Utah, Day 7: Time Flies

The Bird had been good to us so that’s where we spent our last full day in Utah.

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We knew we weren’t going to take the tram so we parked at Creekside (parking lot 1) instead of parking near Snowbird Center (parking lot 2).

The conditions had become spring-like as the week progressed so we stuck to the top half of the mountain where the snow wasn’t completely slush. In fact, there were still great stashes of powder in upper Gad Valley and Mineral Basin. For the first part of the day, we were in search of fresh lines in upper Gad Valley, which proved to be difficult because of the rocks that were in the way.

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Little Cloud Lift

After a quick lunch at the Birdfeeder, we took Peruvian Express lift up and then took the Peruvian Tunnel to Mineral Basin. Yes, I said tunnel. SNOWBIRD HAS A TUNNEL.

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Awesome, right?!?!?! 😀

It took about 4 minutes to go through the tunnel. We spent the rest of the day in Mineral Basin.

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I tried to get a picture of Henry jumping over rocks, but I didn’t bring my DSLR and my phone camera is too slow. FAIL.

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Even though it was another great day at the Bird, I started getting bummed out because I knew we would be going home the next day. Time flies when you’re having fun.

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Our last dinner in Utah was at The Copper Onion.

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I was nervous because we didn’t have a reservation, but there happened to be two spots available at the counter when we arrived. I love watching chefs in action so I thought we lucked out. An interesting thing I noted was the number of gloves the chefs blew through during our time there. One of the chefs wore a glove over a glove and kept changing the top glove after prepping certain foods. Is this standard food safety protocol?

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Looking over the menu, I saw bone marrow, pork belly and mussels offered as appetizers; three of my favorite things! How could I say no?

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Pleasant Creek Ranch Wagyu Bone Marrow: Parsley, Caper, Fennel salad, Charred baguette, $13

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Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Parsnip, Preserved Cherries, $11

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Mussels: Creamy Black Pepper Sauce, Toast Points, $15

The bone marrow and pork belly were AMAZING, probably the best I’ve ever had. The mussels were perfectly cooked, but the pepper sauce was a little overwhelming.

We decided not to be complete fat asses this time around and only ordered one entree. 😀 It was tough because I was really interested in the poutine!

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Lamb Riblets: Warm Cauliflower and Potato Salad, $18

The riblets were fall off the bone tender and less gamy than I’ve experienced elsewhere. I really enjoyed the side salad.

For the first time in a long while, we actually had room for dessert. Usually our buttons are popping off and still, we would order dessert.

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Special of the Day: Strawberry, Grapefruit and Basil Sorbet, $3

The sorbet was definitely light and refreshing. I first tasted the strawberry and the slight bitterness of the grapefruit came through at the end.

After dinner we went on a night walk around the State Capitol Building, which is just a few blocks away from our condo.

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If you look closely, you’ll see people sitting on the front steps and on the surrounding wall. I guess it was prom night or something because we saw lots of kids in fancy dresses and tuxes. Damn, I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I graduated high school. 😥

After a week in Utah, Henry said he still prefers Colorado. Given how horrible this season has been, I don’t think a fair comparison can be made. I really do hope this season is an anomaly and I’ll get a chance to come back and fully experience why Utah has “the greatest snow on earth”. So for now, I’ll just say that I ♥ Utah as much as I ♥ Colorado.

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SLC Eats (+our verdict):
The Copper Onion, 4/5

Utah, Day 5 & 6: The Other Side

Day 5

After 3 days of good to great conditions (at the end of March, GASP!), it was due time for a reality check.

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Bluebird skies, HOT (60°), SLUSH

Adult Half Day = $76
Adult Full Day = $96

$96?! Damn. The cost of half day at Canyons is as much as a full day at Snowbird! I learned, after the fact, that the local Costco sells discounted tickets to Canyons.

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To get to the base of the mountain from the parking lot, take a ride on the Cabriolet lift, which is basically a small, standing only gondola. The view up from the parking lot got me totally pumped up…

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This pic is from winter, I swear.

We started our day with the Orange Bubble Express. This lift is pretty famous because it’s the only one with heated seats and a sun/wind visor. Ballin! I guess it’s kind of cool, but seriously, do you really need these things? Don’t be a pansy.

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This must be why my ticket cost $96!

OK, so maybe if it was like 10° and windy, I totally would’ve raved about it 😉

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I heard great things about Canyons while I was planning this trip, but I knew I had to lower my expectations a bit given how horrible this season has been. Then we came to Utah and was totally blown away by Snowbird so I figured we would get more of the same at Canyons. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. AT ALL.

