Tag Archives: skiing

Tahoe in February

The ski trip this year was to Tahoe, CA, where we visited Heavenly Valley and Kirkwood. Up until the end of January there had not been much snow there, a third or less of Heavenly was open. As luck would have it though Heavenly got about three feet of snow 7-10 days before our trip and Kirkwood had even more.

We all flew into Sacramento, CA and stopped for lunch at Dad’s Kitchen before leaving town. Featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives Dad’s has great food and atmosphere. Don’t be fooled by it’s postage stamp size from the outside or minimal parking, it opens up once you get in the door and is well worth the effort. The drive up highway 50 to Tahoe is pretty easy and mostly uphill. There was no issues with road conditions and the views were really nice. We got into Tahoe late afternoon and a few of us needed equipment so we headed out to pick that up while the others hit the grocery store. I found good deals at Rainbow Ski Rental and they have a number of shops around town. All packages aren’t available at all locations so we picked ours up at the one next to the Gondola, we figured that should be convenient come the end of the trip.

Day one was at Heavenly, 40 degrees and sunny with virtually no wind. From the Tamarack Lodge we headed up the Tamarack Express and hungout on the west side for most of the morning. After lunch we made are way to the Canyon Express for a few runs before some of us called it a day a few hours before the lifts close, myself included.

Day two was off to Kirkwood, about 40 minutes south of Tahoe. A quiet place that you might miss if you weren’t paying attention. As we were dirving in I didn’t even see the slopes until we pulled up to park at the Timber Creek Base Area. Not many people there for a Friday, 10 of the 15 waiting to get on the lift when they opened was our group. Weather was the same as yesterday, 40’s and sunny. After a few runs off the TC Express to get warmed up we headed over to the backside and the Sunrise lift. Snow over there was excellent and the runs were not crowded at all, I can’t remember waiting more than a minute for the lift.

Day three was back to Kirkwood as we figured with it being Saturday Heavenly would be more crowded. Another prefect day weather wise but there was less skiing for me. By lunch time it was obvious all the skiing was wearing me down and the legs were having a tough time keeping up. So a couple of us headed to the bar, Snowshoe Thompsons at the Timber Creek Base Area, to sit in the snow take in the sun and have a couple pints.

Day four was back to Heavely for a few of us as the group split up. From the start it was obvious four days in a row would be a little much for me as there wasn’t much energy. The day ended at lunch time as a couple of us turned in our skis. I’ll have to remember next year to either get preped ahead of time or only ski three of the four days. Regardless of not skiing all day every day it was a great trip. You couldn’t have asked for better weather and even though we didn’t have any new snow while we were there their was plenty to ski on. Most of all it was a good time with the guys.

The last few years we’ve been blessed with good weather and plenty of snow, I only hope it continues. Now if I can only fit in more than one trip a year that would be sweet!

Skiing in 2013

This years ski trip was to Breckenridge, CO a place I’ve been to a few times and it’s always good to go back. The group this year was 13 one of the largest since I’ve been tagging along. We stayed about 6 miles south of Breckenridge in a four bedroom three and a half bath house that could sleep 18. Even though the snow count was down this year it was still piled eight feet high beside the driveway. A couple highlights from the house were the hot tube wasn’t up to temp end of day one. That was kind of a bummer but after that it was no problem. A neighborhood dog showed up the morning of day five, he’d be back the following morning as well. He’d hang out on the front porch waiting for attention. We also saw a fox running through the back yard one morning, to quick to get any pictures though.

I’d like to thank the folks at Alpine Sports Rental for another job well done on equipment. I can’t remember a time I didn’t rent from them and with the service they offer I’ll keep going back. We alternated between Breckenridge and Keystone, two days each place. It was cold the first day and windy the second. But by day three and four it was in the 40’s at the base and the sun was peeking through the clouds. A few nights we got some snow which was nice. Ironically though the last night we got six inches at the house, and it was still coming down when we left. If we’d only had one more day that would have been sweet!.

It was an excellent trip and good to see all the guys again. No injuries, other than some sore muscles. Can’t wait to see where we go for 2014.

On the slopes in Utah

This year’s trip was to Utah visiting Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. The week before I was able to stop in at Solitude and Alta for a few days. Weather was excellent and the snow was great. The last time I was at Powder Mountain it was 2010 and the Olympics were going on. This years trip had a interesting twist as the night before I took a puck to the foot just above the ankle. That would make things interesting.

I’d only been to Solitude and Alta once before which was more than a few years ago. I didn’t really know what to expect coming back since there hadn’t been much snow. As luck would have it snow was on the way and the first day we’d have to go up Little Cottonwood Canyon since Big Cotton Canyon was closed till 9:00am, and we didn’t want to wait. In hindsight going to Solitude was the right choice, great snow and no lift lines. I doubt we waited 30 seconds for a chair all day, Alta was a different story. At Alta the wait was a minimum of 10 minutes. Not sure if it was a Friday thing or just that more people go there. Regardless both places were excellent and the long Alta runs made up for the wait, most of the time.

