Taming Tahoe’s snowscapes

North America

Michelle Creux


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The view of lake Tahoe from the observation deck at Heavenly resort. Pictures: Nicky CreuxThe snowman we built at Heavenly after an epic snow fight.Tiernan Morrissey, 10, lies in his tube while waiting for the go-ahead from a Northstar resort employee to slide down the slope.Heavenly resorts gondolas make their way up the slopes.

Lake Tahoe - As the gondola pulled out of the station and the ground began to drop away the excitement ratcheted up.

As we slowly made our way up the mountain all I could think was I was about to play in snow for the first time. I felt like a child at Christmas.

During a visit to my sister, Nicky, who lives the US, she decided the trip would not be complete unless we saw some snow. It was autumn so we headed to the mountains.

We went to Lake Tahoe by bus. The lake is on the border of Nevada and California and is a popular tourist destination in summer and winter. The lake is also famous for its casinos, but we had just been to Las Vegas so we were a bit tired of gambling.

The bus trip was memorable. As we made our way through the mountains the views were breathtaking and when we saw cabins covered in snow I was blown away.

Some of the residents had to dig tunnels so they could leave their cabins. It was a whole new world, one I had seen only on Christmas cards and in cheesy Christmas movies.

We were lucky because it had snowed quite a lot before we got there but not while we were there so we got to have fun without the inconvenience.

We were staying with Nicky’s friend, Dawn Morrissey and her two boys, Keaghan, 12, and Tiernan, 10. Dawn had rented a cabin to celebrate her birthday. She and the boys love skiing.

I had obviously never been skiing before; my sister had but she thought it would be better if I didn’t risk it because of a knee injury I had picked up last year.

We were going to slide down the slopes on tubes instead, which sounded like fun to me. It sounded like fun to Tiernan too. He decided to join us instead of skiing with his mother and brother.

There are a lot of ski resorts in the area. We went to Heavenly, which lived up to its name. It is a resort on the California side of the lake.

We all went up the mountain in the same gondola. We stopped at the observation deck to take photos and enjoy the gorgeous view. Then we climbed back in the gondola and went up to the lodge. There we split up.

Dawn and Keaghan took a ski lift while the three of us went to book our time for tubing.

Unfortunately, when we got there it was fully booked for the day. We were left with a disappointed 10-year-old who we had to entertain for four hours. We went into the lodge to get some hot chocolate.

We chatted and came up with a plan. We were going to have an epic snow fight and then we were going to build a snowman. We found a quiet place with great snow and proceeded to fling it at each other with great enthusiasm until we were wet and all out of giggles.

Then we started on the great snowman building project. Luckily we had a 10-year-old as a consultant. I don’t think we would have got very far without him. There is an art to building a snowman and we had no clue where to start.

While we were gathering snow and rolling it into a big ball that would eventually be the base of a our snowman, our consultant found a small slope and slid down it. He created a slide. It was awesome. We took a break from our building to behave like kids and slid down the impromptu slide for a while. Then we carried on with our mission.

Eventually, we finished our snowman, finding eyes, arms and buttons for it. We were busy congratulating ourselves and smiling at the photos we had taken when our consultant informed us that we had to build another to keep ours company.

We created a smaller companion. Then it was time to meet the others. We had a great meal at the foot of the mountain.

The next day we went to Northstar ski resort. This time we were lucky and we managed to book a tubing session.

Tiernan took a break from skiing to join us on the slopes, he joined his family later to get a last bit of ski time in before we left Lake Tahoe.

Tubing is fantastic. You are given a tube which is then attached to a steel cable. While you are lying on your tube you get pulled up the slope. Then you wait your turn and when it is safe you slide down, and when you get to the bottom, pick up your tube and begin again.

We laughed and whooped with joy as we slid down the slope. We laughed at the others too and watched those skiing pass us as we waited our turn. It was great way to spend a couple of hours.

Nicky and I then left the mountain and were just about to grab a table at a restaurant to wait for the skiers when we got the call: Dawn had broken her wrist. Our ski trip to the mountains ended, like many others, with a trip to the hospital.

If you plan to go skiing make sure you have travel insurance.

Saturday Star

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