Ski Trip: Lake Tahoe
President's Day Weekend.
Tuesday, 11 February: Grocery shopping at Costco and Albertsons. The wonders of having a cabin instead of a hotel room, we can actually cook and stay in. More hanging out, less spending money... that sort of thing!
Thursday, 13th: Various bits of loading and unloading. $64 on chains for the Maxima, hoping we won't need them.
Friday, 14th: 10am meeting time, right? I get there around 10:30am to see Keith's truck getting a parking ticket (street cleaning day). Tara's not there, Bej and Maria aren't there... sheesh... where is everyone?
That was... interesting. Then, of course, we're busy packing, including a huge cooler. Original plan is to take Keith's truck and my car. Naturally, the cooler is too big to fit in the truck, the two snowboards and one pair of skis take too much space anyway when combined with the two boxes of food... fill my trunk with personal stuff, plus the fact that most have sleeping bags, and we're basically screwed.
So... add a third car at the last minute, only to find out that Tara's car has a flat tire. Oops!
Friday, 12noon: We don't stumble over to Sport Chalet until 2 hours past our planned departure time. Add another snowboard into the mix, plus Bej's insistence on buying another pair of boots. GRRRrrr... by the time we grab lunch at Baja Fresh and hit the road, it's 2pm. Ouch.
Friday, 4:30~5pm?: Quick fill up in Coalinga at $2.2x a gallon, ouch. On to Sacramento... we had expected to be in Tahoe by now cooking dinner, but the revised plan is to grab dinner in Sacramento, since I know parts of Sacramento pretty well.
Friday Evening:That's a great idea in theory, but we're tired and head straight to Albertsons to grab our discounted tickets to Heavenly... and this Albertsons turns out to be a few miles out of the areas of Sacramento that I know. Oops! As no one wants to backtrack (even for yummy Chinese food), we grab dinner at StrawHut (ewww), then pack back up for Tahoe. We rearrange things, shove Bej into Keith's vehicle (It wasn't my idea!!), Sophia and Scott, then Tara, Maria, and myself...
Highway 50 is pretty good, we see snow, and for a few miles, lots of fog! We're doing maybe 30-40mph for some parts while people are passing us on our left doing 55mph+... pretty f'ing nuts considering visiblity dropped to maybe 100' in places.
Make it to the cabin safely, a few wander off to get the keys, meet Ray while waiting for Sophia to get back with the keys. Figure out things, unpack, and collapse. (well, most of us have a nighttime chat before sleeping...)
Saturday, 15th: OOPS! Alarm clocks don't go off, and those that do are set pretty late. Things open up at 8am, and we don't get up til 8am... whoops. Ray, Maria, and I are the only ones who need to be at Heavenly early, so after breakfast we pack it up and head out... find out that we're within spitting distance of Heavenly's Boulder and Stagecoach lodges... drive around, end up at Boulder Lodge and meet everyone else.
Maria and I grab our 1 day rental/lesson packages, but we've just missed the 10am lesson... so we join the others and do a few runs up and down Boulder.
Saturday, 12noon: Lesson time. Group 2 lesson turns out to be 5 people, then 4, then 3. Dick, our instructor, is a pretty darned good one... he gets Maria to stop thinking when she's skiing and just ski, and then she does pretty well! (she freaks out when she thinks about it. Logical enough, right? You pay money to endanger your life in the name of fun?) Lesson goes pretty well...
Saturday, 2pm:Lunch with everyone else... munch on sandwiches, chips, cookies, and fruit. Then... more skiing and snowboarding. But not much more... our 2pm lunch and a 4pm lift close means the day is mostly gone!
(I had some good pics on the slopes... but... uhh... my digicam got stolen. I'll explain later. =( )
Saturday, ~5pm: Back to the cabin. Adventures in cooking (word to the wise: don't cook 4lb of pasta at once. Maybe 1lb.), then we break out the PS2 and a deck or two of cards.
Sunday, 16th: We were supposed to have a little storm last night. "Little" turns out to be 1' officially, but our cars have two feet of snow on top of them. Well crap. Good thing Keith's truck is a 4x4. After breakfast we dig him out, and he shuttles us back and forth to Boulder Lodge again. (Maria's not feeling up to skiing and spends the day inside playing PS2).
