Each flake brings another reason to be here
Traffic trickled into Tahoe during the past few days, as tourists descended upon our little oasis in the Sierra. I tried to stay out of the mess. Being able to snowshoe to work makes this a little easier.
Like most places, it is often easy to distinguish the tourist from the local; as well as the recent transplant from the hard core local. They say it takes a few winters before you can consider yourself a local.
This will be my third. However, my last winter here was 1989-90, so I am not really sure where I fit in.
It was the winter of 1988-89 that there was record cold here. Emerald Bay froze over to the wonder of people who had lived here for decades. Frigid temperatures took hold and hot toddies were necessary around the clock.
I sometimes look back on those days in my early 20s and wonder what the heck it is that I did besides work and drink. The management at the paper was much different. We had to work M-F 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. If we were to ski, it had to be with the masses on the weekend.
Making $7 an hour at the time meant a lift ticket was not something I could easily afford. And those were the days of $1,000 season passes.
Luckily, things have changed. Passes are reasonable — cheap by most standards. And I believe you should play and work hard — something I encourage my staff to do as well.
Why be in Lake Tahoe if you are not enjoying it? In talking with tourists they marvel that people actually live here. There is a hint of jealousy in their voice, their eyes take in the surroundings … they simply wonder if their huge SUV might be better suited for the mountains instead of the freeway.
Sometimes we take for granted what we have in Tahoe. I know I did my first time here. I refuse to do it this time around.
Last week I spent a lunch hour snowshoeing through the Barton Meadow near Trout Creek. My dog, Bailey, figured out that it is a whole lot easier to let me plow a path than for her to forge her own.
Saturday I was gliding through Camp Richardson on a friend’s cross country skis. A bald eagle was perched on top of a tall, barren tree in search of prey. Mount Tallac loomed in the distance, a couple boats bobbed in the tranquil water.
Sunday I was schussing along the groomed and powder covered runs at Heavenly. I let my friend Sue, a season pass holder, lead the way as it had been years since I skied this South Shore wonder.
What a way to start a work day.
With the latest dumping of snow, I am wondering if I have brought us a winter of record snowfall. It was a wicked winter in 1906-07 when nearly 74 feet of snow fell in the Sierra. With it being nearly a century later, perhaps we are in store for something similar.
On the one hand it would be wonderful, assuming the water content is adequate to fill the lake and reservoirs downhill. And the ski resorts would undoubtedly be celebrating like every day is Christmas.
On the other hand, there can be too much of a good thing. This was evidenced by the piles of snow on Highway 50 through South Lake Tahoe. It took Caltrans a while to pick up all the white stuff, but at least as I write this the center berm is not the hassle it was in the middle of last week.
When I was here before, the top of Page A1 of the Tahoe Daily Tribune boasted — America’s year-round playground. It truly is. That’s why people endure the headaches of traveling up Highway 50 to get here.
I moved back for many of the same reasons people spend a weekend or extended vacation here — to enjoy the great outdoors.
Gawd it’s good to be back.
Kathryn Reed is managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She may be reached at (530) 541-3880, ext. 251 or via e-mail at email@example.com
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