Mid-mountain was slushy where the sun hit and icy in the shade. Stop and go, stop and go, was no fun. We tried to make the best of it, but it seemed like all runs leading back to the mid-mountain lifts were catwalks and slushy catwalks are pretty much the worst things EVAR. We hoped the top of the mountain would be better, but before we headed up, we had to re-energize with a waffle break.

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The waffle was OK. I was confused because some of the sugar was still crystallized inside the waffle – that’s not how it’s supposed to be right? Eating chunks of sugar was strange.

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After our quick break, we took the Ninety-Nine 90 lift to the top of the mountain. I didn’t understand the name of the lift at first, but then I realized DUH, 9990 ft is the elevation. The top wasn’t much better than mid-mountain since it was all icy. We did one run and didn’t bother going back up. I’m not sure what I hate more, ice or slush.

Based on my one day experience, I’m pretty sure I won’t be coming back to Canyons in the future. For a ticket price that is almost as much as Vail/Breck (and more than Mammoth!), I just don’t see how Canyons is worth the money, even in good conditions. Anyone who disagrees, please let me know what I am missing!

Although Canyons was a bust, dinner at Himalayan Kitchen partly made up for it.

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Himalayan Assorted Meat Platter, $12.95
Lamb Kabab, Chicken Tikka, Shish Kabab and Chicken Tandoori with Lamb Samosa

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Fish Curry, $16.95
Traditional dish made with wild Mahi-Mahi, onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and curry spices

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Lamb Vindaloo, $15.95
Boneless lamb cooked with potatoes, onion, tomatoes, vinegar and spices in a tangy sauce

We ordered “medium” spicy for the curry and vindaloo and man, they were SPICY, but good spicy, not uncomfortable spicy… though… I did contemplate ordering a mango lassi after we started eating. 😉 Everything was delicious and the lamb and fish were especially tender. My only complaint, as with Mazza, is that the prices are steep. I understand the curry was made with Mahi-Mahi, but $17 for a small bowl of fish curry is a lot.

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Day 6

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Park City’s famous Eagle Superpipe

When we checked the ticket prices for Park City, the website wasn’t updated so the prices were the same as Canyons. Not wanting waste another $96, we decided to ride a half day and then go back to Snowbird for our last full day in Utah.

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Partly cloudy – snow (mid afternoon), spring conditions

When we arrived at the ticket booth, we were quoted different prices:

Adult Half Day = $65
Adult Full Day = $80

First of all, thank you, Park City, for being reasonable and adjusting ticket prices based on conditions and late season. Having to pay only $65 was a nice surprise and guess what??? If I had paid $96 for Park City, it still would have been WAY more worth it than Canyons.

For the most part, the coverage was decent.

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There were some areas, especially near the bottom of the mountain, that had limited coverage.

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Silverlode lift

Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we rode mainly in the King Con and Silverlode zones. Park City is divided into 7 zones: Crescent, Jupiter, King Con, Silverlode/Bonanza, Motherlode/Thaynes, Payday/Town and McConkey’s. The runs in the King Con and Silverload zones were wide blues and reminded me a lot of Breck’s Peak 9 area. Despite the conditions being what they were, I actually had a good time and wished we could have spent a full day here instead of Canyons. I would definitely come back to Utah and ride Park City again 🙂

So yesterday was bad day at Canyons, but good dinner. Today was good day at Park City, but bad dinner.

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Bayou supposedly has a great beer selection, but we didn’t go there for the beer, we went for the food. Perhaps that was our mistake.

We started with two appetizers: popcorn shrimp ($5.99) and seafood balls ($6.99).

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The popcorn shrimp were OK. It was interesting that they were so lightly breaded and I don’t quite understand why the shrimp were placed directly over the sauce. According to the menu, the seafood balls are a mixture of salmon, crawfish and shrimp. The mix must have been 80% salmon because that’s all I could taste.

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Crawfish Etouffee, $12.99

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Gumbolaya (+ shrimp), $16.68

Our entrees weren’t much better. The etouffee had no flavor and the few crawfish in the dish were overcooked. The gumbolaya, on the other hand, was sooooooooo salty! The shrimp that we added to the gumbolaya were flavorless so it was pretty obvious that they were just thrown in right before the dish was plated. I could also tell they were frozen shrimp since they had a rubbery texture. Yuck.

