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PrimalCon Lake Tahoe 2013 Registration Now Open!

Back in July, when I announced PrimalCon IV (April 11-14, 2013 in Oxnard, CA) [1], my team and I were absolutely floored to watch the event completely sell out in only nine days. Clearly, PrimalCon has grown from its modest beginnings (33 brave souls came to Oxnard in 2010 [2]) to become a centerpiece of the Mark’s Daily Apple community and the Primal lifestyle. Meanwhile, it’s been breaking my heart to repeatedly turn down interested folks who inquire about next April’s Oxnard event. After all, we publish testimonials describing the retreat as “life changing”, and the food [3] as the “best you will ever eat.”

Clearly, something had to be done. And today, I’m pleased to announce PrimalCon Lake Tahoe [1], slated for September 26th-29th, 2013! Yes, we shall venture beyond the shores of Southern California to experience one of the most beautiful natural environments on earth, during the best time of the year there. We have taken over the Camp Richardson Historic Resort [4], situated right on the Southern shore of the lake, between South Lake Tahoe, CA and Emerald Bay. We have reserved various dwellings on the property, including the historic Camp Richardson Hotel and Camp Richardson House, Beachside Motel, and deluxe cabins that sleep between 2 and 8 people. All the lodging options are described and shown (pics and video) at the Camp Richardson website [5]. You’ll book directly with the resort – instructions to follow.

While the PrimalCon Oxnard agenda template and returning presenters have been well-received, we want to offer a slightly different experience in Lake Tahoe. We’ll feature some new presenters itching to share their magic, and devote ample time to engage with nature on mountain hikes and water activities on the lake.


Here’s a quick glance of what the PrimalCon Tahoe agenda will look like.


Evening dinner and mixer at Camp Richardson boathouse


Morning: Hike (easy and hard options) to Angora Lakes for swim and cliff jumping, return for lunch

Afternoon: Presenter free choice time at Camp Richardson

Evening: Primal feast, followed by wine and chocolate campfire at Camp Richardson


Morning: Primal Blueprint Fitness activities at athletic field, return for lunch

Afternoon: Water sports at Lake Tahoe (kayak, standup paddle)

Keynote address from Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf

Evening: Early Primal feast, sunset luxury yacht cruise to world-famous Emerald Bay, wine and chocolate campfire


Morning: Presenter free choice time at Camp Richardson, followed by lunch and closing address


Lake Tahoe is convenient to Reno International Airport (64 miles), Sacramento International Airport (115 miles), and San Francisco International Airport (200 miles). South Lake Tahoe Express [6] has numerous daily departures from Reno airport to South Lake Tahoe casinos and back. Round trip tickets are $49. We will have van and auto service available to transport you to Camp Richardson from your casino shuttle stop throughout Thursday afternoon, and to go from Camp to casino shuttle for Sunday afternoon return trips. Casinos are seven miles from Camp Richardson.

Lodging: Camp Richardson

[7] [8]

[9] [10]

Click images to enlarge

We aspire to create a great sense of community by taking over Camp Richardson and encouraging you to stay there at outstanding off-season rates. There are numerous lodging options at Camp Richardson, and are likely to go quickly after this PrimalCon announcement. You can peruse the Camp Richardson website [11] to view detailed photo and video descriptions of the various lodging options, which include the Camp Richardson hotel, Beachside motel, Richardson historic house and assorted deluxe cabins sleeping from 2 to 8 people. You will make reservations directly with the resort by calling 800-544-1801. Get a group together or jump on the PrimalCon Forum [12] and see if you can assemble a Primal clan to rent one of the beautiful cabins! Also, South Lake Tahoe has abundant small motels (2 miles away) and large casino hotels (8 miles away) to choose from at various budget levels [13]. If you want to go full Primal and tent camp, we have a few spots reserved at Camp Richardson, email [14] with interest.


Lake Tahoe is at 6,224’ above sea level so you will experience their wonderful fall Sierra Nevada weather of sunny, temperate days and cold nights. Watch the forecast before your departure and pack well in case of extremes. Average high on Sept 26th is 70 ºF, average low is 32 ºF. Sunrise 6:52 am, sunset 6:50 pm.

