Second leg of my super road trip I rolled out of Michigan and blew through Indiana and Illinois. That’s about where I hit I-80. I-80 westbound would take me all the way to Tahoe. I’ve driven this stretch of road Michigan to Colorado so many times now I truly think I could do it with my eyes closed! I lived in Iowa for about 20 years. I always look forward to going back. A lot of growing up, for me, happened there and many friends were made. As always I didn’t get to see every one I would have liked to. But I got to see some old friends and their adorable little guy!
Driving through the windmills of western Iowa my mind linged on the days I biked those rolling hills. Ah, the fly over states. After living in the densely populated west coast I longed for the open space of the Midwest and the comfort of a small town.
Since I was rolling north through Colorado I just had to stop at New Belgium Brewery (Ft. Collins). Have you been there!! Next time you’re in the area stop for the tour. The tour guides (and beer) make it real fun. I lost my wallet hurrying to catch the tour, the people who found it were trying to contact me before I finished the tour! Thank goodness. New Belgium…..Good People….Great Beer.
After lunch and a chilly stroll around Ft Collins (man it was 79 degrees when I left Iowa) I was westbound again. By the time I hit Wyoming it was sleeting.
Nothing but good things to say about Wyoming. In 2006 I hunted a buffalo there. Considered moving to Chugwater when they were giving away land and hiking the Basin was a joy. Oh and they have wild horses, what a sight to see! I had planned on camping/hiking a few days in WY. However the cold rain and digital highway signs warned of a storm coming. So on I went.
Next stop Salt Lake City……wait hold up Park City, I see you…got to come back to this cute town to ski. Spent the next miles plotting a winter ski resort road trip. How fun would that be! A quick stop to stretch my legs and check out Temple Square.
With reports of fresh snow falling in Tahoe I pushed on from Salt Lake City. It was a good choice…….got back just in time to get in one last powder day!! Not a bad end to a road trip.
Recently I did a 5000ish mile cross cross road trip. Nothing was really planned except getting home for Mothers Day to see my mom in Michigan. I left Tahoe and headed south. What, out of the way, nope. Had a quick stop and Mammoth to hit the slopes. Plus, I needed to stop in to San Diego re connect with some friends and grab some summer gear from my storage unit. It was great having brunch with my peeps, Coleen and Mike host a kickin waffle brunch in their sweet yard! Thanks Kassy for girl chat, a place to crash and providing much needed kitty time!
After San Diego, fully loaded, Q (my suv’s name) and I headed out across the desert towards Las Vegas. I car camped most of the way, I had the back sleeping pad set up. I really like camping on BLM spots, if not I slip into a truck stop or quietly slide into a hotel parking lot. The route through Utah and Colorado is a really beautiful drive. Massive red stone formations in the Valley of Fire and Moab! I really need a specific trip to Utah and stop stealing moments on my way else where. Found Vail pass closed for safety concerns so I slept in Avon. If I had been a week earlier I could have got some skiing in but most of the areas were already closed for the season.
There rest of the way to Michigan was a dark blur. I got news outside of Denver that my uncle had passed so getting home meant driving through the night. I’ll miss my uncle Frank he was quite the character loud and could always lift the mood when family got too serious. He never questioned my crazy life, just sent me side money through Western Union! Old school. Frank dude you will be missed…..see ya on the other side!
To be honest it wasn’t all blue bird powder days. Some days were truly tough, but I made through those days partly due to my co workers. They drove me crazy, made me laugh and taught me many things.
I officially made it through my winter season as a lift operator at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows! It was an epic season indeed. With record snowfall, over 500 inches of total snowfall this season. There were times I truly believed it would never stop snowing. So much back aching shoveling but also some of the best ski conditions I have ever experienced.
There is so much that goes into running the resort. Everyone doing their part; lifties, ski patrol, mountain host, groomers, maintenance just to name a few. Some how we pulled it off day after day, in the best and toughest conditions. So much goes into making the mountain safe and ready to shred.
Thank you Alpine Meadows 2018-2019 crew for reminding not to take life to seriously, that I’m better than I think, and take a breath enjoy the view everything is going to be alright. Now I gotta see about some new sticks before my next adventure……….
“Skiing is expensive, but it’s cheaper than therapy”.
It’s been one heck of a winter season, and it not over yet! Now it’s time for Spring Skiing!! I’ve been a skiing fool. Pretty much I ski everyday, then on at least one of my days off. I’ve gotten so much better and learned so much.
Do one thing that scares you everyday…..you’ve probably heard that one huh? Well there are a lot of opportunities to do that on the mountain. Black diamond runs, fresh powder, back country skiing, snowmobiling…all in avalanche territory. Oh and snowboarding.
A bit sore, so yeah back to skiing for now. Still got plenty to learn there, really I’m more a skier than a boarder (I can’t even skate board, yet). I understand the draw all the cool kids are doing it and those soft boots are awesome. Downside all that unbuckling, sitting on the snow to buckle, rolling over in the snow to stand up (i had snow in my pockets at one point). For real tho, you can cover a lot more area in skis (there’s a reason why ski patrol are skiers not boarder, just sayin). Oh have you been back country skiing? That’s just me, I’m a skier…..you do you. Just get out there and scare yourself.
Actually its not hard. Heck I never thought green was my color. Apparently it is now. My on mountain uniform is green and totally matches my backpack (that I’ve never used, til now). By pure coincidence I bought a light green helmet (it was the last inexpensive one they had). Plus I have Cnoc green ski poles too! Then I just got gifted this sweet coat….
