Tag Archives: California

Fresh Powder in May

We got a couple more storms in mid-May along with a nice cold snap to bring fresh powder to the slopes… yay!  I was able to head up with the cats and hit Squaw the morning after each storm and even just happened to catch Granite Chief moments after it opened on Sunday:


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Marvin the Martian Lands in Tahoe

Darlene and Marvin the Martian joined Resi, Troy and Aiden for the closing ski weekend at Homewood in Tahoe this past Easter weekend:

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Joslyn’s Visit

Darlene’s niece, Joslyn, came out from Wisconsin for her spring break from school and I think we managed to fill her time here.  We visited Shark Fin Cove, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and saw dolphins while flying the drone from the sea cliffs near Pescadero.  We spent one morning to see the redwood trees at Henry Cowell State Park and a deserted Roaring Camp Railroads.  We introduced her to the sea otters at Moss Landing and got in a guided walk at Año Nuevo to see the elephant seals (lots of weaned pups at this time of year) and she and Darlene stayed overnight at the Monterey Zoo and fed the elephants.  Besides a couple of movie nights and several interesting board games, we also went up to Tahoe for three days so she could learn to ski – and she was careening down the mountain in no time!

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Sun and Snow in Tahoe

I was able to join Jon at Northstar and Bill and Kat at Heavenly for three days of skiing mid-week last week – and we had lots of sun and snow to play in.

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Quite a Bit More Snow in Tahoe

Three weeks into February and Lake Tahoe ski resorts have already received record snowfall for the month: Squaw Valley got over 21 feet this month so far and nearly 43 feet for the season, and Homewood even more at 23 feet for the month.

Crazy!  As in awesome fun! Well, except when the roads are closed due to nasty, accident-prone weather conditions – we spent one Saturday night trying to get back to the house in Tahoe Vista from Homewood.  First the lake road was closed due to numerous accidents and when we finally tried to take the long way around via Truckee (and through some crazy whiteout conditions across the meadow below Northstar), they ended up closing Brockway Summit.  After taking a break in Truckee for dinner and going back around through Tahoe City, we finally made it back to the house by 10 pm – maybe only barely before the unplowed snow on Regency Way got too deep for us to pass.

Three bountiful feet of snow overnight and many resorts had trouble opening for Sunday morning.  (Squaw and Alpine didn’t and Homewood was overwhelmed with people and only one chair lift they could run.)  That pattern of three feet of new snow repeated again and again over the month.

Short video montage at Homewood, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows over February.

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Stormy Week in Tahoe

I went up to Tahoe last week (Monday through Friday) to catch a series of storms.  Monday night delivered a couple of inches on top of the old frozen stuff.  That made for some very rough and bumpy rides off of the groomed runs on Tuesday.  However, then we got a couple of feet Tuesday night but Wednesday was windy and gusting enough to keep the upper mountain from opening at Squaw or Alpine and eventually even closed the mid-mountain lift by noon at Alpine.  It was super wet and heavy snow too and way too tiring after the previous day so I bailed mid-day.  Resi, Troy and Aiden came up Wednesday afternoon and we got another couple of feet overnight.  Thursday proved to be fantastic and Troy and I spent all day making fresh tracks at Homewood until they started closing all the lifts on us.  Sheesh!  They stayed for another day but I had to head home to prep for the weekend.

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A Bit of Snow in Tahoe

We stayed up in Tahoe for a week and a half up to Christmas and got in a few half days of skiing at Homewood.  Not a lot of snow yet, but skiable. Christmas Eve day was mostly rain, but it eventually turned cold enough to get some new snow for Christmas Day.


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Camping at Fremont Peak

A gallery of pictures here from a camping weekend (October 5-7th) with Erin, Greg, Merritt, Resi, Troy and Aiden at Fremont Peak State Park.  (Darlene had to skip it as she had just gotten sick.)  No campfires allowed but we got in a bit of hiking in this tiny little park and everyone enjoyed peeking through the telescopes on Saturday night.  Thanks for organizing, Erin!

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Frie Family Visit in Tahoe

Darlene’s brother John, his wife Sandy, and daughters Joslyn and Carlyn came out to visit in Tahoe for a week.  We were able to finish up our road trip to join them for some activities including hiking, kayaking and climbing in the trees at the treetop adventure park in Tahoe Vista.

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Things to Do Around Lake Tahoe

This activity list is intended for those who might not be very familiar with the Lake Tahoe area, but staying at our house in Tahoe Vista, on the north side of the lake.  The whole lake is a big tourist destination year round but the north side is less built up than the south side.  There’s of course lots more info available on the web.

