One of the few perks of my husband traveling a fare amount for work is when he travels locally and I can hide out in his hotel til he's done working...
Last week he had to work in Lake Tahoe (shucks) and I re-organized my schedule to force a vacation. I got to meet up with some old friends one day, and take the whole next day all to my lonesome, skiing for the first time in around 12 years. Matt snowboards, so I usually ride with him when we do get a snow day. The weeks weather promised sun and mild temperatures, so although I'd missed the powder, I knew I'd at least get some great groomed runs in. This time I knew I'd be hitting the slopes solo, so I rented demo skis (oooh! fancy!) and hoped that skiing was related to bicycling. As it turns out, it was. Although skis have changed - I went from stick straight 195 K2's to figure 8 shaped 160 Atomic's - skiing has not. I pulled into the parking lot, third row from the slopes, booted up, and remembered how that walking in ski boots is harder than skiing. And that Wednesdays are great for hitting the slopes because it's empty even on a perfect day. I climbed 10 feet from the pavement to the lift, clicked in, and glided the 30 feet to the lift, feeling unexpectedly normal. Half way down my first slope, I felt like I'd never stopped skiing. Which is a little heady. Feeling the mountain under your feet slipping swiftly by, velocity dreading up my hair, wind gradually burning my already ruddy checks... 19 year old me came back in full force, temporarily making me forget that I would no longer recover the same as 19 year old me did.
I picked up a cut-rate lift ticket to Homewood (19 year old shakes head in disapproval - such a little tiny mountain!) when I rented my gear. The cashier advised me not to take that last run. I listened when my legs first started to feel a little wobble around 3:30... I only missed 20 minutes of the end of the day, but the 19 year old version of me would have been very disappointed that I didn't wrench every second of mountain time out of the day. My current self is happy my knees only hurt a little the next few days as opposed to needing the knee surgery 3 out of 4 in my family have had.
Even if I would have only gone up for a few runs, the view alone would have made the rentals and the long drive from South Lake to Homewood worth while. From the summit, you look out over most of the Lake. Past the marina on the west shore, Heavenly is clear as day to the south, I could even see the hotel I knew Matt was conferencing in on the far shore. Everything even smelled good. Mountainy... It was a perfect daycation.