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Industry Innovations: How Tahoe XC is Evolving

Tahoe XC is always eyeing innovative technologies that could reduce our impact on the environment and increase our responsibility and reciprocity toward Nature. While human-powered recreation like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, running and mountain biking are naturally low-impact sports, we know we can further reduce our effects on the environment. Here are some efforts we are striving to make:

Forest Health

Supporting Partners in Fire Fuels Reduction Projects
Between 2019 and 2021, California Tahoe Conservancy (CTC) spearheaded a 3-year Fuels Reduction Plan to improve the forest health in the Dollar Creek area, which is accessible from Tahoe XC’s trailhead. Fuels Reduction and Forest Health plans are part of every public land agency’s climate strategy to reduce the risk of fires in Tahoe’s forests.

Trail Work Days with Manual Labor
Multiple volunteer-based Trail Work Days are primarily human-powered using shovels, pick-axes, wheelbarrows, etc. to maintain and clear trails. We use very little machinery on Trail Work Days, except for chain saws and a wood chipper at the lodge. Depending on where the trail work is located, we often ask volunteers to ride their bikes, or walk, out to the work location.

Kids Trail Working

No More Fluorinated Waxes
Starting in the 2021-2022 ski season, none of our new retail or rental waxes were fluorinated waxes to align with industry-wide bans and environmental considerations. Studies confirm that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are harmful to plants, animals, people, and the environment. While fluorinated waxes (think LF and HF) may increase speed and keep dirt off your bases, they also have parabens that do not break down and can accumulate to dangerous levels over time. Tahoe XC supports using alternative waxes.

The Future of Snow Machinery

Electric Snowmobiles & Other E-Machines
A very exciting innovation hitting the market in Fall 2022 is Taiga’s new line of electric snowmobiles. We have our eye on the Nomad, an electrified workhorse with over 1,000-pound towing capacity and at least a 100km range. We’ll have to test out the range, especially in deep or heavy (Sierra cement) snow conditions, but we’re willing to experiment for a zero-emissions, quieter, no gas grooming alternative.

Nearly every day in the winter, Tahoe XC uses a snowmobile for low-snow grooming, search and rescue, safety, trail maintenance, and race/event setup. Having an electric snowmobile would allow quieter and cleaner grooming without the 2-stroke noise and smell. This will be especially beneficial for those mid-day grooms, trail maintenance, and safety checks while users are on the trails.

Snowmobile Grooming on Lakeview

Always Willing to Innovate
The future of Tahoe XC remains focused on getting kids and adults outside, connecting with nature, and fostering engagement with our community and the environment. As the outdoor recreation industry evolves, so do we. We’re not afraid to test out smarter, more innovative ways to engage responsibly with nature. And we encourage you to think about your own interconnectedness to nature as well. Can you think of ways your community can reduce negative impacts on the environment? Do you have ideas for us? Let’s keep the conversation active because new ideas will help Tahoe XC continue to evolve.

Kids Build Tree Fort

We are currently running a matching campaign for an electric snowmobile. The one we mention above, called the Nomad. If you are interested in learning more and helping us reach our goal to collevtively raise an additional $10,000, click the ‘contribute’ button to read our full story.