Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hello Lake Tahoe!

After a stress filled 24 hours worrying that 17 people would not be able to fly out of the mid-west during the snow storm of the century to our vacation destination of Lake Tahoe, we let out a collective cheer as the airplane carrying our crew ascended into the snow filled skies. 

The group minus one guy who was face down on an air mattress
It was late by the time we all arrived at the house.  I'm talking 1am kind of late.  After a day of traveling in horrid weather, all this girl wanted to do was figure out which room was hers and crash.  The home had 6 bedrooms, 4 of which had either a queen or king, the other 2 rooms had either 4 bunks or 2 queens.  One of the single guys thought he should have his own room with a single bed because he thought/hoped he would romantically link his world with one of my single girlfriends.  I had to inwardly chuckle when she told him, "Not a chance" at 3am and chose the room with 4 bunk beds that she would rather share with 3 other guys.  He got the hint and went to the other room.

Tahoe hadn't received much snow in a few days and we were worried about the condition of the slopes.  As our group piled into the rentals and made our way to Heavenly Ski Resort, we were more than happy with the conditions.  Not only were the runs nicely groomed and had plenty of snow, we had blue skies and sunshine.  Much better weather than we had been having back home. 

It was my friend Kristen's second time on skis and Scott and I stayed with her to coach her along.  She did amazing for being on a crazy big mountain and only having done this one other time.  We were so proud of her and her upbeat attitude.  You can tell a lot about a person by the way they react when rolling down a mountain and getting snow in their pants, face, etc.  She stayed with us the entire day and made her way down every blue we led her down. 

The views from the top of the mountain could not be beat.  I've skiied from Switzerland to Italy, and every trail in Jackson Hole, but being surrounded by snow capped mountains with a crystal blue lake in the very center, shining like someone spilled thousands of diamonds in it is by far the most beautiful view I've ever had while skiing. 

By the end of the day, we were all very happy to stop at Fire & Ice, a bar at the bottom of the mountain.  They had these great outdoor fire pits that felt like perfection after a full day of skiing.  We met up with the rest of our crew who had also spent the day soaring down the mountainside. 

That evening the group set down and had a home cooked dinner together like family.  It's pretty humorous to shove 17 people in a house and see what happens.  Some of us knew each other pretty well, others were meeting for the first time.  That night we ventured out into the nightlife of Lake Tahoe.  None of us are gamblers, so our options were really limited.  When I say really limited, I mean after we spent a little time in two different casinos, Scott and I were ready to call it a night. 

Day two on the slopes was a little windier than day one, but having the sun shine down on your face can make just about anything seem close to perfect.  It was a little cloudier, but the view was still perfect.  I would find myself stopping while skiing because I wanetd to take in the views.  The mountain wasn't crowded, mostly due to skiing on a Thursday and Friday and avoiding the weekend crowd.  Scott and I skiied by ourselves for half the day.  We skiied from California to Nevada which just sounds fun to say (or type).  Watching him ski is so amazing because he does it so effortlessly while flying so quickly down the mountain, he's almost a blur.  I love to watch him. 

We met up with the group and the girls and I headed off to ski at a slower pace than the boys.  It's always fun to ski with the girls because there is never a competition as to who can ski down the mountain the fastest or who can knock the other girl over.  That's just the difference between guys and girls I guess. 

At the end of the day, it was back to Fire & Ice to soak in a little heat from the fire pit.  Back home Scott and I decided to head out into town and grab pizza at a local place.  This is one of those times when the "group think" mentality made me want to jump off a mountain.   We had 4 rental cars and 17 people.  The group was planning on cooking  dinner and hanging around the house until later that night.  So, Scott and I were going to take a car to grab dinner, then come home afterwards.  We announced we were going to go, and some people said they wanted to go, but they wouldn't be ready for a while.  We had some people say that they wanted pizza, but they didn't want to go, so could we bring it back?  And there was one in our group that had severe food allergies (not kidding) so he couldn't have pizza and wanted to go somewhere else. 

Poor Scott being the people pleaser that he is, tried to figure out a way to accomodate everyone.  I, on the other hand, not being a people pleaser thinks everyone else should put on their big boy/girl panties and take care of themselves.  I announced the car was rolling out in X-minutes, we were going to X-place, and people could either come or go.  That's how you have to make decisions in a large crowd.  It ended up being Scott, myself and our frined James.  James has accompanied us on every ski trip Scott and I have taken together.  I adore James and last year when Scott and I had to share a room with one of the other guys, I picked James to share our room.  He's just one of those guys that is so incredibly easy to get along with and he is kind and considerate.

We asked a local where the best pizza place was and she told us about a place called the Blue Dog.  Atleast I think that is what it was called.  Anyway, we walk in and the first person I see is a very old friend (I'm talking from 10 years ago) that I used to go dancing with in Wyoming.  My brain couldn't decide if it was her or not, so when I was close enough, I said her name and low and behold she turned around.  How bizarre that out of all the bars in the world, I walked into the one with an old friend.  It was so great to see her and catch up.  Old friends bring back great memories.

The pizza was amazing and before we knew it we were back at the house.  The group got a game of "Things" going, which turned out pretty crude and hilarious.  That's what happens when you get a group of crazy kids playing a game and a pint of whisky is involved.  Some of the crew wanted to go out after that, I wanted to curl up in bed and read a book.  So that is what I did.

Day 3.  My body refused another day of skiing.  Being in Southern Indiana, I don't get a chance to use my ski muscles very often.  So after 2 days of strenuous use, I was ready to call it good.  A large group actually decided to do the same and we went sightseeing.  We drove down to the beach and walked out to the lake.  The view was breathtaking.  The cold air blowing off the lake was also breathtaking.  We got some great pictures and spent a little time hanging out in bar on the beach.  Numerous times throughout the day my body thanked me for not making it go skiing again. 

That evening we settled in for our final home cooked group dinner.  By this point everyone was pretty worn out and not ready to go home.  One of the guys realized about 9pm that he hadn't bought his wife anything, so off he went to do some shopping.  Lucky for him he found something she ended up loving.  Another round of "Things" was played and with that, it was time to pack up our bags and get ready for an early start the following day.

There was a beautiful sunrise over the lake as we drove to the airport the next morning.  It was SuperBowl Sunday and a lot of travelers were sporting their jersey's.  As we landed in St. Louis, we stopped in TGI Friday's to have dinner and watch some of the game.  Another ice storm was hitting the mid-west, so we headed home after finishing our meal.  It wasn't until about 10:30 that Scott and I walked in our back door and collapsed.

Overall it was a great ski trip;  the house we stayed in was good, we had amazing weather, ski conditions weren't anything to complain about, and we had our own bedroom.  Next time, there are a few changes we will probably make prior to signing  up for a group trip.  Possible couples only (excluding my friend Kristen because she's awsome) because otherwise they complain (daily) they should have a single room over one of the couples, not joining a group larger than 8 because it is too chaotic when trying to figure out lodging/rental cars, etc., and taking an additional day off when we return home so we can recoup prior to returning to work.

Until our next vacation, where ever that may be ...

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Storm of the Century

As the mid-west gets rocked by blizzard-like conditions, our group of 15 continues to search for a flight out of town.  Tahoe-bound...we wish.