More About PrimalCon

In case you haven’t heard (or reviewed the links from 2010, 2011, and 2012 [15]), PrimalCon is our three-day health and fitness retreat – a total immersion weekend experience of expert-guided workouts, play, leisure time, lectures and presentations with assorted expert presenters on Primal-related topics, camaraderie with fellow Primal enthusiasts, and extraordinary Primal feasts – an experience that you will never forget for the rest of your life. PrimalCon is more than just great food and a lively and diverse agenda blending lectures. The truly magical element is the gathering of like-minded folks from all over the globe who share a tremendous passion for living Primally.

PrimalCon welcomes participants of all fitness and experience levels. Really, we make it work for everyone! If you’re a hardcore CrossFit Games type, we’ll have stuff to test your mettle, including our legendary PrimalCon Ultimate Frisbee battles (winners hit the dinner buffet line first—high stakes indeed!). If you are new to Primal living, relatively unfit, injured, whatever, don’t worry – you will fit right in. Our staff makes a sincere effort to ensure that you receive appropriate guidance and pace yourself well all weekend. We also offer extensive pick-and-choose flexibility on the daily agendas, so you can custom design your ideal experience. Yep, you can engage with your favorite presenter repeatedly, or escape to the lake for a spell – we won’t tell!

The conference fee is $849, which includes morning Primal Fuel coconut milk smoothies and snack spreads, delicious catered Primal lunch and dinner buffets, and a lavish goodie bag of apparel and other Primal gear. Upon receipt of your registration, we encourage you to call Camp Richardson (800-544-1801) and immediately book your accommodations. To ensure an intimate experience and direct engagement with me and the other presenters, slots are limited to the first 100 registrants.

What to Expect from PrimalCon Lake Tahoe 2013

Seminars and presentations include general sessions with me and other featured presenters with specialized areas of expertise directly related to the Primal movement.

Workouts will take place on the Camp Richardson beach, in the water, or at a nearby high school athletic field (or gymnasium in the event of inclement weather). Experts in Primal Blueprint Fitness will guide you in small groups with sessions designed to educate and invigorate you without risking overstress or injury. Again, this conference is for absolutely everyone. Whether you’re in great shape, or you’re injured, relatively unfit, or unfamiliar with the Primal Blueprint, this weekend can kick-start a brand new way of life!

PrimalCon Tahoe staffer Colleen Conners-Pace works with her weekly boot camp at Lake Tahoe

We’ll have all kinds of fun, games, and relaxation, including a spectacular hike to the secluded Angora Lake, with an easy option (2 miles roundtrip, 250’ elevation gain on a wide, smooth trail) and a challenging ridgeline ascent option (2.8 miles, 1,250′ elevation gain); a spectacular luxury yacht sunset cruise to world-famous Emerald Bay [16]; kayaking and standup paddling at Lake Tahoe; Ultimate Frisbee matches; and free time for small group engagement with the presenters of your choice (wanna learn to tightrope-walk?).

Visible in foreground is the Upper Angora lake (hike finish). Just behind is Lower Angora lake (short hike start). Behind that is Fallen Leaf lake (long hike start), with expansive Lake Tahoe just behind Fallen Leaf lake in background.

We’ll have lavish Primal feasts featuring ridiculously colorful and enticing lunch and dinner buffets from our same chef from Oxnard, David Aflalo of Above and Beyond Catering [17]. Enjoy an amazing assortment of fresh-cooked, locally grown, pasture-raised, premium quality Primal offerings. Linger after dinner for social time as the spectacular Tahoe sunset marks the end of the day. We’ll then convene at Camp Richardson’s fantastic camp fire facility (seats 100+!) and bust out the wine and exquisite dark chocolate from Ethereal Confections [18] and Santa Barbara Chocolate Company [19].

While Oxnard has the now world-famous Primal ocean plunge (watch it here [20]), Tahoe will raise you one with the Upper Angora Lake cliff jump! No, not the 70-foot perch favored by local daredevils (makes for fun spectating), but rather a 9-foot option for newbies, or a thrilling 20-foot option for the more adventurous and experienced.