The puck to the ankle would put time at Snowbasin and Powder Mountain to three days instead of the planned four. Day one at Snowbasin was excellent. The ankle held up pretty well even though the boot fitting the evening before was questionable, just strapping it tight was painful. I kept the day short and finished heading down Dan’s Run, not the best choice of runs. It hadn’t been groomed and there were a few moguls which made for more pounding on the foot than I’d like. The experience there is second to none, first class. It might be a hour outside of Salt Lake City but it’s worth the drive.

Day two at Powder Mountain was just as expected, accept for the early exit. Two years ago when we were there we skied two days and I remembered a number of runs. It was an overcast day and a little cooler, only in the 20’s but that made for good snow. With it a little colder we stopped for a break around 11:30 at the Hidden Lake Lodge. The ankle was really bothering me as continued pressure when turning was taking it’s toll. After the break I left the group and headed down to the main lodge and was going to call it quits. The “Powder Keg”, as it’s called, is small bar on the main floor and was very busy. I took a seat at the bar had a beer and hung out till about 2:00. Not sure if it was the beer, tight quarters, or feeling a little better but I headed back out for a run to see how the foot would hold up. I headed down to the Timberline lift and things felt ok. At the top of Timberline I headed over to the Sunrise tow bar and still felt decent, but knew there wouldn’t be much more. Sunrise takes you by Dr. C and Clair’s Run a couple blues that don’t get much action since you have to back track a little to get to them. I saw very few people head over there in the morning and thought if that was going to be it I’d like to see what one of them was like. Heading down Clair’s Run it didn’t take long to see fresh corduroy, that was pleasantly unexpected. Back down at the Hidden Lake Express lift I decided that was going to be it. I headed back to the main Lodge to catch up with a few others that were at the Powder Keg for a beer and a little music.

Day three would be an off day for me. It turned out to be the best weather yet, sunny and 40 and the guys reported near perfect conditions at Powder Mountain. Lucky for me weather for the next day was to be similar.

Day four weather was excellent. Back to Snowbasin for a second time the sun was shining and it was around 40 at the base. Snow held up pretty well mid mountain and above, below it got kind of mushy. The ankle held up with only one spill, not expecting the steepness on a black run … which I try to avoid in general. Finished the day with a few passes on Dan’s Run, it had been groomed this time, and a few beers with the guys at the base Lodge.

Another great trip and perfect timing for weather and snow. Hope next year is the same!

Skiing in Beaver Creek, CO

Last week I took a few days off and went to Beaver Creek, CO which is right next to Vail. A buddy of mine had a house for a few days so it was a good opportunity to get in a little skiing. Even though Kay doesn’t ski she came along too for some R & R.

I got in Thursday afternoon we picked up ski’s and headed west on 70 to the mountains. We got to Beaver Creek just before dark made a stop at the grocery store and cranked up the hot tub, after adding a little water, and got ready for hitting the slopes in the morning. The picture on the right is sunset from the condo, a great start to a excellent trip.

Friday we were left around nine parked at the Bear lot and headed for the bus, unfortunately we were a little light. When packing the car we had forgot the ski polls so we headed back, luckily the house was only 10 minutes away. Back with everything in hand we headed to the Beaver Creek Lodge to get on the mountain.

It was a light day as there was a beginner in the group so after some teaching time we were off. We spent the day off the Centennial lift on runs like Cinch, Lagatigo, Gold Dust and and a few others. You can see the trail map on Beaver Creek’s site. We didn’t want to over due it the first day so we stopped about three and headed in for a beer.

Weather was excellent in the 20s, wind was light and snow was predicted that night. Back at the house we changed to head out for dinner at the Gore Range Brew Pub, a micro brewery in Edwards just a few miles away. We finished off the night with a dip in the hot tub before turning in.

Saturday we woke up to snow and it was a little cooler. On the mountain visibility was not good but the skiing was excellent again. We skied mostly on the Arrowhead mountain side on runs like Cabin Feaver, Springtooth, Little Brave and Golden Bear as it cleared up after lunch. Kay and a friend made it about 2pm as it was a slow drive on 70 due to the weather. We stayed in for dinner had pasta and another dip in the hot tub. Tomorrow is the NFL playoffs Bears vs Packers and Steelers vs Jets. No skiing Sunday we’d take a day off and get back out Monday before heading home Tuesday.

The weather on Monday was the best yet as was the skiing. We took a few runs up the Drink of Water lift, we hadn’t been there yet, hit Redtail a couple times and then made are way over to Arrowhead again . Some excellent runs over there where a few have short mogul sections, about 100 feet, that I took a stab at. It was a great day as the sun was out and temp was in the upper 20’s with a little wind.

It was my first trip to Beaver Creek and I’d recommend it to anyone. Snow was excellent, runs were great, people are friendly and prices reasonable. We did take advantage of a good deal on ski rental in Denver at Colorado Sports Rent. It was the first time I didn’t rent close to the mountain. Luckily there were no problems with equipment ski’s and boots were new for about half the price of demo’s at the mountain. Can’t wait to get to Breckenridge at the end of February, hopefully the weather is just as good.

