Shredding some POWDER at Sugarbowl!!

Norden Travel Blog

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After the horrible storm the Bay Area was having all week, I began to worry about the snow conditions up in the Sierras??  Me and my friends had planned on going up to the snow on this particular weekend because that was the only day it would fit any of our schedules.  Now mind you, the down pour that started at the beginning of the week posed an excellent outlook for us this weekend.  But, for the storm to continue all week, was very worrisome.  I SO did not want to get snowed in or worse be in an awful predicament.  It didn't help that friends who wouldn't be joining us tried to prevent us from going (that's nice they cared!).  So, the last 48 hours leading up to our departure, I frantically kept looking at the weather report, on tv and online, to make sure roads weren't close and what the wind speed was up there on the mountains (lots of snow with lots of wind equals WHITEOUT-Zero Visibility produces DANGER, don't want that!).

  I was at work in the hospital on my break, the night before, checking the weather channel: 90% chance of snow with wind up to 10-20mph and snow showers in the late afternoon. Whoo, we should be all good to go!  The plan was to get there early and leave early, maybe even right after lunch.

I've been snowboarding for a while, and my routine usually is the same.  The night before I usually work, and I work a swing shift (3pm-11:30pm), which means I normally don't get enough sleep prior to hitting the mountain.  This occasion wasn't any different.  I was both excited and worried at the same time, so I had a total of NO hours of sleep.  And I'm not exaggerating, I put my head on the pillow at 1am but my eyes would open and close periodically cuz I would toss and turn looking at the clock.

  I think on one occasion, on a previous trip to Lake Tahoe, I never even laid down. I just got ready after worked and watch tv until I had to leave.  But this time around, I really tried to get some rest, but I couldn't.

My alarm went off at 3:45am and I got out of bed to woke up my sister (Racquel127) to get ready.  By 4:30am our friend Ron arrived with his H3 Hummer!!  Cool ride, btw!  Loaded up the tank with our boards and other equipment and we were off to pick up Tessa (Ariestrekker) in Hayward, Ca. where she was leaving her car for the day.

  As soon as we got Tessa and her stuff, we headed over to the only Starbuck's that was open at this hour off the freeway in San Lorenzo, Ca.  Surprisingly, we all got some coffee except Racquel, I still don't know why she passed on coffee this early in the morning??  I probably shouldn't have had any coffee because the rest of the drive I couldn't sleep.  Tessa can sleep anywhere and at any time of the day even if she drank 5 cups of espresso!  And Racquel was pretty much knocked out the whole trip.  For the first hour maybe, there was alot of chattering among the 4 of us, but after a while they fell asleep while Ron was driving and I tried to sleep.

The drive up north on I-80 was actually pretty calm.  Hardly any cars except a few here and there trucks and cars with your occasional skis and snowboards strapped to their roofs, like we were.  On the way, after about 2 hours, we stopped in Auburn, Ca. for our infamous McDonald's breakfast (not the healthiest, but satisfying enough).  While we had breakfast we were discussing how the road conditions were not what we expected, no rain and no traffic, great so far!  We actually saw a little bit of the sun starting to peak through the clouds!!  We kept our fingers crossed and hoped for the best!  After breakfast, we were off again, rejuvenated!

From Auburn, we reached Sugarbowl in about an hour, with no traffic, no rain and no snow showers.

  What we did encounter was some beautiful scenery.  The snowcapped mountains and trees are always a site to see!!  It doesn't matter which resort I go to, here in California or out of state, or even in another country, snow is nature's sugar on top of everything!!  Just makes you feel good, or maybe it's just me?!  We got to Sugarbowl at about 9:20am and the resort opens at 9am, so we made great time and got some great parking!  We quickly unloaded our snowboards and changed into our necessary boarding gear- boots, helmets, gloves, ipods, and in my case hinge brace for my left knee (about 3 years ago, I tweaked my left knee on a my first snowbarding trip to Whistler).  Funny thing is while we were all suiting up and Tessa saw me putting on my brace, she remembered she for got to wear her knee pads!!  She always does that everytime we go snowboarding, which means she had to unlace her boots all over again to put the knee pads on, SAFETY first!  Suiting up took about 30 min before Ron says "I need to use the bathroom again!"  We made our way to the gondola that would take us to the resort.
  We pre-bought our lift tickets at REI at a discounted price ($5 less) so we were prepared!  After a pee-break for EVERYONE, who knows how long we'll be on the slopes, we were off. . .

