There’s no worse feeling than being miles from the trailhead and feeling like you’re about to bonk. Staying fueled is crucial to having a good day and making safe decisions in the outdoors. We want to help you avoid being hangry so we partnered with Tahoe Trail Bars to offer free bars for your next adventure in the next 20 orders from something from Coalition Snow.
We caught up with Tahoe Trail Bar owner Wes King somewhere in between skiing laps and formulating the next flavor of Bar to find out what sets Tahoe Trail Bars apart from the other energy bars and to try to discover what secret ingredients they use to make them taste so damn good.
“The beginning for me with Tahoe Trail Bars was being over having so many bad bar tasting sessions. I was just over bad tasting bars,” said King – but the origin of Tahoe Trail Bars goes back even farther than that.
The first Tahoe Trail Bars started to hit shelves in 2010 at a small coffee shop called Hot Gossip Coffee in South Lake Tahoe. The bars were offered in small batches from the shop’s kitchen each week. Meanwhile, King – who was still searching for the best tasting bar on the market – realized an opportunity to create the bar he had been searching for and a partnership was born.
“The real adventure was scaling from starting in a coffee shop to having the first commercial kitchen and really thinking we had arrived when we were producing 1000 bars a week,” said King. Today Tahoe Trail Bars are distributed nationally in grocery retailers, sports shops, and ski resorts.
What goes into the bars and how do you make them taste so good?
This is going to sound funny, but I just wanted to make a bar that tasted great to me. I just love peanut butter and chocolate. My favorite bar of all time was the Quaker Chewy Bar. You remember those variety packs that had oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip. I was always raiding the box for the chocolate chip. So that’s kind of the inspiration for these. I was like “I just want to make Quaker Chewy bars - but better."
The original formula had like Jiffy Peanut Butter and stuff that’s not all that great for you – hydrogenated oils and stuff. So we realized, “Wait a minute if we’re going to make the best bar we have to source the best ingredients on the planet too and make something that’s really good for you.”
So we started using things like brown rice sugar which is a low glycemic sugar and gluten free oats. We use chocolate chunks – not chips, but like bars of chocolate. I won’t settle for little chocolate chips.
You’ve got to be able to pronounce the ingredients. All of our ingredients are pretty straightforward with the goal of having a light impact on digestion and our bars are vegan so they have a lighter environmental impact as well.
We started with “What tastes great?” and as we have evolved it’s become more about making a difference in people’s lives.
Speaking of making a difference – Tell me about some of the organizations you partner with?
I feel so lucky to be a partner with the organizations we work with and I can’t say enough good things. I believe in my bones in what all three of our primary partner organizations do.
High Fives Foundation is an organization that helps people get back on their feet after catastrophic injuries from doing what they love in the outdoors. In the past few years we’ve been specifically involved with the Helmets Are Cool initiative, and a larger scope education program they’ve been taking to schools.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is less person focused but they are an incredible organization that provides open quiet space and well-maintained trails that are world class.
Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association – again I cannot say enough good things about the initiative to create new trail constantly and new ways for people to get creative with bikes They’ve done a great job of partnering with the Forest Service instead of fighting them so they’re able to build trails that work for everyone
We have a few other ones we work with too. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful and Friends of the Nevada Wilderness, which works to maintain open lands.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy trail bars?
Number one favorite activity is backpacking – I love doing it with my wife and we love getting out in Desolation Wilderness, sections of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail. My second or co-favorite is mountain biking.
In the winter I really dig skiing. I’m downhill skier and I’ve also been known to get out and go for a super quiet hike in the snow.
What’s your favorite flavor?
I like the peanut butter dark chocolate – I’m just a peanut butter chocolate guy. But we have a couple really cool new flavors that fill out the offering really well. They’re not going to be released for a couple months but they new flavors are Dark Chocolate Cherry and Mango Coconut. The Mango coconut is a lighter bar not quite as sweet while the dark chocolate cherry is decadent. They have a bit more protein content too, which is really important to athletes.
Thanks, Wes, We can’t wait to get outside and enjoy some bars!