You should all just prepare yourselves now for the onslaught of adorable, wintry pictures. Jess (pictured below) and her beau Peter (also pictured below - because I posted like 35 photos) arranged for a group of us to congregate in an amazing Truckee cabin for the long weekend. It was like the Thunderdome of friendship getaways -- "Twelve individuals entered, and best friends exited!"
Alright, so maybe it wasn't exactly like that, but we all got along fantastically, and it was really fun to meet some new friends in a fun, different setting! Can I seem any cheerier about it! It's authentic, I tell ya.
I didn't take many pictures of the house (I was too busy marveling, cooking, and then relaxing in the hot tub) but take a gander over here if you need to visualize my weekend more clearly...
I'll admit, I wasn't going up to the snow to ski. I brought jeans, thick socks, and a somewhat on-the-nose sweater purchased from J.Crew's Black Friday sale on a whim -- these are not skiing materials! But Saturday morning (we all drove up Friday evening), I got enticed by everyone else's excitement and figured I'd give it a whirl.
Which, of course, means lots of selfies on the slopes and scenic views.
We decided to go to Sugarbowl because it had the highest altitude plus fake snow, or something. Whatever the reasoning, it worked - the location was perfect. We were staying near Donner Lake, so Sugarbowl was only a fifteen or twenty minute ride from our house, and we passed by this gorgeous lakefront view on our way there and back.
The "higher altitude" meant that we had a breathtaking look at the entire mountainous land. It's so hard for photos to show how truly gorgeous the Tahoe area is when it's covered in snow...
I only fell twice! The first time was getting off the first chairlift (note to self: lean forward, not back) and the second time was after several runs and a Bloody Mary at lunch (don't worry mom, we had plenty of conversations about not ending up like Sonny Bono!) which I think meant my legs had simply had enough for the day.
(They definitely are still a little worse for the wear, but are holding up reasonably well considering I wore jeans with little zippers on the sides that managed to dig into my skin the whole time and leave me with odd shaped blisters on my ankles. Gross, right? Hey, this is real life! We don't hold back on madeleine|blogs!)
I have to say, Jess, Peter, and Flo (and Bryan at one point) were all so nice and made sure not to lose track of me even though I was clearly the slowest skier. I think by the end I was holding my own pretty well, but I also totally understood when I pooped out and they weren't ready to call it quits yet! I'm lucky to have such considerate friends so I tried to do the same and not completely hold them back.
It was a fantastic day, and I'm so glad I went skiing with everyone, but I was more than ready to turn in my skis and poles at the end of the day and head back to the idea of a comfortable, warm house in the woods full of cocoa and whiskey provisions. Peter was nice enough to stop for us on the way back so we could take a picture in front of Donner Lake (all the way down there...)
When we got back to the house, it was time for Hot Toddies, a push-button fireplace, and about three pounds of pesto pasta! We had all arranged cooking duties on a massive spreadsheet, and while we had tons of food leftover at the end of the weekend, at least the meals went smoothly and everyone was satisfied.
To make these Hot Toddies (my favorite drink, Churchill has great ones) just mix 2oz whiskey, 4oz (or more) hot water, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and about a tablespoon of honey. You can add cloves or cinnamon to really kick it up a notch!
I may have also squeezed in (har har) some knitting time. Standard.
Sunday morning, we decided to make a leisurely breakfast (does anyone notice that eggs cook differently at higher altitudes?) and everyone split up for the day's activities. A few of us decided to go investigate the town of Truckee, and we found a little bit of real Americana there.
No, literally - we had lunch at a place called Bar of America with a gigantic eagle emblem, where everyone was watching the Colts vs. Packers game. That's pretty darn American.
Look at those mountains in the background!
After lunch we said goodbye to one of our party and continued on with our afternoon... Which, per Bryan's wishes, involved hiking up this ridiculously rocky, snowy, hill (mountain? mini-mountain?) to see some abandoned train tracks that were now filled with ice waterfalls and graffiti.
Yeah, alright, it was pretty cool!
There were tons of these frozen waterfalls lining the walls, and the ground had almost completely frozen over in some places. Luckily there were some rocky areas that we could walk on so we weren't slipping all over the place.
We popped out through one of the train tunnel breaks, and that's when the real photography began - I mean, who could bear to take less than fifty shots of these amazing views? It was literally breath-taking.
Or maybe that was just the slight fear of falling off a mountain. That could have had something to do with our increased oxygen intake.
Of course I had to take many pictures...of myself.
Cmon! I'm hilarious!
Thankfully Bryan had a tripod for his camera so we could all take this shot! Success!
Then, we had to head back down the "hill" without falling in the snow or breaking any bones...
On the way back, we stopped by the lake to take pictures of this fallen tree and the stunning contrast between the rushing water and the far-off mountains.
Then, it turned into pictures of the girls. Because, obviously.
Since it was our last night, we all immediately started the fire and hopped into the hot tub (with champagne, bien sûr!) while waiting for the others to arrive.
We ate a delicious dinner of homemade pizzas, and watched Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (which I'd never seen!) and the first 3/4 of the movie Hitch. Why only the first 3/4? Because we had more important things to do!
...like slow shutter speed sparkler pictures!
I was the H.
The next morning was full of cleaning and last minute packing. Some were headed off to do a hike, others had driven home the night before, and we all still had to split up the remaining food and alcohol we had leftover. There was a lot. I'm currently working my way through a quart-sized ziploc baggie of pasta - but hey, I'm not complaining.
I rode back with Jess, Peter, and Peter's roommate Flo - which meant we were all in agreement about taking a few last shots around Donner Lake.
I really can't emphasize enough how beautiful this weekend was. All I can try to do is show it.
On our way back, we stopped at Ikeda's market...along with every single other person who had been in Tahoe that weekend. This place was hoppin, and that's how you know it's good! We got pie and burgers and there may have been a curly fry or two in sight... I think overall our lunch that day took at least 45 minutes but it was worth every lip-smacking minute.
Another detour to Starbucks and a couple of wrong turns on the interlocking freeway system, and we were headed home. Exhausted, fighting off the same cold that's been going around the Bay this week, and possibly even a little sick of hot cocoa (is that even possible?) - but altogether satisfied by the weekend and ready to go back sometime soon.
(Or at least, I am!)
What did you do for the long weekend?