This Christmas was my first away from the bosom of Brevard, but circumstances convened to make it a very special one. On one snowy night the roommates gathered to decorate the tree and listen to the Nutcracker Suite. My folks sent me a loaf of stollen so I could nibble it and drink tea and miss the frenetic rush of holidays at the bakery.
East coast love
Just so quaint
The weekend before Christmas brought a mind-blowing quantity of fluffy dry snow and I had three days off to enjoy it. Even better, Thad and Jenna arrived with arms full of Trader Joe's goodies and all manner of skis, and we went out and played hard every day of their visit. Thanks to them I felt like I progressed a lot in a short time, chasing Jenna through the trees and goading Squirrel onto the black runs. We spent the evenings stuffing our faces and drinking Old Chico and hanging out with my favorite people, and Thad proudly did his first shotski. On Christmas after a full powder day at Kirkwood we celebrated by having a taco tequila Tecate Tuesday, as tradition dictates.
Just so dorky
I even found time to see the Bay clan; Tyler and I ventured out of the highlands for long enough to enjoy a holiday meal with the Nichols and Ryans, and go riding for the probably the last time this winter. Now the year is coming to a close in the best way possible. The HR job ended on Saturday and I've already started training at the coffee shop, which has been non-stop inundated with cold tourists desperate for their candy-cane mocha lattes. And I love it.
It dumped snow on Wednesday and this evening brought more flurries. After spending a couple of days on the mountain last week, with sunny skies, 45 degree weather, and lots of people out to scrape the top layer down to a glassy slick, I finally understand why everyone gets so dang excited about fresh snow. Even better, the lodge where HR is located FINALLY opened lift access to the mountain today, and I hurried out mid-afternoon for the premium perk of resort work: the ski break. It was way easier returning to the desk after being wind-blasted and snowed on at 10000 feet.
Because no new sport is fun without some extensive craigslist trolling, I scored a pair of pristine used chick skis with real nice bindings at a killer deal. They are so fast and smooth and I'm learning how to haul ass without too many consequences. Good form, cool tricks, difficult terrain? That'll come eventually, I hope.
So pretty! And not girly at all. They are named the Queen, naturally
On Monday Elen and I (and to some extent Tyler) spent the whole day at the Heave and I finally reached the point where I was experiencing more exhilaration than fear or frustration. It's really tough learning a new sport when I'm so comfortable with the sports I know. It reveals my sometimes intense narcissism: I hate not knowing what to wear, how to talk, what company makes the coolest gear, what immediately gives you away as a total fred (except in winter they're called darrells).
Fortunately I have several friends willing to aid me in the quest for legitimacy, and ruthlessly heckle me along the way.
this weekend it was raining at lake level and i was antsy as hell so i dragged tyler and katie and bert the dog up to luther pass and ran around in my new snowshoes while they skiied and it was too beautiful to articulate.
Saw this on the way to work
Pic courtesy of Merrill
South Lake is a weird and not unpleasant place. Despite being (sort of) a resort town, the kitsch is kept very isolated in the actual Heavenly village, and the rest of town isn't at all precious. It's kind of gritty and trashy and low-income, but it's beside the point to focus on the all-night wedding chapels, the conflagration of neon, the proximity to that classiest of states, Nevada, when towering over us on every side are the Sierras in all their craggy majesty, and at every sunrise and sunset the lake is awash in pink. South Lake doesn't feel very "California" in the accepted sense, because even though there's kombucha sold at gas stations and Bay Area Asians flood the town during the holidays, it's still a slow-moving, blue collar kind of place. It keeps growing on me, especially during the most recent mountain and cx bike forays, when I keep finding more pockets of national forest land sandwiched between neighborhoods and honeycombed with trails.
The view from the backyard trails...ignore the bike
Pic courtesy of mtbr
Meanwhile all my friends are stricken with snow fever. I learned how to ski last week at Kirkwood, the nearby resort beloved for killer terrain and crazy snowfall. Weather and time have prohibited more slope action but this weekend heralds snow and most likely the end of my late-season cycling.
I've fallen back into the routine of normal life, so different from camp life: going grocery shopping, forcing myself to ride to work at least once a week despite the cold, going to the library, trail running with a headlamp after work. The inhabitants of LA Ave managed through the power of Craigslist to create a very cozy home on a very limited budget. It's a pretty quiet household but the five of us sometimes convene for movies or card games. My "other house" is a lot more lively, with dogs underfoot and frequent potlucks and a group of really close-knit friends.
Now I just need this late-autumn stasis to end so I can see if I actually like this winter sports thing.