Photo Credit: Tahoe Mountain Sports [21]

Guest Presenters

In addition to me, we have a stacked presenter list for PrimalCon Tahoe 2013 featuring numerous leaders in the field and members of the Mark’s Daily Apple community:

Robb Wolf [22]: As one of the leading voices of the Primal/paleo/evolutionary health movement, Robb is a busy guy and a highly sought after speaker across the globe. However, Robb, like you, has been reading the blog, looking at the pics and videos, and pining to attend PrimalCon for a couple of years now. Well, he’s finally going to make it work in 2013. And I must say, if someone as busy as Robb can carve out a few days for fun in the mountains, so can you! I’m incredibly stoked to welcome Robb and am sure he will be a huge hit. Regarding his participation, Robb and I decided to just turn him loose and let him do what he does best – riff on any and all matters of Primal living that you can conjure up to ask him.

Robb is the author of the bestselling The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet [23]. He publishes a popular blog at RobbWolf.com [22] and hosts a popular weekly Internet podcast called The Paleo Solution together with Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics. Robb has functioned as a review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, is co-founder of the nutrition and athletic training journal, The Performance Menu [24], co-owner of NorCal Strength & Conditioning [25], one of the Men’s Health “top 30 gyms in America” and co-owner of Evolve Foods [26] a paleo food company selling meals and snacks featuring grass fed meat, wild caught fish and all organic ingredients.

Robb is a former California State Powerlifting Champion (565 lb. Squat, 345 lb. Bench, 565 lb. Dead Lift) and a 6-0 amateur kickboxer. He coaches athletes at the highest levels of competition and consults with Olympians and world champions in MMA, motocross, rowing and triathlon. Wolf has provided seminars in nutrition and strength & conditioning to various entities including NASA, Naval Special Warfare, the Canadian Light Infantry and the United States Marine Corps. Robb lives just down the hill from Tahoe in Reno, Nevada with his wife Nicki [27] and daughter Zoe.

Sarah Fragoso is author of the national best selling books, Everyday Paleo, Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship, and the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook. Sarah is a strength and conditioning coach for Norcal Strength and Conditioning in Chico, CA, one of Americans top 30 gyms. She hosts a podcast called “Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness Podcast [28]” at her website Everyday Paleo [28], conducts nationwide seminars, works directly with the Naval Special Warfare community teaching nutrition classes, and contributes to several publications and blogs regarding how to successfully introduce and maintain the paleo lifestyle for families. Sarah will discuss how to smoothly transition your entire family to a Paleo diet and lifestyle and her success story of transitioning out of poor health to become America’s #1 Paleo mom.

Chrissy Gower: Chrissy will present together with her frequent speaking partner and Paleo Talk podcast co-host Sarah Fragoso about how to get families eating and living healthy! Chrissy, sister-in-law of Robb Wolf, is a hard working wife and mother of two that is committed to educating families on how to live a healthier lifestyle. As a personal trainer out of the famed NorCal Strength and Conditioning gym in Chico, CA, she has helped countless individuals and families successfully implement a paleo diet and age-appropriate fitness programs. She also runs the acclaimed blog, Growing Up Paleo [29].

Katie Deluca hails from Chico, Ca where she was Strength and Conditioning coach under the tutelage of Robb Wolf and Nicki Violetti for over 6 years. She holds a BA in Kinesiology as well as numerous certificates in Weight Lifting, CrossFit, and Nutrition. She has been featured internationally as a fitness model in Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength DVD, The Paleo Solution, Power, Speed, Endurance, and Fitness Rx for Men – March 2012-April 2012 – as (Olympic Lifting Model.) Master of all things glute related, be sure to pick her brain on glute activation and how it relates to strength and conditioning. You can check out her musings on life, travel, and training at www.KDDeLuca.com [30]. Katie will be presenting with Adam and Vanessa Lambert on Olympic Lifting and Gymnastics.

Glen Cordoza has written 17 books on MMA, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai kick-boxing, and fitness, as well as co-authored with Kelly Starrett the long-awaited Becoming a Supple Leopard. Glen has an 8-0 record in professional Thai boxing, a 3-1 professional MMA record, and holds the rank of Purple belt in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu. Glen worked as a trainer at NorCal Strength and Conditioning and does online consulting at RobbWolf.com [22]. Glen will present Olympic Lifting and Gymnastics alongside Adam and Vanessa Lambert at PrimalCon. He will also be available to take questions and provide insight into the world of Muay Thai and MMA fighting for those interested in this discipline.

