Our Team


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Spencer Spellman

Southern born and bred, Spencer was bitten by the travel bug at a young age, flying on a plane for the first time at age five and by himself for the first time at seven. While he continues to travel around the world in search for the best whiskey, Spencer now calls Reno home, where his search is for the best cocktail (and first tracks, naturally). He has written about travel, food, and drinks for a number of publications that have included the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Travel + Leisure, just to name a few. See a more candid version of Spencer on his website, whiskeytangoglobetrot.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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Tahoe Ascent Staff

The Tahoe Ascent Staff represents everyone from snowboard instructors to ski patrol to chefs and more. They are locals who know the 4-1-1 on North Lake Tahoe, but also experts in their own fields, providing unique, and often behind-the-scenes perspectives of both the area and their areas of expertise.



Esther Tseng

Esther is a freelance writer, avid snowboarder, food enthusiast, worldwide traveler, and occasional musician based in Los Angeles. Whether on the mountain or off, she is always looking for the best places to eat and drink in the vicinity. Her writing career began with a food blog over ten years ago and she has since contributed to the L.A. Times, Eater, Discover LA, Thrillist, GOOD Magazine, Time Out, and more. Follow Esther on Twitter and Instagram.



Nick Visconti

Nick wears many hats... literally, it’s near impossible to catch him without some type of season appropriate headwear. Truly, Nick is both eclectic and diverse — retired professional snowboarder, global winter-sport marketing specialist, local entrepreneur. Native to North Tahoe, he and his wife, Laura Lawson Visconti, have lived in Seattle, Portland and now indefinitely reside in Truckee, California. If you see him out and about, don’t hesitate to say hello; you never know, that passion may end up with you and him at Petra Wine Bar sipping a cuvée and exchanging life stories. Follow Nick on Facebook and Instagram.

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Leslie Harvey

Leslie is a recovering attorney turned travel writer who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two kids, ages 7 and 3. Her travel passions include all things air travel, wacky roadside attractions, national parks, Disney, and (of course) skiing! Leslie has lived in California for more than a decade, but she still proudly holds onto the last vestiges of her Southern accent, acquired from a childhood growing up in Alabama. When she's not writing for Northstar, you can find her work on her blog, Trips With Tykes. Follow Leslie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Laura Lawson Visconti

Laura is an adventure-obsessed digital marketing storyteller based out of Truckee, California. Her foray into social media began in 2011 when Instagram was released; today her social reach is over 150,000. Additionally, Laura works as the Head of Marketing for local start-up Tahoe University. Additionally, Laura has worked as a successful artist and has exhibited her work in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. In 2012 she published her first book, Believing is Seeing, chronicling her journey as a visually impaired artist. Laura can usually be found exploring the mountains around Lake Tahoe with her husband, Nick. When she's not snowboarding at Northstar, Laura also enjoys cooking, camping, biking, sunrises and staying active in her local community. Read more about Laura on her website, lauralawsonvisconti.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Jenna Francisco

Jenna is a blogger, freelance writer, and full-time ESL instructor in Sacramento, California. On her blog, This Is My Happiness, she covers family-friendly travel in Northern California and beyond. She enjoys writing about the unique culture of a place to provide a deeper look at destinations and help people travel smarter. When she’s not writing or teaching, she can be found with her husband and two boys, ages 9 and 5, having as much fun as possible in their favorite places: Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, California wine country, and Brazil. Follow Jenna on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Other Contributors

David Wise

David Wise is an Olympic Champion, Reno Tahoe local, adventure seeker and rad dad. The world at large was first introduced to David Wise during his inaugural gold medal halfpipe performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but his participation in skiing goes much deeper. In 2012, he swept the Dew Tour, Grand Prix and X Games halfpipe finals. He held that top spot at the Winter X Games for three years in a row leading up to his Sochi Winter Olympic victory. He also has eight U.S. National titles, the first of which he won ten years ago at age 15. David looks forward to another strong season in 2017 and has his sights set on leading Team USA in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. Follow along on Instagram.


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Ahlani Adamson

Ahlani is a wanderlust-inspired adventurer and aspiring travel writer born and bred out of the Sierra Nevadas. She is passionate about combining her love of travel with her love of words while pushing creative boundaries and exploring the great outdoors. Ahlani received dual degrees in public relations and international affairs from the University of Nevada, Reno and plans on chasing powder and working in the mountains for years to come. She's lived in the Bahamas and New Zealand, and spent time in 47 other countries, but Lake Tahoe will always hold her heart. Read more about her adventures here.


Chris Bartkowski

Originally from Western New York, Chris has been actively involved in the ski & snowboard industry since he was 15, snowboarding since he was 5. As such, Chris has spent his life capturing and sharing his love for snow sports through photography and film. A graduate of Tompkins Cortland College, Chris has been on the West Coast ever since, pursuing a snowboarding and mountain lifestyle. Based in Lake Tahoe/Truckee, Chris currently operates his own company, Generikal Design, as a filmmaker and photographer. He lives in Truckee with his wife, Tara, enjoying everything that the Lake Tahoe area has to offer. Take a peek into day-to-day life and adventures on Instagram.





Jocelyn Noel

Jocelyn Noel is a commercial lifestyle photographer. West Coast born. Raised on open fields, mountain trails and endless blacktop. After years of working in a variety of industries including outdoor, ranching/farming, coffee, and medical, Jocelyn picked up a camera and dove headfirst into the freelance photo life. It stuck. Within the first few years, Jocelyn’s work has taken her across continents and over oceans. Her work has been featured with Free People, Mountain Standard, Strange Bikinis, backcountry.com, among others. Jocelyn currently spends her time criss-crossing the West chasing powder stashes, single track and the perfect set of waves (depending on the season). Her love of snow and mountains trumps all and she has made North Lake Tahoe her primary base camp, moving here in early 2011. Follow along with her photo and life ventures on Instagram and blog

Maxx Grush

Maxx was born and raised in Southern California, moving to Lake Tahoe in 2004 for college, which he worked his way through, eventually earning degrees in business management and entrepreneurship. Throughout Maxx's life, he's always tried to be outdoors as much as possible. Nothing relaxes him more than being 30-40 miles out in the woods making camp. He got into the world of craft cocktails shortly after college, eager to master a new adventure and field of study. For the last few years, he's been designing drinks professionally, and recently launched a new microbrewery with his wife called DNA Brewing.

Craig Mccoy

Craig, a Northern California native, is an action sports junkie, having grown up around race cars and dirt bikes, which in turn sparked an interest in all things extreme. In the winter he can be found on the slopes, exploring fresh powder stashes, and in the summer, ripping through the Nevada desert. With a recent Business Marketing degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, he plans to blur the line between work and play. In the office he can be found listening to marketing influencers while reporting the snow conditions or editing photos at Northstar California.


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Paul Plaza

Paul, a So Cal transplant now Truckee Local, is an occasional writer, blogger, photographer and full-time adventurer. From glassy waves of the L.A. South Bay to manicured mountain bike trails of Whistler B.C., Paul is always on the search for the best of what nature has to offer. The sub-culture stories of snow, dirt and waves are what Paul enjoys capturing and wants to share with others. When he’s not chasing snow or biking in Truckee/Tahoe, you can find him shoveling (hopefully feet) of snow or tinkering around in the garage.






Chef Steve Anderson

Chef Steve Anderson is the executive chef at Northstar California, where you'll find him perfecting the resort's many great dining options. His culinary adventures have taken him around America, where he's opened nearly 30 restaurants. When Chef Steve is not developing great new culinary creations, you'll find him ripping down Northstar's Washoe Run or spending time with his family around North Lake Tahoe.