Archive for 'tahoe' Category


Happy New Year: 2009

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a happy, healthy, productive and safe 2009. But first a few drinks and time with friends. I’m up in Tahoe with a few right now, typing away as they play on the Wii fitness games.

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Going to the Happy Beyond

I drove up to Tahoe on Saturday for my friend Bill’s bachelor party. I met up with everyone on the slopes of Heavenly and, naturally, I wiped out on my first run. I think this was the first wipe out I’ve ever had where I thought I might have a serious injury. Somehow I caught a bad edge, propellered through the air and slammed the inside of my right knee on the hard pack. Fortunately it’s just bruised and swollen. I kept snowboarding but kept it easy.

The weird thing about South Lake Tahoe is that it straddles the California and Nevada border. We stayed in a hotel right on the CA side, and walked out the front door and into Harrah’s and Harvey’s. We had a huge steak dinner and drank a lot, and then hit the tables. Or, I should say, some of us hit the tables. I did not. If I gamble and don’t put money down I win most of the time. If I do put money down I always lose.

It was quite a drunk, but overall well behaved. The married men in the group wanted to get a stripper but, counter-intuitively, the single guys were not interested. I think the bulk of us went to bed around 3AM.

Now I am absolutely exhausted but pretty content. If I ever get married (and that “if” looms larger and larger every year) I think I would do something similar to this party… Goto Tahoe and hit the slopes, hang out with friends, repeat to fade. There are definitely worse ways of going to the happy beyond.

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Tired, Sore and Satisfied

Douglas Nerad in Tahoe, 2008
Doug in Tahoe, 2008
I’m back from Tahoe. Three days of boarding, one at Sierra at Tahoe and two at the California side of Heavenly. By the end of Sunday, before we left Tahoe, my thighs would burn at the end of each run. It sounds disgusting, but it felt like I pissed down my leg it was so hot!

Every day was great, though Saturday was irritating because they closed the Nevada side of Heavenly and many of the lifts on the California side. This created huge lines, and one of the best runs, Sky Express, was closed. All was remedied on Sunday with Sky Express opened and much shorter lines. If only there wasn’t gale force winds, the day would have been perfect.

My favorite stories from the slopes, probably because I’m involved, involves Mookee. I’m going downhill probably too fast and my friend Redge was ahead of me. Unexpectedly he changed direction and I cut fast to get around him, and then tried cutting back to get back on course. I went one direction but my feet didn’t and in a cloud of snow I went down. It didn’t hurt but it was a little embarrassing with Mookee pointing at me and laughing. To my chagrin, Redge stopped to see if I was OK and hit me with a spray of snow. I thought Mookee would have an aneurism he was laughing so hard. Which is what made events five minutes later so satisfying.

I was following Mookee at a distance when I saw him go over one of the occasionally unexpected bumps on the slope that are far bigger than they look. One of his skis went to one side and the other ski went the opposite direction and suddenly he was down in an explosion of powder, tumbling, sliding way down the hill. I swooped past him laughing and yelling, “How does it feel? How does it feel, Big Boy?” He wasn’t hurt at all, but the wipeout looked so bad that two members of the ski patrol came to make sure.

The lesson: I will always have my revenge. The awesome: both wipeouts were caught on video camera! Alas, I stopped recording a few seconds before Banana Boy bounced down the slopes himself.

Of course this was a group affair and 14 of us were in two condo/cabin/unit things and we drank, ate and made merry every night. I made Meat Purse again (this year’s addition was bread crumbs) and some of my Japanese female companions made curry. I’ll eventually post a gallery of pics and Mookee has threatened to make a video of the weekend from footage and stills. After all of this I’m glad I took today (Monday) off so I could recuperate somewhat. I am tired and sore, but so satisfied. I’ve needed an escape for weeks now.

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It’s Leap Year Day!

It’s the 29th of February, a day which comes but once every four years. Enjoy it while you can! After all, it’s a Friday and most of you probably don’t have to work tomorrow. Me, I don’t have to work today and will be hitting the slopes in Tahoe in a few hours and having a good time tonight with a bunch of friends.

See you after the weekend!