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SLC Eats (+our verdict):
Himalayan Kitchen, 3.5/5
The Bayou, 2/5

(to be continued…)

Utah, Day 3 & 4: Bird Is The Word

Day 3

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Bird bird bird…

Today was one of the best powder days OF MY LIFE!! Though visibility was poor, the amount of powder definitely made up for it.

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POWDER, windy, zero/low visibility

The forecast called for snow, and snow it did. The Snowbird website reported 4 inches, but it felt like a lot more.

Half day Tram & Chair (12:30 – 4:00) = $68
Full day Tram & Chair = $78
Full day Chair Only = $72

After we purchased our tickets, we headed straight to the Tram, which is basically a huge, standing only, gondola. It fits about 100 people and takes 10 minutes to get to the top of the mountain (Hidden Peak). If you don’t care to have direct access to the top, save $6 and purchase a Chair Only ticket.

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At the top, we strapped in and could not see SHIT. Since it was white out conditions, we decided to ride the “easy” blue run down. Well, this blue run from the top (Chip’s Run) is relatively narrow and flat; it reminded me of Heavenly’s Skyline trail. I ride regular so I tend to freak out when my back faces the edge of the mountain. It didn’t help things AT ALL that I couldn’t even see where the edge was!

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Chip’s Run on a clear day (Day 3)

We rode a few runs on the Peruvian Gulch side, taking the Tram up every time. Another advantage of the Tram is not having to battle cold and wind during a snowstorm.

For lunch, we at Forklift, which is a serviced restaurant on the top level of the Snowbird Center. Henry ordered the Pastrami Burger ($13.75) and I had the Halibut Fish & Chips ($15.75). I thought fish & chips came standard with fries because… oh, I don’t know… the name?… but apparently at Forklift, the Halibut Fish & Chips comes with a choice of fries, cottage cheese OR side salad. UM OK. I ended up paying extra for a side salad ($5.50) because I got confused. The food was expensive but good. There are two other options if you are at the Snowbird Center and want to save a few bucks: Birdfeeder (outdoor grill) is right next to Forklift and Rendezvous (cafeteria) is located one floor down.

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Awesome name!! 😀

After lunch, we explored the Gad Valley side. At first it seemed like a bad idea since the top area was pretty icy with only a thin layer of powder. But we traveled a bit further down and found paradise. Every trail was covered with powder. I felt like I was gliding on clouds the entire time. And the tree runs in this area rivaled those at Vail! We didn’t want to leave the area so we kept riding down to the same lift (Gad 2).

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Ahh Heaven.

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Day 4

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The next day, we were blessed with partly cloudy skies. Since the storm prevented us from riding the backside (Mineral Basin) and the upper bowls of Gad Valley, we spent Day 4 in these areas.

Mineral Basin can be accessed from Hidden Peak via Chip’s Run/Lupine Loop and Path to Paradise. The name Path to Paradise should be renamed to Going Through Hell to Get to Paradise because it was another narrow trail where my back faced the edge mountain. OK, it wasn’t that bad, I’m just chicken shit. 😦

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Path to Paradise (Left to Mineral Basin) and Road to Provo (Right to Gad Valley)

If riding Path to Paradise to Mineral Basin, you can actually drop in mostly anywhere on the trail, but we tried and found that some areas near the top were icy so we stuck with groomed runs: Junior’s Powder Paradise, White Diamond and Silver Dipper.

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Two lifts service Mineral Basin (see left in picture above): Mineral Basin Express, which takes you back to Hidden Peak, and Baldy Express, which skiers can take to access the adjoining skier-only mountain, Alta.

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Henry gettin’ cray

We took a quick lunch break at Rendezvous, the cafeteria on the second floor of the Snowbird Center, and then took the Tram back up to Gad Valley.

Remember what I said about narrow trails? So I had NO problems with Road to Provo since my back was not facing the edge. GEEEEEEZ. What’s my problem?? 😦

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Anyway, as with other areas, you can drop in pretty much anywhere, but we followed Road to Provo to Mark Malu Fork. And…… Wow. Just WOW.

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Sorry, Mineral Basin, I’mma let you finish, but Gad Valley has the bestest runs of all time. Riding the upper bowls of Gad Valley was like riding down from the Summit of Peak 8 (Breck) without having to hike up and almost die from exhaustion. Win-win.

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Our last run of the day and not a person in sight. I love that feeling ♥

(to be continued…)

Utah, Day 2: Solitude

Day 2

Waking up early certainly didn’t happen. It was a half-day kind of day. Our excuse was that we only slept a couple of hours the night before 😉 We finally left the condo at 12:50 and arrived at Solitude at about 1:30.

