The Tahoe Ten

Josh Daiek and Abe Greenspan link four classic Tahoe lines in one day, covering 20 miles and 10,000 vertical feet

After a few seasons on the Freeride World Tour, Josh Daiek is hitting the skin track in pursuit of the classic lines around his backyard in South Lake Tahoe.

Originally from Michigan, Daiek moved to South Lake Tahoe after his senior year in high school. In 2005, he burst onto the scene at the Freeskiing World Tour. By 2008, he had claimed the overall championship. Daiek’s all-or-nothing approach to competing didn’t always land him on the podium but it definitely captured people’s attention. That same creative style has lead to innovative film segments with Salomon Freeski TV, among others, and helped him earn the Breakthrough Performance award at the 2015 Powder Awards.

Most recently, along with Abe Greenspan, Daiek tackled four of Tahoe’s most iconic peaks from Meyers, California, to Maggie’s Peak in one day, covering 20 miles and 10,000 vertical feet in 12 hours.

“Abe and I were skiing all these lines that are accessible from town for the first time in about four years because we haven’t had the snow to do it,” Daiek says. “It was just kind of fantasy. One day we were talking and we were like, ‘What if we did them all in one day?'”

They hatched a plan to start from his backyard in South Lake and ski all the way to Emerald Bay. “We did it in our first go,” he says. “We were committed to making it happen whether we were skiing with headlamps on the last line or whatever it took. Initially, we were thinking we’d make it up and ski the other peak on Maggie’s down into Emerald Bay, but it ended up being Meyer’s to Maggie’s.”

Jenn: What was the biggest challenge?
Josh: The most challenging part was after we skied Halls of the Gods, about halfway through the tour, we had to get up to Mount Tallac. We were standing at the bottom of a south-facing aspect that takes you up Angora Peak. We had to make it up this southern aspect and with the heat it was getting really dangerous. I had a feeling that this would be the biggest obstacle of the day. We found this southeast ridge where we could stay in the shade on the east-facing slope. It was a real steep grunt and over on the south aspect things were moving—natural slides were happening. We were safe on the ridge, but things were moving. It was definitely the scariest part of the day.

What was your favorite part?
My favorite part was our second run in the Halls of the Gods couloir. I’ve skied that line two or three times but I haven’t skied it in about four years. I hadn’t seen it yet this season so I wasn’t sure how filled in it was. I started going down the line and I was worried about my slough. When I got to the crux I didn’t have the option to stop and slow down because my slough was catching up to me so I had to race it through the crux. It was so rippable and smooth. The conditions were perfect. That was one of the highlights but the whole thing was obviously a really epic day.

How do you prepare for 10,000 feet in one day?
Good question. I don’t think I did the right preparation. I was out snowmobiling and touring with some friends the day before and put in a sun-up to sun-down day. I came home and talked to Abe and he was like, ‘Do you think should we go for it tomorrow?’ It was right after we had that big rain event so I was worried the snow would be firm and variable. If we were going to do it and film it, I want conditions to be perfect. That night around 10 p.m. we decided we were going to go for it. I went home, got my gear together, and crashed out. The next morning we started at 5 a.m.

What’s next?
I’ve been doing tons of ski touring and taking advantage of the good conditions in Tahoe. This video is the first in a series we’re calling #TahoeTen – based on linking ‘classic’ Tahoe peaks into 10,000-vertical-foot days.