Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{Vacation Recap} South Lake Tahoe Skiing

As I mentioned in my last post, I was lucky enough to already be in California for work, so we used the opportunity to hop on over to Tahoe for a long anticipated ski weekend!  It was a blast, but let's just say, I could use some more practice...thank goodness it's pretty...

After finishing training, I  picked up the rental car and then scooped up Tom who's flight was running behind. We knew we had a long 3 hour drive ahead of us, so stopped by In-n-out Burger to fuel up. Besides, what's a trip to CA without the obligatory stop at In-n-out? Tom loves it because it's one of the few times, I'm a cheap date ;)

We pulled up to the Marriott Timberlodge around 12:30 AM and we were seriously beat.   As much as I dislike valet ($26/day?!) I knew we'd find a better place for the car later so we sucked it up in order to get some zzz's.

We were so happy we picked this place and couldn't be more pleased with our accommodations.  It was recently updated and had a huge bath, plus a full kitchen, washer/dryer, and fire place.

One of the perks was the location:  It had plenty of stores, grocers, bars, and restaurants within walking distance.  Most importantly it had a cold stone creamery which we proceeded to treat ourselves to every night.  They had a heated outdoor pool and hot tub but unfortunately, we forgot our swim suits.  womp womp....

The real win was having a gondola on premises that took us up to the ski lifts.  Having the ski-rental place and ski-valet on site was also a perk. The only time we took our car off premises, was to find some local eats.

I'll spare you the details of every run we did, but lemme just say, Lake Tahoe ain't for beginners! There were only 2 green runs and to get to them you had to take the blue (intermediate) trails, which in my mind defeats the purpose of having the greens in the first place. I managed to make it down nothing but blues on day 1 (only falling a couple of times) but somehow, I got it inside my head that I was going to fall off the mountain and die.  I only got worse mentally as the weekend progressed.  I still don't understand it, because not falling too much the first day should have given me more confidence but my mind was not listening to reason.

My experience that weekend...

Versus Tom's...the main difference is I'm horizontal and he's vertical :)

Eager to get one run more my speed, I chatted up a ski-instructor the next day.  He told us about the "tamer" blues we could use to get to the greens on the other side of the mountain.  He was spot on. We spent a good portion of the day over there and then decided to head back before it got too late and before we got too tired to make it back down (the tamer blues go to the top of the mountain and you have to get down somehow).

At some point, we missed the turn-off for one of those "tamer" blues, and I was confronted with my nemesis:  Comet. I cannot emphasize enough how much I hated that run.  It's so steep and I made it about halfway down before I fell and decided I was done.   I then proceeded to walk the rest of the way down in knee high snow with my ski gear in tow much to Tom's chagrin.  He is of the mind that I should suck it up and get back on the horse, but I was just over it mentally at that point and wanted to get back to something I knew I was good at:  relaxing and sipping cocktails.   I think he was confused, because I went down the steep runs fine (including Comet)  the first day but somehow got psyched out.   I guess I just missed feeling like a rockstar at Alpine Valley back in Chicago.

Thank goodness for the bars and rest areas strategically located throughout the mountain (and live music).  It makes for such a fun environment and is really convenient when you just need a break!

I have to say despite my shenanigans, Tom and I stopped plenty of times to take in the gorgeous scenery.  I honestly can't imagine there being a more beautiful place to ski.

Our favorite activity after the runs was sitting around the bonfires at the resort. We loved relaxing, chatting, and just enjoying a nice cocktail after an exhausting (or terrifying) day.  It's amazing to be surrounded, by snow yet feel like you are relaxing in a sunny resort...

Super pale and asking for a wicked burn!

Twice we went outside of the resort to try some local food. The first was an awesome pizza place called Lake Tahoe Pizza company which looked like it hadn't been updated since it opened in the 70's (and i mean that in the best possible way).  I was pleasantly surprised that in addition to the gluten free crust (which was legit) they also offered vegan cheese. I'm not vegan but its nice to have options.  The other place was a Hawaiian hole-in-the-wall restaurant with amazing fish tacos called Keys Cafe.  I would go back to both in a heartbeat.

We also loved having a fire place and HBO for the premier of Game of Thrones on Sunday night (complete with a bottle of wine and some ice cream).  It was perfect.

I was a little disappointed that I didn't do better, but I guess I expected too much for my legit first time skiing on an actual mountain.  I loved the resort, and being outside and really love just getting away with Tom more than anything.

It should be noted, that Tom grew up skiing when he lived in Colorado and apparently it's like riding a bike when you learn it that young.  He's really good even though he hasn't done it consistently in years. After this trip, he suggested next time I do a quick half day ski school to make sure I have the basics down because I was a bit out of his wheel-house!

I can't wait for our next ski weekend, but next time will do some research on resorts that are a bit more beginner friendly (supposedly Utah is a bit better)!  We will definitely go back (but maybe we'll try it in the Summer months...).


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