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Half day ticket (12:30 – 4:00) = $56
Full day ticket = $68

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Partly cloudy, packed power, borderline slushy

Despite several days of high temps after a storm that dumped a couple of feet of new snow, the coverage was still decent. The first thing we tried to do was go to the summit, but unfortunately, the most direct route was closed off for avalanche control. Bummer! We decided to just stay on the right side of the mountain. Solitude is not a big mountain; I thought it was about the size of Big Bear and Snow Summit combined. The runs and lifts are short, which was fine given our limited time. Our favorite run was Eagle Ridge (off Powderhorn II Quad) to Challenger (can also be accessed by Eagle Express Quad).

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Powderhorn II Quad

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wwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

On our last run, I smiled to myself, thinking about how we lucked out with the conditions. But as we headed towards the bottom of the mountain, we encountered sticky slush! TOTAL LEG BURN! It was such a drag to have to expend so much energy just to finish our run. Perhaps using all-purpose/all temperature wax could have helped us. I don’t know. I think we’ve only used winter wax.

(to be continued…)

Is It Winter Yet?

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Mammoth Mountain, 1/6/12-1/8/12
Conditions: Spring, icy patches, minimal coverage

This is what January is looking like, folks…

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No bueno

I’m pretty sure these conditions are the worst I’ve seen and experienced at Mammoth. We tried to make the best of it, but it was difficult given all of the browns spots, rocks and ICE. My board is seriously tore up! 😦

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This is usually one of favorite runs – I love to bomb it down to Canyon, especially at the end of the day. So I’m riding down and everything was OK until I turned the corner. I, along with everyone else, was surprised by large patches of ice. People were breaking. People were falling. People were breaking and then falling. @#$*&@%. Icy crowded runs = accidents waiting to happen. I’m glad I survived with bruised knees.

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Season Opener

How did we celebrate 11/11/11?

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By taking a day trip to Mammoth for opening weekend! Yes, we actually thought it was a good idea until it was time to drive back and everybody wanted to just knock the effff out.

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Mammoth Mountain, 11/11/11
Conditions: Snow with low visibility, fresh powder, early season terrain

I have a love/hate relationship with snowboarding during snow storms. While I love cruising through fresh powder, the low visibility usually kills the fun for me. I know my goggle lens is definitely too dark for these conditions, but I used Henry’s for a bit, which has a higher VLT, and I still couldn’t see shit!

So now that I’ve experienced a day trip to Mammoth, I’ll probably never do it again. I didn’t even do any of the driving and I felt physically exhausted. Oh well, I’m planning at least one weekend trip to Mammoth every month… can’t let our season passes go to waste!

Not So Heavenly

I ain’t gonna lie.

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On a clear day, the views of Lake Tahoe from Heavenly are spectacular, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that Heavenly is horrible mountain.

I hate Heavenly.

I thought I didn’t give it a fair chance in 2007 so I visited again this past weekend. Big mistake. This trip just reinforced my hatred.

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On Friday, about 75% of the mountain was closed due to high winds. I know I can’t fault the mountain for high winds, but give me a fucking break. The highest lift (CA side) we were able to take was Powderbowl, thus we were basically confined to a small area the same size as the West side of Mt. High!! Good thing Henry and I both have Epic Passes because if we had paid full price, we would have been PISSED.

Saturday was A LOT better, but only because there was a foot of new pow. The weather conditions in the morning were basically the same as Friday and yet most of the lifts were actually open. I just don’t get it. Anyway, we had a really good time on the Nevada side. We went down some nice tree runs below the Stagecoach lift and I didn’t even mind the skier tracked pow because it was soft enough to carve through.

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After a quick lunch at East Peak Lodge, we wanted to go to the top of the mountain so we went up Dipper Express and made our way to Sky Express. As we were about to get in line for Sky, the staff announced that they were closing the lift. WTF, seriously? Sky being closed meant that we were stuck on the California side AGAIN. This is exactly why I hate Heavenly so much; it truly is a bitch to traverse the different areas. From NV to CA, you have to take a few lifts and you can bet your ass that there will be catwalks involved. From CA to NV, you better pray to the Heavenly Gods to keep Sky open, otherwise, just forget about it – YOU’RE STUCK!

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Can’t take this guy anywhere

AND why is it that Heavenly doesn’t rope off areas that don’t lead directly back to runs? We went down into the trees off of Cat Track (CA side), got stuck in more than knee deep powder and had to hike over a snow covered trench and up to Maggie’s run! Damnit!

