Luis Medearis Happy Place: Lake Tahoe
“We pulled off Highway 80 and went down to the beach in the Kingsbury area and there was this beautiful big-ass lake surrounded by these incredible mountains,” recalled Luis Medearis. “I felt like I was on top of the world. There was just mountains and lake, and nothing else.”
This was in 2020. Luis’s partner’s family had bought a house at Lake Tahoe and the pair travelled from their home in Sacramento to visit. Luis had grown up in Downey and went to High School in South Central Los Angeles and throughout high school excelled at most sports. Basketball though was his real talent and earned him a scholarship to play college ball at William Jessup University in Sacramento.
“Before that trip to Tahoe, I hadn’t laid eyes on a mountain, and had only seen snow once. I learned to snowboard on that trip, and it was just awesome,” said Medearis. “From that point on I just tried to get back there as much as I could. I made it my home base that winter, and each time I left it hurt.”
The 6’3” former point guard progressed his snowboarding at Boreal and was quickly integrated by the small crew of diehards that turn up in the carpark each day there's snow on the hill.
“It was a complete change in landscape and in the people I met, the way I spoke; it was a whole new world,” said Medearis. “Unlike my background, this was an overwhelmingly white community, but everyone was just so dope. The amount of love I got on that hill was insane.”
As he progressed on the mountain and terrain parks, he also bought a camera to document the scene. By his admittance, he had no clue of the history or culture surrounding either Boreal or snowboarding in general. It wasn't something that came up playing hoops in Compton.
“I’d never seen how snowboarding had been shot, and I just put my LA vibe on it. The first few edits were absolute dog shit, especially compared to the standard clips, but over time people wanted to work with me. I just stuck to a way of filming the way that made me happy.”
With the pull of Tahoe becoming stronger he and his wife had the decision to make on where to live. It wasn’t an easy call. After leaving college Luis started coaching and had become the youngest high school varsity basketball coach in California. He had his own program, with a staff of coaches and an army of students under his care.
“It wasn’t easy moving here, but every day I thank my wife for bringing me to this place and allowing to me work out that the world was a bigger place than I had ever seen or known.”
Before his first visit to Lake Tahoe, Luis had traveled to just three other US States. When Db called, he'd just done a month's work in Europe and was currently filming a collaboration between Burton and Run DMC in New York. It’s incredible to think of what he has achieved and experienced in just over two years.
“It gives me goosebumps thinking how much that lake and mountain has changed my life,” he concludes. “We will never leave Tahoe. Our kids will snowboard Tahoe, and hopefully so will their kids. Happy Place doesn't even begin to describe what it means to me.”
Learn more about Luis from his Pack Heavy → Chase Light episode here.