I followed my doc's advice and preloaded the weekend by taking immodium etc. ahead of time. I also took a day off before the 7 hr drive and got up earlier than usual in an attempt to push my clock back. I also tried to be gentle with myself, in expectations and in warning J. that mornings I would need at least a 2 hr ramp up before any kind of out-of-house activities. So I woke up around 11am on Thursday after bed at 5am, forced myself to stay awake and went to bed at 10pm. I was able to sleep through til 8am and get up so we could leave on Friday at 9am. I brought my wonderful beautyrest TALL floofystrong pillow which propped up really well in the back seat so I could comfortably nap during the drive. My BIL Brandon and his wife Azra make for great company so the hours flew by - plus I think the tall pillow actually helped mitigate any back seat car sickness on the curves going up the mountain. We got into Tahoe a bit after 4pm with no traffic and everyone was pretty much arriving at the house at once.
The rental was absolutely gorgeous, better than the pictures. I fretted a bit w/ making sure everyone knew where they were sleeping and had enough pillows and towels - What can I say? Takes me awhile to get right into vacation mode. It turned out to be a pretty good mix of people - the hot tub and pool table went nonstop and everyone was just awesome about pitching in. Dishes seemed to do themselves, Scot made some amazing meals for the group. J. brought a BB gun and targets so we had a lot of fun shooting at cans and the targets in the trees.
The rental was a mountain house with a lot of stairs and the kitchen was at the top, so there was lots of oofing up and down those stairs. Oof! Oof! Esp after skiing. Beautiful house with lots of amenities and gorgeous views.
I prioritized getting to bed early and was able to wake up at 8am and be upstairs to socialize and have breakfast around 9am which is pretty darn miraculous. I did some gentle GI-targeted yoga when I got up which I think helped. It was a huge pleasure to be able to drive 5 minutes to one of the side lodges, park, walk only a few hundred feet and be able to rent skis, buy lift tickets, and be ready to hop on a totally uncrowded lift. Unfortunately!? Mother Nature didn't cooperate and the wind had shut down 6 of the main lifts so Heavenly advised us to punt. We had done a 2 day ski rental and so they let us push the 2 day rental to the next 2 days and we didn't buy lift tickets, to try again the next day. A few of the guys had gotten up the hill early so we were concerned they'd get trapped on the CA side - unfounded concern as they run shuttles between all sites.
I was disappointed that my rally push didn't result in ending up on the hill.. I had told myself that if I could get one good day of skiing out of the weekend, that I could feel accomplished and anything else after that would be a bonus. So instead I dragged J. to the other side of the lake for some cross country skiing. He's a trouper - I don't think he enjoyed it very much. :) The trail site was huge and we barely even scratched the surface of it, but there also wasn't too impressive a snow base to really enjoy that wintry woods experience. It was still fun and since he's better at so many other sports, it's entertaining to have one sport to lord over him a little. Plus, the wind that was plaguing the mountain gave us a great tail wind push back to the xc lodge. :)
We did get back on the hill on Sunday and skied with Azra's sister's bf Garth - He's a psychiatrist and naturally won at "Cards Against Humanity." The skiing was pretty good considering the drought... lovely snow conditions comparable to ANYTHING tho' some of the slopier runs in the shadow mountain lees tended to be icy. I'm just an OK skier and basically ski to enjoy the schussing and the scenery. I can't carve through ice and I suck at stem christies so my ice management skill is to try to glide over the icy patches which results in speed - Not a great idea on narrower more crowded runs.
After we had to take one particular icy narrow run a third time to get back to our lodge on the 2nd day, J. was keeping an eye out for me while traversing the bottom half of the run. I got tired of trying to carve the run and told him now that the run was clear enough I was just going to straight line the rest of it. He was picking up speed to gain the cat track ramp and I blew past him, knocking his socks off. He blames his "slower" skis. :)
As the days would get later and certain runs more crowded, I'd get tired and my technique on icier runs would pretty much devolve to panicky beginner snowplowing. Also cuz I'm not a black diamond fearless young'n anymore. (Ok I was never that, but black runs were more of a "Eh, less fun but doable" thing at that age than a "No thanks, I want to live" thing) There was a bit of unpleasant contrasts of built up moguls and bare icy patches - would be great to experience the mountain on a less crowded weekend with more ideal snow conditions. Saw lots of people falling. Lots. One memorable moment was when J. joined me at the side of a run where I was resting; we were well out of the way and a snowboarder bowling down out of control completely took him out. It was deja vu of the same thing happening to Kyle at Snowmass. I did take one spill and an ice patch at the bottom did wrench my hip a bit after pulling an edge but nothing a good ice pack couldn't deter. J's more comfortable on water skis and had some falls but his confidence and skills definitely built through the weekend. Stupid natural athlete. We rode up a chair lift with a Tahoe native and he said it had been tons of blue ice just a few weeks earlier, so we were fortunate I guess.
Unfortunately, speaking of falls, on that first day we got to the CA side of the hill in time for Brandon to take a bad snowboarding fall and hurt his shoulder. We had to limp him back down to the lodge - which on a huge hill like Heavenly took a few lifts and runs. Azra had been just starting a ski school class with the girls, so she had to opt out so she could go with him to urgent care. We still weren't down at ground level lodge, we were at gondola level so they had to bundle Brandon up in a covered sled and snowmobile him and Azra down the mountain which she highly enjoyed. He's OK - torn AC which should heal in 4 weeks.
Having conquered the mtn on the first day, I set a conservative goal of "just a few runs in the afternoon" the 2nd day. I was feeling pretty nauseous that morning anyhow... but since we ended up with the group, it ended up being more than a few runs. I'm happy because we got all the way over to CA to the roundabout chute run I wanted to do... a lovely mountain skirting chute through the woods. They ban beginners from it because you need speed and because as I discovered, beginners don't know how to deal with cat tracks. People, the tracks in the snow are straight! Get a clue: This is not your moment to test your carving skills, or to ride 5 abreast, or snowplow the middle of the track while pole towing your kid on the right. Keep up your speed, keep your turns to a minimum and stay to the RIGHT. It's why I considered the weekend a win in that I didn't injure myself or anyone else, LOL. #ObstacleCourse I could have been happily done when we reached the CA lodge and shuttled back over to Nevada, but it's that ski thing.. when your buddies turn to you and go "One more?" it's hard to think you don't have that one more in you, what with lift ticket price and all. One more at Heavenly means like 4 more just to get back over to the other side of the mountain, so we definitely got our ticket's worth of skiing that day. Was happy and tired, got a hot chocolate chip shot to close out the day.