My Trip To a Ski Resort, USA


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I don’t yet have a driver’s license in India, but have very fond memories of my road trips abroad. Here is one such.

When I made my new year’s to-do list last year, I wrote down a few funny things. One of them was “to ski down a mountain”. And I set on an expedition to fulfill my goal. This passage is a visual of my experiences.

In northern california, there is a winter destination called Mammoth Mountains. It’s in the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges and is a must see destination for long timers. I say long timers because it’s a little expensive and short timers might not enjoy the cost associated with something like this.

There are other ski resorts (hill stations) in the USA. Utah, which is on a continental divide is the best place to go if you are a skiing enthusiast. What makes Mammoth special is the drive. I’m a road lover and the resort is on the best road in the USA. Route 395.

It’s a historic route, you may have seen parts of it when watching movies on the gold rush. Or when watching classic westerns (the draws, the gun fights and long horse chases). Note that its not a freeway so no traffic, and passes through a desert and a snow covered mountain range. It actually connects the lowest point (death valley) and the highest point (Mt. Whitney) in contiguous USA.

Rest stops might be spaced out 100 miles apart in some places and help might arrive too late if you wander off course. There are road closures, unpredictable weather and land slides along the way, but nothing that beats a good preparation. Take a look below on some of the pics that I took and see if you like them.
 

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We go through the Mojave desert (pronounced Mohave, it's a spanish name). Its a land of extremes. Too hot during daytime and too cold during nights. Not a good place to have a blow tire, etc.

You will have the best views of your life here. Views of nothingness that stretch as wide as 25 square miles, spotless roads, absolute quiet except the occasional desert winds, etc.
 

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And then, the sierra nevada mountain ranges appear on the horizon. They keep getting closer and closer until we take a turn at Bishop and cross them, or rather climb into them.

The views during ascent and descent will be astounding. You will be spell bound at the engineering excellence at road building.

It does not take too much effort to blow the engine, since we will be scaling 11,000 - 14,000 feet in a matter of a few miles. Caution rules. You can notice your ear, the water bottle, etc., popping, and your engine roaring just to inch forward.
 

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And then, we are here. This is what makes hundreds of thousands want to save money and hold on to their purses while they wait for winter.

There are roughly about four access points and over forty chair lifts. There is equipment for rent and insurance for every thing. Even the air costs money there, so you better stack up.

The building in the middle is the teaching school where we learnt skiing. The teachers are friendly, dedicated and noble people who enjoy skiing as much as we do. They teach for global audience and for all they care, you could be a deaf guy and they could make a professional ski champion out of you (the context is not to disrespect a physical defect, but to highlight their skills).

If you are a new bee like we were, you better signup to a school. Unless you want a pelvic tear (ouch), don't disregard my advise. By the way, shaun White, the snowboarding guy was in the half pipe when we went there and it was cool watching him. He went on to win the world championship.

And there it is, my trip to a ski resort in the USA.
 

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350Z

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Amazing pictures and well-composed precise write up. [thumbsup] These are heavenly roads which are only a dream to drive on for most of us Indians. And I’m especially fascinated because U.S.A is one of my dream destinations. Be any part of it. You people must have enjoyed a lot. Which car you drove in?

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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I rented 2010 Chevy Equinox AWD for this trip.

More about Chevy Equinox

We needed a 4 X 4 that had some punch, since encountering 3 feet of snow or mud & snow mixture was not impossible. And the frame also needed to be high enough to fit tire chains (we never needed them) comfortably.

We had a good time alright. There was serenity all around us and I am sure the trip would remain one of our highly cherished memories.
 
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Thread Starter #9
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And USA is not a dream that we cannot fulfill anymore.

What makes the country special is not the place, but the people.
 
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This was in california and they were lenient with road speeds. The speed limit was around 55-65 mph although we did 115-120 mph at places.

While that might seem close to 200 km/h, the roads, the road users and the vehicles were capable of those speeds.
 
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