Woohah! Summer is here!

Time to bust out the flip-flops and tank tops, sundresses and short shorts and kick back into what many locals call Tahoe’s finest season.

Summers in Tahoe are legendary as there are a gazillion ways to spend the perfect day doing what you love to do. Between the rocks and trails, the sports leagues and the water, from Lake Tahoe to Loch Leven and back to Brockway Summit, if we’re not dripping wet in crystalline bliss we can’t wipe off the perma-grin from the splitter granite cracks we just climbed. But I trust you know that we’ve got it good come summer. It’s no surprise really. Our winter is pretty plush too.

What’s interesting however, is how Tahoe’s sometimes astonishingly pleasant summer weather and the vast diversity of local activities affect us as sporting animals.

In the winter, with far fewer athletic and adventure options, Tahoe folks get focused. Whether it’s stride gliding, riding the ‘snow machine’ or following the fall line, it’s all about fulfilling that craving for exercise and adrenaline by slipping and sliding on snow.

Our local passion for snow sports has created an intensely competitive athletic scene that fuels a fire in everyone from the barista to the big pro skier. While you might say that you ‘just ski for fun,’ there is no doubt that most folks actively compare their snow skills to friends or fellow athletes.

The result of this friendly community wide ‘competition’ is that people have an incentive to practice (ski/ride a lot), they improve year after year, and that the truly talented develop world-class skills. It’s no surprise that Jones, Ralhves, Sullivan, Mancuso, and Backstrom all call Tahoe home. We have both the natural and social environment to produce snow sports bad-asses.

So then, how is our summer sports life any different? Name one Tahoe resident that has been in the Summer Olympics. I know of exactly none.

Tahoe is not a natural proving ground for summer athletics because of what I refer to as the ‘flip-flop effect.’ As in, why should I focus on only one sunny sport when I can ‘flip-flop’ in between three ridiculously fun sports?

Flitting from the rocks to the trail to the water, Tahoe has become the home of the ‘renaissance’ summer athlete – decent at playing everything, but not a master of anything.

And we love it. Or at least I know this jack-of-all-trades adventurer does. After a seven-month winter trying to outgun your buddies and rivals, summer is prime time to kick back and truly ‘do it for fun’.

With everyone a little lower on the learning curve, the definition of a worthy challenge changes as well. You don’t need to stomp a 40-foot air to find your fix. Most mountain bikers would agree that launching a three-foot drop is a decent adrenaline rush, a six-foot two-wheeled huck – epic.

Playing with smaller denominations of sun-splashed adrenaline also allows us to cherish the drips.  A coincidental example of this ‘flip-flop’ theory tangent is a friend of mine who will ask, ‘Is it flip-flop-able?’, before joining an adventure.

His efforts to add challenge by wearing ill-suited footwear on an otherwise benign close-toed journey are a prime example of how the sporting rules change come summer. Would you ever strap into your snowboard wearing Uggs just for kicks?

But who can blame us for finding fun everywhere and anywhere when the weather is too nice and the random opportunities for adventure never quit. It’s summer after all, and the lifts don’t close at 4 p.m. We got all night to do laps in our flip-flops.

Just be careful you don’t let summer fun get the best of you. Flip-flop challenges can get serious in a hurry when you start asking – Is this PBR-able?

Not always a bad question though. Maybe your gearing up for a game of kickball?!

PBR-able? Yes! ‘Flip-Flop’-able? No.