Last Tahoe Trip with Elin

Elin was hoping to go on one last ski trip with. us before returning to Sweden. Thanks to some early snow, we went for a short weekend up to Northstar at Tahoe. We rare (if ever) leave early on Saturday morning, but somehow we made it out the door and onto the mountain by 11am, which is about when we would be skiing even if we had stayed overnight.

We had a late night in the arcade after dinner. Sunday morning, we had a full breakfast and Elin helped us with our holiday card. There was some more snow on Saturday night, which made Sunday skiing one of the best days ever on the mountain that I can recall. Grace opted out of skiing on Sunday, which meant that Lucas, Olivia, Elin and I went to explore the mountain. We found a lot of fresh powder out there.

Hopefully we’ll ski again with Elin, maybe next time in Europe!

Annual Tahoe Trip with the Moons

This past weekend we made our first trip to Tahoe for the season thanks to a late winter snow storm. We coordinated with the Moons and looked into renting a house or condo, but with Thando joining the family, we needed something dog friendly. Luckily the hotel was happy to have him.

We stopped at Il Fornaio in Roseville on Friday night and didn’t get into the hotel until about 10:30pm. Saturday morning we got a relatively early start (given we were on the mountain already). It snowed all day and most of the night, dumping about 9 inches on top of a recent storm that brought over five feet of much needed snow.

Their friends Elisa and Don were also at the resort, so we had dinner together on Saturday night. Each of us got a turn with the baby, Olivia being the most successful. On Sunday, we got out early again and skied hard for a few hours on the most and best snow of the season. The powder in the glades was the best. Lucas and Olivia made so much progress this season, which was proven on the same mogul run we did a couple seasons ago. Grace is also doing great on her form.

We thought this might be our last trip of the season, but now skiing is on the table for spring break. Who knows what will happen with the snow and weather between now and then. In any case, it was a great trip with the Moons  with some of the most memorable runs of the year.

Spring Skiing in Tahoe with Kimuras and Lees

We’ve been trying to get to Tahoe with the Kimuras and Lees for a few years now. This year, we finally made it happen. We rented a great house in Northstar last weekend, which was perfect for all the families. The Lees were only planning to ski one day, and unfortunately their Olivia stubbed her toe in the morning and fractured it! Bummer.

We had some great home-cooked meals thanks to Torsten and Grace. We had some fresh snow and generally very spring-like conditions. The kids just don’t care and I was pleased they were eager to go down the hardest trail (for Northstar). Lucas might have bitten off more than he could chew, but he made it without complaint.

Next year, I think we’re going to try to go somewhere out of state. Wherever we end up, it will be fun with this crew.

Ski Week in Tahoe with Moons and Uncle Dave

The last couple of ski weeks, we went to Colorado in search of snow. However, this year’s wet weather gave us more confidence that Tahoe would work out and we got even more than we bargained for. We rented a house with the Moons in Martis Camp. Their brother, Ed, joined us and then Dave came up for the second half of the week. We ran into friends from home and school, including Mrs. Zirelli, who was both kids’ first grade teacher, and Mrs. Lawson, Olivia’s teacher this year.

We arrived on Saturday just as a storm was coming in. It started snowing and basically didn’t stop for the week we were there. The first couple days it was dumping heavy, wet snow. It cooled down after that and the snow turned light and powdery. It was the most powder I’ve skied just about anywhere. The first day was a little tough for Olivia and Lucas, but when the snow lightened up, they got the hang of it.

We skied six days straight, which is a record for us. By the end of the week, Olivia was crushing some legit black diamonds and skiing the glades. On the last couple days, Lucas also opted for some real black diamonds. He struggled a bit with a full steep mogul run, but got back on his fast groomer and skied about a third of his last run through the glades.

Grace cooked a lot during the week, so we only made it into the village on the last night. Everyone was pretty tired, but Lucas got hooked on Settlers of Catan and really wanted to play. He stayed up until 12:15am to crush me and was quite pleased with his domination (with Grace). We had a great time together with our friends and look forward to our next adventure together.

Weekend at Martis Camp with Moons

We went to Tahoe at the beginning of February with the Moons and met up again with them during ski week in Colorado. This past weekend, we went to back to Tahoe and stayed at Martis Camp, where they will be building a home. When we arrived, we were surprised at how little snow was on the ground, given all the precipitation the area had received.

On Saturday, we all skied/boarded together (minus Grace). It started out as almost a bluebird day, but after lunch a welcome storm had moved in. Saturday evening, we had dinner at the Family Barn and ran into some other friends who also went to the same pre-school. We haven’t seen them in a while, but Lucas and Julia were BFFs and it was so cute to see them reunited.

On Sunday, we woke up to a ton of fresh snow. All eight of us headed out together. The snow proved to be perhaps too much of a good thing as the kids had a rough go of powering through some ungroomed runs as we tried to make our way over to the front side of the mountain. We took a couple breaks before packing it in about 2pm so we could get back and get on the road at a reasonable hour.

