Snowmen and parkas and snowboards, oh my!
We just got back from a week in Lake Tahoe with my parents, and boy did we have a great time! There is so much for families to do there, and it’s really different from our everyday life in OC. We started by flying Southwest Airlines out of Ontario Airport for about $150 per person. A deal for airfare, for sure! We rented a large Chevy Yukon, complete with snow tires, seat heaters (which sure do come in handy in snowy weather!) and a DVD player. We stayed at the Hyatt High Sierra Lodge in Incline Village, in a quaint little 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo, complete with fully stocked kitchen, TV with DVD player, fireplace and washer/dryer.
On our first day there, we walked out our back door onto our snow-covered patio and went right out to play in the snow. We made snow angels, built a snow cake (the snow was too powdery to pack into a full snowman), and threw snowballs at each other. We went for a little “hike” in the snow, and sank up to our knees in it. Real OC Daughter was in awe of it all, since she hasn’t spent much time in the snow. We had some real family fun playing outdoors.
Real OC Family Out in the Snow
The next day, we decided it was time for our daughter to learn snowboarding. I’m not a great skier, and Real OC Dad prefers snowboarding, so we felt like it would make the most sense for her to learn to snowboard. My hope is that as she gets older and more practice, it will be a fun father/daughter activity for the two of them.
We found a ski resort 5 minutes from where we were staying, Diamond Peak. We headed over there, got her and Real OC Dad all fitted up with gear, and put her in a morning boarding lesson. She was really excited because there were 2 other girls in her class, one of whom was 7-years-old, too. It was a larger group than I would have preferred for her first time on a snowboard (and everyone else’s first time, too), so Real OC Dad hopped on his board and joined in the lesson to help out. I followed and took some photos, so we looked like great over-protective parents of an only child.
Real OC Daughter really enjoyed snowboarding, even with its challenges, and by the end of the lesson, she and Dad were riding the little beginner chairlift together, coming off fairly gracefully, and heading back down the beginner run. Diamond Peak has a great chairlift for first-timers – it’s not steep or too high off the ground, and they stop it if you fall while getting off. When the lesson was over, we headed into the lodge where my parents had secured a table for us, and dined on some unhealthy lodge food. For some reason, greasy burgers and fries taste oh, so good after you’ve been out in the snow. I hadn’t exactly burned a ton of calories running around snapping photos, but oh well….it’s vacation!
Snowboard Lesson at Diamond Peak
Real OC Daughter and Dad on Beginner Chairlift at Diamond Peak
On Monday, which was President’s Day, my dad dropped hubs and daughter off at Diamond Peak again, while my mom and I headed to the gym for an indoor workout. Then I whipped up some sandwiches and we headed back over to the ski lodge to have lunch together. Real OC Daughter was doing great on her snowboard, and having lots of fun with Dad. But after lunch, she was ready for a little break. So, we brought her back to the condo and left hubs there to do some snowboarding on his own. He had a great time enjoying the scenery, the slopes, and the great outdoors – things he doesn’t do much as a technology consultant!
Real OC Daughter Snowboarding at Donner Ranch
The next day, we all packed up early and headed to a ski resort touted as “family-friendly” about an hour away, Donner Ski Ranch. It was much less crowded, probably because the President’s Day weekend had come to an end. They had a great little moving carpet that Real OC Daughter could ride to the top of a mini-slope perfect for beginners. Within an hour, she was riding up the ramp, hooking up her bindings, and boarding down the little slope all on her own. She was so proud to be doing it all by herself! I again secured a table in the lodge, read on my Kindle, and occasionally ran out to take pictures and videos.
Thursday, we decided on an indoor day – it was supposed to be stormy, so we didn’t want to venture out in weather that was too bad. I did make it over to the gym for a good workout, but otherwise we spent the day indoors, reading, watching movies, and being cozy by the fireplace. It was a very relaxing day! Real OC Daughter also enjoyed the “wildlife” right outside our door. She put out pieces of bread and pizza crust for the visiting squirrels and blue jays.
Some Local Wildlife Enjoying Snacks at our Back Door
Beautiful Blue Jay on our Patio Table
That night, Real OC Dad and I decided a little “date night” was in order. My parents were happy to take on the task of hanging out with Real OC Daughter for the evening, and they made a reservation at the Lone Eagle Grill, near our condo, which overlooks the lake. Hubs and I decided to head over to Bite, a local Tapas restaurant that had pretty good looking Yelp reviews. We were not disappointed – the food was delicious and the atmosphere was swanky and just right for a couples dinner. We started with a white bean garlic dip with fresh carrots and toasty bread, along with a cup of butternut squash soup – yum! Next we had the goat cheese sliders, which were divine – crusted goat cheese and tomato relish on a yummy bun. We also shared the beef tenderloin meatloaf special, which was delicious. We finished off with some tasty little apple turnover bites. I’d say it was great upscale comfort food, and if you’re ever in the North Tahoe area, I highly recommend you try out Bite for dinner.
White Bean Dip at Bite
Delicious Goat Cheese Sliders at Bite
Our last day there was very stormy, so we didn’t venture out too far. We built a snowman outside our door, but otherwise stayed in and were lazy again. In retrospect, I wished we had been a little more adventurous the day before, since it was stormy, but it’s hard to know these things. And anyway, we enjoyed some good quality family time together. It isn’t often I can sit and relax for an entire 24-hour period without feeling guilty about laundry, chores, cooking, etc.
Real OC Snowman Complete with Stylish Hat
Then it was time to travel home. We went back down the mountain to the Reno airport and flew back home. It felt so good to curl up in my own comfortable bed last night and dream about all the wonderful memories from our week in Lake Tahoe. I look forward to heading up there for a fun snow vacation again soon!