.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

California Contrasts
By:  Sheila Kealey   (2011/03/28)

This was going to be a report about skiing in California, at Royal Gorge (North America's largest XC ski resort - over 300km of trails on 9000 acres), and racing the California Gold Rush, often described as one of the most beautiful loppets around.

Well, I never got to see Royal Gorge, or race the Gold Rush, but did have the experience of a lifetime - being surrounded by unbelievable amounts of snow. We stayed with family in Davis, and had an uneventful drive to the Tahoe-Donner area (about 1.5 hrs). What a difference 7000 ft of altitude makes - after picking oranges in Davis, we traveled to so much snow that you could hardly see some houses or street signs!

Look closely - there is a house in here! And this was before the storm . . .

Our own house rental was covered with so much snow, we couldn't see out the windows - so we had some fun with the kids building portals:

View from our inside window - after the portal building

If you think this is a lot of snow, just wait - the BIG snow hadn't even started yet. And when it did start, it snowed at least 60 cm/day. Our first expedition to the local Tahoe-Donner ski area was unsuccessful (too much snow and wind to even see the ski trail), but the next day we did manage a nice (albeit very snowy and soft) ski. This was 'pre-race' day - but I was starting to doubt how we would even get to Royal Gorge with all this snow (though organizers assured racers that the Gold Rush was still on).

Race morning we discovered that the Interstate was closed due to poor visibility and high winds. We couldn't even travel to the race site (and eventually got an e-mail that the event was cancelled). So, we spent the day building a play park with slides and a fun ski trail in the backyard (no small feat - even with snowshoes you sank down to your armpits. . . ). At least the carbo loading and ski waxing was good for something!

Our backyard ski loop

Word was that this storm system was going to continue for 10 days. We did managed to get out during a small break in the weather - but it was a very long, slow drive - with 2 hrs stationary (I know why they require chains in this weather!).

Seven hours after we got home (a lot later than planned), we were on our way to San Diego. It was great to visit all of our favourite spots (we lived here for 6 years).

Quite the contrast!

Overlooking the ocean in Torrey Pines State Park

One of my favourite running trails in San Diego (Torrey Pines)
Interesting Reading. . .
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