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Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge, Sunshine Tahoe Sponsors First Ever Equestrian Team

Published by Christina on June 9, 2015, in Charitable Giving, General, Recent Projects

Sunshine Tahoe Sponsors 2015 Equine Team

Christina and Charlie

Christina and Charlie

Sunshine Tahoe is thrilled to sponsor the first ever Equine Team for the 2015 Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) Challenge, the first 50 riders to sign-up will become an Equine Trail Ambassador and receive a free team membership.

“Sunshine Tahoe is always trying to find unique ways to sponsor organizations ripe for success and eager to serve the community-  at-large,” said Christina Stoever-Young, owner  of Sunshine Tahoe.   “The goal of this particular team is to develop a camaraderie among riders and share trail highlights, request riding partners, post photos and videos within the team section, learn about regional equine events and receive special perks provided exclusively by Sunshine Tahoe.”  To join or for more information, email sunshinetahoeriders@gmail.com.

TRTC Sunshine Tahoe Riders. Spooner Trail. Char Myers, Pat Cox, Terry Hernandes, Hanna Bernard, Terri Alexakos, Laura Sperry, Joan Shadler, DiAnna Huntsman, Petra Keller

TRTC Sunshine Tahoe Riders. Spooner Trail. Char Myers, Pat Cox, Terry Hernandes, Hanna Bernard, Terri Alexakos, Laura Sperry, Joan Shadler, DiAnna Huntsman, Petra Keller

Petra Keller on her beloved "Red" leading the group on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Petra Keller on her beloved “Red” leading the group on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

About the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge

The third annual Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge is now open for enrollment and now is the time to start planning summer fun on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Whether this is your first or third year, you are invited to take on Tahoe’s next big challenge, and explore some of the best pieces the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail has to offer. Once again, the challenge will take you on an exploration around the rim with our six featured hikes, bikes and rides with each highlighting something unique to Lake Tahoe. Highlights include: Amazing panoramic vistas, alpine lakes and creeks, wildflower-infused meadows, lush waterfalls, unique geology, and historical landmarks. Depending upon the trail and season, you can hike, bike, ride horseback, ski or snowshoe to complete each challenge site all in one year.

The 2015 TRT Challenge includes all of your favorite aspects from the past two years as well as a few changes. Membership includes: six challenge hikes with maps and trail descriptions; including Trail Blazer (2-6 miles) & Trail Explorer (6-12 miles) routes, tracking and sharing your challenge in the Tahoe Rim Trail Community, a 2015 tech T-shirt, guided hikes, a one-year membership with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and special invites to our summer, “Where’s McLeod? Giveaway Days.” Individual registration costs $55 per-year, family rates start at $85 and group or business team’s start at $100. Please contact the Tahoe Rim Trail Association office at 775.298.4485 or info@tahoerimtrail.org with registration questions.












What is your Heart Stone?

Published by Christina on September 17, 2013, in Career Advice, Case Studies, Recent Projects

What is your heart stone?

For the past seven years I have had the absolute pleasure of attending a very special event, Trails & Vistas. As an experienced marketer, I still have difficulty explaining the event. Those of you that have attended Trails & Vistas often say the same when you leave the trail, all you know is that you are encouraged to “let go” of daily life and “check-in” to nature.

This year’s journey included a special devotion to heart stones. Every attendee was invited to open a vessel, look at the heart shaped stone inside that’s settled in the sand. Then everyone looked even further as each heart had a very small colored stone inside. We were asked to remember the color of this tiny stone, close our eyes and hold the heart stone close to our own heart.

We all received different colors and for different reasons, none of which I can explain. As we closed our eyes and held our individual stone to our heart, the definition of the color of the stone was read aloud – the silence was deafening.

Purple means protection and purification, blue means mood uplifting, orange means courage and vitality, yellow means optimism, green means prosperity, pink means love and gentleness. As the colors continued to be read, I was surrounded by tears, smiles and a whirlwind of emotion. When my color was read aloud, I immediately knew it WAS the right stone for me and I’m confident I wasn’t alone.

As we proceeded, I was excited and exhilarated and I couldn’t wait to share the color of my stone to my husband. When we shared our different colors and their individual meaning, they each made perfect sense in our life as it is today.

I wouldn’t say it changed me or even made me a different person, quite honestly, it was the contrary. The experience reminded me of exactly who I am, and I intend to stay like this.

Please remember, all well-intended efforts start from the heart… so why not allow them to end with your heart as well?

edited by: Maura Connor

Historic Pony Express Celebration Giveaway Day

Published by Christina on July 31, 2013, in Charitable Giving, Recent Projects


Meet Pony Express re-ride riders and their horses in the Tahoe Meadows

off of Mt. Rose Highway on Friday, Aug. 9

By Nicole Cheslock, NC Communications.

