We woke to learn that the snow had left over a foot of fresh powder on the mountain (nearby Sugarbowl had had 32 inches overnight!), and that today would see a brief respite in the relentless wave of storm systems hitting the west of the country during March.
Although it was snowing and visibility was poor when we set out, leaving both the lake and mountain invisible, breaks in the clouds brought a surprising and prolonged spell of sunshine from late morning onwards. Occasional “wind holds” aside on lifts on the upper levels of the mountain, the majority of the ski terrain remained open, including the all-important gondola in the middle of the village. The fresh, dry, soft snow which had fallen on the groomed surface meant that appreciable bumps developed on all trails as skiers and riders turned over it. The term “powder day” was rarely more relevant in our experience.
That said, the day’s skiing was hardly uneventful. Firstly, Janet contrived to fall twice whilst standing still – that’s now three nil to me! But I didn’t exactly cover myself with glory either. Returning from the Nevada side of the mountain at 1pm we resolved to head down the run that led directly into the new Tamarack mountain restaurant for lunch.
However, if you miss the left fork leading to the restaurant, and the gondola alongside it, you find yourself hurtling towards the farther California side of the mountain, with no way back other than by negotiating a time-consuming and frustrating return via a series of long trails and lifts, taking you back into Nevada - and that’s if the latter are operational (which, at the time I needed them, was the case).
And that is what this idiot did, leaving Janet waiting outside the restaurant wondering where I had disappeared to. As I had perpetrated the same felony only last year, she soon worked out what had happened to me, and had the good sense to wait there whilst I reacquainted myself with most of the mountain before being reunited with her over an hour and a half later. My legs had started to tire BEFORE I embarked upon the additional marathon journey, so I was mighty relieved to see her waving to me at the bottom of the run!
But that wasn’t the only indignity I suffered – staggering back to the gondola for the ride back to the village my saloppettes (ski pants to the unitiated) fell down, revealing the three layers (thermals, tights and underpants) beneath. Fortunately, Janet may have been the only witness, and it certainly raised her spirits after the long, frustrating vigil at the restaurant. At least it proved that I had lost weight from last year!
Lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s cafe in the village was highly welcome =- and very late, thanks to this author. After the customary late afternoon siesta, we roamed the casino and village shops before having dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Harvey’s casino. Good food, great music, delicious margaritas and friendly service – it is not difficult to see how it long outlasted Planet Hollywood.
I’ll finish with a tip for those wanting to have fun and win each time they hit the casinos - play the penny slots! Ok, it’ll take a few thousand years for you to become a millionaire, but you’re just about guaranteed to win every time. Janet and I only discovered them at the Bellagio in Vegas last year when they paid for several rounds of drinks at the bar. Tonight we walked away with $70 from a $30 stake – that’s 233% profit, pretty good odds huh?