Apparently Waze doesn’t understand chain control and it took us over an hour and a half to simply get past Donner Lake. It was slow going and somewhat treacherous as the snow and rain were unrelenting the entire way home. We stopped at a different Il Fornaio in Roseville on the way home, which turned out to be very nice and cozy.

Another great (and possibly last) ski weekend in the books for this season. It’s always fun to travel with the Moons and run into friends on the Mountain.

Ski Weekend in Tahoe with Moons

The weekend of January 30th, we spent the weekend in Tahoe with the Moons. The kids are always excited to spend time with Alex and Nico. We shared a really nice condo just across the street from Northstar village, which was super convenient.

On Saturday, the kids spent their first day in ski school this season. Grace also put herself in school and was in a class with just one other person, who coincidentally happened to be a friend and fellow dad from school. All the families met up at the end of the day.

The Moons are building a house in Martis Camp, so they took us to the family barn for dinner. That place is pretty amazing. Olivia did pottery while Lucas took in some Harry Potter. After dinner, Olivia and Grace got in a game of bowling (what?). We also ran into a bunch of other friends from home and Michigan, including the Uppingtons, who were in our original BMC playgroup where we met the Moons.

On Sunday, Grace took the day off from skiing and the rest of us tried to get in some runs together. It was super fun to see the four of the kids going down the mountain together. At the end of the day, we met back at the lodge, loaded up our cars and got on the road while the snow was coming down pretty hard.

It took us a while to get out of Tahoe, and thankfully we missed a 20+ car pileup just East of where we got on the 80. We all met at Il Fornaio in Sacramento for one final meal together before pressing on towards home.

Northstar at Tahoe with Julie and Albert

This past weekend was our “rain check” trip to Northstar with Julie and Albert. We had rented a house earlier in the season, which we couldn’t get out of. Albert was traveling, so they almost didn’t make it, but we’re really glad they did. On Friday after we arrived, we had dinner in the village.

On Saturday, the Olivias had a half-day lesson together as did Ellie and Lucas. Theo skied with Julie and Albert and I skied with Grace. I peeled off for a bit before lunch to do my regular runs on Burnout. After lunch, we all skied a few more runs before heading back to the house.

The house was definitely the nicest we’ve ever rented up there. There were plenty of bedrooms. Somehow, the sleeping arrangements on the first night were the same as the ski lesson groups. I’m not sure how long Albert will allow Ellie and Lucas to bunk up. They are two peas in a pod at school, which is super cute.

On Saturday, we braved the hot tub (who knows what’s in there?). We ordered out food from the village and just ate at home. Everyone was pretty tired from the day and even the adults turned in early.

On Sunday, the Lees were going to head home. We were open to skiing but decided not to. It only got down to 43 overnight, so it was probably only going to be good in the very early hours. It also turned out to be a very windy day, so I’m glad we just hung out before heading home. We took the gondola up to the Ritz-Carlton to have brunch at Manzanita. There were very few people at the resort, which made it nice and quiet (until our crew came along).

We all headed home in the early afternoon and were home before dinner time. I’m glad it all worked out and we were able to take this trip together. The kids and adults all had a great time together. Until next time!

Tahoe at Northstar with the Moons

Last weekend, we made our first trip to Tahoe for the season. We met the Moons at the resort. Unfortunately, Lucas and I were not feeling great, so he took the day off on Saturday while Olivia went to ski school. I got some runs in with Olivia, Nicholas and Mike at the end of the day. After a little aprés, we met for dinner together.

On Sunday, everyone rallied and we all skied together. This was our first time riding the lift as a family. Olivia and I went to the backside while Lucas and Grace stayed on Arrow and Big Easy. (I’m skipping over the traumatic experience of Olivia’s first attempt at a black diamond run). After lunch all together, Olivia and I got in a couple more runs before packing up and heading home.

While the snow wasn’t great, the weather was beautiful and we had a great time with the kids and the Moons. Hoping for some fresh snow before we return in a couple weeks.

Family Trip to Northstar at Tahoe

After our awesome ski trip last weekend, the kids were excited to head back to Tahoe. Grace was up for making it a family trip this time. We didn’t commit to go until Thursday because of the weather and schedules. I spent Monday and Tuesday negotiating with Lucas about ski school and he finally said, “okay, but just two more days,” which was the number of days we planned to ski.

Last weekend, I was sandwiched between Olivia and Lucas on a murphy bed in a studio condo, 2 flights up, and a bus ride away from the mountain. With Grace in tow, we somehow ended up at the Ritz-Carlton. There were so many conveniences of staying there that I have no idea if I could ever go back:

  1. It’s mid-mountain, where the snow and ski school are located
  2. The point about the ski school is actually moot, because they have classes that meet right outside the “Mountain Concierge”
  3. Said “Mountain Concierge” is where they keep your boots, shoes, etc. and place your skis and poles in the snow for you
  4. We never even made it down to the village the whole weekend, which saved me from the horrors of the bungee trampoline sideshow and the skating rink

Grace took it easy on Saturday. Julie, Albert, and Albert’s brother’s family were all at Northstar, too, so we had dinner together on Saturday night. Super apologies to the other parties sitting in our area. One party only lasted until their water was poured before requesting a different table.