Jenny LaBaw is one of America’s leading CrossFit Games competitors. After a collegiate soccer and track career, Jenny took 6th place at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games in her first year in the sport! She followed up with a 2012 victory in the NorCal regionals. Jenny is a coach at NorCal Strength and Conditioning in Chico, CA and spends her spare time hiking, running, mountain biking, paddle boarding, skiing, camping, fishing, hunting and just being with her boyfriend and two yellow labs. She’ll be available at PrimalCon to work with guests who harbor competitive aspirations, as well as casual fitness enthusiasts looking for more guidance and inspiration from a true champion. Check out Jenny’s amazing video here [31].

Angelo dela Cruz: Angelo is simply the all-around all-star of PrimalCon. He gets our days off to a great start with his morning sessions of Vitamove (an energizing/focusing mix of tai chi and stretching), and no doubt will be goaded into ending our days in style by busting out some of his break dancing moves at the beach party house! Angelo will engage with groups large and small to dispense his unique wisdom and instruction in the areas of parkour/freerunning, gymnastics, and martial arts. Angelo is also an expert healer and will be available for 1:1 stretching/massage realignment sessions during presenter free time. To get a sense of Angelo, check out his ninja warrior audition tape [32]!

Darcy Norman: Darcy is a licensed physical therapist, certified athletic trainer, and certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is an internationally recognized athletic performance and rehabilitation expert, and has worked with the top professional soccer team FC Bayern Munchen, and the HTC Highroad Pro Cycling Team. Darcy received degrees in Physical Education and Biology with an emphasis in Athletic Training and Pre-Med from Washington State University and a degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Washington. Darcy will discuss functional biomechanics and pre- and post-rehabilition testing to help fitness enthusiasts of all levels train effectively, recovery quickly and prevent injury.

Marcus Brown is a global water skiing icon: University World Champion, Australian Moomba Masters Champion and U.S. Open Champion. He is currently a water skiing ambassador to the United States Olympic Committee. A professional athlete for most of his adult life, Marcus has developed a mental, emotional, and physical regimen to prepare himself and many elite level athletes for competition. He will share his preparation and mindset tips for peak performance at PrimalCon.

Amy Kubal is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian specializing in the Paleo Diet and performance nutrition. She received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Nutrition from Colorado State University. She currently works with athletes and individuals looking to improve their overall health and performance through diet and lifestyle. Amy is the consulting dietitian for Robb Wolf and the director of Robb’s Paleo Physicians Network [33]. Additionally she is the nutrition guru for the Whole9 [34], and dietitian for Joe Friel’s TrainingBible coaching. Amy has helped many clients optimize body composition and/or manage and recover from autoimmune and diet related diseases: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, renal failure, lupus, and more. Additionally, she works with a broad range of performance focused clients made up of Olympic athletes, Ironman triathletes, professional bikers, marathoners, CrossFit games competitors, MMA fighters, Kettlebell masters, and every day athletes.

Vanessa and Adam Lambert [35] will be teaching the fundamentals of Olympic lifting and Gymnastics. Vanessa, AKA Nesta Rae [36], one of Primal Blueprint’s own, has been a gymnast and competitive athlete her entire life (fitness reel [37]). Adam is Battalion Chief and Physical Fitness Coordinator for Cal Fire. The two have been CrossFit games competitors (3rd place Affiliate team 2009), surfers, and avid Primal advocates for years. If you have ever heard of Olympic lifting and have wanted the opportunity to explore this ancient craft of weightlifting, or if you are an avid O-Lifter and just want to throw some weight around, you can join Adam and Vanessa during one of your elective hours to do so! The Lamberts will also be offering an elective that focuses on the fundamentals of gymnastics. Come improve your hand stand technique, learn to do a forward roll, or simply learn some gymnastic-based calisthenics. This is a great opportunity to explore gymnastics and its application to the Primal world.

