Another La Nina this year? Start with Warren Miller …

According to multiple weather reports, La Nina is expected to strike certain parts of the U.S. this winter – the Rockies are on the path. Though after a big season for snowfall in Northern California last year, they are predicting it to be less wet and snowy in the upcoming months, without so much that it’ll be difficult to get to like last year!

With the season turning and snow on the mind, let me recommend a really cool annual event coming up tomorrow. Warren Miller’s “Line of Descent” is the latest in a series of snow documentaries that brings a traveling event to towns across the world. Last year I watched it at Squaw with Johnny Moseley as MC.

This year? Walnut Creek! You can see the show at the Lesher Center’s Hofmann Theater at 8 p.m. tomorrow night. There were a few balcony tickets left last I checked, but they will go fast. Tickets are about $23 right now, but it’s well worth it. The movie itself is always really awesome, and you can win free snow swag at the show!

If you love to ski or ride like me, make sure to check out this year’s trailer above. Then, once you’re thoroughly pumped up for snow season, go buy a ticket and meet me at the Warren Miller show! As you can see in the trailer, they’re featuring Squaw Valley in part of this year’s movie. How cool is that?

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Road Trips: Great American Solar Eclipse

Sky gazers are scrambling to find a spot where they can see the shadow of the moon completely obscure the sun for a few moments on August 21st.

Obviously, I wouldn’t expect you to actually make travel plans this late (you wouldn’t be able to anyway…any city in the path of totality during the eclipse has been fully booked for months!).   See what the eclipse will look like in Walnut Creek (or anywhere else) with the peak at 10:15 am Monday.

The eclipse path will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  I know many people who have already left for Oregon to snag first come, first serve campsites. Ironically, Sun Valley, Idaho is in the path for a total eclipse and it is one my favorite spots to ski, not to mention it’s beauty for hiking in the summer. Already a popular tourist hotspot, Sun Valley will be overrun with thousands of tourists hoping to catch a clear glimpse (with eclipse glasses on, of course) of the rare spectacle.

Everybody is getting on the solar eclipse band wagon! In Hopkinsville, KY just two miles from the point of greatest totality, Casey Jones Distillery (makers of Eclipse Moonshine!) have dubbed their spirit the official drink of 2017 Solar Eclipse.

Those who have seen eclipses in the past described them as “magical” and “spiritual.”  It will be the first time in 38 years that a solar eclipse passes through the entirety of the continental United States, so it’s an event worth traveling for, but if you are like me – not making special plans  and at work – don’t forget to take a few minutes to step outside to marvel at this wondrous celestial event. Don’t forget to wear eclipse glasses!

The Ultimate Guide to Tahoe

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! You know what all this Bay Area rain has meant for Tahoe, right? Take a look:

Diablo Magazine has written an “Ultimate Guide to Tahoe” for those who are planning trips to the area for some winter fun. And given all the fresh snow over the last couple weeks, who wouldn’t want to take a weekend to Tahoe? I know I will!

I grew up in Reno and two of my favorite ski resorts are Mt. Rose and Kirkwood – both get more snow than the rest of Tahoe, and Mt. Rose has some really challenging runs with the development and opening of the chutes.

If you want to stay at a great resort with short walks from the lift to the lodge, Sugar Bowl is your spot (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the easiest resorts to get to from the Bay Area). If you’re not much of a skier or snowboarder, head to Old Town Truckee for some shopping.

No matter what you do, get up to Tahoe this winter and take advantage of the epic snowfall. It’s a beautiful place to spend a few days! 2017 is shaping up to be a stellar ski season, and I am off to Mammoth soon to celebrate my birthday!

It’s beginning to look a lot like ski season

Good news for all you skiers and snowboarders out there: a few resorts in Tahoe have opened up recently and more trails and lifts should continue to open as we get into the coldest part of winter!

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I am excited to use my Mountain Collective Pass, which gives me two days at various resorts like Squaw, Mammoth, Sun Valley, Aspen, Whistler, etc. Last year I had a season pass to Squaw, but my best friend had a pass to Mt. Rose, so I decided to go for a more flexible pass (she got the Mountain Collective pass too).

Below is some information on the main Tahoe ski resorts. Most are already open for business due to all the snow-making and cold nights, but it has actually snowed and more is on the way!

Here are my comments on a few of my favorites:

sb_logoSugar Bowl, quick to get to for a day trip from the Bay Area, challenging runs and a great cozy hotel close to the lift. They have a great New Year’s celebration and a wonderful bar!

 

mt-rose-ski-tahoeMt. Rose – I know it like the back of my hand.  It is where I really learned to ski.  Now that Rose & Slide combined and they built a new lodge, it is a great place to be – all the locals from Reno come here and it feels like home to me.

 

230be84695740b32b2293ff6195b7cacKirkwood – a bit off the beaten path and in need of a few new lifts, but I love the runs and bowls. It’s not crowded and worth a day trip if you’ve never been.

Things to Do in Tahoe if You Don’t Ski or Snowboard

TahoeUp until this winter, recent ski seasons had been unseasonably warm and extra frustrating for those looking to shred powder around Lake Tahoe. As anyone who has read this blog knows, I love to ski, so I’ve been taking full advantage of this winter’s El Nino storms and going up to the Sierra’s as often as possible.

A couple of weekends ago, I went up to Tahoe to ski and attend a Wounded Warriors event at Alpine, only to find the recent warm spell had turned all my favorite runs into ice and slush. We were debating what to do, but we punted and instead went to yoga and then had a wonderful lunch at Dockside 700. Of course, with that name, we were right on the beach with a great view of the lake.

