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!
You know what’s great about a long hike or road trip? Time to catch up on those podcasts!! Might I recommend checking out my chat with Erin on the Hiking Thru podcast. We talk about the trail and how it’s spurred some of my current adventures and not getting locked into those pre-trail plans. Get out there, explore and go with the flow!
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.
What a difference a week makes! Last weekend I was granted one more relaxing weekend with friends in the desert. With my life about to transition I was a bit anxious about all that was ahead of me. It was a much needed time to unwind and laugh. Four wheeling can be a great way to unwind. Thanks guys for help with those snow chains and road trip tips!
On Sunday I sorted and loaded the car. I’m pretty sure I over packed AND under-packed (is that even possible). But everything needed to fit in the SUV while leaving me room to car camp. Since I had a couple of days I broke the nine hour drive over a couple of days. Camping first in the Alabama Hills, it’s a beautiful area with lots of dispersed camping that I’ve visited before.
Open Rd aka hwy 395
Hot Springs find & seek
car camping best views
car camping best views
Open Rd aka hwy 395
Hot Springs find & seek
The next day I headed north in search of a hot spring. After rambling around a couple of dirt roads I landed at the Hilltop Hot Springs. I would have rambled further but to my surprise my service engine soon light came on and I was a bit nervous about straying to far from highway 395. So I found a lovely dispersed camping spot about half mile of 395 back in a forested area.
My friends messaged me about a storm coming in so I figured I better push on to Tahoe City. There was rain that turned to snow and then back to rain. It stopped near Carson City so I had a beautiful drive north around the lake.
Tahoe City is a quaint resort town just minutes from Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows where I’ll be working. After a stop at HR I drove around til I found a good spot to stealth car camp. Not easy in a town with limited parking, but I found a spot. Went to sleep with a light rain falling…….woke to 7 inches of snow! Cleared the snow off with a towel (I neglected to replace my snow brush/scraper)! Welcome to the mountains!