I’m usually sad when snowboarding trips end, but I was eager to leave Tahoe on Sunday. Since it had been snowing, we spent the morning shoveling snow and putting on chains. I had been checking the road conditions since the night before and decided that taking the 50 would be the best way home (instead of the 395) because chains were required for a shorter distance.

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Our drive home started innocently enough. It was snowing, but we had chains on so we were fine. After driving a mile down the street, we came to a complete stop. I kept checking the road conditions for the 50 to see what the deal was, but there was no mention of any accidents or road closures. And because we were slowly inching along (no joke, 9 miles in 4 hours), we stayed put. After 5 hours or so, it was finally announced that there was a traffic hold for avalanche control. I seriously wanted to punch something!!! It was so fucking frustrating to realize that not only did we waste 5 hours FOR NOTHING, we still had a good 10 hour drive ahead of us.

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I just want to go home!!

So we back tracked on the 50, took off the chains and headed to the 395. This began the scariest drive of our lives.

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We just couldn’t catch a break. We were constantly battling Mother Nature whether it was snow and zero visibility or heavy rain and high winds. After 15 hours of HELL, we were finally home.

So yea, Henry and I won’t be coming back to Tahoe anytime soon, that’s for sure.

To end on a good note, check out what we made for dinner: juicy lucy with pepper jack and caramelized onions. So damn good!

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Bigger Is Better?

I was really excited to board at Vail. And why wouldn’t I be since Vail is so often described as “Epic”, “Amazing” and a “Big Mountain”?

My first impression of Vail was that it is a skier’s mountain. There were LOTs of catwalks and moguls, which as a snowboarder, I found very annoying. Vail is indeed a very big mountain and because of this, it seemed like 75% of their runs were ungroomed or skier tracked; Practically every run that we went on, regardless of the “groomed” signage, was very bumpy. Vail says that they have “the most groomed terrain on this planet”, but based on my experience, I would have to disagree with that claim.

To me, Vail’s saving grace was the abundance of awesome tree runs and Blue Sky Basin. For great tree runs on the front side of Vail, check out Game Creek Bowl. We spent an entire afternoon in this area!

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If it weren’t for Game Creek Bowl, I would tell everybody to skip the front side entirely and go directly to Blue Sky Basin, where it truly is “like nothing on earth”. Riding through fresh untouched pow definitely made me love Vail.

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See you next year, Colorado ♥

Loved

The highest lift at Breck (Imperial Express) takes you to about 12,840ft. Think this is the top? Think again. To get to Peak 8 Summit, you have to hike up a vertical distance of 160ft!

The easiest way to get to Imperial (for a snowboarder who doesn’t want to use the T-bar :P) is to get to Peak 8 Base and ride up Colorado SuperChair.

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Then take Frosty’s Freeway to Chair 6.

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From the top of Chair 6, ride down to Imperial Express.

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And voila!

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Hiking to the top was seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do IN MY LIFE. Not only did I have to battle the elevation (it was hard to breathe up there), I also had to withstand the force of 30 mph winds. I almost flew off the mountain 3 times!

About half way up, Henry gave up and said he couldn’t make it. Even though I really wanted to give up too, I kept on going. I was determined to make it to the top!

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And I did it! Once I made it to the top, I basically just threw my snowboard down and collapsed from sheer exhaustion. I got myself together and sat for about 5 minutes looking out into the distance, just taking in the whole experience. I was really happy that I made it to the top, but also sad that Henry wasn’t there with me. Before I could sulk too much, I saw Henry walking up. 🙂

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Flowers die. I don’t wear jewelry. Chocolates are meant to be eaten every day. The only gift I wanted was to be together at 13,000ft on Valentine’s Day ♥

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Oh, Colorado!

This year’s Colorado trip started the same way as last year’s.

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We flew into Denver International Airport (DIA), picked up our gear/luggage and hopped on the Colorado Mountain Express (CME).

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After the two hour shuttle ride, we arrived in Breckenridge and checked into Pine Ridge Condominiums. So, why do I like Pine Ridge? Well, mostly because of this…

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Riding down to your condo after a long day is HEAVEN.

Pine Ridge may not be “ski-out”, but the Snowflake Lift, which takes you to Peak 8 Base Area, is just up the street. You can either walk there, or if you’re lazy like us, you can wait for the bus at the bus stop right outside the complex.

