This is sort of a misnomer of a post, and I kind of feel like it's a cheater way to check this item off my list - my family went to Tahoe after Christmas, with every intention of taking a ski trip. It's been a long time since I've done true mountain skiing - after spending every spring break as a child in Colorado and practically growing up on skis, I had to table the hobby in favor of busy seasons and year-ends at work, and hadn't skied out west since Vail in 2012. I purchased all new gear, talked extensively to Dave about his favorite ski areas and trails, and spent weeks fantasizing about hitting the slopes - and aprés - for a few days with my family. We had planned to fly out the 26th, ski the 27th-29th, and for Dave, Jonathan and me to stay an extra day and ski the 30th as well. I was, in a word, PUMPED.
My parents had booked a gorgeous slopeside condo at Heavenly's Summit Village, which was purportedly near ski-in, ski-out. With Tahoe's general lack of snow, however, we weren't going to be able to leverage that - Heavenly was only a little over half open when we went up, though, per Dave, other areas had much more terrain coverage. Even despite the lack of ideal conditions, we were stunned by the beauty of the drive up from Sacramento, and looking forward to making the best of average conditions all trip. The view alone was worth the hike up to our hilltop condo:
So, all said, I was raring and ready for Schwegfam Tahoe 2017. Imagine my dismay, therefore, when the minute our plane touched down in Sacramento, I started to feel the scratchy throat and sniffly nose that had characterized my dad and brother's Christmas colds. Determined to power through, I thought little more of it until we were renting my gear and heading up Heavenly's Stagecoach lift on the morning of the 27th. I was SICK. Bad sick. Like, "can't breathe through my nose, coughing so hard I puke, running a fever and super out of it" sick.
Determined to power through, we still skied a respectable 13 runs on the 27th, sticking mainly to one side of Heavenly and taking plenty of breaks to suck as much air in my battered, altitude-hating lungs as possible.
My mom pretty much saved my life on a mid-morning break when she and the bartender hooked me up with a concoction of coffee, vodka, and Tuaca - a hazelnut liqueur - that perked me up through lunch. Meanwhile, Jonathan was drinking vodka tonics and my dad was accessorizing with the best of them...what a baller.
As for the skiing? It was a blast - I demo'ed Volkl skis and high-end Nordica boots, and the weather was warm enough to need only a thin base layer under my new North Face jacket and Spyder pants. While the snow was mostly man-made and was pretty skied off by the end of the day, and the trails were crowded solely due to the time of year and limited terrain, it was SO freaking fun to be back on the hill. Despite how long it had been (and feeling like I'd been hit by a truck), after a run or two I was right back in the swing of things.
Half the fun for me, too, is watching Jonny ski - as a former racer, he's frighteningly fearless and has a ridiculous combination of grace and power on the slopes. He's a riot to see in action - even if I'm eating his dust (powder?) from hundreds of yards behind...I am a far more conservative skier than he is!
At the end of day 1, we schlepped our gear up the 150 steps to our condo, took a breather and got cleaned up, and headed into Heavenly Village for a fantastic dinner at California Burger Company. We sat outside around a firepit, I slammed two whiskey toddies, and fell asleep in the car on the way back up the mountain to our place.
After a fitful night of sleep, the next morning it was clear that I was in no condition to ski...my cough had settled in my chest and I was hacking up black shit, puking up everything I ate, and running a whopper of a fever. My parents and Jonny headed out for the day on their own, and I went immediately back to bed legit until they came off the slopes.
I was determined to rally and ski the next day, and to make it to Dave's arrival and ski the 30th too - so with that in mind, I put on actual pants and joined my family for aprés at Fox and Hound, a fantastic dive bar halfway up to Summit Village.
Shoutout to the "Chata Express" - a lethal concoction of hot chocolate, Fireball, and Rum Chata - that got me through the next hour. Soon it was apparent to all parties involved that I was NOT going to be skiing the 29th, or likely the 30th, or realistically at all the rest of the trip. My parents, being saints, headed down to Tahoe Village for soup, Nyquil and Mucinex while I slept and burned up in the car, then set the wheels in motion to cut our trip short and get Jonathan home early so he could spend NYE in Detroit instead of with my sick ass. I called Dave, told him the change in plans, and promptly passed out at about 7pm.
The next day, Dick and Jodes drove four unplanned hours to San Francisco to take me home, where they GRILLED EFFING STEAKS for us and for Dave before heading to their hotel. They ate the cost of our condo, paid for accommodations in SF, and covered the upcharge to change Jonathan's flight. They are, needless to say, the most selfless and caring people I know, and took such great care of me/were so forbearing and patient with my Tahoe Plague. I am SO THANKFUL for them.
After our abortive attempt at a ski trip, I rallied pretty much for the four hour window I left our apartment on New Year's Eve, and spent most of the next week sleeping (slash reading, slash coughing, slash marathoning "The Crown"). Thank goodness Stanford shuts down for the duration of their academic winter break - having the extra week to recuperate was critical. And there you have it - a ski trip that sort of wasn't, a family that was and is the best, and me once again getting sick before/during a major life event!
Looking forward to trying it again soon, Tahoe...stay tuned campers!