Monisha White [38]: Monisha joins us again to present Esther Gokhale’s [39] posture and movement technique. Monisha was such a huge hit in 2012 she almost, almost makes people forget about her mom—that’s right, it’s Esther! A lifelong (literally!) student of the Gokhale Method, Monisha is an extremely polished and passionate presenter. She will take a weekend break from her classes at Stanford to deliver her formal presentations and engage 1:1 with guests to fine tune the way the they stand, sit, and move. Oh, did I mention her participation in the Ultimate Frisbee matches? Words simply do not do justice – this girl gets more air time than Michael Jordan! Don’t let the sweet smile fool you, pick her first for your team….she’ll be the one throwing, running, and catching with perfect technique.

Carrie Sisson and Karen Moore: Carrie and Karen will present their popular Women’s Chat Group, a casual gathering to discuss any and all issues related to being female, being Primal, and living life to the fullest.

With Carrie’s plans rolling for a new Primal Woman book [40], there will be plenty of opportunity to engage on matters such as how Primal living can help you age gracefully, both in the mind and the body, raising a family, making a contribution beyond family, and female health-related topics.

Tyler and Connor Curley: PrimalCon veterans will hold court on the slackline in their native environs of the Sierra. These entertaining characters more closely resemble Grok than any other present day humans. While they shoulder some heavy staff duties, they will also show you how to play hard with slackline instruction, Ultimate Frisbee domination and maybe even an impromptu cold plunge off the luxury yacht in Emerald Bay – towel-off optional.

Getting Down to Details

Fees: $849 conference registration

Cancellations: $100 cancellation fee (remainder refunded) if you cancel before June 30, 2013. $150 fee if you cancel after 7/1/2013.

Schedule: Thursday evening, September 26 – Primal Dinner Feast and social mixer from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Friday morning, September 27 – registration 7:30 am, and then we jump right into the agenda. Well wrap up on Sunday at noon so you can embark on your journey home…and show up to work Monday morning a new person!


“I’ve been fortunate enough to attend three PrimalCons, and they just keep getting better each year. The food is mind-blowingly fantastic, an endless cornucopia, proof to those who need it that the world’s healthiest foods are also the tastiest. The presenters are fascinating, pioneers in their disciplines and deeply inspiring. And of course the attendees are no less remarkable. New friendships are guaranteed to be made, and there’s an ineffable sense of family from the very first night. PrimalCon is far and away the most exciting and delightful event of the year for me.”

Timothy Williams
Los Angeles, CA – 3-time PrimalCon alum and sledgehammer presenter, and 21-Day Total Body Transformation success story

“I have to admit that I was a little leery about attending my first PrimalCon – shades of the first day of school for the new kid in town. But I’m soooo glad I went. It was a great weekend full of unique experiences and wonderful Primal people. And don’t forget the fabulous food! I learned so much, both from the knowledgeable and skilled presenters and from fellow attendees.  I came away completely energized and even more committed to the Primal life. If anyone has doubts about whether they should attend, I say GO!”

Marianne Callum

“I have been following MDA for the past year and a half and the conference was an event I was looking forward to to help me expand on the primal lifestyle in a hands on kind of way. With all the uniquely different presenters, I was able to refine what information I wanted to learn the most and hone in on that area. Mark really knows how to embrace his followers by sincerely interacting with everyone throughout the event. It was a joy to meet him in person and hear him speak to the group. He is a true pioneer and a great leader in the health and wellness industry. Thanks for everything you do, Mark!”

Tracy Barrett

“What makes an Aussie travel over 7,000 miles to attend PrimalCon? The chance to learn, get personal advice and just hang out with a dream list of primal/paleo experts and enthusiasts… It’s the ultimate Primal Masterclass! I came away with new knowledge, new friends, refreshed inspiration and confidence and a few aching muscles that I never knew I had! I even made a new friend who lives in my city back in Australia, what were the chances of that??

I’d recommend PrimalCon to everyone from committed ‘experts’ to those that have barely dipped a toe in the water; regardless of your experience you’ll come away with immediately applicable practical knowledge and skills to improve your quality of life. Bring on PrimalCon 2013!”

Jennifer Cook
Sydney, Australia