Reno/Lake Tahoe 2011

Looking forward to an exciting week of good skiing and cheerful company, we arrived at Reno’s  Eldorado Hotel on Sunday, February 6, just in time to watch the Super Bowl game.  We will always remember this Super Bowl as the year Christina Aguliar tried to remember the lyrics to the National Anthem.  It was hilarious.  Many of us gathered at the Brews Brother’s Sport Pub to watch the game, socialize, eat, and find our missing luggage.  Brian Durkee couldn’t imagine someone else having a ski bag as unique as his.  But someone did.  While the Brews Brother’s became a convenient meeting spot, the Roxy became a group favorite.  The girls discovered that it had 102 martini selections which were available for a whopping $5 during happy hour.  Too bad we were only there for 7 nights.  We also enjoyed the Roxy’s live musical duo that played songs of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and other singers of that era.

On Tuesday evening, Winn and Cindy Madden graciously hosted a lively party in their suite.  Brian Durkee provided his signature white smoked salmon which was a hit with everyone.    They even had a Jacuzzi in the middle of the room,  I think it was wise not to have water in it.  As it was, Randy Spangler somehow misplaced the keys to his rental car.  The next day he learned that replacing electronic keys can be very expensive and time-consuming. 

Each night over dinner at the hotel, we would discuss our many options for the next day’s ski destination.  After much back-and-forth debate one ski resort would finally win out. Or so we thought.  Somehow, miraculously, in an instant, all those long debated plans were somehow changed the next morning and off we would go to a completely different resort.  Yes, the high winds were a factor  (The jet stream actually touched the earth the week we were skiing Tahoe.)  Fortunately, there are a lot of great ski resorts in Tahoe so it really didn’t matter that much (unless your passengers refused to get out of the van once you arrived in the parking lot).  Hey, man-up, you can’t let a little wind stop you. 

The two group dinners provided in Bob Frasier’s package were extraordinary all-you-can-eat buffets.  Bob Taub would have liked to have a buffet every night.  Where does he put all that food?    After a hard day of skiing, there is nothing like trying to eat everything you can see.  Diet?  Forget about it.  We told ourselves we would just ski harder and longer the next day.  The food was wonderful and the gathering even more meaningful as we celebrated Dave Shaw’s and Jerry Peterson’s birthdays at one dinner.

The person who penned the words, “The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle,” evidently has never skied at Tahoe.  At 8,600 feet elevation, we were blessed with beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine.  Yes, it was windy some days, but we worked around that minor problem.  Oh yes, I should also mention that the slopes were icy.   We received good advice from the lift operator at Squaw Valley  who said, “Stay on the groomed and follow the sun.”  We followed his advice while skiing North Star, Homewood, Kirkwood, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.  Driving in vans of about 4 people, each van could go where they wanted to ski, but usually many of us ended up at the same place.  We were able to use coupons from Shell gas stations and Costco to secure discounted tickets on certain days and certain locations, making the skiing very economical. 

The icy conditions kept us from skiing the trees, but we had long, graceful, fast runs on the groomed areas.  As we were not really used to such fast conditions and hard snow, judging stopping distance was sometimes a problem.  We had near collisions at high speed (Marilyn Kern and Jay Emde), collisions while trying to stop at the lift lines (Jay Emde and Jack Eng), collisions because a pretty girl was nearby (Bob Frasier and Jerry Peterson).  These accidents caused a few nasty bruises and, for Bob, a trip to the repair shop to fix his “tipless” ski.  We had one serious accident (Susan Wertz).  On the last day of skiing, Susan lost her edge when she hit an ice patch, fell, and like a runaway toboggan, careened down the hill, going faster and faster until she was launched into the air and crashed on an ice-hard cat track.  She is making a remarkable recovery after spending nine days at the hospital in Truckee.   She is now recovering at home.   She is determined to be on Bob’s 25th Reno trip next year.  Way to go, Susan! 

Jim Remy was very excited to go to Kirkwood even though it was a 2 hour drive.  After skiing it for the first time on a beautiful sunny day with no lift lines, Kirkwood is now his favorite ski area.   Al Erlansen, Randy Singer, Kathy Hegtvedt and Marilyn Kern also skied their hearts out at Kirkwood.  Towards the end of the day, we decided to ski “The Wall” a double black diamond run known for its steepness.  As we got on the lift, I yelled to the operator,   “What’s the easy way down?”   His eyes got big and he yelled as we were lifted away, “DUDE, there is no easy way down!”   We did “The Wall” in fine form and still chuckle about the lift operator.

On Wednesday night, Jean Graves, Janet Hudson, Raunie Grottolo and Sandra Walker put on their bling, the guys spiffed up and we sat near front row seats at the Buddy Holly Show.  It was a musical about the legendary singer/songwriter’s life and we rocked out to songs like “Peggy Sue”, “Maybe Baby” and “That’ll Be the Day”.  As many know Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash along with Richie Valens and The Big Bopper on Feb. 3rd, 1959.  But how many of us knew that the 1971 hit, “American Pie” (the day the music died) was about the death of these 3 stars?  The show was engaging, to say the least.  For several days after the performance, Buddy Holly’s songs were running through our heads as we skied Challenger, Iron Horse and Powder Bowl runs.  “All of my love, all of my kissin’, you don’t know what you been missin’, O’boy, when you’re with me, O’boy……”  It’s been months and I still can’t get Buddy Holly’s songs out of my head.  Am I the only one?

No ski trip to Reno would be complete without trying Lady Luck at the casino.  I interviewed many in our group.  I found that Diane Mason was on a hot streak the first couple of days.  Barb Shaw told me she had variable results, up one day and down the next.  Carrie Sharp was rumored to be a big winner halfway through the week.  I heard that Winn and Cindy Madden did so well last year, the casino “comped” their room this year.  Randy Singer, Dave Shaw and Jim Remy played the blackjack tables.  Bob Frasier had a winning parley ticket on the Super Bowl and also won at the poker table.  After an exhausting survey, I  have concluded that everyone won and no one lost any money gambling in Reno.  “It seemed so easy, so doggone easy….”.  Yeah, right.  “Well, that’ll be the day……”

Even the flight home on SW Airlines was entertaining as our flight attendant/comedian/singer (not Kathy Hegtvedt) amused us with songs and  jokes.   His final joke, “How much did the pirate pay for his earrings’?”  Answer:  “A buck an ear” was met with only polite chuckles.  He then made a vain attempt to explain the joke to us which was so ludicrous that we laughed until we cried.  “Sometimes we’ll sigh, sometimes we’ll cry…”.

We are looking forward to next year’s 25th Anniversary Reno/Tahoe Trip.  Thank you Bob, for the great job you do in planning and organizing this fun- for-everyone ski trip.  “Rave On “, Bob, “Rave On”…   .                                             By Guy Moyer, Susan Wertz and Kathy Hegtvedt

Photos courtesy Susan Wertz