Lake Tahoe basin about about two thirds way up the mountain.
Where has Bryan been this whole time!??? It’s pretty obvious I simply did not blog in the second half of last year. I haven’t lost interest. Quite the contrary actually. I simply had too many major changes happening in the second half of last year. The good news is, I did not cut back on photo outings, projects, excursions and adventures. I simply did not have enough time left over to edit and blog about all my photo exploits. So I have tons of great photography to share and hope to get caught up some time this spring.
Gondola ride up the mountain
I have been in California for over a decade now and always avoided going up to Tahoe (a little over and hour away) in the winter because I simply do not like the cold, ice or snow. Well this winter I challenged myself to try it at least once. Now that I finally have a real 4×4 truck I had no excuse not to venture back “up the hill” and see what it is about Tahoe in the winter that excites so many many people from far and wide – literally from all around the world.
The main lodge complex at the top
I spent the entire weekend exploring around Lake Tahoe. With enough food, water and coffee in my truck to last me the whole weekend, I look my time. Heavenly Ski Resort (www.skiheavenly.com) was actually one of my last stops on that weekend. I woke up Sunday, walked over to the lift to find very long lines of people waiting to get on the gondola/lift up to the resort. In case you’re wondering, the actual resort is just below the top of the mountain. You’d never guess there is an entire ski complex at the top waiting for you after a good 20-30 minute gondola ride up. Crazy!
The relentless icy-cold winds shape the trees
Two thirds up the mountain, there is a platform and observation deck. You have the option of getting off the ride and taking in an awe inspiring view of the Lake Tahoe basin. I of course had to snag an ultra-high resolution panorama of this view. For this excursion I packed light. For one I was tired of carrying around my full kit but I also figured the terrain and weather were going to be challenging enough and I needed to stay light and nimble. I’m glad I did. I packed my messenger bag with my Canon 5DsR and Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 lens. My focus was the big picture. I found any interesting subjects, I could always return with my full complement of gear and give it a full treatment. Once on the observation deck, I was greeted by sub-zero hurricane-like winds, so cold they burned. I could barely hold the camera steady enough and with bright sun and clear skies, I had to turn up my ISO so I could get a shutter speed in thousands of a second to minimize the shake. I now understand why I don’t see very many photos of this view.
At the top, the wind was a bit quieter. I was immediately drawn into the woods. I do not ski so no sooner than I began taking in the beauty, I was stopped by one of the ski guards who told me I could not venture outside of the lodge/complex without skis. I also could not ride the ski lift up to the very top because I did not have skis. It is a one way trip from the lodge I suppose. Bummer! I wished they had some sort of photographer/sight-seeing package. So I have since decided to take up skiing and actively looking for lessons before the snow season is over. I am already looking forward to next winter. Despite the painful cold, it was a lot of fun just being out there, soaking in the beauty, crisp air, sunlight and high energy of everyone you encounter.
Have you been up to Tahoe in the winter? What are you favorite winter spots? I would like to know and for you to share them with me so I can explore them. Below are a few more choice shots from that excursion. I hope you enjoyed them. Thanks for stopping by.