A few days in Steamboat Springs, CO

Day 1 (2/25)

Today is a travel day with a 6am flight. That wouldn’t be so bad but I had a hockey game at 10:15 last night, if I got a hours sleep I’m lucky. I arrived at the airport with plenty of time. It’s been a while since I’ve flown and the $15 bag check fee was slightly unexpected. Glad I decided not to bring the snow board I borrowed that would have been $75 since it was oversized. Seems like some airlines charge and some don’t, unfortunately Frontier did. I’ll think about Southwest next time.

The drive to Steamboat was 3hrs. We stopped in Dillon at the Village Inn for a late breakfast and made it to Steamboat early afternoon. The condo is across the highway from the mountain and we have a clear view of the slopes. It has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and sleeps 10 to 12. In addition it has a deck, 10 person hot tub, fireplace, two car garage and grill… very nice. After everyone was settled we gathered up coupons and headed to town to rent ski’s. We found a place away from the slopes called Straightline Sports. All three of their packages were less than $30 a day with the coupons that made the middle package $19, a great deal. With the skis taken care of it was across the street to the pub for a brew before stocking up on groceries.

Groceries for 10 for 4 days took a bit but once loaded up with the essentials it was back to the condo. I doubt that will be the only time we take a trip to the store.

Day 2 (2/26)

Today it was up early for some breakfast, biscuits and gravy, and then off to the slopes. One of the guys has a condo on the property so we parked in the garage for his units. It was a short walk to get lift tickets and I opted for 3 days instead of 4, that would turn out to be a good choice. Lift ticket in hand it was on to the Gondola and up the mountain. We skied the right side of the mountain in the morning, those of us that didn’t want to be on the blacks (expert) runs that is. Here is the map for reference. Conditions weren’t optimal and I thought my skis needed waxing since there was no glide in them. Lunch was at the Rendezvous Saddle, mid mountain just above the South Peak lift..

The afternoon was short as some of us headed down early and grabbed a table at the Gondola Pub for a brew. We stayed there an hour or so and then headed back. On the dinner menu was chili with pasta and turkey. After a dip in the hot tub and a few more brews we called it a night.

Day 3 (2/27)

Breakfast this morning was bacon, sausage and eggs with a brief moment of entertainment thrown in. A fox walked up on the deck, drawn by the smell of bacon I guess. It wasn’t there long enough to get picture but it was still cool. Skiing today was better as it snowed last night. The skis road better with the new snow which was a welcome change for me, it was to much work yesterday felt like they were covered in fur. We started the day going to the left side of the Gondola down Buddys Run, there are few blues and mostly black runs there. The weather wasn’t the best overcast, colder and windy. Wind was so bad I had to borrow a balaclava from another one in the group to keep my face from freezing.

After one run there it was back to where we were the day before and familiar territory. Once over there we found an area off Tomohawk called Ramrod that was fresh powder past your boots. We spent the rest of the morning there until lunch where we met up with the others at the Gondola restaurant. Lunch yesterday, today and tomorrow would be water with granola bars. I carried a back pack with me that was very convenient as prices at the restaurants are pretty high. One of the guys pulled a leg muscle just before lunch so a couple of us headed down with him and called it a day. For me that was a smart move for me as I was already fatigued, legs were sore and I still had tomorrow to go.

A few hours later the others showed up at the Gondola Pub, we had a couple pitchers there and went back to the condo. Dinner tonight was chicken with pasta. The day ended with another dip in the hot tub and a few more brews. It was going snow again and with the weekend crowd coming it would be good skiing tomorrow, we had yet to see a groomed run but that would change.

Day 4 (2/28)

We could see going up all the trails were groomed. After a few runs on Tomahawk we joined up with the more experienced guys for a run or two down some blue/black runs. That was a new experience and I only lasted for two runs. I could tell my day would end early as the legs were fatigued again. It was back to Rendezvous Saddle for lunch and from there the plan was to ski down instead of taking the Gondola. That proved to be the right choice as it was a ways to get there and I was spent by the time we got through Vagabond to Right O Way. Cruising in to the Gondola loading area shoes and a brew were calling. That would be it for me and skiing this trip no crashes and everything in tact, not to bad.

Day5 (3/1)

No skiing today for me and a few others, the rest were off for there last hurrah. I slept in and hung out at the condo till lunch time. Then me and one of the the other guys headed to town for a little shopping. I was able to find a few good deals a Columbia Titanium jacket and a pair of Keen sandals, both half off. We stopped there, which was a good idea, since the others at the condo wanted wings for the race (Sprint cup). We headed across the street to the Steamboat Smokehouse for takeout, and a brew while we waited of course. 20 minutes later the wings were ready and we were on our way back to the condo.

Tomorrow it’s back to the airport and reality. A great trip with a great group of guys. I hope to do it again next year.