I’m fortunate enough to work in a world where I’m often surrounded by really interesting people—folks who are high performers in their fields, whether that’s adventure sports, photography, filmmaking, or other creative pursuits. The same goes for my friend Chris McNamara at Outdoor Gear Lab.
Chris and I have recently moved our businesses to Ski Run Blvd in South Lake Tahoe, because we’ve identified this location as having the potential to become a hub of business, art, and lifestyle: the ultimate live-work community in Tahoe.
Chris and I agree that part of making our community better begins with the most basic, simple idea: getting a bunch of interesting and interested people together for community events, to share ideas and feel inspired.
It was with this vision that Chris and I have started a very informal “speaker series” that we’re calling “Ski Run Presents.” When Chris or I hear about an interesting person coming to town, our goal is to twist that person’s arm and convince him or her to give an informal presentation to our community.
Already we’ve done three!
The first one featured none other than Tommy Caldwell, who is a very good friend to me and Chris, and is one of the best rock climbers in the world. Tommy was passing through town, I twisted his arm, and he agreed to talk about his climbing and life. It was an awesome evening. We maxed out the Blue Angel Cafe, and raised money for putting in new moderate routes around Lake Tahoe.
The next one featured my colleague Brad Smith, one of the most decorated photo editors of our time, formerly of the White House, the New York Times, and Sports Illustrated. He came to town and spoke at Chris’s newly remodeled Outdoor Gear Lab headquarters on Ski Run Blvd. It was interesting to see the audience that came out to hear Brad—many folks in the creative community, and many who just are interested to hear interesting people share ideas. No charge for the event, just a community gather.
This week, my friend and fellow Nikon Ambassador Joe McNally, one of the true giants of the photography world, came to town. Same thing: I twisted his arm, he agreed to present, and with just three days notice we put out the word and packed Chimayo with 100 folks from as far away as Reno and North Lake. Again, no charge for the event, just a community gathering.
Let it be said, this ain’t no TED talk—not because the presenters aren’t interesting or brilliant, but because we’re not TED. Chris and I are a little scrappier, a little less serious, and we just want to keep it real. This isn’t about making money. It’s about making Ski Run Blvd a nexus of creativity, inspiration, and lifestyle. It’s about building community. And it’s about giving back to the community we love.
It’s probably a stretch to call our idea a “speaker series,” given that we’ll probably never have a calendar or a pamphlet … although we did create a Facebook page and have a Mail Chimp email list, which you can sign up for.
Sometimes we’ll give advanced notice, but most likely it’ll be a last-minute thing. And, fair warning to all of my friends and colleagues. If you come to town, I might just twist your arm into giving a talk on Ski Run Blvd.