Tahoe isn’t that big of a town, so when we saw some of our resident action heroes plastered on a SuperTopo forum for ice skating on Tenaya Lake in January, IN BIKINIS, we called them right on up for an interview. Check out the original SuperTopo bikini ice skating post to see all the banter.
Who are the Tahoe Bikini Chicks?
We are local Tahoe ladies who take advantage of whatever the day may bring. If it’s snowing, you’ll find us skiing the deep at Squaw or skinning into the Sierra backcountry. If it’s a cool, crisp, fall day, you’ll find us climbing at Donner Summit or Lover’s leap. If the air is warm and the sun is shining, look for us on an East Shore beach, riding our road bikes up Barker Pass, mountain biking above Tahoe City, or backpacking into Desolation Wilderness. We are ladies who love to smile and love an adventure. And we always have our bikinis on hand for a hot spring, an alpine lake, or recently, ice skating.
What were you ladies doing in the valley that day?
It was the first week of January. We had been skiing Red Dog, Squaw Creek, and Roundhouse for six weeks. Don’t get me wrong — we were stoked to ski on what man could make. But like most Tahoe-ites, after lapping the same three groomers for days, and no forecasted blizzard in sight, we were getting bored and needed to change it up.
If you have lemons, you might as well make lemonade, right? It is so rare for Tioga Pass to open in January, so we decided on a road trip to Yosemite. We left after work and spent our first night camping next to Buckeye Hot Springs in Bridgeport. After spending the morning in the hot springs, we packed the car and drove up Tioga Pass.
It was a beautiful, clear, 50-degree day. Driving up, we eyed the backcountry lines that we wished we could ski. But instead of skis, we packed bikinis on this trip.
When we drove up to Tenaya Lake, we pulled over like everyone else. Kids, dogs, hockey players, lovers, families, friends, athletes, first-timers — everyone was skating on the lake. The four of us had one pair of skates to share — we scoured the thrift stores before the trip, but the word is out on backcountry ice skating and the inventory is scarce — so we took turns gliding out to the middle of the frozen lake.
It was Elan’s idea to put our bikinis on. She laced up her skates, and immediately wanted to put her bikini on.
Why not? Next thing we know, all of us are ice skating in our bikinis.
It was a defiant strike against winter. If Father Snow won’t give us the cold stuff, then we will wear our bikinis in January. On the ice!
I hear bikini ice-skating was just part of the fun that included extreme sunbathing. Tell us what else you did on your trip.
Bikinis became the theme of the rest of our trip. We drove into the valley after ice skating on Tenaya, and set up camp in Camp 4. We were all used to Yosemite being the zoo it is in the warmer months, so it was bizarre to be in the valley without the crowds. There were a few other campers in Camp 4, but not nearly as packed in as it is in “rock-tober.”
Tahoe being Tahoe, we still ran into friends in the campground. He’s the one who brought up the bikinis — “Did you see the bikini ice skaters on supertopo.com?”
Wait a second! Our ten seconds of fame — there it was in all its glory. One of our many fans had uploaded a photo he took of us ice skating in our bikinis to the biggest climber’s forum in the U.S. We had to keep the bikinis going.
The next day we decided to hike to the top of Yosemite Falls, which was a small trickle free-falling 2,400 feet. When you reach the top, there’s this exposed outlook that sits right over the mouth of the waterfall.
Being the Tahoe girls that we are, we dropped our packs, put our bikinis on, and climbed out to the edge of the cliff for, as we call it, extreme sunbathing.
The next day, Elan, our fearless bikini leader, decided to take it another step further and climbed a 5’9 finger crack on Swan Slabs next to Camp 4 in her bikini. She won the award for most action in her swimsuit.
What other sports have you done in a bikini?
Skiing! It is crazy, but we had more snow on the Fourth of July than we did on January 4. To celebrate the holiday, and my birthday on July 2, I skied in my red bikini down the Palisades.
And of course, we all live in our bikinis in the summertime — river rafting, hiking, biking, you name it.
What was the best pick-up line you heard that week?
We didn’t really hear any pick-up lines — mostly just received high fives. But the photo that was uploaded to SuperTopo got a lot of comments. My favorite was “The Real Housewives of Bishop on the ice?” Classic.
[editor’s note: Our favorite SuperTopo comment? Tahoe Bikini Chick’s response to F10.]
What’s up next for your bikini?
We joked about putting together a calendar. But we are serious, too. The next shot we want to take — in strike of our non-winter — is a photo of a lost bikinied, backcountry skier who is marooned on a desolate, snowless, sunny East Shore beach, wandering aimlessly towards the lake. Any photographers out there who want to support Tahoe Bikini Chicks?
The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, bike, surf, Tenaya Lake bikini ice skate) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.
I’m a 6-year Tahoe resident. Yep, I live the life, with a lake view from my desk, lunch breaks on the beach with my dog, and morning powder runs when the snow’s good. I ski, snowboard, skate ski, and cross-country ski in winter, and hike, mountain bike, backpack, and lay around on Tahoe’s beaches in summer.