Sunday, February 03, 2013

2/3/13 Squaw 3: Back from Squaw!

Time to update and include all the wonderful memories and stories from our final day at Squaw!

Katrina was in ski school all day, so it was just me and the boys to continue to get to know this huge mountain.

It was really warm again today, something I object to philosophically because it makes skiing conditions not-so-great, but I really really don't miss the whole frozen-toes thing of my youth.

But after a full day of ski school yesterday, and being totally "in the groove" at our new home, the boys were ready for some serious skiing! I was really impressed with Julian especially -- he still always looks like he's about to fall over, but he's brave, he likes to go fast, he tackles features with no thought, and totally, completely enjoys it.

The boys took me to places they'd been to in their lesson yesterday, including this ancient and short chairlift at the beginner Belmont terrain park.

This park ("Belmont") is so small we could all just ride the life on our own and tackle the boxes and jumps ourselves.

I wanted to learn to ride a "rail," and tried to practice sideways sliding on boxes, including this one. Unfortunately, no one told me you're supposed to enter it from the side, not head-on. I rammed right into the front of it and tumbled head-over-heels, with one ski, crashing all over the box. Ouch!

Julian saw the whole thing from the lift. Later he reported that he too had had a "yard sale" crash.


Great way to depart the terrain park: via the half-pipe.

After lunch, time for some lower runs. How about Dead Tree Run off of KT-22. I'll say! It looked deadly! The boys peered over the precipice in warranted fear. What a lovely ridge view though.

We stuck to the "easiest" way down from KT-22, which were double-blues (including my new nemesis, icy moguls).

The boys on "Saddle," from the KT-22 lift. Icy and mogul-y, but they both did great. (Julian in the red helmet and green jacket.)

I thought this was "Saddle Face," a black-diamond, but looking at the trail map I think this was actually just "Saddle," a double-blue. Still, icy moguls are no beginner terrain. Julian especially made some real leaps this trip, he's much faster and braver than he had been, if not quite as confident or smooth as Gabriel.

Even on "Home Run" back to the Squaw base and Village, there was no shortage of amusement on the side of the runs. Julian actively and eagerly sought anything different he could....if not elegantly!

I had to pick up Katrina at 3:15 and had juust enough time to make a quick run up KT-22 again, but fate -- and a snowboarder -- intervened.

At the very bottom approaching KT-22 (technically a green), Julian and a snowboarder were on a 90-degree collision course as Julian barreled down the last part of a ski run toward the lift...I saw the rider coming but figured one of the two males would back off....hah. I keep underestimating testosterone and overestimating male judgement!

Julian's skis took out the snowboarder's board -- no body collision , but it put them both down. Julian at barely 50 lbs can tumble like a piece of popcorn and not notice it; the full-grown much-heavier snowboarder took out a bunch of SLOW signs (same type that my friend's daughter hit) and was down for a few moments, stunned.

We had to wait for ski patrol to check out the situation. In a few minutes the rider was moving, and kindly apologized in a foreign accent for the trouble. Guess it helps to weigh 5 times more! It wasn't until then that it occurred to me that technically, it probably was the boarder's fault. But Julian totally should have seen it coming and slowed down. Doesn't matter whose fault it technically is when one person could/should have avoided it. Sigh. So much for my one last run up KT-22.

Katrina was done when I picked her up at 3:15, so no more "last run" with her. I didn't blame her, she'd been in all-day ski school for 3 straight days now. I sent the boys up "Expedition" lift while I picked up Katrina, but they came down wide-eyed and frustrated: "Solid ICE, Mom!" Still, I was beaming with pride that I could send my sons up a lift I'd never done and basically know that if they didn't come back in one piece, it was because they'd been tearing each other apart -- but they can ski it.

That was it! Back to our hotel condo -- really fabulous accomodations for a "hotel." I hate hotels and elevators, but there were perks: it was cleaned every day, and it was a condo, not a motel room. It had a nice balcony, a bedroom with a queen for me and two bunkbeds for the kids in the other bedroom, so it fit us just fine. And so nice to have some help with kitchen cleanup!

I decided to give the kids dinner, pack up, and make the drive home at night. While doing so, I noticed Gabriel's ski sock. Wow, he's actually worn it out. Guess we've done this whole snow/ski thing more than I thought!

Amazing how different boys and girls are. All I had to do was tell Katrina once or twice to put away all her snow stuff, pack her clothes into her knapsack, take a bath, and get into PJs for the drive back. She had a question or two, and happily made comments about her tasks as she went along, but before long, she was done. Julian -- nowhere close, but he keenly observed his sister say that she was going to pick Curious George to watch, or something, so he stepped up too.

Gabriel? Something got him into a snit, and when I was done with my shower, he was still sitting defiantly on a chair, refusing to budge, unable to recount what was the original trigger, and hadn't even started getting ready while the rest of us were done. I had no patience for this, and forced him through a quick shower angrily, after which he helped me tote things downstairs with irritation. Honestly when it's just me and all 3, especially dealing with a hotel, an underground parking garage, and swipe-cards for access every step of the way, you really do need others to carry their things. I'm tired of their constant expectation that I'm their valet. Katrina was by far the most cooperative, even enthusiastic, finding a way to carry her clothes, her snow stuff and her favorite animal all together. Her brothers?? Forget it!

Somehow I got everyone, everyone's snow stuff, clothes and skis packed in the car, with a lot of help, and we were off at about 6:45pm. I don't mind bailing early from a place I've paid for: I got my moneys' worth! We used it for popcorn, hot chocolate, tracking down Julian in the Children's Room; we took baths and changed and packed, had dinner, got ready to do. And everyone was anxious to see our acts (no one moreso than me, since I'd unwittingly learned how much Mommy-Meow-Stache means to me on our trip up...I really wanted to see her!).

But Mother Nature wasn't done with us and cats.

A stunning event on the drive home: I almost made roadkill out of a full-grown mountain lion. No kidding, a genuine wild lion ran out in front of my car. I thought for sure I would hit it, but somehow just barely missed. This was at 7:21pm in I-80 West, just before the sign that warns that Alta, CA is 1 mile away. Ironic that the trip started with a troublesome cat, and could well have ended with one too!

Despite the huge cloud of missing the family who we'd planned to do this trip with, and fretting about their daughter's injury, it was a terrific experience. It definitely opens my mind about large "glitzy" resorts -- my instincts are with the small, more intimate, less-crowded places, but who cares once you're out on a run? There's room for all. It'd take us weeks to get to know Squaw -- and without ever moving the car! I'll take it!


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