Bittersweet February -the sweet

This month has been a bittersweet month. Much more bitter than sweet to be honest.
First the sweet…that way you can just skip over the bitter.
The first week of the month was spent up in North Lake Tahoe. We skied or boarded for 6 days. We hit Boreal on day one (Sunday) for some evening boarding. The next day (Monday) was in Northstar…now I do not like a resort where you cannot even walk to the main lodge mid-week. I mean, come on…Nobody likes lines, or waiting…in this case, you have to wait for the buses to get you back and forth from your car. Fortunately the spring conditions meant that we had lots of fun and sun, and the mountain in general is actually pretty good for skiing and boarding. In fact, it was among the best snow of the week with Friday being the exception. Tuesday we hit Squaw Valley, and this is the day that I cracked some ribs. They still hurt (most intensely in the morning). The morning was spent boarding with the wife, and at lunchtime my brother was arriving for some skiing. The wife was done for the day preferring to hang with the dog, so she took the tram down the hill while I boarded. I took a serious header on the flats moving along at about 20 miles an hour…not to fast, but very flat ground, when I went to turn and the downhill edge caught some slush and over I went. Long story short, I almost passed out from lack of Oxygen, and maybe 10 minutes passed before I could get back up and continue down the hill. Lucky for me, I had both Motrin and Vicodin in the truck and was able to get my boots on to finish the day on my skis. We had a blast skiing together, my brother and me. We found some great snow in the spring conditions on the upper runs everywhere we went. We did not hit KT though, it did not look very nice from below…
Wednesday, the wife decided to skip boarding and just hang out, so my brother and I hit up Alpine Meadows. To start, when I woke up, I was pretty certain that there wasn’t any possible way that I was going to be on the snow that day…I got almost no sleep and I still do not know how I managed to actually get my body out of bed. My ribs hurt so bad that I could not even lift my head. In the middle of the night, I had the wife help me get up so that I could go to the living room to try and sleep sitting up (with an electric blanket) to help keep me warm. When my brother got up, I hurt so bad that I could not even get up to get my Vicodin. About an hour after the Vicodin, I found that I was ready for some coffee and after adding in some Motrin, I was ready to go skiing…We skied everything but Scott’s and some of the double diamonds because of poor coverage and ice in the shadows. It was great once again and the spring conditions made for a good time –not to mention the warmer weather helped to keep me a little looser than had it been cold. Of course, being on skis really made the difference. I am so much more comfortable on skis, and the only thing that I could not really do was pole plant when trying to skate, and breath heavily. I could skate easily enough, but forget pushing with my poles. Oddly enough, we skied bumps (the face) most of the day and pole plants while skiing were a non-issue. Another thing that made the skiing so good this day was there was an equipment demo day for ski shops going on. And man, there were some good skiers out. I have never skied so fast all day without feeling like I was dodging slower skiers or at risk of drawing unwanted attention for Ski Patrol. There simply were not very many slow skiers out that day. My brother was skiing fantastic –actually skiing faster than me. He has clearly improved since I last skied with him, which was probably 15 or more years ago.
Thursday saw my brother heading back home, so the wife and I headed out to Homewood to try out something new. I boarded in order to do what the wife was doing, and Homewood really sucked for us. The snow was OK, but the mountain was not good for a top-down run for a beginner. Since I was with the wife (who is a beginner) we found her having to get out of her bindings to walk far too many sections as the green runs were basically a very narrow fire trail that meandered down the mountain. And to really as insult, this trail ended at a lodge that was closed! –I don’t see us going back there again. On the plus side, there were some great views of the lake to be had, and if you are an Intermediate skier, it looks to be a fun place…plus you can’t beat the price.
Friday, our final day…and it is snowing out! We have passes for Alpine, so that is where we head. Boy, I wish that my brother could see this. The entire mountain was skiable and fun. Only about 6-8 inches fell overnight, but it transformed the hill. I was off-piste (when the wife took breaks) and having a blast in the crud. I decided to ski while the wife boarded. She fell a lot and was getting frustrated. Towards the end of the day I talked her into letting me coach her down one run, and against her better judgment she relented, clearly frustrated that I wasn’t interested in taking NO for an answer. Long story short, she made more turns to toe side on this one run than she did the entire week combined! Not only that, but her big fear of falling and getting hurt never happened. Now, she is still not comfortable with transitioning from heelside to toe side, but at least she now knows that it CAN be done.
As an aside: we now believe that she may have damaged her tailbone early on during the trip, causing her to be extremely cautious –thus making things worse…to this day her tailbone is still hurting pretty badly (3 weeks later).

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