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Besides the excellent location, Pine Ridge also has reasonable/budget-friendly rates and helpful staff. I was able to use their meeting room while waiting for the shuttle to pick us up and take us to Vail.

Anyway, once we settled in and unpacked, we took the bus (Gray Line) to City Market. Since I planned our meals before we left for Colorado, shopping for ingredients was a breeze. Carrying our groceries home, on the other hand… well, this is what saving money by not renting a car looks like…

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If you’re considering not renting a car and you need to go to the market, rolling duffel bags (or any kind of rolling luggage) are your best friends!

During our stay in Breck, we made:

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a. Chicken Enchiladas
b. Chipotle Turkey Chili
c. Rib-eye Steaks w/ Mini Cheddar Potato Skins

I made sure to pick tried and true recipes that were quick and delicious. The last thing I wanted to do after a long day of snowboarding was slave in the kitchen.

Last year, Henry and I suffered the symptoms of altitude sickness: headaches, nausea, light-headedness and shortness of breath. This time around, I was more prepared. I made sure to keep myself hydrated and didn’t experience one single symptom. As for Henry, he didn’t listen to me when I repeatedly told him to drink more water and guess what? He felt like shit the first night/second day. Doesn’t he know by now that I’m ALWAYS right? Damn!

Our first snowboarding day was spent at Keystone. It was not a very good day. The snow was a bit sticky, the runs were bumpy and they also closed the base gondola due to high winds. And we missed the bus back to Breck so we had to wait an hour and half for the next bus. And when we finally got home, I noticed that the knob on one of my BOA boots was missing and without it I had no way of tightening that boot. Good thing Josh at Mountain Wave was able to fix my boot in less than 2 minutes for only $10.

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After a lousy first day at Keystone, we hit up Breck and man, the snow was SO MUCH BETTER. We spent much of the first day around Peak 8. My favorite runs on the bottom half of Peak 8 were Spruce, High Anxiety and Rounders.

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During the next few days, we pretty much covered all of Breck. Surprisingly, my favorite area was Peak 10! I say surprisingly because last year, I hated Peak 10 because the runs were icy – we did one run and then headed back to Peak 8/9. This year, we went down almost every run on the front side of Peak 10 and they were all so fun and fast.

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I also liked the runs at Peak 7. They weren’t as challenging as Peak 10, but still fun nonetheless. My favorite run was Wirepatch.

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We usually don’t go out and explore the town during snowboarding trips, but since we didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day (it’s overrated anyway!), Henry and I went on a date on our last night in Breck.

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Downstairs At Eric’s was perfect for us because we were in the mood for pizza and I was able to catch the end of the Kings game. We ordered the sweet chili wings, “garbage” pizza and chicken fried steak.

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I really loved the chicken fried steak; it was so moist and tender! The crust of the pizza was interesting. When I ordered the garlic wheat crust, I really didn’t expect actual minced pieces of garlic in it – what a nice surprise since I LOVE GARLIC!

We passed up dessert at Downstairs at Eric’s because I wanted to see what else Breck had to offer. About 2 or 3 blocks down the street, we found this cute ass place: Crepes a la Cart. The smell was so damn intoxicating, I just had to order a dessert crepe. There were many choices, but I finally decided on the Turtle Sunday.

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SOOOOO DELISH! My only complaint was that they didn’t give us enough ice cream! But in retrospect, maybe this was a good thing since it was really cold outside.

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So, after 5 days in Breck, we left for Vail. We were really sad to leave, but we were also excited to check out Vail and see what all the hype was about.

To be continued….

Board Meetings

Mammoth Mountain, 1/20/11-1/23/11
Conditions: packed powder, spring-like, bluebird skies

First meeting of the year! 🙂

Executive Board:
Cherry
Doug
Kat
Henry
Art
Gertie
Mark

Agenda:
We pretty much covered the entire mountain during our 3 days of boarding. By this I mean we spent equal time at Eagle, Canyon, Mill and Main. Usually, Henry and I like to stay on the Eagle side because
– we usually rent condos in that area
– one of my favorite runs happens to be (Upper) Goldhill to Slot to (Lower) Ricochet – via Cloud 9 Express Chair
– Canyon and Mill are usually way too crowded
– it takes a lot of effort to get to Main unless you start there

I found some new runs that I really love on the backside of Mammoth! Either start at the top (via Panorama Gondola) and take Upper Road Runner or start at the top of Chair 23 and take Skyline to Upper Road Runner. From here you can cut across to go down Arriba to Chair 14. Or you can board Upper Road Runner to Santiago/Santiago Bowl and down to Chair 14. Both are fun speed runs! LOVE THEM!

