Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Winter Wonderland

My family was all together for the holidays which was a first in about four years.  Unfortunately, most of the right coast didn't get a white Christmas.  It was sixty five degrees when Santa came into town, and Sabe and I went for a muddy bike ride.  As much as I love cycling, it's really important for me mentally and physically to get off my bike and onto my cross country skis.  It gets my body moving side to side instead of the constant linear motion of the bike.  And, it's really fun to switch it up.  So, that's why in the days following Christmas, we booked a ticket to the winter wonderland of Tahoe, California.  In Vermont, it was thirty five degrees and raining all day long, and my sister and I had felt like we hadn't seen the sun since October.  This is honestly not that much of an exaggeration.  This pushed us over the edge and we were able to find two great mileage tickets, and we were graciously offered some places to stay from all of our good friends in the area.

After some slight hiccups, an overnight in the Chicago airport along with the rest of the world, three different final destination airport changes, about fifteen different rental car bookings, a five hour drive and two days later, we finally landed in Truckee, CA.  It was glorious.  We finally entered the snow globe land that we were craving, and we skied our brains out.  Every day in Tahoe served up the best day of skiing of our lives.  Simply put, it was incredible and such a great way to kick off 2016 with a great group of west coast friends and skiing that I've only dreamed of.  There are endless kilometers of perfectly groomed trails, most of which climb onto ridges with grand lookouts.  The nordic skiing in this area granted my sister and I access to the mountains that I only thought was possible with downhill or backcountry skiing.  The only challenge is that most of the skiing is at 6,000 feet altitude and above so my lungs felt like they were going to fall out before my cyclist arms felt like they were going to fall off.  This is unusual.  Sabe and I skied each other into the ground with a little help from our cycling friend, Katerina Nash, and our skiing friend, Kara.  I've been racing against Katerina for years, and I've always wanted to ski with her.  She's been to four Olympic games for the Czech Republic; two for cross country skiing and two for mountain biking.  It was so cool to be able to finally switch up the wheels for the skinny skis with her.

After a lot of debating if we should ever return back to Vermont, we decided that we seriously needed the rest and some more oxygen.  My sister and I made it back home just in time for our favorite Little Bellas mentor gathering of the year, the Yankee Swap.  This gift exchange is notorious for ridiculous presents, and it was truly hard to top this year.  A light up winter truck painting made it back into the fold after my mom barely escaped ownership last year.  Another gift appeared that I think is going to become an annual swap tradition, a Taylor Swift prayer candle.  In other words, Taylor Swift's face on Jesus' body.  I nearly lost it when that gift was opened.  It was incredible.  I lucked out and walked away with a big plastic bowl with little containers that attach to the edge of it.  In my mind, this is the ultimate snack center, and I love it.  I love snacks.

The skiing at Craftsbury has been better than expected the last two days, but we are getting unfortunately slammed with some warmer temperatures and rain today.  Keep the fingers crossed that winter survives okay, but, more importantly, THINK SNOW so Vermont can rebound quickly from this thaw.  Our Tahoe trip was so much fun and the best way to kick off the 2016 season.  It is really good to be back at home and breathing a bit more air.



 This is one of the best trail maps I have ever seen at a nordic area.  Royal Gorge

 This burrito saved my life after a three hour ski

 Skiing with Katerina
 Skiing with Kara and the Sybens
 Downhill skiing with Sabe's CA family

 Classic skiing with Camille up to a view of Lake Tahoe

 The infamous light up truck painting has found a new owner for the year

Schreib and Maddie ended up with the same scarf and hat combo at the swap