The great west road and ski trip 2013

I left San Diego in a rush.  I had to get north to Griffin in Palmdale (where he was working), and continue onto Bridgeport, CA where we would spend the night, since Tahoe in one day was too long of a haul.  So of course I left late, thus hit traffic, and we did not depart Palmdale until about 8pm with a 5 hour drive ahead of us, into a great 40mph headwind.  As the hours grew late, we watched with joy as the temperature outside dropped into the single digits.  We were both craving a little winter.  In fact, it was maybe the only thing keeping us awake as we rolled into our cozy inn at 1am. 



The next day we drove up into the Tahoe region from the south, eager to meet our friends and check into the Villages at Squaw.  Since our friends were skiing we decided to hit the frisbee golf course.  No lines and free beats out snow on the course any day.


Getting one’s disc out of a tree is just part of the game, but you must award a smile afterwards.


Finally at Squaw, we skiied with friends, met up with family and old friends from UC Davis.  It was a great 4-days of fun.  The only bummer was that the temp was about 50 F and there was barely any snow to be seen.  Oh, and the “Chez gets new ski boots” fiasco that seems to endure every so many years… but hey, it ended up being worth the trouble.


Don’t ask.  We didn’t:


While at Squaw our friends told us they had decided last minute, and were inviting us last minute, to ski at the Yellowstone Club in Montana.  This was a very special invite.  And, again, craving some real winter, we decided that the drive to Bozeman and beyond wouldn’t even be so bad.  Interstate 90 here we come!


We drove across the Great Basin (bucket list, check!)


See more Great Basin Pictures here.


We drove across Idaho and into Montana.


The weather got a little weird, but then finally, some real cold and some real snow:


The Yellowstone Club

So, turns out our friends are way cooler than we are, and that the YC is actually a private ski mountain.  There were no lift lines, and perhaps better yet, FREE CANDY everywhere!  Snack shacks abounded, and free hot cocoa at the lodges.  Spoiled forever? I think so!


Warren Miller tea time (yes that is him, in his house.  His wife is really nice too, by the way):

Oh, and our amazing friends got us a ski guide for the day. But not just any ski guide, try Sondra Van Ert, the world class skier and snowboarder (on the US Olympic Team). Also, I loved her blue North Face jacket so much I went on a serious hunt to find for myself the matching snowpants:

Since we do not have our own kids yet, we can marvel at the cutest thing on two skis – Mr. Dean, who likes to ski backwards sometimes:

The accommodations, far from rustic and definitely a place I’d like to spend an entire winter:


After a wonderful time there we decided skiing and paying for lift tickets and waiting in lift lines just wouldn’t be okay (as I said, spoiled), so we skipped Jackson Hole and headed directly to Park City to see Holly.  A lovely 3-days in that town, plus another (lucky) 6″ of snow!


Getting to Park City was interesting though – going over the Yellowstone Pass at around 9,000′ in a snowstorm was more challenging than we had expected, but it never required the use of our chains so I suppose it just wasn’t that bad.  Save for the low visibility at times, it was actually a spectacularly beautiful storm, making us realize how much we truly miss winter.


We finally made it to Park City, after a stop at Whole Foods to replenish the dwindling supply of decent food, we made it to Holly just in time for another snow storm the following day:


Skiing included lift lines, but Deer Valley is still pretty swanky:


Finally got those damn blue snow pants I wanted, after days of searching:

On our way out of Park City, not sure where to spend the night, we visited another good friend Emma in Salt Lake City, and got to tour her lab full of dead and living reptiles and critters.



From there we called up, on a whim, my friend from New Canaan who I had not seen in over a decade.  She invited us over for dinner and offered us a really cozy place to sleep.  That was amazing!  And she even showed us a really cool canyon waterfall. Bonus!



On our semi-long haul back to San Diego we decided to spend the night in Vegas after stopping in Zion National Park, realizing it was spring break and noisy and crowded.  $32 for a hotel was actually less than sleeping in Zion!  Sketchy hotel it was, and off we went back to San Diego the next morning.


Til next year!



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