Usually I got for the black out look……
Guess it’s time to mix it up a bit! Wandering chardonnay is going green!
(Side note: I normally don’t do name brand stuff…..but I am seriously loving on my North Face gear, like all of it. I could certainly update my ski kit, I’ve had everything for years, Salomon boots, Atomic Skis and an off the rack jacket. When I like something I stick with it, but I’m on the look out for replacements!)
Snowmageddon……..Snowpocalypse, whatever you want to call it we go a crap load of snow. 102″ in the past 7 days, 38″ in the last 24 hours! But wait the forecast for the next week:
We are good on snow, yo….for now anyway we are full.
Last night the snow seemed like it would never stop. One of my roommates was trying to go to Santa Cruz but got turned around in Truckee when I-80 closed. It took my other roommate 2 hours to get home from Squaw 8 miles away! So glad I opted to stay in, plenty of stories of people stuck and hotels full. We had multiple people crashing at our place and more cars than we had parking space for. So we broke out the emergency supplies (beer, vodka, tequila and frozen pizza) and stayed up til 4 am watching people slowly drive by.
Squaw and Alpine were closed for the day due to high avalanche hazard. This morning the sun came out and the sky was a beautiful blue…we dug out (2 cars anyway)….then it clouded over and started snowing…again! Tomorrow I’m back on the mountain, I foresee a lot of shoveling and possibly a chance to send it! This is shaping up to be one memorable winter season. Oh Tahoe……
I’m sitting here watching it snow. It has been snowing all day! Wednesday night through Thursday: Heavy snow accumulations of 2 to 5 feet above 7000 feet with blizzard conditions.
Thus is mountain life…..I love it. Well having to dig my car out is not high on my happy list, but skiing tomorrow should be sick. I need want some powder skis, ok maybe it’s not the skis and I need to step up my powder skills…or both.
Got back from a quick weekend in Portland/Trout Lake. Besides some travelling hiccups it was a great trip. Driving along the Columbia River is always so beautiful. Even got to stop by the Multnomah Falls a magnificent 611 feet tall falls. No trip to the area would be complete without a stop at Thunder Island Brewery in Cascade Locks or a Huckleberry Shake!
Sometimes it’s good to get away to appreciate where you came from. After flying all over then running errands in Reno, then the drive back to Tahoe City; I was so glad to get home. (Seriously I was in 4 states over the weekend) Super stoked to get back to work. I really like my job and the people that I work with.
So I made it a week at the new gig. What gig? Well, I’m a lift operator (aka liftie) at Alpine Meadows. Its something I’ve wanted to do for many years and finally got around to.
You can ski?
Yes. I’ve been skiing since the 4th grade, at Mt. Holly in Michigan. Over the years I’ve learned and enjoyed skiing with friends in Minnesota, Colorado and California. I even gave snowboarding a try, once. Working at a ski resort is a wonderful opportunity to learn and get better.
Isn’t it cold?
Yes and sorta. It’s been snowing (Yeah) and the temps when I get to work can be in in the 20’s, but you hardly notice it when you start setting up for the day. Plus I got a sweet North Face winter uniform that is pretty toasty. Later in the week the sun actually came out and it was warm enough take off layers. Plus an breath taking sun dog hung over the mountain.
Great views all around!
What do you do all day?
I’m up early and after a quick locker room stop, on the mountain by 7:30 am. We have to set up fences, signs and be ready for guest by 9 am. It’s a lot of trudging through the snow carrying stuff (aka my morning workout). One day I worked the magic carpet (a moving surface lift that transports skiers and snowboarders on the ground as they are moved uphill). Watching the kids and adults go from fearful to confident under the watchful eye of parents or instructors was so exciting! The rest of the day I get to feel snow on my face, gaze at the sun on the snow capped peaks and engage with people who’ve come out to enjoy the snow, not a bad gig.
View of the lake from house
Alpine Meadows Morning
What’s the living situation?
Thanks to employee housing I live conveniently close to the mountain, with 5 roommates from Florida, Georgia, Washington and California. We have a nice place with a view of Lake Tahoe. Tahoe City has the small town feel and slower pace of life that I enjoy. Alpine Meadows (where I work) is the laid back side of Squaw with great trails.
All in all it’s been a interestingly fun week. I’ve done some skiing but mostly I’ve been focusing on learning all the things first. Like I’ve never worn a helmet but not only is it required but like everybody wears on here. Each lift has a different set up to learn, things to be aware of and safety procedures. It’s a fun learning process with co workers that very helpful in showing my the ropes.
Planning to be “in winter” is kinda like planning for a 5 month thru hike, you know similar, but different. There is training, I’ve been dragging my butt to the gym pretty consistently (except for that one time). Gotta get those legs and core. I’m not a fan of squats and I’ve even done those. Liver training is admittedly lacking but maybe it’s similar to muscle memory!
Packing, is me spreading things all over the floor, looking at them and then deciding I’ll deal with it later. This could be a problem later, as I’m not going ultra light. I need snow gear, hiking gear, a NYE outfit (ya never know), oh and a tiny Christmas tree!! Screw it PACK ALL THE THINGS!!
Mentally I’ve been psyching myself up by doing a snow dance while listening to Pearl Jam (and not packing). Oh and watching ski movies for giggles. Have you seen the movie Frozen, not that one, the other one? Or Ski Patrol (1990) they just don’t make movies like that anymore. Plus a Warren Miller video or two “because if you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be older when you do“!
Know how much I want to go Heli-skiing? That’s totally random I know…….I’m just throwing it out there in the universe. Cuz ya never know…..heck who knew I’d walk to Canada!