There are Damn Good Reasons Why I Live in Reno

[Update 2016]: **Make sure to check out the comment threads below -AND- Many people find this other Reno post even more helpful**:

What it’s like living in Reno? – Lifestyles answer

I know what you’re thinking; there are too many casinos, too many bums, its too dry, I want some more local stores, give me some more trees…

Shut It!… I don’t care what you say,
this is a damn good place to live!… 🙂

This topic is something that has been firing me up for years. I moved down to Reno in 2009 in need of a larger market than Truckee to satisfy my career needs, and while I was sipping the Reno haterade for years, there is a fresh growth of revival taking over the city and I love it. As I wrote on the MadeInReno blog a few months ago:

We the people of Reno know that we live in Reno for a number of glorious reasons. We know that Reno’s perception around the globe is not the truth we know it as. No one is going to pull Reno up, we know that. We are left to our own devices, our own grass-roots means. We have to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. “Made in Reno” is the place for Reno made businesses, entrepreneurs, and all-around real people to tell their stories, to share what is happening with real people and real businesses Made in and successful because of Reno.

There are thing happening, people moving and shaking to help pull Reno in a new direction. My favorite Reno band Jelly Bread definitely knows it (I hope I can get them to jam at my wedding). As does my favorite new bar Craft. And who doesn’t love our own home-grown, started in a garage, local, state-fossil, dinosaur-named beer: Icky by Great Basin Brewery.

“People need to know that Reno is not about the 4-blocks downtown,
there is a lot more to Reno.”
– Rick Reviglio, CEO of Western Nevada Supply

If you haven’t seen it yet, Bungalow Mike does a great job of covering new developments in downtown and mid-town Reno. He must spend hours upon hours in county and city meetings digging up all the great information he has on that website (PS, did you know he’s pulled together a Downtown, Midtown Reno App now?). On top of  that Michael, Chris and Zach have started the Reno Rebuild Project which is a revolving loan program funded by downtown businesses for more new downtown businesses.

We’ve Started Telling the Story

I am looking to pull together people that want to help me share those stories of why Reno rocks. Kristen Stith and I have started and we invite you to check it out:

I’ve started by sharing the stories of Better Green Building, Western Nevada Supply and Moment Skis, but there are lots more great stories to share about Reno, and I would love your help. We’ve made a list of local business whom we believe help capture the essence of what is making Reno, Reno; and we would love to talk with each of them:

  • Midtown Eats
  • Sup
  • Craft
  • Public House
  • Hiroba
  • Reno Collective
  • Scolari’s
  • Girl Farm
  • Great Basin Brewery
  • Silver Peak
  • Jimmy Bean’s Wool
  • Great Basin Food Co-op
  • Organic Tea & Herb
  • Sierra Eco Systems
  • Wells Avenue Stores
  • The Lil’ Waldorf
  • Truckee Sourdough Company
  • Fallon Farmers
  • QCS
Kristin has already covered a ton of great stories to date and I am looking forward to collaborating with her and pulling some over those posts over to the MadeInReno Blog (including her awesome video):

Living Life to the Fullest – The McConkey Legacy

When I think about home (Lake Tahoe), living life to the fullest and not taking life too seriously, there is no person that stands out in my mind more than Shane McConkey. And if you’ve ever heard of Shane, you can never listen to Juke Box Hero without thinking about an awesome day of skiing. I never met Shane McConkey, but like so many others his story and his life have had a profound impact on me.

I recently watched a small youtube video about the mission of the Shane McConkey Foundation (above). In it Shane’s wife says one very key line at the end:

“Carry on Shane’s legacy by not taking life too seriously, living life to the fullest & protecting this beautiful world.”

Steve Herr SkiingThere is more to share about Shane than I could ever fit in one blog post or one whole website. Shane defined a way of life. Some of you may not understand the culture I grew up in where skiing is not just a vacation activity, it is a part and a way of life. I’ll put it this way, not only did my parents meet working at Northstar in the 70’s and 80’s and I was skiing at Squaw by age 2, but when Reno was on fire and we were evacuated the one thing my fiancée (also from Tahoe) wanted to make sure we grabbed was our ski gear. Life in Tahoe has its own speed, its own dress code, its own intensity and serenity all at once. But the key in part boils down to what I wrote about this last week, and Shane’s #1 Rule:

Have fun and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself

Visitors to Lake Tahoe (aka gapers and flatlanders) constantly seem on a mission be like us or try to prove they are better. What they fail to realize is that competition here is not about saying, “Look how awesome I am, I just dominated you.” To be welcome here you cannot focus on being accepted or taking what you want, but instead you should enjoy and respect what is available to you. Using and conserving as opposed to abusing and discarding. Those of us in and from the culture are filling a need to push ourselves to the limit physically and mentally in hopes of getting to know ourselves just a little bit better. As Laurie Robinson says, “The desire for adrenaline and endorphins goes hand in hand with the need to have fun for these athletes.”

Source: AP Photo/Red Bull, Graeme Murray

The reason Shane was so widely loved and respected had nothing to do with the fact he was the greatest free-skier of our generation, though he was. It lay in his ability to always laugh and never take his fame or himself seriously. He was always laughing, while caring deeply for his family and friends. If you understand Shane, you will begin to understand a lifestyle. If you truly understand GNAR (Gaffney’s Numberical Assessment of Radness – Watch GNAR the Movie) you see that Squallywood (by Robb Gaffney M.D.) was Shane & the Gaffney’s poking fun at all the yahoos that took skiing so serious and thought they were so awesome. Whether you have never skiied, aren’t so great at skiing, or think that you’re awesome, who cares. I challenge you check your GNAR at the door and truly live Shane’s legacy:

“Carry on Shane’s legacy by not taking life too seriously, living life to the fullest & protecting this beautiful world.”

Thank you for reading my blog – Daniel S. Herr.
Please visit the Shane McConkey Foundation, Follow @shanemcconkey, & Like the FB Page.
If you are interested, I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @DanHerr
Or Subscribe in a reader 

If you want to find out a bit about Shane, I encourage you to watch these videos; though I warn you skiing is its own culture:

“You know, several years ago when people were fired up about what they did, they could show it. Give a fist pump or full hands raised; whatever. Look at team sports, they still go nuts. But somewhere along the way in all action sports, outside of competition, it was no longer cool to look stoked. Even if you just did the sickest thing in your life, you had to contain it and look all nonchalant. Because apparently doing that showed you were so good that you felt like, yeah, that’s pretty standard for me. Who came up with that one? … When I’m fired up to be in a certain place or I just pulled off something sick, I’m not gonna be afraid to show it. I’m gonna let people know it, I’m gonna claim.”

Source of some content & facts (Thanks Laurie!):