Skiing --- 1/31/1998 - 2/7/1998 --- Mammoth Mountain, CA
Flew to San Diego on 1/28 did some work stuff for a few days. Flew from San Diego to Reno on 1/31. Met up with the other 15 people on the trip and drove three hours south to Mammoth Mountain. Arrived Mammoth around 4pm Saturday. At midnight Saturday it started to snow. When the snow stopped late Tuesday we had 6' of fresh powder. Skiing Sunday, Monday and Tuesday was a blast. Especially Tuesday when most of the trails were waist deep powder. Wednesday was a beautiful, sunny day (the only one of the trip) and most of the trails had been groomed, but there was still plenty of loose powder. Thursday I learned how to snowboard. Got a package which included lift ticket, equipment rental and four hours of lessons. By the end of the day I could get down the bunny slope without falling and I could carve some pretty extreme turns. One day on a snowboard and I was carving turns better than I could after about 25 years of downhill skiing -- even on the new parabolic skis. Thursday night it started snowing again and by the end of the day Friday we had another 2' of snow. Phil and I managed to ski all day Friday even though they shut down almost the entire mountain due to whiteout conditions and high winds. Mammoth gave half day refunds for Friday afternoon. There were only about two dozen people that actually skied all day -- at one point around 3pm we actually broke fresh trail coming off a chairlift. That's pretty unusual (especially when only three lifts are running). We still got refunds (passes actually, I gave mine to Beth since I doubt I'll be at Mammoth again in the next year), and we didn't have to wait in line like everyone else. At 4am Saturday we started a trip home that didn't get me to Ithaca until 2pm Sunday. I picked up the dogs, ate some food, and slept for 12 hours straight. Then went to work the next morning and started processing the 721 email messages which had arrived in my absence.
A great vacation if you love powder skiing (which I do). Some members of our group were a little put off by all the powder. It is much more difficult for beginners. But by the end of the week I had one or two converts to the "steep and deep" club. We ate lots of great food, played plenty of games (including one called "Give Me The Brain" -- I'll leave that to your imagination). We were delighted by Dave's helmet cam, a video camera mounted to a bike helmet, that he wore on the slopes all day Wednesday. Yes, geeks do know how to party.