USA April 2010 Williams family trip
The Williams family (Rhys, Keryn, Meg & Jack) had all their stars lined up in April, the flight tickets came on sale for the spring time skiing in Tahoe / Mammoth, our ex-Oakura friend Tony Munroe was off the Russian oil rig living in Truckee (but he did smash is elbow skiing 4 days before we turned up, no mountain guide but his wife Tove showed us around) and an end of season storm was heading our way.
We flew in to San Francisco and stayed near the surf city of Santa Cruz (1 ½ hours south of San Francisco) surfing and staying with American friends Mark Hansen and Joni Martin (Oakura residents in summer) for the first 5 days before borrowing their VW pop top van for an epic adventure. It started with a surf in the morning, then a 4 hour drive to be strapping on my snowboard and riding the front yard snow pile (caused from road clearing) before the sun set over Truckee, North of Lake Tahoe. Lucky for us Squaw
Valley was only 15 mins away.
Day 0 Truckee Backyard
Day 1 - Squaw Valley was stormy so we had to stay on the lower slopes due to mild blizzard conditions, visibility was on and off but we did get to ride most of the large mountain. The kids got to do their first tree skiing and real powder runs. They loved it.
The house was full as Tony had his two girls were over from England and another US/Kiwi family from Santa Monica were also staying (6 adults and 6 kids – 2 kiwis and 4 ½ kiwis kids). The kids were outside most the evenings using up their last energy cells having lots of snow fights, making a snowman or igloos before a hardy dinner then crashing.
Day 1 Squaw Easter Sunday Meg Kensa Teah Jack
Day 2 – The blizzard hit in the night with 1 and ¼ foot of powder was on our van in Truckee. The chains were used for the first time and back to Squaw for more. I thought yesterday was heaven, this day was heaven plus plus with knee deep runs down steep tree lines.
Day 2 Squaw - Red Dog chair
Day 3 – Sunny Squaw finally and we were all over it all day. Taking the Gold Coast Funitel up to ¾ level then into the Shirley Lake and Granite Chief bowls. The great thing about Squaw is the kid’s passes for 12 and under is only US$10 being the best value for the family. At 4pm we were at the top of Emigrant chair (2652m) looking across Lake Tahoe in the distance at Heavenly ski field which we will hit the next day.
Day 3 Jack Meg Keryn top of Emigrant chair 2652m
Day 4 – A 1 ½ hour drive from Truckee takes us to Heavenly, it was sunny and all of the powder was tracked out or turned sticky, it was April. The views were spectacular with Lake Tahoe right below us and the runs were well groomed so the afternoon was true spring skiing. We drove south (3 hours) With the setting sun to catch up with our New Plymouth friends Erik and Keri and kids Liam and Flynn at Mammoth mountain.
Day 4 Heavenly Sky Express 10040ft
that is Lake Tahoe in the background - an amazing backdrop
Day 5 – Mammoth was blue-bird but with a cool windy nip in the air which kept the runs firm and fast right up to lunch when the spring warmth retuned and great runs every where. The kids enjoyed racing down the black diamond runs and hitting the terrain park and half pipe. We the parents were worried for the kids when going up the old chair lifts that didn’t have safety bars (I think we held on tighter than them). The top to bottom runs from the Panorama gondola to base station were long and tiring but up we went again.
I skied this mountain in 1992 for two days (start of my OE) and could remember the best runs were the double black wipeout chutes which Erik and I bumped our was down the mega moguls.
The day ended with what else – beers in the last sun rays at the RV camp site, a spa and then a walk up the road to a Mexican bar / restaurant for jugs of margarita’s and burritos.
5 days of skiing was over and great times were had with great families on the big mountains.
Day 6 and lots more – The next morning a few hours drive south we had all our ski gear out next to the road airing in the hot sun at Death Valley. We were waiting for Keri and Erik to catch up (van problems).
Yesterday we were freezing at 11,053 feet, to day we are cooking at 190 feet below sea level. Tomorrow we will be at Grand Canyon 7,400 feet and have pockets of ice around our campsite.
Day 7 Grand Canyon
A day later we were at Las Vegas for 3 days of having fun losing some money. Onto LA for family scream rides at Universal Studios and Disneyland. Then a 2 day drive up the coast, surfing back to Santa Cruz to relax before the flight home to end the trip of extremes.