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Fun at Mookee’s Expense

This is in answer to Mookee’s post about skiing this past weekend. We went up for a day trip with my friend and neighbor, Shawn, to Sugar Bowl. Shawn is new to snowboarding so I spent the first part of the day with him, teaching him the basics. Then in the afternoon Mookee and I hit some of the more difficult slopes. Since he called me out in his post to give my perspective on his two stories, here they are. Make sure to read his (link above) first, and then come back here.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Snowboarding at Night

There are many times in my years of snowboarding that I’ve travelled back to San Francisco along 80 at night and seen people skiing and snowboarding down an artificially lit slope. I never found out what resort it was nor really thought about trying it myself. Until yesterday.

The resort is Boreal and, sure enough, they are open (at least right now) from 9AM – 9PM. This is brilliant if you are, like me, a late riser and don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn so you can make the drive up for a day trip and yet still want to board for longer than a couple hours. Banana Boy and I arrived close to noon (maybe a bit after) and snowboarded until almost 7PM! After six hours with only a short break we were pretty much done. We really lucked out with the weather, too. For the last several weeks CA has been deluged with rain. Yesterday there was no rain all day until the last bit of the drive home. So we had fresh powder, clear weather, and a long day. My leg muscles hate me today!

Going down the slopes at night is a little strange at first, but a lot of fun. The only real issue was straying into the truly dark areas. Honestly, though, it was probably a good thing. When I couldn’t see what the exact terrain is in front of me was, I bent my legs more than normal to compensate (shock absorption) and my performance was actually better than in full daylight.

Boreal’s runs are a bit short for my tastes but they have some good ones. Lift tickets are some of the least expensive I’ve seen for a good sized Tahoe resort and the lines for the lifts were ridiculously fast yesterday. It’s very possible that Boreal might replace my usually day trip location, Sugar Bowl, or at least be a very solid alternative. For folks with kids they even have several short green runs and a sledding/tubing park! My recommendation? Boreal: highly recommended for day trips.

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First 2008 Tahoe Trip

Yesterday I went up to Tahoe with five friends to snowboard. It was my first trip of the season. Every year I am amazed at how much fun being up there and racing down the slopes is. Though this was just a half day it was enough to get me excited. We went to Sugar Bowl since it’s one of the closest. Usually I park on the gondola side but they wanted to hit the main lodge; I think it’s the first time I was ever there. I still prefer the gondola side…

Favorite part of the day… Watching Mookee race down a particularly steep slope, wipe out, and slide face down like a frisbee for about fifty feet before managing to stop himself. Not only once, but twice. I have to say that slope was a blast to speed down, though. I haven’t been that scared and excited since one of the first times I ever snowboarded and my friends took me down one of Kirkwood’s black diamonds. I rode it down that time on my butt. This time recklessly full speed ahead!

On the way home we stopped at Ikeda’s… They have the best freaking pies on the planet!

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4×4 Ayes

So Jason tagged me with one of these things where you answer all kinds of questions and then tag others in the hope that they reveal as much information as you do so your answers aren’t quite so embarrassing when you look at them the day after you post them. Jason’s post is a series of four answers for various personal stats. My post title pays homage to the nature of fours, his post title, the fact that I didn’t post anything for Talk Like a Pirate Day, and an old anime called 3×3 Eyes. I’m kind of proud of how much reference is in that title. :)

Four jobs I have had (current job excluded):
I’ll make these approximately in order from the first jobs that I consider “real jobs” since I’ve had far too many jobs in my life…

  1. Burger Flipper. McDonalds. My parents made a deal with me in high school that I could drive the car but I had to pay for the gas and maintenance. Not knowing what else to do I took a job in fast food just like, it seems, much of America has at that age.
  2. Industrial Drill Press Operator. Haynes Engineering and Manufacturing. For two summers I worked for my Uncle in Detroit as a drill press operator. We made many of the pumps that Detroit automakers used on their assembly lines. It was hard, dirty work but I learned a lot about honest work under the watchful eyes of my Uncle and the guys in the shop.
  3. No title. The Front Room. I don’t know if all of you are old enough to remember, but coffee shops used to be almost non-existent. There were no vente, grande, or short coffees. Certainly no frappucino sweet drinks. Despite that we were on the bleeding edge and actually had imported coffee. Ironically I didn’t drink coffee at the time.
  4. Currency Exchanger. Cekobanka. My only qualifications for this job were I could count in a couple languages and speak English natively. The job rather sucked but the people I worked with were united in their bitterness in the job and scorn for the tourists.

