We pulled off the highway just outside of Truckee, bumped along the washboard dirt road and came to a stop at the base of the trailhead. Others eventually pulled up, too. A motley mix of magazine writers and editors, pro skiers, local photographers and the TecnicaBlizzard brass rolled out of rental cars like clowns at the circus. Intros were made and hands were shaken; faces put to bylines, first descents and photographs. Everyone geared up, stepped into Tecnica’s newest lightweight touring boots, clicked into Blizzard’s upcoming free mountain lite skis and we set off skinning towards the Lost Trail Lodge—our off-the-grid home for a few days, located deep in the Tahoe backcountry.

Talk on the skin track made the miles fly by. Longtime magazine editors chatting with established pro skiers about projects and travel plans, writers learning about Blizzard’s skis from the people who know best, local Tahoe guides pointing out terrain they love. Where are you headed next? What’s the next issue of your magazine look like? Any plans to return to that zone after last spring’s mission? What story are you working on now? The tempo of the skinning was a welcome change of pace for everyone, a respite from rapid magazine production schedules and a stark contrast to the momentum of marketing campaigns.

After crossing the train tracks and navigating a creek crossing we rounded a bend in the road to the warm, welcoming sight of the Lost Trail Lodge. Nestled in a grove of pine trees, Lost Trail is a backcountry skier’s dream. The lodge is comfortable and inviting. There are a number of rooms in the lodge and a few adjacent cabins, each boasting a bathroom with warm running water and a few have Jacuzzi tubs. There’s a river-rock fireplace encircled by leather couches in living room, banjos and guitars sitting in the corner begging for a jam session. Photos from years of adventures in Lost Trail’s backyard line the hallways like a museum.

It was early evening by the time we hung our skins by the fire to dry. Bourbon and beers were poured, stories were shared over dinner, the “Drinking Olympics” got rowdy and eventually things wound down as everyone was eager to see the terrain that is accessed from the doorsteps of the Lost Trail Lodge.

The next couple of days were spent exploring the Sierra Nevada backcountry. The sheer amount of terrain was mind-blowing. Chutes and couloirs to tick-off, wide-open bowls to arch high-speed “Arne” turns in (a la the late, great Arne Backstrom), rockbands to tee-up and breathtaking panoramas that unfurl from the summits of skin-accessed peaks. We put Blizzard’s new Scout ski andTecnica’s lightweight Cochise 130 Pro boot through their paces. The consensus amongst everyone: The gear is dialed!

{Lost Trail Lodge Photo Gallery}