In the wake of the second storm, many of the excellent ski resorts are fully or partially closed. This is due to a combination of strong winds, which make gondolas and high-speed lifts inoperable, and the blinding snow. It is not very cold - in the low 30’s. But it feels colder, as the snow sticks to your body and soaks your gloves and ski clothes.
Some of the major highways leading to the ski areas are closed, and air traffic into the Reno-Tahoe airport is impacted. We have not yet been able to see the legendary Lake Tahoe, although it is right outside our door. Pictures around us reveal a bright blue, magnificent lake surrounded by towering mountains and capped by billowing snow drifts. The snow is certainly there, and I suppose nothing has happened to the Lake. But, I will have to take their word for it.
We will describe more of the trip as it unfolds. But, we can report on the dog sled ride, which is something I have long wanted to do. It is an experience I highly recommend. It is not fast or exciting, and probably not dangerous, as long as you are with a good driver who can stop the dogs. It is a peacful experience, and brings you close to nature. In many ways, it is like cross-country skiing without the effort. It may not have been as enjoyable for my husband Charles as it was for me. Three people cram into a rather small sled - Charles was on the bottom, with me and another lady on his lap. The driver, or “musher,” stands on the back of the sled. With four people and the sled, the dogs must be pulling one thousand pounds. It is hard work, especially uphill in the deep, wet snow. A few times, the sleds got stuck, and the musher had to help push them up the hill. But, the dogs were always eager to run. This team was comprised of a special mixture of huskies bred with hounds. Each dog weighs about 50 pounds, and has shorter hair than average huskies or malamutes. But the owner assures us they stay warm, and says they can run faster than dogs with thicker hair.
Our dog sleigh trip was sponsored by Sierra Dog Sled Adventures, and the cost averages $50 a run for an adult, and $35 for a child. No discounts for seniors, though - they take up as much room as any younger adult.
Our Reno-Tahoe Regional Media tour was sponsored by RKPR Incorporated, an excellent public relations firm headed by Ronele Klingensmith, her husband, Jenny Frederito, and Bethany Drysdale. They have rolled out the red carpet for us - putting us up at the finest hotels and restaurants in the region. They are doing their best to coordinate a large media tour under trying circumstances. They could not prevent an act of nature from interfering with the skiing - we hope that will change.
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.