Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tahoe ski trip

Yes, yes, I know that I'm a lazy blogger. It's hard to get back into the swing of things after a vacation, no?

Tahoe was wonderful. We had a four day blizzard that left up to 8' (you read that right eight freaking feet!) of powder at the top of the mountains. We stayed in Incline at our friend J's condo. Her condo is BEAUTIFUL and probably the best place we've ever stayed during skiing.

The week started off with me jumping on the coastliner up to LA where DH picked me up. He had a meeting North of LA so it made more sense for me to come up than for him to back-track for a couple of hours.

DH and I drove until 1am, finally stopping in Apricot Valley. When we went to breakfast the next morning we were buzzed overhead by a small plane. Like, right over head. Like, it's going to crash if it doesn't pull up RIGHT NOW. The plane went soaring overhead and DH and I figured out that it was crop dusting the 50 miles of apricot orchards. So that's why it smells so good around here!

We then made our way up to Sacramento where we picked J up from the airport. We drove the rest of the way into Tahoe and unloaded everything. We had a quiet night in so that we'd acclimate to the altitude and we'd be fresh for skiing in the morning. The condo had lots of games and they became a regular feature. In fact - here's the scrabble board that saw lots of action:

Notice anything fun about it? It's hard to see but one of the words played on the board is "inkjet." Which isn't actually a word. Lots of laughing about that one. Nice going, Hasbro.

Sunday through Thursday we had snow, snow, and more snow. Here's what the tree outside the condo looked like after a couple of hours:

Nice, no?

Sunday we did an easy day at Mt. Rose. It's a smaller resort but still top notch. J and DH skied for the week while I snowboarded. They were definitely patient with me since I'm no where near as fast as they are. Fo serious, they are speedy while I'm trying not to go soaring off the edge of cliffs.

Here's J at the top of Mt Rose. Pretty, no? I have to give Tahoe props for being beautiful. Too bad I didn't get to look most of the time. (Please reference above statement about avoiding cliffs.)

J, on one of our warm ups. Here's the big difference I find between snowboarding and skiing. Skiing on a flat is easy. You just cruise. Snowboarding on a flat is terrifying. You either have to squat down to keep your speed up or you stop. But if you go too fast, it's very, very difficult to bite in and check your speed. Also, if you're not perfectly flat, you catch and edge and face plant in the snow. Going down steep stuff on a snowboard is a hell of a lot easier than the flats, IMHO. (Can you tell how much I hate flats? Heavenly has like a two mile, flat ridge run. It was HELL. HELL! I was extremely envious of DH and J who got to cruise on down, admiring the view. Grr.)
Action shots. Still at Mt. Rose. I think this was one of the first runs we did. At least I hope so, I'm looking rather stiff.

Get out of the way DH!!
I think this was at Heavenly. I assure you, it was a heck of a lot steeper than it looks from the photo. It was also extremely bumpy - woo hoo! I can't tell you how many times I went flying off some of those bumps. My knees were killing me in the evenings after their many days of acting like shock absorbers!All of the snow made for insane powder on the mountains. It also made visibility pretty dang poor. Groomed runs were fantastic and super fun but ungroomed trails - U.G.H. I sort of had a mini-melt down on our second or third day in the blizzard. I got separated from J and DH. We all thought the two trails would merge. They didn't. So while they made their way down a nice, powdery, groomed run (which still wasn't easy - that's how much powder was falling!), I made my way through an ungroomed TERRAIN PARK! Terrifying! Besides being too heavy to gracefully plow my way through the thigh-deep powder, the visibility was really really bad. I had fogging issues and the snow was blowing straight in my face.

The FIRST time I accidentally went over on of the park's jumps I practically had a heart attack. You see, I've never jumped before, and I certainly wasn't trying to. I was actually quite scared because NO ONE was coming down the trail due to its ungroomed status. The SECOND jump I went over I fell -hard- and landed next to a tree. That was really, really scary. I could have died, people. I could. have. died. I eventually made my way out of the park and down to the lodge. DH ran up and started yelling at me that he had been calling my cell phone for 30 min and was about to send ski patrol up for me. I pretty much lost it at that point and explained that he had good reason to since I just made my way through a freaking TERRAIN PARK! I'm not too proud to say that I sniffled a bit at that point. Anywho, I have learned my lesson. 1. Never get seperated from your group. 2. Don't go down ungroomed terrain. 3. Carry a cell phone, even if you're worried about it getting wet a/o squished.

Was this next pic at Northstar? I have no idea. Northstar was the wettest day I have ever snowboarded through. Goretex was completely useless. My boots, being leather, were completely soaked through and I lost all feeling in my feet. I remember thinking that I was going to lose a toe. (Have I mentioned my severe hypocondria?) Oo, oo, I have to mention my snazzy new mittens in the above photo. THEY ARE THE GREATEST MITTENS EVER MADE. I LOVE YOU, BURTON!! I have problematic circulation in my fingers and toes. Seriously, they're icy cold even in summer. So you can imagine how much it sucks to be in really cold weather. Well, these mittens come with great liners, are completely waterproof (you'd be surprised how many "waterproof" gloves I've gone through), and feature pockets for hand warmers. Thanks to these Burton babies, I had warm fingers for the first time in my life. Add to the fact that they were 30% off at a Tahoe ski shop and you have a very happy Elliott. Plus, they're plaid!

Looking at these photos I'm realizing that I wear way too much charcoal colored clothing. My helmet (I can't believe people ski without helmets. 1. They keep you safe. 2. They keep you warm. 'nuf said.), my turtlefur neck warmer, my jacket and pants. I really should try to add some color. That being said, I bought my jacket and pants at the same time and they're the bomb-diggity. They're made by 626 and they snap together to prevent the dreaded snow-down-the-butt. Maybe I'll invest in a new jacket if we take a long vacation again next year.

There wasn't much nightlife in Tahoe, unfortunately. So after days at Mt Rose, Northstar, Heavenly, and Diamond Peak, we'd build a fire, drink baileys and wine, and chill out. J's condo had AMAZINGLY comfy shaker chairs. I couldn't get DH out of them!
Is that the face of a contented man, or what? :)

We did find an amazing little restaurant in Incline Village called Bite. I'd be super happy with Bite if it was in San Diego, much less in a little strip mall in Tahoe! The menu is "American tapas" which translates into Ahi sliders, baby mac and cheese, and delicious coconut chicken. All of the little plates we ordered were DELICIOUS. I also give props to the chef for using local produce in his menu. Oh, oh, and if you go there - make sure to get a Ginger Julep with Makers Mark and ginger syrup. OMG - yummy, yummy, yummy.

Anywho, that's pretty much our week. Skiing, snow, lots of powder. Oh, and the most phallic fountain I have ever seen.