Our group of 24 people arrived in Reno, Nevada on February 26, excited to ski together in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We had a comfortable bus ride of just over an hour to our home for the week, the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. The rooms were especially nice, as they were all 1-bedroom suites, with ample room for our members to spread out.
In the morning, the group met for breakfast and made plans for our first day of skiing at Heavenly. The Heavenly gondola is only a short walk away from the hotel, so we all got there easily. Since it was Sunday, the mountain was a bit crowded with weekend travelers, but lift lines were not extreme, and it was no trouble finding a table for our group at lunchtime.
That night, we enjoyed a pizza party at the hotel, where we all got a chance to get to know the new members and reacquaint with old friends.
For day two of skiing, 14 of our trip participants boarded an 8:00 AM bus to ski at Kirkwood, CA, which is generally steeper and more challenging than Heavenly. Two people opted to ski cross-country, so we dropped them off about a mile and half from the resort. It was a warm, bluebird day and not at all crowded! We had a nice group lunch on the patio, and our cross-country skiers also made it in time to join in. The rest of the group had a great day skiing at Heavenly.
Our third day of skiing was to be at Northstar, also in California, this time with 19 participants, including our two cross-county skiers. Temperatures were again in the 50s, without a cloud in the sky! The mountain has a nice variety of terrain and is very scenic. Neither the mountain nor the restaurants were crowded. The snow became a bit sticky by 3:00 PM, so we met up for apres ski on the patio, while waiting to board the bus back to South Lake Tahoe. One absent-minded trip member brought the wrong skis down from the mountain, so we bought a case of beer to wait out her gondola ride back up and down. The time passed quickly!
Wednesday was a “day off” for about half of the group. While the die-hard skiers tackled Heavenly, the rest of us had a spa day, snowmobiled, or explored the lake shore and bustling neighborhood around the hotel. In the evening, after dinner, we gathered in the hotel breakfast area to play games, hosted by one of our participants. It was great fun, and made for a memorable experience!
Our second-to-last day was spent further exploring Heavenly, in slightly cooler weather. We celebrated two of our trip participants receiving their green cards, and had a wonderful, elegant group dinner at the top of Harrah’s, with a beautiful sunset view of the valley.
On Friday, our final ski day, we were reminded that it was indeed still winter! High winds and low visibility caused about half the group to stay inside, while the most intrepid skiers ventured out. Later, we gathered for a “use up the leftovers” happy hour in the hotel breakfast area. We had a very early bus departure scheduled for the next morning, so most participants went to bed early. A small group preferred to stay up and headed out for a late dinner followed by a magic show. Our flight home was slightly delayed, but we made all connections and arrived back in DC with good memories and new friendships!
-Brenda Mejia, trip leader