Sierra Ski and Cycle Works

It all began in 1975 when he decided to move to South Lake Tahoe, for just one winter.  That one winter turned into a lifelong love affair with Lake Tahoe and people who ski and ride bikes.

Meet Gary Bell, back country pioneer and owner of Sierra Ski and Cycle Works (SSCW) in South Lake Tahoe since 1980.  Besides his laid back style, Gary is an expert when it comes to bikes and skis which stems from his years of exploring his backyard. It sustains him, and defines his life.  It’s been said that Gary’s ski and bike tunes make the rider. Gary and his long-time crew, Chris and Troy, make it a point to understand the skier or rider, the terrain they prefer, fitness level, and the fun factor expectation.

Gary fell in love with the mountains at age four during family ski trips to Alpine Meadows. Seeking more time in the mountains than just weekend ski club trips, Gary made the move when he turned twenty, and taught ski lessons at Heavenly Ski Resort.

He opened the shop in 1980 on Hwy 50 in the middle of South Lake Tahoe next to Safeway.  Gary loved the freedom of back country skiing and the shop started retrofitting the soft leather x-c ski boots with downhill boot cuffs to make them stiffer.  Always the innovator, Gary created a releasable telemark ski binding in the early 80′s, before Voile. By the mid 90′s, telemark skis and equipment were transformed to handle bigger all-mountain terrain – finally.  Like a kid in a candy shop, Gary happily introduced everyone to telemark skiing along with split snowboards to help us get further into the mountains.  Today,  SSCW remains the quintessential back country ski shop in Lake Tahoe that rents and sells skins, shovels, probes, beacons and avalanche safety & preparedness kits.

In mid-1980 Gary started building mountain bikes, aka Clunkers, which he and his friends would ride all over. They are responsible for connecting abandoned hiking trails that became the famous Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. An avid cyclist on the road and now on the trails, Gary added bike sales, rentals and repairs to the shop to feed his other passion. Gary mastered his technical bike handling skills in the 80's when he competed in bike trials, placing second in the Worlds and Third in Nationals in the Expert Division.  He quit the circuit when it felt like a job. Instead, he prefers to take his friends on epic multi-day bike adventures that, so far, have traversed the Sierra from Tuolumne to Buck’s Lake.  Those invited have learned to bring a head lamp, extra clothing, food, positive attitude, Advil and a water pump. 

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Latitude: 38.945455 Longitude: -119.965843 Elevation: 6266 ft
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Areas of Service and Expertise

Gary, Chris and Troy each have their own following, expert mechanical skills, distinctive styles, and one thing in common - a passion for playing on skis or bikes, and for turning others onto it.

The full service shop sells new and used bikes and skis. It also rents and repairs all types of bikes and skis and gear. A specialty of the shop has become the ergonomically adjusted bike builds to help friends with chronic neck and back pain get out and ride their bikes with more comfort. Gary is also well known for his custom built wheels and bike tunes.

Sierra Ski and Cycle Works is located at 3430 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Hwy 50), in the middle of South Lake Tahoe next to Safeway.  For more information about this South Shore institution, visit

Bikes - New, used, rentals, and all the gear:

  • South Lake Tahoe's only Santa Cruz bike dealer
  • Sales - Santa Cruz, Jamis and Cove mountain bikes
  • Bike rentals - cruisers, road bikes, cross-country mountain bikes, downhill bikes
  • Bike tunes, custom wheel building, overnight repairs
  • Lake Tahoe mountain bike trail maps
  • Lake Tahoe bike trail condition reports

Skis, Boards and Back country gear:

  • Sales - New and Used skis, boards and all-mountain gear
  • Expert ski tunes, overnight repairs, insider ski conditions
  • Back country gear for rent or sale
  • Avalanche Safety kits to rent - shovel, beacon, probe, and an avalanche report so you stay safe in the mountains!
  • Cross-country skis, telemark skis, downhill skis, snowshoes

Pet Friendly Notes

Yes, dogs are always welcome.

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