Ten days on the East coast, three days in Portland Oregon and a week playing host for six of my friends visiting Tahoe, Spring break 2016 lasted three weeks. Throughout three hectic weeks of March, the importance ‘moving your bones’ in my life resonated in the background of my adventures and reunions.
My prolonged break began as I made the traditional trek to USCSA Nationals to represent SNC’s Women’s Freeski team. Far past my time at SNC, this time of the year has always been described with National Championships for competitive skiing. Since a kid, I always found joy in traveling and skiing on a National stage. As I have grown older and my competitive edge has dulled, there is still an innocent excitement with packing my bags, to ski competitively.
This year, the USCSA Nationals were at WhiteFace Mountain, in Lake Placid, New York. Two years ago when I was a Freshman, the SNC ski and snowboard teams also competed at WhiteFace. Returning to WhiteFace felt much like a deja vu dream about a small, East Coast town that left my short, memories.
Lake Placid, New York is an small, post Olympic town that time has refused to touch since the 1982 Winter Games. Driving down the Main Street, original hotels, with chipping paint and retro signs, line the street. Next to the famous ‘Miracle’ hockey arena, where the Canadian and American teams played, the speed skating rink still stands, only now with tourist allure. Across the street, small stores sell Olympic memorabilia. Take the hill up, and there lies the town’s lake. In the distance, Whiteface Mountain stand among the rolling Appalachian Mountains.
Growing up in Colorado, skiing on the East Coast is always a fresh experience for me. There is a distinct beauty on the East Coast. I cannot place my finger on the correct adjective, although I believe the difference is the age. The mountains are old. Natural erosion tells us the Appalachians have endured time and wind, creating a different experience while skiing than the West Coast. The trees are thick and the rivers are rigorous. The natural features creating the East Coast suggest maturity.
Among the Appalachian Mountains, the SNC snow sports teams traded the exceptional snowpack for minimal conditions. As we all adjusted, the competitions went well. In SNC tradition the Alpine, Snowboard & Freeski teams all took gold, overall and independently. Personally, I did not perform how I hoped. As my 11th season under freeskiing competitions, I have realized it only matters if you’re having fun. The memories you make with your friends while sharing the same passion on an adventure, is what matters. As my skied alongside my friends representing SNC as a powerful snowsports team, decorated with smiles and strength, I made memories I cannot forget.
As I made my across the coasts, my friend invited me to drive to Portland, Oregon for Spring Break. Perhaps I should have given my body a break from traveling, although I said yes and continued my adventure. The morning after arriving in Reno after a 10 day ski trip, I packed my bags and hopped in the car to Oregon. One of my favorite road trips has always been from Tahoe to Oregon. The drive moves from the Sierra Nevada’s to the Cascades. I have always found the change of scenery and geographical features to be stunning during this drive. From arid high desert of Nevada and Southern Oregon, to the rainforest of the Cascades and dormant volcanoes, the drive is beautiful.
For whatever reason, Portland always grabs my attention. Perhaps it is the unique taste every coffee shop, pizza place and thrift store hold. The community is active in both the ocean and mountains. It is sophisticated and classy yet holds a liberal spirit encouraging creativity and freedom. Portland is tasteful- a city I believe I could live in one day. We spent the weekend trying cider from local breweries, playing tourist at Voodoo donuts and shopping through thrift stores.
Although I did not spend much time in Portland due to priorities, we were able to have a great trip. I have two friends who recently moved to Portland, therefore the highlight of my trip was seeing these two friends, from two different reaches of my life. One friend is from college, while the other was from home. Although the only time they could both visit with me during my visit was at the same time. Therefore we all had a beer at a local brewery. I introduced all my friends to one another as we all found common ground between each other. We heard of my friend Jenna’s adventures to Greece to volunteer in the refugee crisis and my friend Jason’s new position in competitive skiing as an Olympic judge. We laughed and drank beer as I enjoyed three friends from every different path in my life.
Once I returned to Tahoe from Portland, I had to prepare for hosting six of my best friends from home and their friends, as they have done the same for me in many reaches of the world (Colorado, Washington and Prague, Czech Republic). Our friendships have experienced different landscapes and countries, therefore hosting them added to our sprawled places. I always enjoy hosting my friends from home and sharing Tahoe with them. In a sense, I feel when I am showcasing my Tahoe home to visitors, I am see it through their fresh eyes. As they squeal during the sunset or dropping over Mount Rose, I experienced my first impression of Tahoe all over again. Although the week was hectic, it was unforgettable skiing and sharing sunsets with friendships that have lasted.
The month of March was full of adventure and ‘moving my bones’. I was reminded of why I love chasing new horizons, across the country and sharing mine with others. I was also reminded of the importance of friendship and authentic connections. Those connections never die and will pick up wherever they left off, anywhere in the world.