Tahoe, February 2020, Day 4

I planned to only ski a half-day at Heavenly because I noticed deteriorating conditions, due to warming temps and lack of natural snow for weeks. Wednesday night, I reapplied some Base Boost, and set out all my gear so that I could hit first chair on Thursday.

As I expected, the gondola line was much larger than the previous day. I can’t imagine what it’s like in peak season on a weekend day. Yeesh.

Thursday morning lineup for the Heavenly Gondola.

An older gentleman was seated next to me, and was a bit terse at first, but then warmed up speaking to everyone in the car and explained he was from upstate New York. By the end of the ride, I learned that he was originally from the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia and that he briefly lived in a suburb adjacent to my family’s in Delaware County, PA. DELCO represent!

I scooted over to the Big Easy chair and then spent my day skiing the Nevada side of the resort, which I only touched on the previous day. Heavenly is definitely a 2-day plus resort because it’s so large and spread-out. I noticed I hadn’t been skiing quite as confidently as the day before. My right foot woke me up in the middle of the night, throbbing in pain. I tend to ski with my right side more dominantly, and I think I was holding back a lot in my carving on Thursday for fear of aggravating the foot further. I was diagnosed with a partially torn plantar fascia in 2019 and despite a host of doctor-recommended therapies (walking boot, ice, stretching, splints, orthotics, support garments) NOTHING seems to be helping it. As I’m typing this now, it’s somewhat bothersome to me despite wearing a special orthopedic shoe.

Despite my trepidation, I did well, and ended my day’s run on a trail called “49-er,” a medium-length mogul field. Last year, I began to embrace mogul skiing. I like crafting a strategy to navigate them, almost like playing a game, and I enjoy really engaging the upper body with aggressive pole plants and hopping across the bumps.

Short ride on North Bowl chair after absentmindedly stumbling at the chair gate. Luckily I was the only one in line. Hopefully won’t end up on “Jerry of the Day.”

I had a gondola back to myself, and my plan was to go back to the hotel, clean up, do a bit of work, and get a late lunch, again at Timbers in Lakeside Casino.

a “Heavenly” day, indeed.

I decided that since I wasn’t *super* hungry, I’d visit the Harrah’s Tahoe pool and hot tub. As I suspected, the place was EMPTY at that time of day, and so I took advantage of the facilities, doing some exercises and stretches learned in aqua-aerobics class. It was probably a fabulous refuge of tranquility at one time. A cloverleaf-shaped pool plus hot tub under a glass dome and bathed in natural light, with ample pool deck to accommodate chaise lounges and some upright chairs and tables. It was very clean, or I would not have used it. However, it was in a state of noticeable disrepair: light bulbs missing in sockets, chipped and damaged concrete, etc. Caesar’s Entertainment (the owner of all Harrah’s resorts) was recently purchased by El Dorado resorts. As of this writing, all casinos, ski resorts, restaurants, etc are closed to to COVID-19 outbreak across the world. My initial hope that post-merger Caesar’s would initiate proactive upgrading of hospitality facilities and common areas in their properties pretty much vanished knowing that rebuilding any industry is going to be a tremendous challenge once things start to go back to “normal.” But I digress; let’s get back to that hot tub.

Skiing & hot tubs go together like peanut butter & jelly.

After a relaxing swim and soak, I went back to the room, cleaned up, and strolled an easy mile walk to Lakeside Casino. Since i had won $100 in slot play the day before, I knew that I probably had some comps available, and sure enough after checking the rewards kiosk, I had $5 in dining credits. I printed out the ticket for that and was seated in the Timbers restaurant. The soup of the day was a ham hock-polenta, and it did not disappoint. Delicious, smoky pork flavor with fresh vegetables and small bits of polenta subbing for a noodle was very satisfying. I also got a turkey club with avocado on a croissant. Ok, yeah, maybe a bit rich, but I planned to make this my main meal of the day and just have a light snack (cheese & crackers & wine) in the room at dinnertime. I played a bit more, and did not do as well as on Wednesday. That’s why it’s called “gambling” and not “earning.”

On my way back to Harrah’s , I stopped in at Harvey’s and did well on slots there. I had visited Hard Rock and MontBleu on Wednesday evening and did not care for either gaming floor or variety of games. I went back to my room and unfortunately, had to do quite a bit of work. When I tried to access the safe to retrieve my laptop it wouldn’t open, so a call to the front desk, and a building engineer came up and opened the safe and changed the batteries on it. He saw me working at the desk, and I commented that I needed to get as much done as I could before night, since there was no desk lamp. He offered to request a desk lamp from housekeeping, and put in a ticket via radio, but no lamp ever arrived. I tried to offer him a gratuity, but he refused. The maintenance engineer, like so many of the staff I talked to, was very kind and helpful. I’m thinking of all those service industry folks who are not working right now and face an uncertain future in the wake of the pandemic. I hope Caesar’s is taking care of them.

After I completed my work, I had my can of wine and he rest of the Alouette cheese and crackers I brought from home. Then I tidied up, packed up my things for departure on Friday, and made the mistake of playing slots a little more in Harrah’s. There went all the gains from Harvey’s!

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