Thanksgiving in the Sierra’s

Thanksgiving is a genuinely nice US holiday – people flock together and cook and have dinner with their friends, family and loved ones, and most places – shops and restaurants – actually close early in the evening (about the only day that happens). For an ‘alien’ as myself it doesn’t bear any deeper meaning or tradition (just like ‘Sinterklaas’ on December 6 doesn’t mean anything to the locals), but of course I’m happy to rise to the occasion and adopt the local habits. But to beat the system (and the travel/traffic congestion), I had the dinner-with-friends-and-loved-ones on the wednesday night before (no turkey though but delicious tuna a la A.), and started traveling on Thanksgiving Day itself.
Destination: eastern Sierra’s. Party: Ayatola Hombre et moi. Our goal: ski/ride the crap out of Mammoth and Tahoe.
Our Thanksgiving dinner then consisted of a venison burger in Lone Pine. The weather in the Owen’s valley was magnificent on friday, the views and mountains gorgeous, and the skiing on Mammoth Mountain was pretty decent: plenty of snow, be it of the ‘packed powder’ type, so we mainly did the groomed runs. Friday night we drove over 395 towards the Carson valley and cut over to South Lake Tahoe.

Saturday morning: a massive dump of fresh powder had fallen and was still falling out of the sky. A powder day! Heavenly was… well, heavenly, and we were happy I had upgraded our rental car to an Outback, which did great on the snow. Tree skiing (e.g. on the Skyway Glades) is one of my favorite Heavenly pastimes but we had to constrain ourselves since there wasn’t quite that much base of snow yet on the slopes, resulting in some ugly scratches on our skis/board – and some unfortunate crashes. That night we felt brave and decided to drive home over the Luther and Carson passes rather than dealing with slow traffic on highway 50. The flashing signs warning to carry chains etc seemed a good deterrent for most since almost no one else took our route (89 to 88) and we were back home in a little over 5 hours.
Sunday was chill-out day and we went whale watching in Point Reyes, where we actually did see whales. All in all, a Thanksgiving weekend to be thankful of indeed.


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