Friday, February 01, 2013

On the piste again!

Hello! I'm back so soon! Miracles do happen.

Last weekend my two favorite girlies and I headed up to Sonora in the Sierra's to ski at Dodge Ridge.  Dodge Ridge isn't as trafficked as the Lake Tahoe area - Sonora is a smaller destination area (old gold mining days), the resort area is about 30minutes up the mountain from there and just past the turn-off for Pinecrest/Dodge Ridge, east of Strawberry, is the winter road closure gate for the Sonora Pass.  Soooo - less traffic.  It's also closer to us in the Bay Area and I was pleasantly surprised to see how they've expanded the runs and added more lifts since I had been up as a young lady  26/27 a few years ago.

We were so happy to be there! The girls have been missing the snow and we didn't get any skiing in last year as CA didn't have much snow at all until late February and by then our schedule was veering in another direction. It does take at least 2.5 - 3 hrs to get to a ski destination from our house so it's not as convenient as it was in Switzerland. Yes, we were very spoiled there.

Here they are the first morning up.
We did have a few equipment issues.  Last year we bought everything at the Ski & Swap meet for wonderful, low, low prices.  Then there was the problem of no snow.  Then certain people grew.  So Kendra was in her own boots but we had to rent skiis and poles and then Rachel could not feel her feet so we had to rent boots which then had to be set for her skiis.  A bit of an ordeal for mom at times but we made it all work.  
The clouds kept hugging the mountains that day.  I made an adventure out of it as much of the time I didn't know where I was going.  The runs however are very easy to follow and as I reminded the girls - every run will dead end into either a chairlift or the route back to the main lodge. 
OK Swiss folks - note the chair lift.  What's missing?
Remember - this is the girls first time skiing in the US.  We got on the first chair of the morning ( a triple) and Kendra looked and said "where's the bar? there's nothing to keep us from falling out!"
US skiing folks - In Switzerland, there is a front bar/foot rest that you pull down after getting on the chair lift.  It's great as you can rest your feet on it instead of your boots/skiis pulling your lower leg out of it's knee socket (those of us with cranky knees really appreciate this feature) and it gives added comfort to the fact that when you are riding 50ft off the ground over rocky terrain that you won't slip off easily to your doom.
The girls spent the weekend holding on to either the center or back bar of their chair. 
 Another difference was the lift tickets.  Switzerland uses a barcoded tag or scanned card method for entry at turnstiles for the chair lifts and gondolas.  Dodge Ridge still uses the 'old' lift ticket method so I showed them how to fix those onto their ski pants.  I told them the pants are best as in the event you want to ditch your heavy jacket, you still have your lift ticket on you - we tend to keep our pants on.......
 It cracks me up to watch them ski.  Look at that identical form.  They are very much in control and I admit I question the form of their skiing sometimes except they both do the same things that make me curious and I realize they've both been through the same system in Swiss Ski School.  It comes down to different techniques and I really shouldn't question it because we passed up the family who's kids were stuck on a black diamond run and my girls just kept plugging along and were ready to go back for more.
Not to say we are great skiers but we can get down a mountain without worry of breaking our necks.
The cool thing for Mom?  My knee can't ski as long as it used to and I make it a goal to always stop before it feels exhausted - it may not on the slope but it sure will by evening.  So - I can now send the girls off to make some more runs, I head to the car to dump my equipment, change shoes and grab their shoes/equipment bag and then - we meet at the lodge when they're done, they can dis-assemble and off we head back to the hotel or for home. 
We had a great time and I'm so very, very lucky to have girls who enjoy each others company.  Seriously - I'm realizing what a tremendous blessing that is in today's world.  There may be bumps to come as they continue to grow but I thank God for this good season.


Linds said...

I am just so glad you can recapture something of your Swiss snow memories on those pistes! The girls look so grown up, Susan. When did that happen??

Judy said...

So cool you can get to a great ski area in such a short amount of time. (This coming from a midwest girl.) All the places I have skied in Colorado have the pull-down bar/foot rest thingy on the chair lifts. I admit they are nice to rest your feet on!

Hi! It's me, Julie! said...

I thought the same thing as Judy...the Colorado ski lifts have the pull over arm and foot rest. Without that, a free-fall feels imminent, right? We also have skiing a couple of hours away but my people are harder to convince having never smelled the crayola-esque smell of ski wax and heard the squeaky crunch of ski boat on snow! Sigh. I am also thankful for the sister season we are in. This moving thing has really improved the "we are all we got" sentiment around here. For better and sometimes for worse!