It's bright and early, fresh powder everywhere-- great to fall in, not bad for the skiers, but the snowboarders probably didn't care too much for it. We've all got All-Mountain passes, so we hit Boulder... to North Bowl... ski down to Olympic... and head across the Von Schmidt Trail from Nevada to California.
That's a painful experience. It's lots of FLAT places. Hell for the snowboarders.
Sunday, before noon...?: Keith, Scott, and I take off... get to Sky Express/Canyon, and do a run down Canyon. It's probably almost noon by now, we've been on the go for 3 hours or more... by the time I get down Canyon, I'm tired and thirsty. Everyone else has arrived now, so we go up Ski Express and do another run. We split up, it ends up being Bej and myself, and it turns out that he finally gets a good groove going and loses me as we go down Ridge Run.
I meet up with everyone (except Bej) back at Sky Express, accidentially taking out my only victim of the day, another skier, down Sky Chute, within sight of the meeting point. OOPS!
"So. Where's Bej?" is the order of the hour. Most go back up Sky Express to do another run, while Sophia and I rest up and wait for everyone.
30 minutes or so later, everyone's back, we've just talked to ski patrol ("come back at 5pm if he's not back")... and Bej finally shows up! We're tired and hungry, so we trek back to the Nevada side... and being the smart college grads we are, lunch has been left in a locker on the Nevada side. Uh-oh.
Ray, being our intrepid leader, leads us back up Sky Express, across the Skyline Trail. It's snowing a little bit and the clouds are in the sky, so we spend much of the trip bundled up in ski googles and face masks. hehe.
We finally make it to Big Dipper, ski down one of the "Dipper Return" trails to the Nevada mountain ski lodge. The irony is, having skied across Heavenly twice, we have to go back to the TOP of the mountain in order to ski back down. Again, Scott, Keith, and I press on while the rest take the smart route and grab drinks and food before leaving. (the 20 minutes extra they took was a good idea!)
Up Comet... down Comet run, cross over at Crossover (critical! move, 'cause if you miss Crossover, you have to ride back up Comet again... that would suck!) to Olympic... then down Olympic/Way Home to Boulder Lodge.
Simple in theory, but we didn't stop to rest... we're tired, and we're going slow. Coming down near the North Bowl/Boulder junction, Keith and another skier crash into each other hard. It's a steep slope, I've just eaten it for the fourth or fifth time when I look above me and I can hear the collision. Ouch!
Sunday, 3pm? 3:15pm?: I make it down Boulder/Edgewood Bowl... Keith makes it down too, and Scott's already there. Over lunch, we discuss the aftermath of the day and Keith's collision while eating sandwiches and downing hot cocoa. (and enjoying a view of the bar at the lodge)
It's 3:45pm, we've been eating for at 20 minutes or so. The others are finally in radio range... and our bodies are telling us that if we want to do one more run, the spirit had better darned well be willing! We say screw it and take it easy instead, and wait for the rest to catch up.
Sunday, ~5pm: Keith shuttles us back... where dinner at the cabin is a strange mix of Hot Pockets, potstickers and dumplings, taquitos (yum!), alcohol, and soda...
And more cards and PS2, of course!
We go to sleep hoping it won't snow during the night.
Monday, 17th: well, it hasn't snowed, but we still have to dig the cars out. At least we won't need chains.
By the time we hit the road it's 11:30am or so, and Highway 50 is PACKED with traffic.
2 hours to get out of Tahoe, ugh... bathroom break, then press on to Fresno via Highway 99. I've never taken 99 before, and I find out why-- it's got LOTS of little towns on it, which means LOTS of little bits of traffic!
Dinner is at In-and-Out in Fresno, 250 miles to Los Angeles.
We're tired and just want to get home, and it's almost 9pm (Sport Chalet closes at 9:30!) before we hit Grapevine. GAH! Oops. I say screw it, hit the gas, and eat up Grapevine to head back. They don't need to keep up with me, they all know where to go. =P
Monday, 17th, ~9:30pm: parked and unloading. Hooray!
Tired, sweaty, and sore. But it was worth it!
Side note: the next day, my digital camera either falls out of my backpack or is stolen from at school. Considering I never took my camera out of my backpack, it's probably not coming back. All 150 pics were on it. And they're probably gone! =( The 20 here from my other camera will have to do, unless someone has the good grace to return my Fuji Finepix 2800 and its precious cargo. If you know where it is, e-mail me immediately. There's a $100 reward for the safe return of my camera and its pics!