When I got home, I ran across this article about things to do in Tahoe if you don’t ski or snowboard. The author nails a few good ones, and I picked out the best five for those of you who find yourself in a similar situation as I did last weekend (or those of you who just prefer not to ski at all!). Now with the recent storms and more than three feet of new snow, I don’t think I will be doing much other than hitting the slopes. But for those who don’t ski or ride…ice-skating-235542_960_720

  1. Ice skating: at many large resorts in the Tahoe area, they have fairly inexpensive access to skate rentals and the village rink. It may only last a half hour or so, especially if it’s cold outside, but it’s hard not to have fun when you’re out there zig-zagging across the ice!
  2. Spa day: Many nice hotels around the Tahoe area have spas inside to pamper their guests. But even if you’re not staying at one, you can pay for a day pass to get your massage, hot tub and facial on while everyone else freezes on the mountain.
  3. Casinos: This is an obvious one, but why not try to make back the money your family spent on their pricey lift tickets by playing a few hands of blackjack on the Nevada side? It’ll be warm, social and entertaining at the very least. And who knows? Maybe you’ll win big!
  4. Other snow activities: snowmobiling, sleigh rides, sledding and snowshoeing are just a few of the fun activities casino tahoeyou can pay for at many of the bigger areas in Tahoe. You still want to be out in the powder, just don’t feel like strapping into a board or skis for the day? Here you go!
  5. Yoga: I’m biased, as yoga is my go-to relaxation activity, but it’s something you can find studios for all over the state; even up in the mountains. If you want to just take it easy and stay warm and dry inside, might as well stretch yourself out and enjoy a moment of zen while you’re at it.

Of course, if these options don’t appeal, you could always just enjoy a classic – laying by the resort fire with a good book and a hot chocolate, waiting for everyone else to finish up their day on the slopes.

How to Buy Happiness, According to Science

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Ski day with some of my WC Lifestyle team members!

I stumbled across an interesting blog recently that collects scientific research to prove that money can, in fact, buy happiness if it’s spent correctly.

For example, if you are spending your income on gifts for others, experiences for yourself, and time with your family, you’re scientifically more likely to be happy.

As someone who dedicates many hours of her life to work, I can relate with the difficulties in finding the free time and money to make all of those things happen.

That’s not to say I don’t achieve happiness, but with the right mindset, I could probably increase my level of happiness – and so can you.

In the blog, the author writes:

Consider this: The two days your spend waiting for your Amazon Prime package to arrive doesn’t build the same kind of anticipation as planning and dreaming about that vacation to Belize does. You take the time off work, brush up on your Spanish, read travel blogs and more, all the while thinking about how epic this trip is going to be. And once it’s over, you’ll tell the story of zip-lining through the rainforest to anyone who will listen for the rest of your life.

My winnings from the charity poker tournament for Walnut Creek Bulldawgs!
My winnings from the charity poker tournament for Walnut Creek Bulldawgs!

I’ve made it a point to spend my time and money skiing in Tahoe; this year, I bought a pass to Squaw Valley. Not only does that allow me to escape the office for a day and do one of my favorite activities, but it oftentimes brings me in close proximity to my youngest son, who attends school in Reno.

And if you’ve followed my blogs or received my newsletters, you know I enjoy combining charity with my real estate work; from this past winter’s coat drive to my passion helping past and present military use their VA benefits to buy a home, to playing in charity poker tournaments to fostering Weimaraner’s until they find their fur-ever home!

So, if you try, buying happiness is possible. I choose to experience happiness through experiences, giving to charity and spending time with my family and friends and that does take money, but in the end it is a decision to choose to be happy.

 

Are You Doing the Things That Are Most Important to You?

relaxI periodically send out the American Lifestyle Magazine alternating to past clients, friends and potential clients.  I decided to share the introduction I wrote for the latest issue in this blog post.   The theme is about the ways in which people go to great lengths to relax. Each pursuit is noble and all the tales are interesting, but you don’t need to ride across a desert or build a boat, like some folks do in American Lifestyle, to find your path to a happy, healthy life. In fact, for me, it’s much simpler than that.

We’re all busy, so sometimes just taking a moment to breathe is helpful. I work a lot of hours and juggle many responsibilities, so lately I have found yoga to be a big stress reducer with its emphasis on breathing. It allows me to disconnect, take a deep breath and just relax for a while.

At one point in my life, when I was trying to work on my marriage, we attended a weekend retreat and they asked us to write down five things that were important to us. I wrote out my list and skiing was one of the things on it. Then they asked us how often we did those things, and when was the last time? I was astonished to realize I had not done something I was so passionate about for more than two years. I made a change; I love to ski, and this year I hedged IMG_4022my bet with El Niño and got a pass to Squaw Valley.  (note: picture to the right is taken on 1/15/16, my ski birthday weekend, bluebird day, waiting to ride up Siberia for fresh tracks at Squaw)

As I get older, I find it is extremely important to take more time to disconnect and get away from everything in order to regroup and start fresh the following day. As we approach Valentine’s Day, I’m sending out my love with a reminder to share yours with the people you care about, and take the time to disconnect, relax, breathe and do those things that are most important to you.

I would love to hear some of the things you do to disconnect and relax! Please e-mail me your ideas, and they could be featured in one of my next blogs here on WalnutCreekLifestyle.com.