Tire Chains and Snowboarding and Nevada, Oh my!

For a multitude of reasons, Jeff, my sister Jenny and I decided to plan a trip to the snow. Our original plans were to go to Bear Valley, as the lift tickets there are exceptionally inexpensive, but we quickly realized the flaw in that plan when we searched for hotel rooms, and any within 20 miles were well over $150 a night. Discouraged and despaired, I began to search for hotels in the Tahoe area, and with a great turn of luck, I found one for $30 a night. Somewhat suspicious, but thrilled with the bargain, we booked a room. Jeff and I drove to Stockton Thursday night after our writing class, and a little more than an hour after Jenny got home from school on Friday, we were on the road and headed for Tahoe.

The drive there took longer than expected, because James, Jeff’s GPS, was set to shortest distance instead of fastest time. Sadly, we did not realize this until we had woven our way through town to get to I-80, when I-5 could have taken us there much quicker. Despite this minor setback in time, the drive there was okay; it was raining, but that was better than what we had to drive in the next day, and when the rain turned to snow, we were all very excited.

The hotel was quite interesting. It was decorated for Christmas, which although strange, came in very helpful, because it made it easy to find in the dark. The lobby was small, but the room was large, and despite the hard beds, sink falling off the wall, loud neighbors, and strange growth in the bathroom, was quite nice, and well worth the price. We ordered pizza (which we later realized came from Nevada) and then settled in to sleep.

The next morning, we woke up and had a fine breakfast of cold pizza and donuts, bought snow pants and gloves, and then headed off to Mt. Rose. On the way there, it was raining, and soon enough, we saw a sign saying that chains were required in three miles. This excited me to no extent, as we had bought chains (which would have been a waste of money had we not had to use them) and we were going to have to put them on (something I had never done, or even seen done, despite living in an area with snow for 10 years of my life). Putting the chains on did prove to be an endeavor, but it was rewarding none-the-less. With the chains securely on, we were ready to continue our journey to the mountain.

Once there, we bought our passes, and Jenny and I rented snowboards (Jeff had his own and wanted us to learn). To put it simply, snowboarding is not among my nor Jenny’s strongest skills. Jenny twisted her ankle, thanks to the instructor who made her keep trying things, and I was just beyond terrible. After the lesson, Jenny took off her snowboard and decided she was done for the day, and I decided to trade my snowboard for skis, which due to needlessly rude people took much longer than it should have.

Once I had the skis, it was back to the ski lift, which was exceptionally painful, since it was snowing very hard on the mountain, and this, combined with the high winds was a painful combination to have pounding against one’s face. This time on the ski lift was exciting though, because Jeff showed me the magic bar that you pull down in front of you. (I had never been on a ski lift before, and neither had Jenny. We told the instructor this, but he failed to mention the bar. Thus, you could imagine how scary a ski lift can become when there is nothing holding you in your seat, and fierce winds are pulling down on your snowboard, which is of course attached to your foot, which is in turn attached to your body sitting in an unrestrained seat. The majority of the conversation that time on the ski lift was “Jenny, if we fell from here, we’d die!”) After I fell getting off the lift, I was excited to get up and try out the skis. Skiing is amazing!

After two runs, it was time to go, which wasn’t as easy as it seems. Keep in mind that it was snowing the entire time we were there, and thus leaving involved digging out the tires and pushing the car with Jeff while Jenny sat in the driver’s seat reversing the car. Luckily, this worked and we were on our way. We stopped briefly on the way back to go sledding, but were too tired to do that for long. When we got back to our hotel, we realized that it was within a hundred feet of the California-Nevada border, and decided to eat at a restaurant in a casino, as Jenny had never been in one before.

Dinner was fun, even though the service sucked. The next morning, we went to a little Cafe-ish place for breakfast, and again the service sucked, though it was better than the night before. We then went back to the hotel, packed and checked out, took some pictures with the decorations, and headed back to Mt. Rose. Luckily, this time it wasn’t snowing, and we got there quickly. Jenny skied with me while Jeff snowboarded, and we all had a blast. When we were done, we went back to the Nevada and California signs and took dorky pictures. After that it was linner (lunch-dinner, like brunch) at the casino, and then the trip home. Jeff had a bad headache, so I had to drive this time.

Though most of the drive home was fine, the part on eighty between the 267 and Auburn was quite stressful. Not only was it sleeting, if that is even possible, for the majority of that time, it was nearly impossible to see the lane dividers, when there actually were any. Luckily, however, nothing bad happened, and we all got home safely. The next morning, Jeff and I came back to Santa Cruz, after staying up to midnight so we could be the first people to wish Jenny a happy birthday and making sure we woke her (up before we left) to say goodbye and so that I could give her her present.

That’s all folks!


~ by Melissa on February 14, 2007.

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