean Water Act for this project.

Tom Lotshaw is the public information officer at TRPA. This was first published in the summer 2018 Tahoe In Depth.

Time to register for Rose to Toads bike ride

Registration is open for the  8th annual Rose to Toads mountain bike ride.

The ride is Sept. 2.

At more than 62 miles long with 8,000-plus feet of climbing and 10,000-plus feet of descent, Rose to Toads is one of the toughest mountain bike rides around. 

One hundred percent of the proceeds go back to the organizations that build the trails featured on the ride: TAMBA, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, the U.S. Forest Service-Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and Nevada State Parks.

It takes most riders all day to complete Rose to Toads, which showcases some of the best trails from Lake Tahoe’s North Shore at Mount Rose all the way to the South Shore, ending on the famous Mr. Toads Wild Ride.

This ride is completely self-supported.

To register, go online.

NorCal athletes fill Tahoe celebrity golf roster

Steph Curry of the Warriors will be back next week at the American  Century Championship. Photo Copyright 2017 Carolyn E. Wright

By Noel Harris, Sacramento Bee

Vince Carter may be the NBA’s elder statesman, but he’s out to prove that no one is ever too old to try something new.

The Kings swingman will get to show off his golf swing next week, when he participates in the American Century Championship for the first time.

Carter, 41, joins a field in the celebrity tournament that is loaded with athletes, actors and notable names. This year’s event, the 29th annual, features several athletes with Northern California ties,

Read the whole story

Eldorado working on over-snow regulations

The Eldorado National Forest is seeking comments on the draft environmental impact statement for  the Over-Snow Vehicle Use Designation Project. 
The U.S. Forest Service proposes to designate OSV areas and trails for public use on the National Forest System lands within the Eldorado National Forest.  
Comments are due Aug. 6. The DEIS is available for review online.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Marsolais at or 530.642.5187.

Tahoe Tennis Classic no ordinary tournament

Winning is the obvious goal, but for those who don’t make it to the finals on tournament Sunday the Tahoe Tennis Classic really is a four-day party.

The deadline to sign up for the South Shore event is July 22. There are 16 divisions for the July 26-29 tennis tournament at Zephyr Cove Tennis Club. While this is an all-doubles tournament, the various events make it so all levels can compete.

More than 200 players are expected to descend about the region, with a regular contingent coming from Texas.

One thing that makes this tournament different from so many others is that every player is guaranteed two matches. The entry fee also includes a dinner that Friday night at MontBleu in Stateline, a T-shirt, hat and a cocktail party on Thursday at Casey’s in Round Hill.

The tournament, now in its 35th year, is the main fundraiser for the Zephyr Cove Tennis Club Foundation. At the dinner there are mystery bags, a raffle and silent auction to help raise funds that are used for court upkeep and programs. The foundation is responsible for everything tennis related at the Douglas County-owned park.

Cost is $80 for the first event, $40 for second. More information, as well as the registration form, is available on ZCTC’s website.

Recreation redefining value of Western public lands

By Kate Schimel and Brooke Warren, High Country News

Once, the West’s public lands were valued primarily for the timber, minerals and fossil fuels they held, which were extracted and then sold around the world.

In the 1970s, more than two dozen Western counties relied on timber for at least a fifth of their revenue, while energy companies expanded onto public lands for coal and natural gas. Small communities swelled with loggers and miners and the businesses that supported them, providing an economy that helped preserve the West’s rural feel.

Today, though, natural resource economies are waning, and many of those towns are struggling. Public lands are increasingly used for fun and leisure, and the West has joined the Northeast as the two most urbanized regions in the country, according to U.S. Census data analyzed by Headwaters Economics.

Read the whole story

Rangers to lead hike at Sand Harbor Overlook

Park ranger will lead a guided hike to the famous Sand Harbor Overlook on the Tahoe Rim Trail on July 14.

The hike is a four-mile loop and offers breathtaking views of Sand Harbor. The hike is moderately difficult.

Bring water, lunch, sunscreen and sturdy hiking boots.

Meet at Spooner Lake State Park parking lot at 9:30am. Rangers will drive participants to the Marlette Peak Campground to start the hike. Expect to finish about 4pm.

Reservations are required and space is limited to 12. Sign up by calling 775.749.5980 or emailing

Satin moths damaging aspens near Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe area aspen trees have been defoliated due to an influx of invasive white satin moths.

The white satin moth is a non-native defoliator of aspen, cottonwoods, willows and other deciduous species. Continued defoliation can threaten aspen stands, which provide important habitat for a variety of native species.

The Nevada Tahoe Resource Team – which consists of representatives from several divisions within the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (the Nevada Division of Forestry, the Nevada Division of State Parks, and the Nevada Division of State Lands) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife recently engaged UNR and the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science to perform in-depth research studies and data analysis. They are conducting two multi-year studies that will be used to guide future management decisions in support of a thriving natural environment.

Anyone who see a white satin moths or areas damaged by these insects, is asked to call 775.849.2500, ext. 241. This is so scientists may track and monitor their locations.