In January, I spent some time out at Lake Tahoe for the first time.
On the drive up I could already tell that this trip would be a completely new experience. I’ve been up in mountains before, but not in winter. And never in my life had I seen that much snow. It was piled everywhere, so white and brown and cold. For the first time I saw people using mini slow plows to clear their driveways. And they needed them — shovels would’ve taken too long. One of our bus drivers said that they had received 10′ in the last week. And even though it only snowed the first two days while we were there, the weather predicts even more snow now.
We were forced to take some back roads up to Tahoe from Berkeley since a stretch of Highway 80 was closed in the morning. The first thing that hit me when we gained enough altitude was how gorgeous the pine trees looked weighed down by all that snow. This is where those winter car commercials were filmed and what Pat Cuomo is singing about in White Christmas. It was such a gorgeous wonderland! When we arrived at my friend’s family cabin (which her aunt very generously let us borrow), I was amazed how less like a cabin and more like an actual house it was. Three bedrooms with a hot tub out back that we spent the better part of one evening digging out. My friend’s uncle and cousin even joined us for one night and we couldn’t thank them enough for letting us stay in their lovely house.
Overall we spent 3 days skiing at Northstar Ski Resort and 2 days snowshoeing around the cabin. Since I hadn’t skiied in 5 years and only done so at a small resort in Missouri, I was a little nervous at first. But I found that, just like ice skating, you never really forget once you learn the basics. I was somewhat satisfied to learn that my first two bunny slopes weren’t challenging enough. I spent the rest of the time pizza-ing down some “More Difficult” blue routes. Some were scary steep faces with lots of powder and moguls while others were gentler, long and winding. On the entire backside of the mountain, the views were absolutely stunning as you looked out at the snow covered mountains. By the last day my confidence had grown a lot. I was stopping less, skiing faster, and really getting into a groove. My legs were sore almost every run but at least I never crashed!
We snowshoed one day at Donner State Park going along a loop by the lake. It was my first time snowshoeing but I was glad it was no more difficult than hiking and just as fun. I love the snowy crunch your shoes make with every step and it was so beautiful being able to actually walk through the trees I had admired from a distance. We also spent sometime exploring downtown Truckee, a cute little ski town, and built a snowman named Snowdust!
I’m so grateful to know such a kind family. Thank you so much for the snowy adventure! I can’t wait for more winter fun in the future.