Forget Day Lift Tickets!

Forget Day Lift Tickets!

A Ski photo by jonnyivers 116 views

Sometimes in life you reach the so-called "fork in the road" and are forced to make a decision that significantly impacts the ensuing years after. This moment came for me while living in the Midwest for two years without skiing a single day. The Colorado ski resorts were only 8 hours away but my work situation prevented me from such trips. At the end of these two years, the opportunity arose to leave and choose a new direction (and location to live). I said to myself, what would I do if I was filthy rich? The answer was clear; I would live in a ski town and ski every day. So, I moved to Lake Tahoe immediately and bought my season pass (happily forgoing my usual time-intensive methods of searching online for discount Sierra at Tahoe lift tickets or cheap Alpine Meadows lift tickets for my weekend warrior trips). My goal for the season was to be on the mountain every day.

So what happened? I won't describe in this article how awesome the powder skiing was or how amazing the views were (you have to go to Tahoe to understand these things). Instead, let me tell you what I learned and why I believe everyone should live in a ski town at least once in their lifetime.

The way in which I used to experience the mountain was not unlike most snow tourists. My ski vacation was planned weeks or months ahead of time. I would arrive in town praying that it would snow enough to experience a powder day and that the conditions would permit the mountain to open the ski lifts. The main point here is that the success of my trip was left to chance. This all changed when I moved to South Lake Tahoe. Not only did I have a season pass, but I lived within walking distance to the Stagecoach Lift at Heavenly resort which meant that nothing was stopping me from accessing the mountain on a powder day! On non-powder days, I didn't have to go up the mountain. Nothing was left to chance because I would just check my favorite Tahoe weather blog every night and I didn't have to even leave the house if the conditions weren't acceptable.

Another thing that changed as a result of living on the Lake was that I came to know the terrain like the back of my hand. In past seasons when I would only buy between five and ten Lake Tahoe lift tickets over the course of the entire winter, I didn't have much time to explore the lesser-known terrain. With a new found knowledge of where to ride when the snow was deep, every powder day was better than any day I had previously experienced. This meant that the conditions were steep and deep with nobody around to steal my tracks! This was skiing at a whole new level.

Back in my weekend warrior days, I thought I was in pretty good physical shape. The truth is I didn't have anywhere near the amount of endurance that I had built up by the middle of this season as a local. Before living here, I could ski one day from open close without a problem. However, the next day on the mountain was sure to be pretty tough in regards to soreness. This season changed all of this as I built up the strength to ride multiple days in a row regardless of the conditions. At one point, I was on the mountain 14 days in a row! In addition, when the snow was deep and the skiing was strenuous; I was able to ski from open close while the day skiers from out of town were too tired to continue after lunch time. This meant more powder for me and less people in the ski lift lines!

The ability to be located nearby the ski resort when the snow conditions are right, the knowledge of where to go when the snow is deep and the strength to ride extended periods of time add up to a priceless winter experience. I passed up an opportunity to make more money than I had ever made before in my lifetime to move to Lake Tahoe. It was worth every penny that I did not earn. I highly recommend that anyone who considers themselves to be an avid skier/snowboarder spend at least one season living in the mountains even if it means taking a temporary pay cut.

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