Continued from Part 2… Sunday morning we woke up at the crack of dawn, walked across the street and met up with a legend. I don’t use that word lightly. Along with “extreme” and “epic,” I feel like “legend” has become a little bit diluted from overuse. This dude, however, is the real deal. His name is Kevin Cooper. Everyone knows him as “Coop.” As we came to find out during the course of the rest of the weekend, he is the type of guy who should have his own Wikipedia page. If he ever writes an autobiography, I would stand in line to buy it. Anyway, we had some breakfast burritos at Heaven’s Little Cafe, which is literally a snowball’s throw from the entrance to the gondola in Heavenly Village. The burritos were legit. As we fueled up, Coop gave us the lowdown for the day of riding that lay ahead of us.
Our first taste of the surreal scenery that Heavenly offers was riding the gondola from Heavenly Village to the Tamarack Lodge. I tried to snap a couple of shots through the gondola window with my celly (top photo), but it really doesn’t do it justice. The gondola deposited us at the base of Tamarack Express, which provides access to the California side of the resort, as well as the rest of the Nevada side. We spent most of the morning hitting groomers on the California side of the hill, just carving up corduroy. Before lunch, Coop took us through some nice tree runs off of Sky Express. We also took a quick lap through the terrain park, which was still being built out for the season.
After lunch we headed back to the NV side of the resort via Skyline Trail. One lap down this thing pays for your lift ticket. It is a slow narrow cat track that feels like an amusement park ride. I say that because there is so much scenery going on in every direction it is difficult to know which way to look. The experience is akin to being on the observation deck of at 30 Rock (better than the Empire State Building) or the top of the Eiffel Tower. Sadly I did not get any photos from Skyline. Honestly, they would been insufficient to convey what being up there is like. There is no lens wide enough to accurately capture that experience.
Coop had another engagement for the afternoon, so B and I spent the latter half of the day exploring different tree runs on the Nevada side of the resort. The afternoon sun had softened up the snow considerably, and it was quite forgiving even in the dense pines. After 3 full days of riding, it was a nice reward to be able to take in lake views once again, riding the gondola back to Heavenly Village. I should add that there were two lovely ladies handing out warm cookies and hot chocolate at Tamarack Lodge. B shot me a look as she collected her free cup of hot chocolate as if to say “now I see why they call it Heavenly.”
B and I headed back to the Becket for a little apres ski, before meeting up with Coop for dinner at Kalani’s. We drank local wine, ate some amazing fish and had some great conversation. The highlight was Coop telling us stories about his father-in-law Dick Reuter from the days he was enlisted to develop the terrain at Kirkwood Mountain. Listening to him recount all of the close calls that Dick and his crew had with dynamite, had my abs sore from laughing. It was an awesome day from start to finish. B and I both slept like rocks that night, dreaming about what our last day in Tahoe would have in store for us.