On Sunday, Grace rallied for an “Ultimate 4s” ski lesson, but she was the only one, so it was effectively private. I spent the weekend skiing the same two runs on the back side. After a quick stop at the room to get my goggles, I made it back to the same lift on the back side. I was a single all weekend, listening to music, and in my own world. I got on the quad and noticed the person on the end had the same skis Grace rented. Then I noticed this person was also named Grace Rhee. Hey! I didn’t expect to see her back there, so it was a funny coincidence.

Grace called it a day at lunch time and we met up with the Sutarias, who we ran into the day before. We cleaned up, packed, got the kids, and were on the road by 4pm to make it to Lafayette to have dinner with Dave at Addy and Charles’s house.

It was a short but wonderful family trip together. Both kids have turned the corner on ski school and even Lucas is enjoying it and can’t wait for our next ski adventure. I’m hoping for a late season so we can make it happen.

Northstar at Tahoe with the Kids

Last year the whole family got a lot of days of skiing in, including Grace who started lessons at the same time as Lucas. I might have been overly aggressive when I bought passes for the whole family over the summer. Between the drought and being busy at home this winter, we hadn’t used our passes at all. Last week was “ski week” at Olivia’s school, so she had the week off (along with many schools in the Bay Area).

Grace has been “working” a lot on weekend and I anticipated that last weekend would be similar. So, rather than try to keep busy at home, I decided about mid-week to take the kids to Tahoe myself. I was a little apprehensive about being outnumbered, but we had to get these guys back on the snow.

I started out in a weak negotiating position with Lucas, who has been reiterating that he doesn’t like ski school. Somehow, he bargained me down to half a day, but they don’t really have half-day programs. I really didn’t think they were ready to ski together with me (or was it that I wasn’t ready to ski with both of them?).

The first day, I hired one instructor to take Lucas in the morning and Olivia in the afternoon, while I skied with the other. It worked out okay, but I realized that both of them just needed to be in ski school all day. Mustering every negotiating tactic I had (but no bribery), I convinced Lucas to do ski lessons until 2:30pm (instead of 3:20pm) on Saturday. Addy and Charles brought Cameron and Delaney up on Saturday morning, so Olivia did a half-day of lessons with Cameron, which she enjoyed. I skied with her the rest of the day. We went to pick up Lucas, but he wasn’t there. Apparently his instructor wasn’t feeling well and didn’t pass along the early pickup to his replacement. We skied a little more and then were held up getting down the mountain (helicopter medi-vac shut down the Gondola and the only trail down – yikes). I was quite concerned that Lucas was going to be upset with me, but he turned out to be a very good sport about it (despite being the last one).

Brian and Katie were also at Northstar all week, so we skied together that morning and then met up again for aprés ski in the village. It seemed that half of Olivia’s school was there, too, so we ran into many friends on the mountain and in the village. Lucas and Olivia capitalized on dessert before dinner, which we enjoyed with the Sugars and Kowals.

We were supposed to leave that evening, but Olivia really wanted to stay and was motivated to keep learning (she wanted to go to ski school). I had my work cut out for me to convince Lucas, but somehow I Jedi mind-tricked him into another 2:30pm pickup and he agreed to ski school. We had already checked out and packed that morning, so I had to find a new place to stay that evening.

I won’t go into all the gory details of the logistics involved in getting them to and from the mountain with all their gear. I’ll just say that if sherpas were available, I would have hired one or two for the weekend. I learned my lesson Saturday morning that you can’t get up and ready too early, so Sunday was a very early start in order to get to ski school by 8:00am. The kids were both great and I ended up picking them both up at 2:30pm so we could try skiing together.

Olivia kept telling me that she could ride the lift herself. I thought she meant get on herself, which was great because Lucas needed a hand. We all go to get on and Olivia just stays behind. She was determined to go it alone. Later I had to explain that I wanted us to ride together, which resulted in the failed selfie.

We all skied down to the bottom together (foregoing the gondola). Olivia really wanted to ice skate, so she did that while I gathered our things. After a couple of bags of Cheetos, we were on our way. I was expecting the worst to be driving back on the Sunday of ski week, but it seemed everyone had already left and we didn’t have much traffic. I broke up the drive with dinner in Sacramento and we were home by 10:00pm.

We all had a really great time together and the kids were awesome traveling buddies. Aside from the skiing and experience, I also managed to get several buddy shots with Olivia and Lucas that I hope they will appreciate for a long time. I know I will.