Saturday, 18 February 2012

Tahoe's worst season ever == Australia in a reasonably good year

Two day ski trip in Tahoe!  The locals I talked to said it was the worst season...ever.  But the snow was actually still pretty decent.  They'd just had a good dump a couple of days before we arrived so while there were some rocks showing through, it was definitely still ski-able.

We skied at Heavenly and picked up rentals at California lodge, which is in the bizarre situation of only having double black diamond runs off the first lift, so beginners need to travel further to find something that won't be fatal (our ski instructor had a disturbing apocryphal story about a beginner falling on Gunbarrel on an icy day and having most of the skin flayed off him by the time he hit the bottom...).  I had half an hour to kill so the first runs I did were two laps down East Bowl: fairly committing for the first runs of the season, but it worked out OK.

I took a lesson, during which we spent most of our time working on handling moguls on the ungroomed Ellie's, which was perfect for me since I'm still pretty ordinary in moguls.  The weather was warm and gave us some amazing views from the top of the runs.  Identifying runs and skiing areas by what state they were in was somewhat of a novelty.  There were plenty of signs saying 'to Nevada' and 'to California'.

Lake Tahoe from the top of East Bowl

Lake Tahoe on the left, Nevada desert plateau on the right, mountains in the middle.  Amazing!

We stayed in Harrah's, the Nevada side of town is easily identified by where the casinos spring up, which was notable only because the hotel rooms had two completely separate bathrooms in each room(?!).  The next day was XC skiing in hope valley.  We got some lessons and headed out for a loop around the valley.  The weather was amazingly warm - I was wearing my raincoat with a T-shirt underneath and was still too hot.

According to our guide, the spindly little trees would be under snow in a normal season - i.e. there would be six more feet of snow

The hope valley yurt where we picked up our gear and had lessons

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