The very first time I got on a snowboard was maybe about 7 or 8 years ago down in Southern California.  I took one of those 1-2 hour lessons just for the basics.  I loved it!  I've never skied before, but I fell in love with snowboarding.  Don't get me wrong, it was terrifying but the adrenaline rush was very appealing!  One would think, after that experience, I would have bought a snowboard the very next day.  But I really didn't buy my first and only board till about 4 years ago, an investment I truly enjoy!  So, over the years, I liked to think I've progressed into good snowboarder, not an expert and maybe not even intermediate.

  But I can keep up with the BOYS!!  I wish I had started early, younger. . . but better late than never.

The lifts at Sugarbowl were both slow and fast.  It's always nerve-racking when getting off the lift.  No one ever wants to fall.  That just slows everything down and is really embarrassing!  As long as no one touches me, or flails their arms all over the place (sister!) I'll be fine.  I think I only fell once or did I just lose balance, all I remember was it wasn't a smooth landing getting off the lift that one time.  Then, strapping on the snowboard is really tiring, but all part of the sport.  The snow conditions up on the mountain were most excellent on this particular day.  Powder all day with the sun shining upon us!  Loved it!  The trails were not crowded either so we got to go as slow or as fast as we wanted.

  Call it shredding, call it carving, (your basic "heel-toe" move on a snowboard) whatever you call it- as long as it's that beautiful powdery snow, it's awesome.  Racquel liked to call it "making smiley faces".  It makes you HAPPY!  It sure did make me happy and everyone else too.  At the very top of one of the mountains, we took our time taking pictures and enjoying the spectacular view.  Then down we would go, shredding the clean white snow and laughing, whooping and hollering.  Great fun, good times.

We even took our time taking pictures of each other going down the mountain, trying to get that perfect action shot.  I guess not enough time though, cuz Ron completely missed taking the shot of Tessa in her moment of glory, carving the snow!  She'll just have to do it again next time, easier said than done huh Tessa? J/K! YOU CAN DO IT!! No Fear!!  Anywho, we got some really good runs of the mountain before we had lunch.

Here we are!!
  We were famished by 12pm and scarfed down some burgers and chips and nachos, and snicker/twix bars for sustance before hitting the mountain again.  Tessa and Racquel sat this run out (exhaustion was creeping up on my sister, poor thing!).  So they hung out in the lodge while Ron and I decided to try a trail we haven't before, a trail that would lead us to an almost vertical drop in front of the lodge.  Unfortunately, we took the wrong right turn at the top of the mountain, encountered some plateaus, waist deep snow and ended up on the other side of the mountain!! Man, was that tiring!!  We had to take another lift up and retrace our route making sure not to ended up the wrong way again!  Sure, we ended up behind the lodge but didn't end up on the vertical trail!  We called Tessa to come up with us one more time (my sister was done for the day!), before we called it quits.
View from the gondola
  We took our last ride up the lift with Tessa taking the trail to the left and me and Ron taking the trail to the right hoping we would ended up on that short vertical drop (how hard was that to find, really?) and meet Tessa at the bottom near the lodge.  Yeah, no luck, we realized later that we needed to take a different lift to catch that vertical trail, oh well, next time!

By the time we peeled off all of our gear, packed it up and loaded the H3 it was 3:30pm.  We got an early start on the mad rush to go home. The resort closes at 4pm so we didn't catch any traffic at all.  We were down the mountain and in Auburn for a coffee break at Starbuck's again by 4:30pm.  Still no snow showers or rain. Most excellent, I thought!  We were exhausted, but still had the time and energy to grab dinner in Vacaville, Ca.

at BJ's Brewery, yum-my!  The only time we got any rain at all was when Ron made his drop off stops for Tessa and for Racquel and I.  All in all, it was fun-filled snow-crackin day!  Until the next time

leo30dragon says:
It's the Christmas Tree lift that you need to take to get to the vertical drop in front of the lodge. I accidently took Lewis n Juan Carlo to this short black diamond trail. Great pictures!!!
Posted on: Jan 29, 2008
RacquelT127 says:
see I told you it would be a good blog.. i was tired and semi-injured and of course didn't want to be broken and waste my already paid trip to Whistler.
Posted on: Jan 28, 2008
ted332 says:
Wow! Great blog!
Posted on: Jan 28, 2008
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Here we are!!
Here we are!!
View from the gondola
View from the gondola
Racquel,Me,Ron(behind Tessas helm…
Racquel,Me,Ron(behind Tessa's hel…
The spectaular view from up top!
The spectaular view from up top!
Tessa and Ron chillin at the very …
Tessa and Ron chillin at the very…
here I come
here I come
Shreddin. . .
Shreddin. . .
here comes the sis!
here comes the sis!
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photo by: Bellarena