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Sierra Stories

  • Nevada’s Fight of the Century, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on May 25, 2016
    Nevada boxing promoters proclaimed it the “fight of the century.” The highly publicized 1897 bout between America’s heavyweight champion “Gentleman Jim” Corbett from San Francisco and lanky, British-born but hailing from Australia, challenger Robert Fitzsimmons, promised to produce an economic boost to the Reno-Carson City communities. Pugilist Bob Fitzsimmons won the 1897 Carson City fight. | Courtesy Nevada Historical Society […]
  • Fight of the Century, Part I  

    By Mark McLaughlin on May 11, 2016
    Nevada boxing promoters proclaimed it the “Fight of the Century.” The highly touted 1897 bout between America’s reigning heavyweight champion “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, and lanky Australian challenger Robert Fitzsimmons promised to bring a much-needed economic boost to the Reno and Carson City economies. Both communities were suffering from a 20-year financial depression due to the decline of Virginia City’s Comstock […]
  • Kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr.

    By Mark McLaughlin on April 6, 2016
      Frank Sinatra Jr. died on March 17, 2016. Obituaries detailed his life as the son of the legendary entertainer and his career as a popular singer in his own right. The media mentioned Sinatra’s kidnapping at Lake Tahoe in 1963, but offered scant details of his abduction. Here’s the full story. There was a full-blown blizzard raging on Dec. […]
  • Hidden gem at Diamond Peak

    By Mark McLaughlin on March 23, 2016
      Diamond Peak is probably the most overlooked and underrated ski resort in the Tahoe Basin. With an impressive 1,840 feet of vertical, a variety of ski trails and breathtaking views of Big Blue, Diamond Peak is well worth the drive to Incline Village. This hidden jewel has miles of uncrowded runs, open tree skiing and an intermediate cruiser called […]
  • Longboard Ski Racing

    By Mark McLaughlin on March 9, 2016
    There’s no doubt about it, the 19th Century longboard ski racers of Plumas and Sierra counties in California were the fastest humans on the planet. When snow conditions were right, these early speed demons rocketed down the mountainside at velocities approaching 90 mph. With an intensity often fueled by alcohol, ego and lucrative cash rewards, early longboard racers pushed speed […]
  • A Magical History: SnowFest!

    By Mark McLaughlin on February 24, 2016
    SnowFest!, North Tahoe’s annual winter carnival, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and organizers and sponsors are hoping that this popular mountain Mardi Gras will encourage locals and visitors alike to get outside and join in the fun and festivities. There’s no better time to celebrate winter then after fresh snow has cloaked the region in white and the […]
  • Danger of winter floods

    By Mark McLaughlin on February 10, 2016
    After four consecutive winters with less than average precipitation — especially 2014-15, the least snowy of record — it’s nice to see the Tahoe Sierra back in the saddle again weatherwise. It has not been an exceptional winter so far, but with Tahoe Basin precipitation closing in on 120 percent the region is off to a great start. The frequent, […]
  • Reno’s exceptional snowfall 100 years ago

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 27, 2016
    In contrast to the High Sierra where the annual snowfall averages 35 feet or more, communities located in western Nevada usually escape the worst of the weather. The towering range protects valleys from the intense winter storms that barrel in from the Pacific Ocean. Heavy snow accumulation in the mountains creates a winter wonderland ideal for sports enthusiasts, and the […]
  • Rainmaker cures San Diego drought

    By Mark McLaughlin on January 13, 2016
    It’s been 100 years since Charles Hatfield was hired by San Diego’s city council to end a crushing four-year drought that was bringing the region to its knees. Hatfield was famous for producing moisture during severe western droughts. In Dec. 1915, San Diego’s leaders promised to pay Hatfield $10,000 if he could generate enough precipitation to break a four-year dry […]
  • El Niño ‘83: A Monster Winter, Part IV

    By Mark McLaughlin on December 30, 2015
    Suspense is building across the West Coast to see what El Niño has in store for Tahoe this winter. According to at least one metric, this El Niño is already the strongest one of record since reliable data collection began in 1950. Officials are warning of floods and mudslides in Southern California, while Tahoe Sierra resort operators and snow-starved skiers […]