Skiing (Downhill, Cross-Country and Backcountry)

The house is just a couple of minutes from the Northstar ski resort and about 35-40 minutes from Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Homewood, Sugar Bowl, Donner Ski RanchDiamond Peak and Mt. Rose ski resorts.  Heavenly, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood ski resorts are farther afield (60-100 minutes).

Besides the downhill and cr0ss-country skiing at the various resorts, there’s cross-country ski trails about a half-mile away from the house at the North Tahoe Regional Park as well as popular backcountry trails off of nearby Brockway Summit and of course elsewhere all around Lake Tahoe.  The end of Regency Way also provides access to snowmobile routes.


There’s a couple of snow sleds in the garage that you’re welcome to use and all other equipment (skis, snowshoes, snowmobiles, etc.) can be rented in town and skis can be rented at the ski resorts.

Dog Sledding

Dog sledding is offered by Sierra Adventures as well as Wilderness Adventures (which does it out of Northstar, Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl).

Ice Skating

There’s an ice skating rink at nearby Northstar Village as well as up on top of the mountain at Squaw Valley (accessible via the gondola).

Hiking / Snowshoeing

There’s lots of trails of various sorts all around (whether that be for skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, moutain biking or motorized travel), including directly from the house.  The very popular Tahoe Rim Trail (which circles the entire lake, interactive map) runs very near the house and the always busy (winter and summer) trailhead parking on highway 267 is nearby and even accessible via a trail from the house.  (This access trail isn’t on any maps that I’ve seen – I’ll map it out here soon.)

An easy but unusual and popular hike to recommend is hiking to and through the now abandoned Donner Summit train tunnel snow sheds – a portion of the first transcontinental railroad across the U.S.  You’ll also see the remains of the historic Lincoln Highway here – that’s right, the first transcontinental highway crosses the first transcontinental railway here near Donner Summit.  (There are also gorgeous views from here.)


There’s lots of paved biking paths (see the excellent map on/in the coffee table in the living room).  One stellar example is the paved riding trail along the Truckee river between Tahoe City and Olympic Valley.  Besides the distinct bike paths, there’s a lot of scenic highways to bike on.  There’s also a large, yearly event ride (“America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride”) that goes all the way around Lake Tahoe.  (We did it one year.)

Mountain Biking

Most of the trails around Lake Tahoe are open to mountain biking but there are some exceptions (like parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail run through designated wilderness areas).

Here’s an overview of mountain bike trails in North Lake Tahoe.  Check out the trails running from the house towards Painted Rock, Burton Creek State Park and Tahoe City.  Also try the fun Sawtooth Ridge mountain bike trails near Truckee and the epic Hole-in-the-Ground loop near Donner Summit but don’t miss the gorgeous panoramic views of Lake Tahoe from the Flume Trail.  Here’s what it’s like riding the gorgeous Flume Trail.  These guys offer a shuttle service for the Flume Trail, which is super convenient.

Northstar operates a mountain biking park in the summer.

Nearby Regional Park: Zip Lines, Treetop Obstacle Course, Disc Golf Course, Ball Fields, Playground, Ski Trails

Less than a mile of walking distance from the house (it’s much farther if you drive) is the North Tahoe Regional Park which has a disc golf course, ball fields, an extensive playground, cross-country skiing trails, and is home to a treetop adventure park obstacle course with zip lines, etc.  (For the zip-line course, just make sure you book a reservation with the right location – they have three locations around Tahoe!)

Water Sports

On and around the lake, there’s boating, kayaking, waterskiing, windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing, etc or you can just hang out at one of the beaches, including nearby Kings Beach.

(add some specific kayaking recommendations here)

There’s both whitewater river rafting as well as calm river floating available nearby.  One popular river floating section is on the Truckee River, starting at the edge of Tahoe City and running to River Ranch (where the road to Alpine Meadows meets the river).  Truckee River Rafting offers rentals and shuttle service.  Another popular spot is also on the Truckee River but east of the town of Truckee.

There are a couple of inflatable float tubes and two inflatable rafts in the garage.  And soon, I’ll have a small collection of PFD’s (life vests) available too.  Otherwise, you can rent gear at…


There are of course many fishing opportunities on and around Lake Tahoe, but also at many surrounding lakes, rivers and streams.


(list locations of holiday fireworks)

Glider Rides

Truckee Tahoe Soaring Association offers glider rides out of the nearby Truckee airport.  I gotta try this soon!

Sightseeing / Other

(list more sightseeing examples)

Emerald Bay – Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm is a popular destination at Lake Tahoe for visitors.

