Dave's Not Here

Skitrip 2009 – Trip Report

by on Feb.16, 2009, under Dave's Rants

I know this is a bit late, but, I finally found time to write it all down . . so . .

Just before our trip, this hit the news
Skier Suffers Exposure
So — our theme for the trip was, “Don’t be that guy!”

Day 1
We decided to go up to North Tahoe. Mark wanted to try snowboarding, and wanted lessons. But, Heavenly only offers full day lessons . . . and they’re $160. So, instead, we went to Donner Ski Ranch, and he got everything for $62 (rental, lift ticket, lesson).  The conditions were great.  There were several UNPLOWED runs, so, up to a foot of powder on a couple of runs, and much more if you left the normally groomed area.

I started of messing around with greens, then playing with the one steep blue near the bottom lifts.  That steep blue also had an area of ungroomed powder through the boulders. . .this was really weird for me.  It was fast, and it was powder, so I had a lot of trouble trying to stay on top of the powder, and also turn.  (i.e., I busted a LOT — but — it didn’t hurt, since it was powder!)

Day 2
When mark picked up his skis, I decided to give skis another try. It had been about 8 years since I’d tried skiing. So, again, lesson issues. I wanted a quickie lesson, to get back into shape. So, again, we went to Donner Ski Ranch. This time it was $40 for lift ticket / lesson / rental . . yay.

But, I hated the skis. I was back to wedge turns, and, I could feel my muscles burning almost every second I was on the skis. I just suck. Luckily my snowboard was in the car. I swapped out, before the lessons, and swapped for a snowboard lesson instead.

I ended up with a private lesson. The instructor was not friendly at all, and just kept making me do stuff. It was what I needed. I’m now MUCH more comfortable with speed, and with really steep runs. (Well — steep for me!) They were marked blue, but I think it was only because they were wide . . they were VERY steep! After our lessons, Mark and I did the mountian a few more times till we decided to head back to South Tahoe.  We stopped and grabbed some pics of a nice island in a cove of the lake.

Day 3
Finally, we head to Heavenly.  The easiest area looks like it’s on the California side, just over all the nasty black mogul runs.  We get to the top, and there are some decent greens to warm up on.  After a couple of runs, we head in deeper for more greens.  Many of the greens are very flat, which sucks on a snowboard.  At one point, I took a slightly steeper run, and waited for Mark — he never showed.  So, I thought, I’ll go a little farther down, where another trial hits — maybe I’m in the wrong place — still no mark.  Finally, I get down to the lift, and Mark is there.  Weird — but, time for another run.

We get to the top, look at the map, and figure out that Mark did one of the blue runs — he was on the wrong trail.  We did our normal run again, and then decide to try the blue run Mark took the first time.  I pressured him a bit — I hate the green runs now — just way too flat.

The blue run rocked.  Until we got to the bottom, where it’s a bit bumpy — kind of like flattened moguls.  I made it down fine, but Mark enjoyed the view from a sitting position several times 🙂  After we got to the bottom, Mark wanted to take a green, even flatter than normal, run back to the green lifts, and I wanted to head up to a higher position on the blues we had just done.  We finally found some snowboard chick that had just run it, and she confirmed that the entire run was easy, except the very bottom.  That decided it.  We took the lift up to the top, and did the blue run all the way down — it was amazing!  We did that run 2-3 more times, till it was time to head home.

Lame Day (Day 4)
And, on the 4th day, we rested.  I caught up on classwork, Mark caught up on work, and our sore bodies rejoiced.

Day 5
Our last day — it came so fast!  This time, after our victory over blues, we decided to hit the Nevada side of the mountain.  The whole side seemed to be covered in blues.  We did one green a couple of times to warm up.  I was getting better at speed, so, even the flat ones didn’t bother me much 🙂  Then we hit the blues.  It was a wonderous day when we found the olympic run.  It was reasonably steep, and VERY wide.  I’d guess 100 yards, or more wide in some places.  You could decide if you wanted to go full speed, carve it up some, etc.  It was an awesome run!  But, it was getting near lunch time, so we plotted a path to get to the top of the gondola, where I wanted to eat.  (I also thought we could find a picture spot there)

Getting to the goldola looked easy on the map.  Just a few blues.  We picked a route, and headed for it.  When we got to the first turn off, we had a decision to make.  We could take a couple of moguls, or go a little past them, and take it flat.  I had been wanting to try moguls for a while, so I decided to try them.  I nailed it.  It could not have been done (at least, by me) more perfectly.  Mark tried them too, and did really well on them.  Then, we crossed a short path, and I see a slightly steeper version of what we had just come up.  There were moguls on the left, and some steep drop offs on the right.  When I looked, it just looked fun, so, I yelled back — “It doesn’t look too bad — just fun!”  I decided to try the moguls again — but made a mistake.  It was quite a bit steeper, and, I accidentally leaned back.  That was my undoing.

On a snowboard, if you lean back, it is VERY difficult to steer.  But, when you’re looking straight down, you have the tendency to lean back when you get scared.  Well, I was going down, pretty steep, into moguls.  So, I got scared and leaned back.  Just to add insult to injury, when you do moguls on a snowboard, you have to whip the back of the board into the next turn.  Fast.  Needless to say, when all of my weight is on the back of my board, there is no “whip it fast”.  I planted somewhere, and fell backward.  I hit the back of my head, but, I was wearing my helmet, so it didn’t hurt — at least, it only hurt my pride.  Now the funny part.  I’m upside-down, on my back, and sliding down the moguls.  I manage to slow myself with my hands, slide my feet down hill, and then laugh at my idiot-self.  I stood back up, and went down the rest of the way, sticking to one edge (in other words, I went down the safe, slow, girly way).

When I looked up and saw Mark, I suddenly realized I needed to tell him to do the steep side.  It was too late.  He did a couple of moguls, then went straight to the steep side.  The moguls had gotten him off balance, and he busted.  On a much steeper part than I did.  He ended up on his back, sliding down the steep part — till he finally stopped, about 15′ downhill from where he fell — and where he lost his ski.  We had to wait for other skiers to come down and get his ski for him — it was much too steep to climb up.  I think Mark may be ready for the next step up in bindings . . . (i.e. Type II skiier)

Well — that shook us up a bit, and the rest of the blues were taken slowly and un-eventfully down to the goldola to eat.

After lunch, we found our way back to the Olympic run, and avoided the mogul-death run this time.  The Olympic run, and all of the other blues near it continued to rock.  Near the end, I was cutting into the trees some (slowly) and going in and out of them.  My turns are getting much better.  I did freak out once, lean back, and bust hard.  But, it was no where near a tree.  No Sonny Bono moments.

On the way out, we did the green one last time — this time, we really hauled on it.  It was a great trip . . . I no longer consider myself even an easy blue rider . . I’m ready to try my first black now . . just need to find one that doesn’t scare the @*#$&% out of me!

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