Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ski Tahoe! ~or~ Spring Break 2011

That's what 'they' say to do.  So, that's what we did!  Instead of heading to the Rockies this year, we decided to hit the Sierras.  Duke & I had been talking about it for a while.  We have great memories of day trips to Tahoe during our days as Bay Area residents, and the thought of skiing the Backside at Northstar sounded pretty good.  Then, when Uncle Jerry so generously offered to let us stay at The Cabin...well, plans were put in place.

Day 1 was awesome!  Just like we remembered it to be.  Blue skies, warm temps - just what we ordered.  We checked the kiddos into ski school, warmed up on a few blue runs and then headed to our favorite steep, wide blacks -- just like the good old days.  And when we got tired...

...we headed to the Mid-Mountain Lodge for a couple of Pip's Bloody Marys -- just like the good old days.  It's not just a beverage.  It's a meal in a glass -- complete with olives, spicy green beans, onions, pepperoncinis, and jumbo shrimp.  Duke gets the shrimp, I get the spicy beans.  Of course, we had a little trouble ordering them this year.  Apparently, Pip hasn't worked there for years and most of the current staff don't have the faintest idea who he is.  Happily, his legacy remains and is now officially on the menu as "The Gourmet Bloody Mary" -- even if it means we've lost our 'insider' status.  (You used to have to know to ask for them.  sigh.)

The kids did great in their first day of ski school.  They both loved it and learned a lot.  The next morning, they were ready for a pre-class practice run with Mommy & Daddy.

It was a beautiful morning and we made it down the mountain with seconds to spare before they had to be checked in at the ski school.  I'm really impressed with Northstar's kids' ski program.  In previous years, it seemed like the kids spent a lot of time inside -- watching movies, eating snacks, etc.  Not at Northstar!  Those kids are on the mountain by 10:00.  They break for a 30 minute lunch around noon, and then it's back on the mountain again until 3:00.  They really get a lot of skiing in, and it was obvious.  The kids really progressed a lot this year.

With the kids off doing their thing, Duke & I headed back to the top...only to find this.  Snow and wind gusts up to 45 mph.  Not ideal.  But hey, we only get to ski one week a year now, so we take what we can get.  We skied until we couldn't stand it anymore, took a break and then skied some more. 

I'm sorry, when your beard is packed with ice and snow...well, that's a pretty clear sign to me that it's time to hit the lodge.  Apparently this guy couldn't read the sign.  I've never been so happy in all my life that I don't have facial hair.  The one nice thing about the crappy weather was that we had the mountain nearly to ourselves...

...which was not the case the next day.  Snow on Thursday and blue skies on Friday means lots of company on the slopes. 

We had company of our own at The Cabin Friday night.  Cousin Brad and his girlfriend, Erin joined us for dinner.  It was nice to finally meet her. (And yes, I stole this picture off Brad's Facebook Page because I was a little lame on picture taking this trip.)

On Saturday we were joined by old San Jose friends, Rick & Maxine.  Maxine looks pretty unimpressed here, but trust me, she had a good time.  Really.  I promise.  The kids were so excited to see her.  Lots of fun was had, and more than a few tears were shed when it came time for goodbyes.  (Again, camera-lame.  What was I thinking?!)

We took a 'break' on Sunday to head down towards the Bay Area to say hi to a few folks.  Our first stop was in Rocklin for a quick visit with the Vegh family.  It was so nice to see them and meet the newest member of the family, baby Lexie.  (Seriously, why did I even bring the camera on the trip?!  I took almost no pictures on this day.  Too busy chatting, I guess.  I stole this one off of the Vegh's Facebook page.  Thank goodness for Facebook!)

Next we hit the highway for San Jose to chat with our friend Jax for a bit, then back up the road to Alamo for dinner with Aunt Sally & Uncle Jerry.  (Again, no pictures.  Arrrrgh!!  I sure hope I've learned my lesson.)  It was great to visit.  We didn't get out west last year, so it had been a while since we'd seen them.  Of course, they thought we were absolutely insane for taking on such a crazy road trip on our 'day off' -- especially at 9:30 when we piled into the car to head back up to Incline Village...knowing that it was snowing like crazy on Donner Pass.

Monday got off to a promising start.  Something like 14" of new snow had fallen, so even though we were tired from all the trekking we'd done the day before, we suited up. 

Unfortunately, by midday the snow had turned to rain.  I'd never ridden a ski lift in the rain.  I guess there's a first time for everything.  No problem though, especially since we'd already made plans to meet another friend for lunch in the Village.  This time it was Leslie we were hanging out with.  Leslie use to help us out with Jake when we lived in San Jose.  She lives in Truckee now and it was SO great to see her, and I'm just kicking myself for not getting a picture of her with the kids.  Grrrrrrr!

Our original plan was to ski another mountain on Monday & Tuesday, but when we learned our friends, the Goldbergs were coming up from San Jose to ski Northstar, well...that's what we decided to do too.  The kids didn't seem to care a bit that it was raining -- especially when Charles handed each kid a telescoping marshmallow fork and Jill pulled out chocolate bars, marshmallows & graham crackers.  Ohhhhhh!  Life is good!!

The next day was warm and rainy again, so we had a leisurely morning at The Cabin, and then putzed around the Villages at Northstar and at Squaw.  We had plans for dinner with yet another friend -- our old next-door-neighbor from our first tour of duty in the Dallas area.  Nancy was born and raised in Texas.  One day...oh, maybe a decade ago...she decided that she'd like to live near some mountains.  So she moved to the Reno area.  She's so adventurous and is involved in so many incredible things.  I hope I have her energy and capacity for taking new paths when I'm 70.  It was so fantastic to see her.

Actually, it was so fantastic to see everybody.  It was a hard trip in a way -- because we have so many friends and family out that way.  We told ourselves when we first started planning this trip that we were NOT going to view it as a trip out West to visit.  We'd just have to plan another trip to do that.  If people wanted to see us, they'd have to come to us.  And it's so amazing how many friends we managed to connect with throughout the week.  It made leaving really hard.  Of course, another foot of fresh snow and plummeting temperatures didn't make it easy either.  But what do ya do?  Ya gotta go home, right?

Too bad home's not here...yet!  Sigh...someday.  I wonder how big our tree will be by the time we get around to building a house behind it.


Laura said...

Sounds like you had fun. Great pictures, too.

The Lenzers said...

loving the mountains!!! Can't wait to take my boys, but since I don't actually ski it might not be as much fun. Wonder if I can take the kids lessons!!!