The National Pony Express Association conducted a re-ride of the Pony Express Trail just last month. The ride, including a portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail, was a non-stop event including more than 600 riders and horses. On Friday, Aug. 9, Lake Tahoe and Reno visitors and residents can meet Pony Express re-ride participants, Petra Keller and her horse Tiara Nevada (“T”), among others, on the Tahoe Rim Trail as part of the inaugural Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge, a self guided adventure open to the public.

“Adults are keen to meet our equestrian friends and learn more on the Tahoe Rim Trail, and kids love feeding carrots to our horses,” shares Keller, a member of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA) Board of Directors. “Come out to meet us on the trail on Friday, Aug. 9. This is such a fun photo opportunity and recreation event with a historic twist for friends and families.”

Ranked among the most remarkable feats of the American West, the Pony Express was in service from April 1860 to November 1861. Its primary mission was to deliver mail and news between St. Joseph, MO and San Francisco, CA. Telegrams and letters were carried in a “mochila,” the Spanish word for knapsack. Keller and her friends from the National Pony Express Association will have a mochila used in the Pone Express re-ride on the trail. While other riders carried mail by horseback, it was the mochila, easily transferrable from one horse to another, that made the Pony Express unique. Since the riders had just two minutes to exchange horses, the mochila design allowed for easy and quick removal and placement on a fresh horse at remount stations, was used. The rider’s weight kept the mochila in place during the rugged rides. In addition to a mochila, T’s mother, a Nevada Mustang named Charlie, will be on site from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 9. Everyone donning a Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge T-shirt is eligible for giveaways on Aug. 9.


The inaugural Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge is a self-guided program designed to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors and support the TRTA, the non-profit organization expressly dedicated to stewardship of the trail. The 2013 Trail Challenge features six extremely scenic and accessible locations that vary in length from two to six miles roundtrip. The Challenge is open to the public and new members are encouraged to join. Upon registration, members receive access to a special members-only webpage with interesting hike descriptions and colorful pictures, a tech T-shirt plus annual membership to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and invitations to members-only events. Membership costs $55 for individuals and $85 for families. Custom corporate packages are also available.

The Trail Challenge is excited to announce the Historic Pony Express Celebration Giveaway Day on Aug. 9 as part of the “Where’s McLeod? Giveaway Days.” Representatives will be staged at various vista points to cheer on participants and provide a free giveaway from presenting Trail Challenge sponsors in addition to photo opportunities with trail mascot, McLeod the Marmot. Everyone who is wearing their Trail Challenge T-shirt or joins on-site will receive gifts including cold water provided by Spin Games. Giveaways include gift certificates, whistles, bandanas and more from corporate sponsors including CA Technologies, Redemption Sports and Squeeze In. Additional Trail Challenge Giveaway Days will take place on Aug. 24 and Sept. 21. Visit www.trailchallenge.tahoerimtrail.org to register.

The 2013 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge is made possible from generous sponsorship support from NV Energy, Spin Games, REI, Desert Research Institute, International Game Technology, The Weekly, 101.5, KOLO 8, Reno Gazette Journal and Capital Public Radio as well as Sunshine Tahoe, Squeeze In, KristineMitchell.com, KPS|3, North American Embroidery, and NC Communications.


Established in 1981, TRTA is a membership-supported organization that maintains and enhances the Tahoe Rim Trail, a trail like no other™. TRTA exists to practice and inspire stewardship, promote access to the beauty of the Lake Tahoe region and sustain the Tahoe Rim Trail system. This mission is accomplished through two overarching programs: Trail Operations and Trail Use. Both programs offer in-depth trainings and rewarding volunteer opportunities. TRTA recruits, trains and manages approximately 1,000 volunteers who contribute more than 17,000 hours annually to support TRTA’s mission. Volunteer efforts, individual and corporate donations and grant funding make TRTA’s annual stewardship work and more than one hundred free public offerings possible. Visit http://www.tahoerimtrail.org.

Attached image:

Petra Keller, a member of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association Board of Directors, and Tiara Nevada riding a portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail during the June 2013 Historic Pony Express Re-Ride.