Click to zoom

Noteworthy Items
Check out this creepy picture. I know I’m short, but damn, I look like a little kid here…

Subsequent Events:
I will be heading to Colorado in TWO WEEKS (5 days in Breck, 5 days in Vail)!!!!!!

Snow Days

epicpass

My Epic Pass arrived in the mail today! Woohooo!!!!

There have been a few early storms so I’m seriously stoked to get out there and board. I’m hoping to head out to the local mountains this weekend. As for the rest of the season, my Colorado trip is booked and Mammoth in January is pretty much set, but everything else is tentative. Check out my schedule:


I can’t wait!!!!

Totally EPIC

The Epic season pass has just become more.. EPIC???!!!!

The pass, on sale now for $599, offers unlimited/unrestricted access to six mountains: Vail (CO), Breckenridge, (CO), Keystone (CO), Arapahoe Basin (CO), Beaver Creek (CO) and Heavenly (CA/NV). Depending on the weather, Henry and I gleefully break out our gear from the hostage of cob-webs as we attempt to ride fresh tracks in December. Then we die a little bit inside as we are forced to pack up/store our gear in April and anxiously wait all summer/fall for the next season to begin. We aren’t sponsored pro-snowboarders and we’re surely not loaded with cash, so we don’t have the luxury of being able to travel south and essentially board year-round.
Transportation + Lodging + Lift tickets = $$$$.

Well, the Epic pass has now provided us with the “endless” solution: it can be now used at Las Leñas resort in ARGENTINA!

Yes, that’s totally EPIC!

Keystone, CO

Breckenridge, CO

Heavenly, CA

Great Escape

A weekend in Mammoth is never enough. It’s always depressing when we have to pack up and go home. I wish I won the lottery so I could stay up here for the whole winter!

The conditions were spring-like this weekend: hard-packed surfaces in the early mornings that turned into slushiness in the afternoon. This was due to temperatures reaching 40-50 degrees during the day (which is super HOT!) and cooling down to 20s at night for the past week or so. Despite dying from the heat while waiting in the lift lines, I was more than pleased with the beautiful clear blue skies and low winds. You win some, you lose some, right?

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Us at the top with Henry’s friends that we met up

We stayed in the Bradley building of Summit Condominums (#246), which is about a 5 minute walk from Eagle Lodge. We found a pretty good deal and booked our 1 bedroom/1 bath condo through 101 Great Escapes. While this was definitely a better experience than the one I had two weeks ago, there were still a few issues with the condo. Being on the 2nd floor, we had to walk up three flights of stairs from the underground parking garage to get to our condo. When you’re exhausted from a full day of boarding and fueled by only a few hours of sleep (or about half an hour in Henry’s case), the last thing you want to do is climb stairs. It would have been nice if the website stated which floor the condo was located, though I’m not sure how much this would have swayed my decision at time of booking since this was the cheapest and best looking condo we found. Best looking was determined by the pictures provided and as I first walked through the condo, I realized that the pictures on the website made the condo look nicer than it really was. I didn’t mind this too much at first because everything seemed clean, but the kitchen was HORRIBLE! All the dishes/utensils/cookware were dirty, and by dirty I mean I found food particles and grease stains. I didn’t go on vacation to clean someone else’s mess!

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Despite the dirty kitchen, we still cooked our meals as usual. I used two recipes from the Cooking Light magazine that I recently bought. Both recipes happened to have bacon; bacon makes everything better, doesn’t it? I did change the recipes slightly, such as using 2% milk instead of non fat and adding more cheese, so I guess I wasn’t really “cooking light”. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with extra cheese. 🙂

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Spicy shrimp and grits

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Bacon, ranch and chicken mac and cheese

March Madness

March is definitely going to be a crazy month! This is what I have going on: Mammoth, Vegas, Mammoth .. in that order. Usually, I really look forward to sleeping in on the weekends, but I realized this morning that I won’t be able to sleep in on the weekends for the next three weeks. And by sleeping in, I do not mean getting into bed at 6am and sleeping until 12pm (likely the scenario in Vegas).

I haven’t been to Mammoth yet this season, so I can’t wait! It’s even more enticing since Mammoth has been getting dumped on these past few weeks (or this entire season practically). The weather has been quite cooperative; with all the snowfall we’ve been getting in So Cal, you can even go as far as to consider the conditions at the local mountains (Big Bear and Mt High) as being “great”. The weather man predicts that a snowstorm will hit while we’re in Mammoth this weekend. The last time I was there during a snowstorm, I was able to board all the way down to the gondola from my condo! AWESOME!!

