Monday, March 05, 2007

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Evaluation: knees, ankles, back, hips, shoulders, neck, thumbs

These are things that hurt.

Holly and Sean and Simons and I piled everything into the car, including two dogs, Mirren the large and smelly black lab, whom we unexpectedly are dogsitting for two weeks, and Beulah, who has an entire suitcase of dietary needs, seeing as how she has GIARDIA, and drove up to Tahoe on Friday night. I hadn't seen snow since boarding school (read "shivering on sleeping porches") and hadn't skied since our sixth grade French class field trip to Quebec...with Simons, come to think of it.

Perhaps Tahoe is really an industrial town filled with corrugated shanties and dirty winos, but I doubt it. It wouldn't have mattered though, since under three feet of silvery-white snow, every house looked like a Swiss cottage with six-foot glistening icicles and the warm glow of firelight. Our B&B was adorable, although obscenely fish obessed. There was even a three-foot trout on our bed, with which I promptly attacked Holly, and antique painted lures hanging over the potty, including one called, "Wiggly Willie," which amused the boys. (Couldn't be better than the Electric Chicken or the Disco Grub)

Day One
The next morning, while Holly and Sean flung themselves down steep precipices at Squaw Valley, I discovered that the trick to cross country skiing is to pretend to be a roller skating gay man. It works, I promise, and my thanks go out to roller skating gay men everywhere for their inspiration. My God, that is hard work. To our delight, we found that cross country skis are A) half as expensive to rent as downhill skis, so Simons rented instead of using his telemark rig (Sims is a really good skier, but a patient husband), and B) the national parks have perfect trails that allow dogs and are free. We went down some fantastic trails at Blackwood Canyon with fresh powder and views of the mountains and snow covered firs and only saw about 10 other people the whole time. Granted, there was no lodge for mid-day hot chocolates, but there were also no lines, and the joyous dog frolicking more than made up for the lack of humiliation/maiming on the ski lift. Here's me, giving Simons the finger for having snapped a photo of me lying on my back contemplating the tree canopy, the cold snow down my shorts and the blue sky overhead.

We had a snow picnic overlooking a completely unblemished meadow, with cheese, crackers, sausage and trail mix.
Beulah, thanks to her grinch-like feet, had to be outfitted with fancy dog booties, which she felt were deeply infra dig...or infra dog.
What is this white stuff, and why is my nub so cold?

Day Two

While Holly and Sean were off to Squaw Valley again for a second day of intense downhill skiing, Sim and I met some friends from Charleston, Julia and Robert, who now live in Reno and are awesomely cool x's 5million. The nice thing about having friends who are more hardcore than you, is that they push you to do new and exciting things that you would not ordinarily think to do...or necessarily want to. We met for a day of snowshoeing/mountain climbing at Maggie's Peak, which overlooks Emerald Bay. I'd never snowshoed before, but Julia set a kind pace, and up we went. Their 10-year old lab, Goose, also demonstrated the proper snow climbing dog technique for Beulah and Mirren, who thought he was a total stud. This dog apparently goes back country skiing with Robert, and roots in the snow like a blissed out pig, dizzy with pleasure.
Every time we'd get to a lookout point, I'd be relieved and think we were done, but we kept going up and up, for about two and a half hours and over 8,600 feet. And that last 100 almost killed me. Breathing like an obscene phone caller, kick stepping up the steep incline, only pride kept me from saying, "Far enough." It was worth it. I mean...just look at it.
To the east, we could see over the entire lake, with tiny seaplanes that looked like dragonflies, and to the west, the Desolation Wilderness. Robert met some friends of his who had snowshoed up with telemark skis, and was able to advise them on how best not to go down the cliff side of the peak.
We tried a few times for a good picture, but usually ended up with dog hinies or the blur of Headless Simons.

Going down was the most fun, since you can lean back on your shoes and slide down almost like skiing. The boys took these flying troilistic leaps off of boulders, landing in a puffy heap at the bottom, which sounded for all the world like pillow fighting...WHUMP!
As soon as I can move my arms, I want to do it again.


Stepping Over the Junk said...

AWESOME! I have snowshoes, just no one to go with. I think I will get a dog. As for downhill, I CANNOT ski but took up snowboarding and it is so much easier and alot of fun. It helps if you can surf or skate (which I did growing up) because it is more of that motion. Of course, you get more of a workout with cross country and better scenery. And you can have picnics. And take the dog. I gotta get a dog.

barbie2be said...

um... BURRR! i am SO not a snow kind of girl. but it's awesome that you all had a great time.

Horrible Warning said...

Jealous X 10. That looks amazing. I haven't been to Tahoe in an age, and I hear the snow was killer after last week's storm.

The most nature related fun I've had in the past week was a run in the rain. OK, yeah, that was really fun. But it was no Tahoe...

Jennifer said...

Wow! It's amazing to see so much snow in March! I want a dog to go cross country skiing with, especially if i get to make it wear dog booties.

The Sorority said...

Love the pictures and you can tell that you all had so much fun.

I am the weird Canadian girl - live in a country that is covered with snow much of the time yet can't ski (downhill or any other kind) and can't skate. Snowshoeing sounds like a lot of fun but have never tried it. I am really not a winter girl and until we got our dog 7 years ago, I tried very hard to avoid going out in it. I was really meant to live in a warmer climate.

However, your pictures look like snowshoeing is much fun and I really do need a fun winter activity that I am now inspired to try it. This will make my handsome husband very happy as he can ski all day and I will now snowshoe. I will tell him to send his thank you note to you for your inspiration.


PS - Beulah looked like she was having the time of her life!

Kelly Love said...

Sounds like a blast! I am very glad you did not fall into a crevasse. I worry about such things.

Jemima said...

I have fallen into a crevasse before, in British Columbia...but not very far down.

Jill said...

You were right in my backyard, lol. The pictures look like home. So glad you had a nice time!