March 3rd to March 15
We have finally started on our skiing portion of the trip. It is ironic that our original itinerary was mostly to visit ski locations throughout the west but then we changed the first 2 weeks due to extremely cold temperatures. And then when we were supposed to go to Death Valley National Park but the temperatures were too warm so we had to reroute our plans again. First it was too cold and then it was too hot.
The change in plans did allow us to stay in Las Vegas which was great and then gave us a few days to head to Mammoth Lakes to ski Mammoth Mountain. We found a nice RV park just on the edge of town which allowed us not only to walk into town but to be a short drive to the ski resort.
We were fortunate to have a bluebird day on the first day so that we could see the glorious views and get a good sense of the resort. The skiing was fairly good even though they hadn’t had snow in awhile and it was quite evident by all the exposed dirt and rocks to the side of the runs. The following day was the exact opposite conditions with blizzard like conditions which did bring some fresh snow but very low visibility and a wind chill. We were happy to get a good sense of the mountain before retiring back to the warm Airstream. The nice thing about staying in a place for a few days and only skiing for a few hours is that it allows me to have time to paint.
I am currently working on a series of paintings with cats and dogs to make into a greeting card side business. This painting below is of two cats which I started with a base of watercolor on watercolor board and then added some white gouache on top of the watercolor for some of the lighter details.
We woke up the next morning with plans to head to Tahoe but noticed weather alerts on our phone. We checked the road conditions and they were showing that chains were required (which we don’t have currently for the trailer) so we decided to wait a few hours and see if they lifted the restriction. Low and behold they did, so we headed out and were shocked to see dry roads with not a drop of snow on them. Coloradans would have been laughing.
We made our way to Carson City, Nevada to stock up on supplies and spend the night at another Harvest Host location called Sunridge Golf Course. Unfortunately, it was too cold to play any golf but we did have a spectacular view and it was a nice stop over.
The next day we moved on to Truckee, CA to base ourselves for 5 nights so that we could ski at North Lake Tahoe. I had spent a lot of time in Tahoe as a kid and it brought back so many great memories and felt a bit like home. On our first day of skiing, we met my oldest brother, nephew and two others at Northstar to ski. It was a great bluebird day with decent skiing and great views.
Lake Tahoe was it’s glorious blue and such a beautiful backdrop. Late in the afternoon Ross and I headed into the historic part of Truckee to walk around and do a little shopping. It was a charming town and changed for the better.
Our next couple days of skiing was at the old Alpine Meadows (now called Palisades Tahoe) and the old Squaw Valley (now called Palisades). The ski resorts were much as I had remembered, and we had another few days of great skiing and magical views. We loved exploring both resorts and after skiing all the resorts that we did in the Tahoe area we ranked Squaw Valley our favorite resort.
In the afternoon we went in to see Tahoe City and walk along a new (to me) lakeside path which was really beautiful.
The following morning we moved to the South Shore of Lake Tahoe and drove the California side of the lake which is pretty spectacular. It was pretty windy and cold and there was a lake advisory due to the winds so there were whitecaps on the lake which made it a bit more dramatic. We stopped at a few vista points including Emerald Bay to take in the glorious blue of Lake Tahoe.
Eventually we got to the South Shore and set up at our new camp site which was located in Zephyr Cove. We were nestled in the trees and very close to the lake and Heavenly Valley Ski resort. We were fortunate to be able to walk quickly down to the lake for our morning and evening dog walks. It was nice to see the lake and the snowy mountains in the different lighting.
We had hoped to ski in the afternoon but due the high winds several of the ski lifts were closed so we decided to take the day off but were able to ski the next day. Heavenly is a perfectly named ski resort because the views are absolutely Heavenly. From all the ski resorts that we did in Tahoe we had great views but from Heavenly the views are even more breathtaking. Not only do you get a wide vista of the lake but you also get the dramatic contrast between the desert views of Nevada vs the snow capped mountains and the lake as seen in the video below.
The skiing was also good but again would have been even better if they had had fresh snow so that we could have skied some of the runs between the trees etc. On the last afternoon I felt so inspired by the beauty that I created this quick painting based on a photo taken at Heavenly Valley.
Next stop was just outside of Sacramento where we have some family and a new great niece Rory that we wanted to meet.
It was a fun filled weekend seeing my oldest brother and his family as well as my other brother’s son, his wife and new born.
On the Sunday my brother, his wife , Ross and I and my friend Susan from college went wine tasting in Amador County. It was perfect day tasting great wines, enjoy the California sunshine and having a nice picnic. It was a perfect relaxing day with lots of laughs and great fun.
It is now time to move on to Oregon and Idaho for some more skiing adventures.