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Now, I just hope that the Vons in Mammoth has King’s Hawaiian Bread in stock because I’m dying to make my delicious hawaiian bread pudding.

9,600 ft.

Even though Mammoth is always awesome, I’ve always wanted to go snowboarding outside of California (Nevada side of Tahoe doesn’t really count). So, when Southwest Airlines launched their $30, $60, $90 promotion last year, Henry and I jumped at the opportunity and booked a trip to Colorado instantly. Round trip ticket for $120? SCORE! After much deliberation, we decided to forgo the big pricey resorts like Aspen/Snowmass and Vail for Breckenridge. This decision was based partially on the outrageous cost of an SUV rental: $600. To save about $300, we used the Colorado Mountain Express (CME) shuttle service to get to and from Denver International Airport (DIA). This meant that we relied solely on public transportation while in Breckenridge, which was fine since Breck’s “Free Shuttle” system was easy enough to navigate and very efficient. However, when you have 10 bags of groceries and a 24 pack of water to carry, not having your car can be quite a hindrance. We made our grocery trip work by taking a rolling luggage with us!

We stayed at Pine Ridge Condominiums (#6B), located right on the Four O’Clock run. The condo itself was better than I expected – we had stainless steel cookware and a great knife. It really is the little things in life that matter! 😛 We had two options, book through Expedia or book directly through the condo website. The condo website provided a rating system from silver to platinum to help guests gauge the general condition of the condo. Compared to Expedia, the equivalent condo in price booked through the condo website would have been a “silver” – no renovations within the last 5 years. We weren’t thrilled with the few options that we had on the condo website so we decided to take our chances and book through Expedia, especially since it was actually slightly cheaper to do so. By booking through Expedia, the worse case scenario would have been getting the exact condo we expected, but at a cheaper price. Taking our chances paid off because we ended up in a condo that was considered “gold”, which would cost $300 more if we booked through the website!

Poor lighting, I know.

The town of Breckenridge sits at 9,600 ft. above sea level. At high altitudes, reduced air pressure and lower oxygen concentration decreases the amount of oxygen that enters your bloodstream which, for some people, causes the onset of altitude sickness. The day we arrived in Breckenridge, Henry was already experiencing a few telltale symptoms. I didn’t have any symptoms so I thought I was in the clear for the whole trip. Boy, was I wrong. I totally forgot that all the literature I read up about altitude sickness stated that symptoms were usually worse the 2nd day at higher altitude. And like clockwork, we woke up the next morning with pounding headaches and shortness of breath. Henry also had some nausea and light-headedness. We had planned to start our day early and head up to the mountain at 9:30am, but we didn’t get out of bed until 10am because we felt like shit. To save that day from being a complete waste, we decided to go to Keystone for their “twilight” boarding (2pm-close/8pm). Keystone/Arapahoe Basin is about a 20 min bus ride (take the Swan Mountain Flyer/black line) from Breckenridge. Even though only the front side of the mountain stays open for night boarding (starting from 4pm), the runs were great.. and long! I didn’t get bored from the green and blue runs as I had expected. It was actually perfect since I was able to challenge myself to go faster.

I love feeling like I’m the only one on the mountain!

A huge part of our trip, as with all snowboarding trips, was cooking our meals, which explains why we had 10 bags of groceries. We do this because: 1) we love to cook, 2) it saves money, 3) it’s much healthier than eating hamburgers/hotdogs on the mountain. Our favorite meals were the cheesesteaks that we made for lunch, parmesan crusted pork chops (Giada’s recipe) for dinner and the spaghetti bolognese (with arriabata sauce) that ended up being lunch AND dinner.. for me at least.

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Aside from the pounding headaches, our trip to Breck was fantastic. It snowed the whole time we were there, which some would consider a bad thing since that usually means low visibility. But to me, any snow is great.. I ain’t complaining! And its true, the snow in Colorado is different. The snow is really light and dry unlike the wetter snow in Southern California (due to the humidity). My only gripe about Breck is that there are 4 Peaks: Peak 7, 8, 9 and 10 and manuevering from peak to peak can be difficult at times. We tried to avoid that as much as possible by spending one day on Peaks 7 & 8 and another day on Peaks 9 & 10.  

I can’t wait to go back to Colorado and check out the other resorts, but I’m shooting for Utah next.