Credit:  Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA)


Sunshine Tahoe Donates $10,000 To Tahoe Truckee’s Trails & Vistas

Published by Christina on April 25, 2013, in Charitable Giving, General, Recent Projects


I am so proud to honor the creativity and sheer sense of wonder in Trails & Vistas’ annual art hikes. To recognize and support Nancy Tieken Lopez’ imagination and incredible talent, Sunshine Tahoe has donated $10,000 for Trails & Vistas 10th anniversary. Trails & Vistas’ art hikes blend world-class artistic expression with walking in nature.  Following the public art hikes, local third grade students have the opportunity to experience Trails & Vistas field trips in Donner Park.


On Sept. 7 & 8, 2013 people from around the country will hike along the Pacific Crest Trail on Donner Summit and experience award-winning live music, dance, storytelling, sculpture and painting. The theme for Trails & Vistas 10th anniversary art hikes is “Reflections.” More than 30 participating artists will perform aside stunning alpine lakes and breathtaking vistas. The guided art hikes will be offered every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Advance purchase is highly recommended the event has sold out every year! Tickets cost $30 for adults and  $10 for children.

In addition to the art hikes, a 10th anniversary concert will take place at the Truckee Regional Park Amphitheatre from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7. Performers include double-neck guitarist Ian Ethan Case from Boston, MA, Reno Taiko Tsurunokai, a Japanese drum group from Reno, NV and the forty-piece San Jose State Symphony Orchestra plus an opening act by Ann Licater, a world flutist from Los Angeles. Artist Susie Alexander from Truckee will paint while the orchestra plays and a ballerina from Inner Rhythms will be painted on stage – both performance art pieces are highly anticipated. General admission tickets are $20, but when combines with art hike tickets they are 50 percent off.

After four incredibly successful years running Truckee’s Historical Haunted Tour, a fundraising event conceived, created and produced by Sunshine Tahoe, the October 2013 Tour, has been cancelled. In lieu of the event, Sunshine Tahoe, the founder and producer of the Tour, is donating $10,000 to Trails & Vistas.

“The purpose of Trails & Vistas is to reestablish bonds between individuals and others and individuals and nature. Putting art in this context changes the experience and the audience. We are so grateful for Sunshine Tahoe’s past and ongoing support,” says Nancy Tieken Lopez, Trails & Vistas founder and executive director. “Christina’s valuable contributions – both in expertise, her time and financial support – will undoubtedly culminate in the long term success and ongoing growth of Trails & Vistas.”


Trails & Vistas is a non-profit organization that seeks to create experiences of art in nature that inspires environmental awareness. Partnered with Truckee Donner Land Trust, Inner Rhythms Dance Theatre and the KidZone Children’s Museum, Trails & Vistas and the partnering organizations believe the annual art hikes strengthens the ties between the Land Trust and arts organizations in the Lake Tahoe Truckee region and also increases participants’ commitment to building a stronger community and environmental stewardship through creative expression. In addition to art hikes, the organization’s programs include Helping the Wild and contributing an original painting to the 20 mile museum created by the Donner Summit Historical Society. Learn more at trailsandvistas.org.

Edited by: Maura

$16,000 Raised, Over 400 Spooked!

Published by Christina on November 5, 2012, in Charitable Giving, Recent Projects

Sold out four years in a row, Truckee’s Historical Haunted Tour has raised more than $31,000 total for Trails & Vistas and the Truckee Donner Historical Society since 2009. 

Mrs. Marshall & Ghost from Wells Fargo & Co. Haunted Express Car #5

By Nicole Cheslock

The Historical Haunted Tour began as an experiment by Sunshine Tahoe to support two nonprofit organizations and give an economic boost to historic Truckee during the traditionally slow month of October. It has proven to be a successful fundraising initiative and favorite annual activity. In 2009, 70 tickets were available – the tour sold out three weeks in advance. In 2010, 140 tickets were offered. Once again the tour sold out weeks in advance. In 2011, every resource was stretched to the max, and more than 290 tickets were sold. This year more than 400 people from near and far attended the guided walking tour and enjoyed wine at Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats!

2012 Highlights
• Raised $16,000 through cash sponsors, admission and raffle ticket    sales
• Record 400 attendees
• Haunts: Downtown Mountain Home Center, Coffeebar, MOBO Law, Scraps Dog Bakery, Old Jail Museum and The Pour House.

Regulators Taking over Moody’s

“We captivate a crowd with engaging stories about Truckee,” shares event producer Christina Stoever-Young of Sunshine Tahoe who attributes the tour’s success to the incredible talent and dedication offered by all of the volunteers and sponsors.

Pre event coverage contributed to another sold out event. Thank you to all of the Tour’s media partners – The WeeklyMoonshine Ink, Sierra Sun and Tahoe Truckee Radio – and everyone who found this news worth covering! Special thanks to Sac Bee, 7 x 7, Cap Radio, Tahoe Culture and LifestyleandCharity.com.

