Winter Olympics @ Squaw Valley - Tahoe Recap Part 1

This ski trip recap comes to you from Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, apropos and just in time for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics kick off. Read on for Part 1 of 3 (including a Lindsey Vonn insight below). The slope-side meltdown (because you just KNOW there was one) will be recounted in Part 2. 

The past few years we’ve been east coast bound (aka Vermont) but last year we all said “let’s go west next year!” so westward, ho, we went and decided on Tahoe. California, dreaming for five days!!

The forecast wasn’t looking too great as we approached January – it had been considerably mild throughout the holidays and no sight of snow as we approached the holiday weekend, either.The silver lining: if the weather were too warm for skiing, then it meant one thing. Warm enough to run.  And lake/mountainside running in California was way more than this urban NYC rat could dream of, so it seemed like a win/win scenario to me.

Most of us have our own gear, or some variation of it (boots, boards, skis, etc); and it’s easy to truck it all when you’re driving. Flying meant we had to reconsider what to bring.

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Lucky for us we could rely on Blue Zone Sports, a one-stop shop for retail and rentals in Carson City, NV (super close to Reno, where we flew into) with another location in Tahoe. And the buck doesn’t stop at winter sports; they have an entire cycling room with every kind of bike imaginable). I was in heaven.

The team at Blue Zone was not only accommodating but so knowledgeable, insightful and lovely to work with. One of the staff members, Bruce, gave me some great pointers during my fitting that no other ski instructor or rental shop had ever offered up.

We are always taught to tighten our boot buckles as best possible, but apparently this isn’t the case for the buckles that go over your feet, just the ones the close around your calves.

Reason being: there is a blood vessel that runs above your foot to your ankle and if those buckles are too tight, you risk cutting your circulation which will make your feet numb. I don’t know about you but a numb foot while skiing is probably one of the worst things that could happen (and it would happen often, because clearly I was buckling them too tight).  Next time you buckle your boots, do it in this order:

  1. Second from the top FIRST and most importantly (make it tight!)
  2. Top buckle follows
  3. The bottom two should just simply and easily close, and go last.  
  • Pro Tip: Bruce used Lindsey Vonn as an example for me. She’s skiing down the mountain, doing her thing (you know, as one does…), and the minute she finishes her team is around her unbuckling her boots FAST AF because she does buckle them super tight (due to the aggressive nature of her skiing), but they quickly tend to this “de-robing” so that her circulation isn’t impacted. Take note while you’re watching Lindsey this coming Sunday night during her first event in Pyeongchang!
My good friend Bruce fitting my boots and giving me sage advice. 

My good friend Bruce fitting my boots and giving me sage advice. 

After we all got our gear and gracefully (sarcasm) loaded it into our souped-up white Suburban, we food shopped at Trader Joe's for the essentials (coffee, milk eggs, breakfast items, etc). As a New Yorker, I actually avoid Trader Joe's like the plague (I didn't wait on lines for clubs in my 20s, I'm not waiting on line for groceries in my 30s), so this was SUCH a treat. First, it really is so cheap. Second, New York laws ban selling wine in supermarkets, but not in Nevada and California. There was SO. MUCH. WINE to choose from. So many beautiful bottles. This was the Trader Joe's experience I longed for. (West Coast = Best Coast proven again). 

Happy campers inside Blue Zone sports!

Happy campers inside Blue Zone sports!

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We always try to find a local spot for dinner on the first night so there’s no pressure to cook. It’s always so fun once we’ve all arrived to just chill out over good wine and food and set the tone for the weekend. On the way "home" we stopped first in Truckee, Tahoe’s super cute little “village,” for dinner. After extensive research we settled on Truckee Tavern & Grill. (I'll recap my Truckee shopping trip in Part 3 of this voyage). Bonus! There was a Bernese Mountain Dog greeting us at the front door (!). I died, but no pictures to prove it so that adorable pup lives on in my heart. 

The home we rented from Home Away was an adorable 4 bedroom home in Tahoe Vista neighborhood, a short 15-20 minutes from Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and not too far from the recommended Mt. Rose. It had a great kitchen with open counter tops, a cozy living room, and an upstairs loft with games. By the time we were in Tahoe, it was too late to appreciate the surroundings and the stunning views, but all that was about to be changed when we woke up the next morning.

I’ve always believed I have a west coast soul. We were only 4 hours in Tahoe and I was already home.

I saw these Olympic rings and cried. 

I saw these Olympic rings and cried. 

samantha giordano