Stuntman And Lover Of Cheese

by Dan Bostonweeks

A Dirty Dozen

Well, this last weekend was my last trip for snowboarding in Tahoe this season. I got twelve days of riding in this season starting in January and I feel like I improved a lot. Unfortunately the last month or so where I should have been improving the most I was plagued by an ankle injury that kept me from pushing too hard. Keith and I went up on Saturday and rode at Kirkwood again. This late in the season the backside was closed, but it was fun any way and the snow was pretty good. We got a start on some high black runs that were really icy and way too steep for my tastes that early in the morning. I ended up skidding down most of it and then shakily getting down the rest. After a few easier runs I had my confidence back. At that point the snow also warmed up and started being less icy which was nice. At one point I was doing well and coming down the run I sprained my ankle on when a skier turned right into me as I was moving away from a lift pole. I had no choice but to turn toward the pole or collide with him. I turned and then had trouble navigating so I didn’t hit the pole and tweaked my ankle, again. It didn’t hurt as bad as it has in the past and was fine by the next morning. I still got tired because I was over-compensating with my quads for my ankle so we left a little early and headed to South Lake Tahoe for the night. Keith and I decided to check out a hotel that is owned and run by a professional snowboarder, The Block by Marc Frank Montoya. The setup was everything you’d expect from a place that caters to snowboarders, from the music playing in the courtyard to the DJ spinning in the lobby that night. The rooms were equiped with board pegs, a boot/glove drier, and a PS-2. Two things the room could have used were coat hooks either by the board pegs or by the front door to hang our jackets on and some way to hook an iPod (or other portable music player) to the boom box in the room (we would have had our own speakers, but they were non-functional when Keith got them on Friday). The Block is definitely catering to a party crowd and on the particular night we were there some of the other guests were up until about 4:30am. While that normally wouldn’t bother me as I can sleep through most anything the running around and banging on doors to get into rooms was a bit annoying. If you want a quite place to stay (and I think they even say this on the web site) you should go elsewhere. I think the rate they charge for rooms is great though and I’ll be checking them out next season. Oh yeah, and young woman working at the desk both days was incredibly hot and very nice. Always a bonus and incentive to go back for sure. On Sunday we decided to go to Alpine Meadows in North Lake Tahoe. The drive up from South Lake Tahoe on CA-89 is amazing. I can see why the road closes easily, it’s a winding and mountainous adventure, but well worth it for the views. We started off the day on a lower course and while the snow was very icy it was, as Keith put it, predictable because it was uniform. I was pretty tentative on it because for me there is still a lot of new snow conditions that I’ve never ridden on before and I feel not as comfortable because I don’t want to fall (again with the tentative nature due to injury). After that we took a chair up to the summit. At the lift line there was a sign amongst the others that said “Limited Visibility.” They were not kidding. We pretty much rode the lift into a cloud and we could see maybe 50 feet out, but even then it was really hard to make out any details. Once we were strapped in it was hard to see where the drop off was. I took it slow again because I really couldn’t see where I was going. By the time I got out from the low visibility my quads were burning, but that got better as I rode normally. We then noticed that Scott’s Chair was open and decided to ride it up so we could get at some of the backside runs. This is where things got sucky. I didn’t know where I was going but I did know that parts of the backside were closed and if I took a wrong turn I’d be hiking out. Coming down a traverse I lost where Keith went and mis-judged my position. I ended up biting an edge and slammed chest first into the icy and hard lip of the traverse. As I lay there, wind knocked out of me, I was witness to about a dozen people skiing by and not one stopping to ask if I was okay. I eventually got moving and met up with Keith. I wanted to keep going so we did about three more runs. Unfortunately my confidence was shattered at that point and I kept falling on traverses because I was being too tentative in my motion. I fell once more getting off the lift when some dick had his ski pole tips pointed straight at me with his back to the lift. I think that I twisted my right knee a bit, but it didn’t really start hurting until I got home. Keith and I made it a half-day and called an end to our Tahoe season. I will now rest up and then get back in the gym to prepare for New Zealand. Over all it was a great season. I learned how to snowboard and I got a lot better than I thought I would. I feel like I didn’t push myself enough at the end of the season, but I’d rather have done what I did than injure myself more and not be able to go in August. There are a lot of places I’d like to go back to in Tahoe, Alpine Meadows for sure, Sierra-at-Tahoe since I only did green runs there, Northstar-at-Tahoe to do some of the more advanced runs I wasn’t able to do before, and maybe Heavenly and Squaw but they’re still very pricey. I’d also like to try Mammoth next year, but we’ll have to make a long weekend out of it.