As the snow melts away from a surprise April storm and the last of the Tahoe resorts close for the season, I can’t help but think about all the amazing days I had on the mountains this year. While locals look at me in disbelief when I say I had a fantastic season, I’m quite serious about what a great season this was for me. In the midst of Sierra’s worst snowpack since the 1970s, I managed to thoroughly enjoy myself.
As a first time season passholder, I honestly had no idea what life would be like having such easy access to the mountains. Would I get tired of the crowds and be a grumpy, picky local who only went for pure, fresh powder days? Would I know anyone to ski with? Would I get tired of skiing by myself? Would I get bored of the same runs? Would I be able to improve over the season?
Of those questions, the one I was most worried about was skiing by myself. At the start of the season I knew no one here, and my only reference for skiing solo was from a few years ago when I went to Heavenly during a business trip. I didn’t enjoy it at all. I hated riding the lifts all day by myself and not knowing anyone. But, turns out… I really enjoyed hitting the mountain myself. The beauty of having the pass really shined here. Once I was tired or had enough for the day, I could go home whenever I wanted without worrying about not getting my day’s value in. Ski for a few hours, have a beer, and call it a day.
Not long into the season, I started meeting fellow skiers through a few Meetup groups. Spending the weekends with these friends on the mountain started turning into a weekly ritual, much like bike riding was in Dallas. We started planning our weekends on Monday and looking forward to the snow all week. Having friends of various ability to ride with helped me improve my skills, until by the end of the season I started noticing a significant improvement in my abilities. What a blast it was to share the season with so many new friends.
Throughout most of the season, I’d be getting up to the mountain by 9 or 10am… but the last few weekends at Heavenly, I discovered the bliss of the first chair and fresh groomed runs. Runs that I thought I knew were totally different and absolutely amazing. You should have seen the grin on my face after rushing down a perfectly clean groomed run!
The views from the tops of the runs of Lake Tahoe continue to take my breath away. I took hundreds of photos, yet none capture the beauty quite right. Every time I was on the mountain, I was so happy and excited. The rush of taking runs and the beauty all around is simply unbeatable.
For my last day on the mountain, I decided to attempt something I’d been hearing others do… three sports in one day. As I was coming down the Gondola from a fun couple of hours at Heavenly, I put plans into motion and pulled off mountain biking and kayaking all in the same day. What a great way to transition into a Tahoe summer!
All in all, this season was everything I’d hoped for when I moved here. It’s fitting that I’m publishing this a year after I announced I was leaving Dallas. The move has been rewarding in many ways, and I’m glad every day that I put in the effort to make it happen.
I’m already looking forward to next season.