Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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Eric and Loi were so kind as to set up a fantastic ski trip at the Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe. Either they are incredibly good planners or we were extremely lucky, as the whole event was filled with serendipity around every corner.

We left absurdly late on Friday evening -- I seem to recall it being after 10pm when we finally got on the road -- and arrived around 1am on Saturday morning. Traffic was a bit heavy on the 680/80 interchange as holiday travelers were getting out of town, but other than that there were no problems. Though at first I figured we were leaving *too* late, it turns out that leaving any earlier would have just ensnared us in more traffic.

Upon arriving we got a taste of just how perfectly located our cabin was: the entire view out of the cabin's back window was filled with the gleaming snow and purring snow machines of Gunbarrel, an imposing black-diamond slope. All that stood between our cabin and the slope was a parking lot and the lodge. It quite simply wasn't possible to get any closer to the resort than where we were located.

Bright and early the next morning we headed next-door (note: perfectly located) to a fancy hotel to rent some skis and get discounted lift tickets. With skiis over our shoulders, we tromped in our oh-so-graceful boots to the base of the hill. From there we went up the Gunbarrel Express, back to the Nevada side, and basically all over everywhere.

That night we went into town to grab some food and gamble, though we were all very tired. One of our comrades (alas, I can't remember his name) taught me the ropes with Craps, and amazingly I managed to walk out with a net gain of $12 whole dollars. Yee-haw!

The next morning we headed up the hill and skiied all over once again. Though we had good weather the first day, we had great weather the second. Additionally, we learn that later that evening the Olympic torch will be coming through town and will be handed off to the next runner at, of all places, Heavenly Ski Resort. After finishing our skiing (the last run I took the beforementioned Gunbarrel: though I managed not to die on the moguls, I can't say it was a whole lot of fun), we dropped off our skiis and awaited the festivities.

Strangely, the beer was flowing freely, and it was all Coors Light. While waiting for some of the skiiers to finish their run, I sat down at the bottom of the mountain with the crowd gathering for the Olympic torch. I saw a group trying to get pictures taken, and I naturally volunteered to be their photographer. For my efforts I was rewarded with a cold can of Coors Light. After dropping off my skis I dipped my feet into the jacuzzi where a bunch of scantily clad boys and girls were celebrating a 21st birthday. To consumate the occasion they were drinking copious amounts of, you guessed it, Coors Light (in their festivities they even offered one to me).

Anyway, after the Olympic celebration, we headed sprinted to a nearby restuarant and managed to get a table at the last second, beating the rush leaving the event. It was a great dinner, and a great finale to a wonderful trip.

There was an insane crowd dining halfway down the back of the Nevada side. After waiting a long time in line (though not as long as it could have been, because one of the cooks apparently had an unclaimed burger that he was trying to get rid of, which I gladly took), we went to war for a table. It turns out this it was a war of attrition and patience, where everyone "vulched" over tables, waiting for others to leave. Basically every table had a queue of people staking claim to its future use, made this war more one of attrition, where many people simply ate their food or ran out of patience during the wait.

Our table never did free up, though a vulch-vacuum opened up as a neighboring table's claimants got bored and left, and that second table's occupants took pity on us. At about that same time, the snow started coming down very heaviliy, reducing visibility to about 20'. Not in the mood for blind-skiing, we decided to just ignore the angry glares of our appointed vultures and enjoy the war... [more]
(Coming soon)
This picture was taken in absolute, bitter cold. As the gnarled tree in the foreground attests, it is incrediably cold, magnified by the quick wind all around. Immediately after taking this picture, my camera turned off and would not turn back on until it had warmed back up. Likewise, my fingers instantaneously became cold after taking them out to snap the picture, along with the entire rest of my body soon after. So, I hope the picture was worth the pain.
Heavenly, along with the rest of Lake Tahoe, is situated right on the California/Nevada line. But a more interesting and immediately appreciable division is Lake Tahoe to the west, and the Nevada valley to the east. In some locations, it's possible to look down into the snowy Lake Tahoe on the left, and then into the Nevada desert on the right.
(Coming soon)
As the torch-bearer approached, a group of skiiers burst from the trees with lit flares to lazily loop back and forth down the slope in a winding trail.
The second day we were there turned out to be the day the Olympic torch was to be handed off from one runner to another. Most people went to the bleechers to watch the stage, but I (in my sandles) wasn't in the mood to troop through the snow too far. However, it turned out that I was standing right in the path of where the torch-bearer would run. Thankfully my urge to take a picture overcame my urge to trip him... :)
(Coming soon)

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