Resort Report: There’s truly no place like home
After one week of precious vacation time, I return to my over-cluttered desk, my big bright computer screen and the back ache that comes with eight hours spent sitting in an office chair.
No, I didn’t go to Bali, Cabo or even Whistler.
I stuck around the Tahoe Basin with a determination to fill in the gaps that have been left by a few years of laziness so I could say I’ve skied every single Tahoe resort.
Of course, in hindsight, as I look through the blandly blinded front windows of my office at the big fat snowflakes falling over the lake, it seems maybe my trip was a few days too early.
After navigating through exposed boulders at Sugar Bowl, slopping through slush at Squaw, slipping on hard-packed manufactured groomers at Northstar, resisting cutting ropes at Mt. Rose, pounding over extra hard dust on crust at Kirkwood and sliding over barely hidden granite slabs at Heavenly, I returned home to Alpine Meadows.
Now maybe it was the two feet of fresh snow that finally fell on the Tahoe area.
Maybe it was the day of rest I had Saturday, leaving my legs fresh after six non-stop days of trying to cover every possible descent I could find.
Whatever it was about that sublime, snowy Sunday, skiing Alpine was an almost divine experience.
It didn’t matter that I was stuck on Alpine Chair for nearly 20 minutes, and again on Summit for five. It didn’t matter that the heavy, wet snow soaked through my pants and jumped up to grab my skis mid-turn with a vice-like grip.
Even the slow start to the day ” showing up at 8 a.m. for early Summit chairs only to have to wait until 9:15 to get on Roundhouse ” didn’t phase me.
The sound of avalanche bombs going off all around the valley through impenetrable whiteness was like a warm, crackling fire in the comfort of my living room.
Surfing through smooth, silky new snow and charging off the cliffs in Alpine Bowl amid the sounds of whoops and hollers of fellow rippers just having a damn good time, reminded me how lucky I am to live on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.
There are eight resorts up here ” actually, more than that.
South Tahoe, bless its nightlife and higher peaks, only has three.
And on the North Shore, some are too big, some too small, some too crowded, some with not enough lifts and some are just too far away.
So give me that Ice Bar, Sherwood Forest, a little hike to untracked bowls, don’t check my pass ” I hide here three lunch breaks a week.
Maybe it’s smaller and a little more plain. But after hard-charging every piece of lift-accessible terrain in the area, there’s no place like home.
Alex Close is a sportswriter for the Sierra Sun and assistant editor of the Tahoe World. He may be reached at email@example.com.
See today’s Tahoe World for a comprehensive guide to Tahoe’s resorts, as well as Alex’s top picks after his week of local skiing.