The Historical Haunted Tour, produced by Sunshine Tahoe, is an annual fundraiser that celebrates local history with a fun and spooky twist. The script skillfully weaves together previously untold stories from the past with dramatic twists and new haunts every year. Sunshine Tahoe attribute the Tour’s success and popularity to engaging storytelling and high quality performances plus generous community support. Sponsorship, ticket sales and raffle revenue offer the nonprofit beneficiaries operating revenue for field trips, arts and historic preservation. For more information visit truckeehistorytour.com or call Sunshine Tahoe at (775) 527-4485.  Photo credit – Rob Retting, visit our online image gallery @ Rob Retting Images.


Truckee Hospital Nurse from 1907

Watch a preview compliments of event sponsor Tahoe TV.Truckee’s Historic Haunted Tour 2012


Published by Christina on January 18, 2012, in Recent Projects, Startups

Save the dates for 2012 Historical Haunted Tour –Thursday, October 18 and Friday, 19, 2012

Truckee’s October 2011 Historical Haunted Tour raised more than $9,000: $4,640 was donated to the Truckee Donner Historical Society and $4,640 to Trails & Vistas. This was possible based on record ticket sales and proceeds from a prize packed raffle that took place at Moody’s Bistro, the tour’s host sponsor.

Photo by Scott Thompson

The Historical Haunted Tour is an entertaining fundraising event that celebrates town history with a fun and spooky twist. During the walking tour, residents and visitors are guided to interesting sites where they hear engaging tales performed by talented singers and performers. The tour, scripted by the event beneficiaries (Trails and Vistas and the Truckee Donner Historical Society) skillfully weaves together previously untold stories from the past with dramatic and funny twists.

“The Historical Haunted Walking Tour has been successful in bringing
together two organizations with completely different missions and
molding their goals and philosophies into a wonderfully entertaining
program that brings Truckee’s sensational historical headlines
together with arts and culture to create an event that has people
coming back year-after-year,” explains Chelsea Walterscheid, President
of the Truckee Donner Historical Society. She adds, “The money raised
helps with our on-going preservation efforts.”

Trails and Vistas founder Nancy Tieken Lopez echoes Walterscheid’s
sentiment, “The tour offers a creative peek into Truckee’s rich
historical past. Proceeds support our mission to create the region’s
only art-hike, an exquisite experience that takes places in nature
every September.”

The Historical Haunted Tour began as a three-year experiment by
Sunshine Tahoe to build support for the two nonprofit organizations as
well as provide an economic boost to historic Truckee. In 2009, 70
tickets were available. The tour sold out three weeks in advance. One
hundred and forty tickets were offered the next year, and once again
the tour sold out weeks in advance. In 2011, all hands were on deck,
every resource was stretched to the max, and more than 290 tickets
were sold and there was a 60 person waitlist. More than $6,000 in
donated raffle items from The Richardson House, River Street Inn, Squeeze
, KidZone Museum, The Pour House, Mark McLaughlin – The Storm King,
Scraps Truckee, Dorinda’s Cafe and Johnstone Studios significantly
contributed to the 2011 fundraising effort and provided exposure for
local businesses.

Stefanie Olivieri, owner of Cabona’s, the oldest retail store in
historic downtown Truckee, said, “It was a great experience personally
and a good opportunity for our business. Lots of people came in after
the tour and told us how much they enjoyed learning the history of our
business.” Olivieri confirmed that the event brought shoppers to her
business. Additional sites included Tourist Club, International Order
of Odd Fellows and Masonic Hall, Train Depot and Art Obsessions at
Truckee Mercantile.

Over 60 community volunteers make the tour possible. “Even our most
gracious thanks would not be enough to show them our appreciation to
help promote the dying art of oral history to help promote historic
preservation, local arts, dance and land stewardship,” explained

Event organizer Christina Stoever-Young of Sunshine Tahoe attributes
much of the tour’s success to the collaborating nonprofit
organizations and incredible talent and dedication offered by all of
the volunteers including performers and tour leaders. “We captivate a
crowd and tell them stories in a way they can hardly forget,” she

Photo by Scott Thompson

Attendee Mary Taitano, a Reno resident, shares, “I’ve never thought of
Truckee as a historical exclamation point. However, the tour was
enlightening, engaging and entertaining. Who knew Truckee had as
sordid a past as the rest of us!? This quaint little town harbors
stories and family histories that would widen even the most unenthused

Volunteers, donors and attendees are encouraged to save the dates for
the next tour: Thursday, October 18 and Friday, 19, 2012. Tickets will
go on sale in August.