The last time we were in Lake Tahoe, the weather was much different. It was warm, sunny, and we were wearing bathing suits while enjoying stand up paddle boarding across the lake. Fast forward three years and its nothing but snow, snow and a whole lot more snow. We knew Tahoe was getting a big snow storm, but we didn’t know it was going to be the storm of the year! With multiple feet in the forecast, we kissed our warm weather goodbye and began making our way across California. Our gas stop at Donner’s Pass was more than we signed up for, as we left with two new sets of chains and a knowledge of the California chain laws.
We pitter-pattered across the pass, experimenting with how to even put the chains on in the first place. After a few initially difficult tries (pinned to a small pull off on a very windy and snow-covered highway), we committed to getting dirty and properly installing the chains.
Our home base for the week was Coachland RV, a perfectly situated spot for our daily jaunts to Squaw and Northstar. We woke up the next morning to 1’ on the mountains and took advantage of the surprise Bluebird at Heavenly – it really does have the best views. Thankfully, our Burton gear really proved itself to be versatile, as we’ve hit some serious weather swings during our time on the road. After some pizza and live music at Base Camp Pizza Co., we came home for some R&R. In an effort to explore as many of the Tahoe mountains as we could, we spent the next day at Northstar, waiting for yet another snow storm.
We were beyond excited when we woke up the next morning to a blizzard, so we headed straight for Squaw. Our tired legs lasted half a day and we knew we wanted to rest up for all the snow to come – which is exactly what we did. That night, we rested our legs and worked out our stomachs with (hands down!) the best Caesar salad both of us have ever had at Cottonwood, a slightly removed, quaint and friendly restaurant in Truckee. It was absolutely nuking snow (it was a blizzard), and we may have been some of the only people on the road, but it was worth it.
Mother Nature sure was busy that night after dropping another 2’ on top of the already 1.5’ Tahoe got the few days prior. We made our way back to Squaw that AM, but unfortunately, the entire mountain was shut down due to search and rescue, as well as avalanche control. Instead of fighting the crowds at Alpine, we made our way to Park City, as we were meeting up with a close friend who was flying out to see us.
Without trying, it seems like each week has “themed” itself. Last week, we were making new friends and connecting with strangers on the road. This week, it seems like we were really putting our winter driving to the test. We checked the forecasts to make sure we were not going to be driving in a blizzard, and all was well until we reached ¾ of the way across Nevada. We were instantly hit with a full white-out blizzard, not a plow in sight and at least 40 miles until the Utah border. With visibility only 10’ in front of us, we slowly made our way to the safest pull-off where we could accurately assess the situation. We found out that the snow was stopping once we hit Utah, so we powered through for the next 40 miles and really gave our brains a workout. Needless to say, beers that night were much deserved.
Yes, we are chasing powder across America, but we were beyond excited when we realized we would be timing our arrival to Park City perfectly with a solid 8” overnight storm on Saturday night. After faring the crowds on Saturday, we hit the town and enjoyed some libations at High West Distillery, followed by some competitive UNO and wine back at the Airstream. The next morning, we awoke to that promised 8-10” of fresh powder, grabbed a lift at 9 am and spent the entire day exploring the mountain. Unfortunately, we were having so much fun at the Canyons side of the mountain, that we missed the gondola back to Park City and had to grab an Uber instead. Word to the wise: make sure you know what time the lifts closes.
We will be finishing our time in Utah at Snowbird with another close friend and then hitting the road back to Colorado as we begin the last few legs of our journey. We’re looking forward to some fun upcoming shoots we have planned in Keystone!