Monday, April 06, 2009

2009 Ski Season: Day 20-21

Juniper Jodi
Originally uploaded by dmourati

Location: Homewood
Date: 4-4-2009
Conditions: Hardpacked, groomed, bluebird

Day 20

I made my goal of 20 days this season Saturday at Homewood. I scored some free lift tickets from Tahoe Loco and Jodi and I decided to head up for the weekend. I had been to Homewood only once. It was the first mountain I skied in California after moving here in 2004. I think I was on the ground in the state for 6 days before heading up to the snow.

After an awesome breakfast at Old Tahoe Cafe, we got to Homewood by 9:00 AM and got a great parking spot literally feet away from the lift. We rented some skis, got our free lift tickets, and hit the lift by about 9:20.

One of the funniest moments happened just before noon. We were coming down off the Old Homewood Express lift and wanted to go to the Ellis Chair. I spotted a shortcut, a black diamond run called White Lightning. It was ungroomed but didn't look too bad. As I took the first few turns down the run I heard Jodi asking "Is this a run?" That should have been my cue to traverse out of there but I kept going. Jodi made her way across the run a bit then got a little freaked out before making the next few turns. She took a small tumble and let out a huge cry. I helped her collect her gear and get back in. As I was handing her a fallen pole, a ski patroller came over on a snowboard.

Ski Patroller: Hi, are you guys okay?
Demetri: Yea, she's fine
SP: gets on the radio SP to Base One
Base One: SP Come in
SP: Negative Fifty on White Lighting
Base One: Negative Fifty on White Lightning, copy
SP: Okay, you guys have fun
D: See you later
D: (for the rest of the trip) Negative Fifty on White Lightning

Apparently Jodi's shriek had alerted some passengers on the Ellis chair who did the responsible thing and notified ski patrol. A "Fifty" must mean an evac by sled. A few turns later on White Lightning and we were down to the Ellis chair, ready to explore the rest of the mountain.

Jodi was a good sport about it and she let me take her photo in front of the trail sign to commemorate the story.

Homewood offers the best views of Lake Tahoe from any of the resorts. The low-key atmosphere is contagious. Everyone was in a good mood and enjoying awesome spring skiing. The snow held up amazingly well. We learned that the resort will close on 3/19 so get up there and get after it.

Day 21
Location: Northstar
Conditions: variable
Date: 4-5-2009

The next morning we headed to Northstar for another shot at some fun spring skiing. The two resorts could not have been more different. To get our skis on a run at Northstar we had to take a car to the parking lot, a bus from the parking lot to the base, walk 200 yards through the base to the gondola, take the gondola to a lift, and then finally take a lift to the first run. All told that Planes, Trains, and Automobiles adventure took over 30 minutes. At Homewood, five.

The snow was still decent at Northstar at least in the morning. The groomers were firm and the coverage was pretty good. Lunch at Northstar is always awesome. They have the best on-mountain food I have found.

That afternoon, we hit up the terrain parks and I tried my skills on the funboxes and mini-jumps. By then, most of the snow was slushy and it was time to wrap it up. We elected to take the gondola back down instead of enduring the slush-fest we knew waited for unsuspecting skiers at the bottom of the mountain.

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