Squaw Valley – Even in summer, you can take aerial tram rides up to the “High Camp” up top the mountain where there’s a swimming pool and ice skating rink.

There’s gambling and concerts at the casinos on the Nevada side.

Donner Party / Emigrant Trail – The Visitor Center at the Donner Memorial State Park near Donner Lake and Truckee has a wonderful set of exhibits explaining the story of the infamous Donner Party (cannibalism!) and the history of the area and the Emigrant Trail and the building of the transcontinental railroad.  The visitor web site doesn’t provide much info but it’s well worth a visit.  The exhibits are really well done!

National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada (“The Harrah Collection”) – This is a cool place and definitely worth a trip to visit, even for non-car aficionados.  It’s super-easy to get caught up and lose several hours in this place checking out the hundreds of vintage vehicles.  It’s fun to see and learn how things evolved so haphazardly from the original notions of the “horseless carriage”.  It’s quite an amazing collection and full of surprises.

Events / Festivals

(list events)

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Hoan’s Family Visit to Tahoe

Hoan’s extended family came up to the Tahoe house for 4th of July weekend and Darlene and I were able to join them.  Six adults and six kids at the house!  Over the course of four days, we caught the fireworks at Donner Lake, checked out the nearby North Tahoe Regional Park, hiked up to the vista point on the Tahoe Rim Trail above the house (and Brockway Summit) for a sunset view, kayaked from Homewood to Sugar Point State Park (and back), hiked from Donner Summit through the old train tunnels and hung out a bit at Kings Beach.  Hoan, Samantha, Justine and Phong also gave one of the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks a try.  (One of them is just a mile or so from the house.)

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Mud and Snow in Tahoe

Troy, Resi and Aiden came up to the Tahoe house in mid-April to get a couple of last days in before Homewood and several other Tahoe resorts had their closing weekend.  Definitely spring skiing conditions with slush (and mud) at the bottom and, up top, overnight frozen snow turning too soft mid-way through the day.  But then, as they headed back to the Bay Area, the temperatures dropped and we got another snow storm Sunday night.  Jon joined me at Alpine Meadows and then Squaw Valley to enjoy a last couple of powder days for the season!

Troy got a friendly visit from a bear overnight.  He woke to find all four doors on his truck open and the evidence of a bit of ransacking from a dirty bear – so lucky it was unlocked or the bear might have broken in:


A cute little video of Pan falling asleep at the wheel:

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Return to Mammoth Mountain

I haven’t been skiing at Mammoth since the early nineties, after college, but it’s where I learned to ski in high school from nearby Bishop.  And I had forgotten what a great big and diverse ski mountain it is – though I’m sure I also wasn’t skiing as much of any mountain’s terrain back then either.  Anyway, driving to Mammoth from Santa Cruz/San Jose in the winter isn’t very convenient (given all the Sierra passes are closed) and  you have to essentially drive by many other great ski resorts to do it.  However, with an extended stay at our new place in Tahoe last week, it was easy to hop down to Mammoth for a couple of days (just a three hour drive) and make use of our Mountain Collective passes.

We got some nice, typical spring skiing conditions: overnight frozen snow, following the sun as the slopes softened up from east to west to north.  Plus Mammoth is so high (peaking at 11,000 ft), it was easy to avoid any sticky slush that would develop lower down.

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And Then a Lot More Snow

March really came through for snow in Tahoe!  We got one storm after another including some nice cold ones for some great light powder days.  I also closed on the purchase of a house in Tahoe Vista and with the help of Darlene, Resi, Troy and Aiden, we were able to put it to great use right away!  Troy’s brother Rick and his son Grayson also joined us for a few days at the… “Moose Haus”? “Moose Lodge”?  Even Pan and Hera came up for a couple of weeks.

Click through for the full gallery of pictures from our five various days of skiing at Homewood over a couple of weeks in mid- to late-March:



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A Little More Snow in Tahoe

Darlene and I joined Resi, Troy and Aiden at Homewood this past weekend to play in the much needed new snow.  Click through for the gallery:


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Long Awaited Snow in Tahoe


Finally got some snow to ski in Tahoe this past week.  Chased the storm up with Troy on Thursday night.  We had eighteen inches of powder to play with at Homewood, which was nice, but there wasn’t much of a base (like 25″), so still tons of obstacles to watch out for everywhere.  Creeks and rocks and trees and those sneaky, ski- and board-eating shrubberies!  As a result, lots of terrain wasn’t really accessible and you had to be pretty careful where you went, but there was still plenty of room for fun.

Here’s some pictures and a little video – though I really should’ve recorded some of the obstacle-dodging craziness and the digging of ourselves out of heavy, sun-saturated powder traps!

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