Four Films I have Watched Again and Again:
I’m going to divide this up into chunks of time since, really, I watch too many movies. This is probably the only part of this post where I could go on and on and on without let up, and even the answers I give will seem extremely limited. I won’t be happy with any of the answers alone…

  1. High School. Highlander. I couldn’t even tell you how many times we watched this. For quite a long time it was almost a weekly ritual. There can be only one!
  2. College. The Princess Bride and Heathers. Two of the most quotable movies in my life for a really long time. Eskimo! Another good one from this time was Dangerous Liasons.
  3. Early San Francisco. The Matrix and Starship Troopers. Although The Matrix has sort of dropped off the radar after its sequels came out and I got disillusioned with it, Starship Troopers will still come out when Mookee and I are drinking. Man, we drank a lot of Weinhards beer watching these…
  4. Late San Francisco. The Fifth Element and About a Boy. I have quite a large collection of DVDs at this point, and for some reason whenever I feel stuck on what I want to watch I keep coming to these two. There are tons of other movies I’ll watch again and again, but these two keep drawing me back.

Four Places I Have Lived:
I’ve grown up moving a lot. Comes from my Dad being in the military. Until I came to San Francisco, in fact, I hadn’t stayed anywhere more than a couple years. So here are a few of my favorites.

  1. Seoul, Korea. We lived here the first time in my preteen years. It was a brilliant time when our family pulled together. I consider my years extremely formative and can see so much of who I am today coming from those three years.
  2. Athens, Ohio. This is where I went to college. First relationships, life long friends, and loads of stories as we all started discovering our first tastes of independence.
  3. Prague, Czech Republic. Finally out of college I went to Prague. There’s so much that happened there I don’t even know what to say. So I won’t.
  4. San Francisco, California. I had a hard time picking between here and Washington, DC, but I have to choose SF. I’ve been here 10 years this month which is more than twice as long as anywhere I’ve ever lived before. For those who know me that speaks volumes.

Four Shows I Love to Watch:
This is the hardest one for me to answer because I don’t watch television. Seriously. So many of these will be “expired” shows. I think each of my shows depended hugely on their ensemble cast. There is no mistake that they are all science fiction, too. Honorable mention to Stargate.

  1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I loved this show. I think this is one of the very first American shows that had an angry black male in the lead role. It also had an angry Klingon, but that’s another story.
  2. Space: Above and Beyond. This, along with the next entry, are two shows that were given only (merely?) a single season yet I thought were amazing. S:AaB took war into space with all its ugliness, heroism, humanism, and reality. I wish they’d been given a chance to at least end the series properly.
  3. Firefly. What a show. While it started kind of awkwardly it sucked me in and didn’t let go. The idiots at Fox television made such a huge mistake in cancelling this and S:AaB above.
  4. Battlestar Galactica, old and new. I love these. I remember being allowed to stay up and watch the original series with my parents. I think it was the first show we ever watched as a family. And the new series… Well, if you’ve been reading this blog at all you know what a huge fan I am.

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation:
I haven’t had a lot of real vacations in my life. I’m not much of a vacation kind of guy. Aside from yearly trips up to Tahoe to snowboard, here are a few of my more memorable trips.

  1. Okinawa, Japan. My Dad, brother and I went to Okinawa when we were stationed in Korea the first time. My brother and I were so bloody excited to eat at a McDonalds again, much to Dad’s chagrin, but really, the whole trip was amazing. The place was so shockingly green in color…
  2. Chejudo, Korea. We went one summer break from college when I was back in Korea. The island is well and truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth and almost completely unknown outside of Korea and Japan.
  3. Oahu, Hawaii. Annemone and I visited my brother and his family when they were stationed at Pearl Harbor and went around the island. I loved visiting but I don’t think I could ever live there; too insular (which is quite an appropriate word if you know Latin).
  4. Paris, France and Prague, Czech Republic. Though part of my trip earlier this summer was for work, I did take some time off and fell in love with Europe all over again.

