Friday, March 10, 2006

Just When You'd Given Up All Hope...

I've actually written the Official Ski Trip recap! And it only took three weeks!

So, for starters, let me state the obvious: I did not meet my death on the side of a mountain. And for that we should all be grateful.

We spent two days at Sierra at Tahoe, on the southwest side of Lake Tahoe.

Day 1 started out lovely. The weather was beautiful, the ski hill wasn't too crowded, we got there right around opening and headed off to our much-needed lesson. (Or my much-needed lesson. I won't speak for Danielle here; she's much more accomplished than me.)

It started snowing five minutes after the lesson ended, and kept up the rest of the day. This meant everything on the mountain was quiet and beautiful and scenic. And, best of all, fresh powder every time down the mountain!!! (My god, I sound like an actual skier.)

By the end of the day, we were exhausted. (No, Bode Miller, you aren't the only one who thinks beer goes well with skiing.)

The drive back was relatively uneventful, after we cleaned six inches of snow off the car and installed the highly sought-after (and now required by the California Highway Patrol) chains.

(Look at me putting chains on the tires! Yes, this is exactly how the guy showed me to put them on, I swear!)

Before leaving the parking lot, I did a quick brake-check, just to make sure the car would respond how I expected it to. The numerous Wisconsin winters I suffered through taught me something useful!

So, we hit the road, and slowly made our way home. It was snowing, chains were required, and our maximum speed was about 35 mph. I was a little wary about this whole chain thing, so Danielle and I were vigilant about noting any change in the feel of the car, any funny noises coming from the tires, etc. We drove through the mountain pass at Echo Summit and got back to the house. Where I promptly discovered there were no chains on my tires. Let me repeat that: there were no chains on my tires. The whole drive there were no changes in the sound or feel of the tires, which means that the chains were probably left behind in the parking lot, right at the spot where I did the brake check. (This would also be one of those Things We Are Not Telling My Mother. And we are especially not telling my father, who would know exactly how dangerous a proposition driving over a mountain in the snow without chains is, and from whom I would get quite a stern lecture and then be grounded.)

But I do have to say, Yay, Adele! What a good car you are! I drove my little four-cylinder Corolla 7382 vertical feet, over a mountain, through the snow, without chains! (Also, Liz, I'm still upset that you named my car. I mean, really, who names someone else's car??? Yes, theoretically I could have renamed her, but Adele just stuck. Damn you.)

Once home, I started calling around in search of chains for the car. You know, because it was just so much fun the first time. Luckily it only took waiting on hold for ten minutes, having Mario tell me he'd call me back, and then getting that call an hour later and four blocks away from the auto parts store for me to track them down. But, Mario hooked us up with chains, tensioners (designed to help the chains stay on the tires. What a concept.) and even some de-icer. [Confidential to those in Sacramento County: Contraband de-icer. Mint condition. $10 or best offer. Will deliver for a fee.]

At the end of the night, Danielle and I again put chains on the car. This time, though, they worked! And, judging by the sound the chains make between the tire and road...yeah, the chains hadn't been on at all that afternoon.

We did other fun things with Adele, such as replacing the windshield wipers and discovering a crack in the windshield so ginormous that the whole thing will have to be replaced.

Me: Stupid motherfucker, there's a crack in my windshield. Gah!
Danielle: Eh, these things happen.
Me: No, but look at it! It's huge! These things aren't supposed to happen! It's a half-inch thick tempered glass windshield, not a $5 wine glass!
Danielle: No, really, it's fine. When you get home, you'll call someone and have your windshield replaced.
Me: But I don't want to replace my windshield! *Sob.* And I'm busy Monday. I don't have time for this crap.
Danielle: You don't have to take care of it this week, just, you know, sometime.

(Can you guess which of us is the laid back one?)

Day 2 was less exciting, on the vehicle front. The skiing was about the same: exhausting. We opted for a different run Saturday, so we took the chair lift to the top of Huckleberry Mountain, elevation 8852 feet, and skied down the longest run, 2.5 miles. (I knew it was long, but, my god, two and a half miles?!?! I was surprised to discover this fact on the trail map. Today.)

Here's me and Danielle at the summit. (Holy crap, I'm on the top of an 8800 foot mountain!)

Clearly Danielle is the better photographer of the two of us. I feel bad, because she set up this beautiful shot and all I had to do was keep my fingers out of the way and push the button. Ahem. I was so careful to keep the camera steady and keep my fingers out of the way of the view window thing, but apparently failed to keep them clear of the lens. Oops.

An action shot, courtesy of Danielle. No really, I'm moving! Yes, it's at a glacial pace, but still...skiing!

Despite this overwhelming success, there are still a number of things about skiing that scare the crap out of me. Namely:
  • getting on the chair lift
  • riding the chair lift
  • getting off the chair lift
  • anyone skiing/snowboarding within twenty feet of me
  • anyone skiing/snowboarding at a speed more than twice mine
  • anyone skiing/snowboarding under the age of twelve
  • travelling downhill faster than I could walk it
  • the prospect of going down a run I've never attempted before
  • places where my very easy trail crosses someone else's not-so-easy trail
  • the thought of accidentally ending up on a run for which I am entirely unqualified. You know, like anything not labeled "E-Z way down."
So, yeah, pretty much everything.

But now that I know I won't die in my attempt at skiing, I'll go more often...maybe even graduating to the more challenging green runs!


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