Monday, April 19, 2010

Done skiing for the season


We are parked at the Horizon Casino in Stateline, Nevada (map), familiar to us from previous visits. Unlike then, the town seems deserted on this visit, and the casino itself is nearly defunct. Apparently the Montbleu across the street gutted the tables and most of the slots out of the Horizon when they were under common ownership, and the new owners have an agreement not to replace them for two years. The old Nugget next door to the Montbleu went out altogether, a stark contrast to the boom we saw at the Red Hawk down the hill.

Yesterday we arrived at the ski area around 11 after a slog up the hill, and got a great parking spot with the tour buses, right next to the base lodge. We ran into our friends as we walked into the lodge, and had a quick lunch before heading down to the rental shop. We both brought our own poles, and I also had boots, which must have been 20 years old. While they were very lightly used, they literally started disintegrating right there in the shop just from plastic aging, and the rental guys made me rent boots anyway. I'm hard to fit, with a bony instep that rubs on most footwear, so the rental boots were killing me within minutes, but those are the breaks.

It felt really good to be out on the slopes for the first time in nearly a decade. Like riding a bicycle, the skills stay with you, even if the muscle tone does not. We spent the first couple hours on the green trails because we were skiing with a six year old. She's definitely ready for blue, though. By the end of those two hours, Louise was pretty much done, with aching quads, and since our friends had been skiing since 9am, the little girl was ready for a break too. Eric and I got in another two good runs on more challenging terrain, and I was actually surprised that, other than the sore insteps, the skiing was not really taking much of a toll on me.

When we got back to the lodge, the girls pronounced that they were done for the day, and we decided we could call it a day as well. So I've skied a total of two and a half hours for the season. On our way up here, we had discussed skiing again today or maybe tomorrow, when there will be another ten inches of fresh snow on the mountains, but Louise is really too sore for another day.

Our friends stayed with us aboard Odyssey last night, and as a treat for the youngster Louise drove their mini-van here from the ski area some 20 miles away, while they rode upstairs in the bus with the panoramic view out the front window. This is the first time in weeks we've had the inside covers off the windshield, and we were dismayed to find a two foot crack along the right side of the glass. This is more or less than same place it cracked four years ago, and we know now how that happens. We've been very careful to avoid any frame twist when parking and leveling the bus, but I think we ended up with some when we parked in Mountain View last week, and apparently it was enough to crack the window. It is, at least, well out of the main field of view, and extends fully from the top edge to the right edge, so it can not spread further. Unless we notice any problems with it, we will probably just live with it as it is for the foreseeable future.

We did have a nice and scenic drive from Echo Summit to the state line, and having a car available facilitated going out for pizza last night and a nice breakfast this morning. Our friends left about midday for the drive back down the hill to the bay area. We've been enjoying a pleasant afternoon here in the high sierra, although there has been some smoke in the air since we arrived from a prescribed burn across the lake.

When we arrived here at the casino we got a parking pass from security for two nights, on the chance we might want to ski today or tomorrow. Now that apr├Ęs-ski soreness has set in and we've decided against that, it makes more sense to get out of the Tahoe basin before tonight's snow comes. The forecast calls for snow all the way to Friday, and with no chains we could easily be sidelined here the whole week.

We still have not settled on whether we will head to Anacortes for Trawler Fest or points east of here and on to Saint Louis. But in either case, Reno is on the route, and so this afternoon we will head down the hill on US-50 into Carson City. We can either continue north from there into Reno-Sparks with half a dozen overnight options, or stop for the night right in Carson at the Nugget. We'll probably make the decision when we turn onto US-395.

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