Saturday 9 February 2013

Is that a snowmobile track on the roof?

A year later, and it was time to return to Tahoe for a very similar trip (ski heavenly, stay at Harrah's), but with much better snow conditions than last year. Unfortunately the Sky Express was closed due to wind, so I worked on improving my mogul skiing on Little Dipper and in Aries Woods off the Comet express. I got a lot better at riding bumps and dodging trees by the end of the day.

Nevada desert on the right

It was pretty cold in the wind, and some heavy snow dropped visibility to basically zero, so I was grateful for the bank-robber-style facemask and chemical handwarmers that helped me keep skiing until the lifts closed around 4pm.

On the second day I jumped on a snowmobile for a 2 hour tour in Hope valley with Lake Tahoe Adventures.  It was heaps of fun.  We were kitted out in super-warm 80s fluro onesies, thick boots and helmets, and rode an Arctic Cat sled each.  Really easy to operate, just turn the key and squeeze the throttle.  We covered about 30 miles of snow covered roads and trails through some great Sierra scenery.  Our top speed was around 35 mph (56 kph), but most of the time we were going probably half that speed.  No crazy jumps, steep descents, or forays into the powder for us beginners :)

Hopping on our sleds, they had heaps available, no man-hugging necessary

These buildings and surrounds apparently featured in Stephen King's movie 'Misery'.  Note the sled track on the roof (it wasn't us).  According to our guide, every major car manufacturer in the world has visited to shoot 4WD scenes in this area at various stages.

I have to admit to feeling sorry for the lone snowshoe hiker we encountered, who then had 30 noisy snow mobiles blast past them.  I've been on the other end of that equation.  If there was a super-silent snow mobile it would be the perfect way to explore alpine backcountry.

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