Four of my Favorite Foods:
I’m not really a

  1. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. For years as a kid this is what I had on my birthday every year. I will still eat a whole box of it every other week or so…
  2. Steak. Almost any kind of steak. Mmmm… meat.
  3. Chocolate covered cherries. These things are like crack to me. I’m eating some now.
  4. Lasagna. I don’t know what it is about lasagna. Amazing. Safeway makes an amazing vegetarian lasagna. I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch but this stuff is addictive. I’ve even gotten friends hooked on it.

Four of my Favorite Drinks:

  1. Jolt Cola. I wish this stuff were more widely available out here. I’d drink it to the exclusion of almost anything else.
  2. Coffee. Love it. Live it.
  3. Fermented and unfermented red grape. I love red wine, almost any kind of varietal. Also in the last year I’ve been drinking gallon on gallon of grape juice. It’s actually helped me cut the amount of Coke I drink dramatically.
  4. Coca Cola. I do still drink Coke, though. I used to drink tons of it (since Jolt is hard to find) but in the past few years I just have some with lunch. Sadly (?) I don’t even always finish the bottle I start anymore.

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:

  1. Paris.
  2. Prague.
  3. New Zealand.
  4. Asleep.

Four Bloggers I’m Tagging:
Let’s see if I can break the bad luck I have getting others to take this up…

  1. Carlos Costa at Population Statistic. Let’s see how adorkable his lists are. :)
  2. Kevin at Humble Tidbits of Vacuity. I can’t wait to hear more about his vacations.
  3. Mr. Brown at Brown That Banana. Really I just want to see what pictures he uses.
  4. Banana Boy over at Banana Land. Nothing to do with Mr. Brown’s blog. I keep hoping he’ll do one of these.
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Ikedas Pies and Burgers

I’ve previously talked about Joanie’s Cafe and Grill as an excellent place to stop for food if you’re coming home along 50 from South Tahoe. Now it’s time to talk about the place to stop if you’re coming back along 80 from North Tahoe or Reno: Ikedas California Country Market.

I was introduced to Ikedas by the Polecat many years ago after one of our trips to Tahoe. They have a grocery and a burger place and we stopped for burgers. After snowboarding all day those were some of the best burgers I’d had in a very long time and stopping there yesterday was no exception! I even indulged and picked up a vanilla malt. No disappointment there!

But Ikedas is also well known for their pies, made from fruits grown in their own orchards. It doesn’t get much more homemade than that. I picked up an apple pie that is going to probably end up being dinner tonight.

If you’re planning on stopping by Ikedas after hitting the slopes in Tahoe or the casinos in Reno be sure to arrive before or after the rush of fellow travellers around 6:30PM as Ikedas is a very popular stop. Even with the rush, though, the service is fast and the burgers are always worth the wait.

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Wipeouts Are Memorable

I’m sure you’re tired of me going on about my trips to Tahoe. With any luck I’ll be heading up at least one more time and then you won’t have to suffer through it anymore. :)

This was the weekend of toe edge. At least for Redge and Jerome. I hassled them to practice. Memorable moments include Redge swimming down the slope. Jerome’s fabulous wipeout where even the ski patrol was wondering if he was OK. My wipeout where I started somersaulting backwards down a black diamond. Stopping at Joanie’s Cafe & Grill again. Redge landing on his butt over and over again. Five foot air and wipeout into the powder. Redge’s spectacular dismount from the lift. Jerome and his friends, the trees. Me sliding on my butt for over 20 feet on the flat. “Frack!”

Ah yes, good times. Funny how the most memorable parts of any trip to Tahoe are usually the wipeouts and bad decisions.

Doug Nerad at Sierra at Tahoe

The picture is me at Sierra at Tahoe sending a picture to someone at work who was quite jealous of our trip. :)

Jerome as two entries (one and two) about our trip with a few more pictures!

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