Laura and Lee's Sierra Schuss

April 9-12, 1999

Several months ago we decided that we wanted to go up to the Mammoth area with our friends Walt and Barb and do some cross-country and downhill skiing...our original plan to go in March didn't work out, and we finally came up with this weekend in April...only to end up with Lee returning from a business trip the night before we were to leave, and Walt and Barb both leaving on business trips the day after we got home! The best laid plans...ah well. :-)

Friday, April 9

Walt and Barb picked us up, and we managed to get ALL our stuff into their Isuzu Rodeo. Of course you couldn't see out the rear window...minor detail. :-) It helped that Lee's and my ski equipment was already up at my parents' house, and Walt and Barb only have cross-country equipment, since they hadn't downhill skiied in about 5 years.

It was quite a blustery day, and we had crosswinds or headwinds the whole way. Lee brought both his Palm Pilot and his laptop, and amused himself by reading his email. Barb had made some of her yummy craisin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and put me in charge of them in hopes that they would last most of the weekend. I, of course, did not let the "Cookie Czar" title go to my head, and any rumors that I was accepting bribes or auctioning cookies are completely unfounded. :-) (By the way, Barb still owes me $1, and Lee owes me three kisses. ;-) )

The Sierra Nevada mountains had had fresh snow the day before, and were all white and beautiful. We stopped in Lone Pine at the Visitor's Center and got a great view of Mt. Whitney. (Sorry to disappoint, but Whitney is NOT the big peak - it's way in the back just about straight up from Barb's left eye.)

We stopped in Bishop to pick up fresh bread at the Schat's bakery, and got groceries too. And actually got them to fit in the car around our ankles. :-) I'm glad we only had to drive the last 25 miles that way, instead of all 380.

There was about 6-8" of snow on the ground at my parents' house, aka "Wistful Vista". After unpacking, Dad and Lee drove back to Bishop to play golf (the beginnings of the "golf orgy" - that's what we get for scheduling this trip the weekend of the Masters Golf Tournament :-) ), and Barb, Walt and I went for a walk.

We listened to the weather report and decided that Saturday looked like better weather for downhill skiing than Sunday, and decided to head to June Mtn. rather than Mammoth, since it would be less crowded. And Mom said she'd go with us if we went to June. Dad gave us some tips on how to improve our skiing...Dad is demonstrating angulation and Lee is being the ski slope in this picture. :-)

Dad and Lee watched the special on the Masters Golf Tournament, but by 9:00 we were tired and ready to head for bed...such an exciting group, aren't we? :-)

Saturday, April 10

Woo hoo, it's a gorgeous day! Blue sky, and no wind!

After breakfast we got all the ski stuff loaded in the cars, and drove up to June Mtn. - it's about 35 miles from where we were staying. We got to the parking lot...and it was almost deserted! Hey, we have the place practically to ourselves!

At June Mtn., you actually ride a chair lift to get up to the main ski lodge - Mom, Dad, Lee and I put our boots and skis on and rode up, and Walt and Barb went up and rented skis at the top. While we were waiting for them to finish, Mom and I went and did one run - Mom had new skis she'd only been on a few times, and I hadn't skiied in over two years. But it's like riding a bicycle - you don't forget how. Mom's gotten a lot faster since I last skiied with her, and she beat me down the hill.

When we got back to the bottom, we got everyone together and headed for the top, to do a nice mellow run, since some of us were a little rusty. It was a great day for skiing - the snow was just perfect - nicely packed powder that was not icy and was a pleasure to ski on. And we didn't wait in a lift line all day - it was ski to the bottom and get right back on. The weather was sunshine in the morning, though it clouded up and snowed on us a little bit in the afternoon. It just doesn't get much better than that!

Dad gave us skiing tips, and we worked on various the "Red Baron" drill, where you keep your ski poles pointed downhill since you're shooting at the Red Baron who is straight down the hill from you. Since Lee and Walt were both wearing red jackets we actually had our own version of the Red Baron to shoot at. :-) Walt said the hardest part of the drill was doing the sound effects.

From the top of June Mtn. there's a terrific view of Mono Lake, its islands, and the mountains to the north, and Mammoth Mtn. to the south.

We took a break for lunch, and I rented some demo skis for the rest of the day...can't say that I noticed a great deal of difference between them and my old K-2s, though. We did some ski swapping - I tried Mom's skis and Dad's skis, and Dad and Lee tried my demo skis.

We skiied until the lifts closed at 4:00, and took the chair lift back down to the car and drove back home. Walt and Barb cooked us a delicious vegetarian lasagna dinner that night. We were celebrating Barb's birthday belatedly (we'd originally scheduled the trip to coincide with her birthday in March), so we had chocolate cheesecake for dessert. (No really, there WAS some left after Barb and Tigger got through with it. :-) ) Mmmmmmm.

Dad and Lee watched the Masters' coverage that they had taped, but it was another 9:30 evening. Told you we were an exciting group. :-)

Sunday, April 11

Walt and Barb came out telling a story about a wild animal in their bedroom. :-) Mom has some plants in one of the windows, and her cat Kai had come into the room EARLY in the morning and started rustling around in the plants. They at first thought it was some noise *outside*, but then decided that it was inside...and thought a mouse or something was in their room in the plants...and then figured out that it was Kai *pretending* to be a wild animal. He got evicted from their bedroom. :-)

Dad made us Egyptian waffles for breakfast (just like mummy used to make), with lots of toppings like fresh strawberries, real maple syrup, nuts, and whipped cream. Mmm-mmm.

After we waddled away from the table and let breakfast digest a while, the four of us decided to burn off breakfast by doing some cross-country skiing. So we loaded all the skinny skis on the car and headed up to Tamarack Lodge near Mammoth, where they have miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, at all different levels of difficulty.

The weather was getting windier and cloudier, but we kept plenty warm skiing...for the first 10-15 minutes we were peeling off clothes. :-) We had a great time for a couple of hours skiing around the lakes - again, the snow was just perfect. Well, except that it kept sticking to the bottom of Lee's skis. :-)

We had a late lunch, and Dad and Lee watched some of the Masters' tournament live, then taped the rest and went down to Bishop to hit golf balls again. The rest of us relaxed and napped and read and had a nice quiet afternoon.

When Lee and Dad returned we were all told absolutely NOT to tell them who won the tournament (at which point we told them that Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and various other players were the winner), and they watched the rest of the tournament. (I felt kind of sorry for the winner - Jose Maria Olazabel - because it seemed like *everyone* was rooting for his opponent, Greg Norman.)

After dinner Walt, Barb, Lee and I played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, which was fun for Lee and me, since we won, but I'm not so sure about Walt and Barb. :-) Most of the questions are pretty easy if you've seen the three original movies, but some of them are just about impossible - like when they ask what course heading someone ordered, or about really minor characters whose names were never even mentioned!

But the game was exciting enough that we actually managed to stay up until after 10:00! :-)

Monday, April 12

Barb needed to get home in time to go into work for a couple hours since she was leaving on travel the next day, so we tried to get a fairly early start. It had snowed about an inch during the night - pretty cold dry stuff, but it wasn't a problem except that it had to be scraped off the car windows. We got everything loaded in the car (Walt could actually see out the rear window! :-) ), said our goodbyes and were on the road by 7:50. The mountains were mostly obscured by clouds, and had rain off and on much of the way, but the trip was uneventful, and by the time we got to San Diego the sun was shining.

It was a great weekend!

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Text and photographs copyright © 1999, by Laura Gilbreath. Feel free to link to this document, but you may not redistribute it in any form without the express written consent of the copyright holder.

Laura Gilbreath,
Last updated 4/15/99