Kawakami Ski Trip Jan. 2004


On December 5, 2003 I entered a call-in contest being run by radio station KCNL ("Channel 1049"). They were offering a chance to qualify for a weekend ski trip to Lake Tahoe being co-sponsored by Clear Channel Broadcasting, Ford and Squaw Valley. The preliminary prize was a $25 gift certificate to Mel Cotton's Sporting Goods here in San Jose. Included in the grand prize package was the following:

Full details can be found on the Ford Ski House web site. (Update: Ford has changed the site by removing the house and they are now offering a season's pass to Squaw) Anyway, during the weekend of Dec. 6-7, KCNL was telling their listeners to call in and be the 11th caller in order to register for the trip. I re-dialed the phone number several times before geting a ringing signal and was amazed to find out that I had qualified. Since the station was only broadcasting the "cue to call" every 3 to 4 hours I figured that at most, 12-16 people were going to be in the running. Monday morning I get a call at home from the promotions department at KCNL telling me that I had won! During the next two and a half weeks I was in contact with Clear Channel in San Francisco to arrange for the delivery of all of the necessary documents (release forms, IRS W9 form, copies of my drivers license and auto insurance, etc.). The rules of the contest said that I could have up to 7 guests at the house so we decided to have Leslie and Jill invite two of their friends each with us.

The drive to Tahoe:

11 hours. 'Nuff said :) Okay, here's the short version: Caltrans had I-80 closed up until early Friday morning. When we left San Jose around 10:30am the road had already been opened for a few hours but they were metering cars into the Sierras at Applegate (a few miles east of Auburn). 3 lanes being squeezed down to one lane caused a MASSIVE backup. So 10-12 miles after we get past that, chain controls were up (at Gold Run). From there to Truckee is about 45 miles but since we could only go 20-25MPH, that added a couple of more hours. Getting lost 3 miles from the house didn't help either. After all of that, it was worth it as you'll see.

The House:

We were told by the on-site manager that Ford has leased the house this year and last. It was just recently sold for $1,000,000 after being on the market for two years. It's almost 5700 sq. feet with 5 bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths, located on 17.5 acres. Further details about the house can be found here.

Panoramic view of house
Panoramic view of the house from the driveway

Entry area
View of the entryway. Front door is on the left; door to 1300 square foot garage ahead.

4 car garage
The 1300 s.f. garage. Our vehicles are in the foreground; the truck belongs to the on-site manager.

Ground floor master bedroom
Panormaic view of the master bedroom on the bottom floor.

Master bath
Looking into the bathroom from the master bedroom.

Master bath 2
View from the 3-sided closet area in the master bath. Sink on the left, shower on the right,
toilet in the middle.... hmmmm... what's that other thing? :)

Recreation room
Recreation room with ping pong table, dartboard and mini-bar (to the right, not seen).

Small indoor pool
Indoor pool, about 12 feet across. Sauna is located just to the left. Also on the bottom floor is a half-bath next to the sauna and a door leading outside to the hottub.

Climbing two flights of stairs leads up to...

Breakfast nook and partial kitchen view
View from the top of the stairs looking at the breakfast nook on the left and the kitchen on the right.

From the position of the previous picture, if you go left you enter the study.

Dining room
Dining room table seats 8 comfortably.

Large, fully-stocked kitchen.

Family room
Family room with large-screen TV, Dish Network satellite receiver, DVD player and VCR. Oh yeah, another mini-bar too!

Upstairs hallway
Hallway leading to the 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.

Bedroom 1
First bedroom down the hall to the left.

Bedroom 2
First bedroom down the hall to the right. Danny used this one.

Bedroom 3
Second bedroom down the hall to the left. Jill and Jennifer were in here.

Bedroom 4
Bedroom at the end of the hall. The 16 year olds claimed this room mostly because of...

Bedroom 1
the very large, walk-in closet.

View out the dining room deck
This was the view we woke up to on Saturday morning. This was taken from the dining room sliding glass door that goes out to the deck. You can see the two basketball hoops in the center with the light towers on either side. The tennis court actually goes left to right across the basketball court. I'm not sure what the large net is for...

Making snow balls
Jennifer, Jill and Danny outside the garage making snowballs...

Throwing snow balls
and throwing them.

The Ford Expedition:

Here's a couple of pictures of the very inconspicuous Ford Expedition :) ...

Ford Expedition w/snow

Kids with the Expedition

Ford Expedition w/o snow
Transportation up to Tahoe was on our own but once there, we had the use of the Ford. It could seat up to 8 people but there would be no way we could put everybody in there with all of the skis and boards. So on Saturday we drove both the Ford and our van.

Squaw Valley:

We got a late start at Squaw Valley Saturday morning but after 9 feet of snow falling between Christmas Eve and this weekend, here's what we were greeted with...

KT-22 at Squaw
A view of KT-22 from the tram at Squaw Valley.

Siberia Bowl at Squaw
Siberia Bowl, another Black Diamond run at Squaw.

Once off the tram, we strapped on our skis and boards, got quick lessons from myself (skis) and Leslie (boards) and we were off.

Here's Leslie the snowboard coach (who DIDN'T take out any poles or fences this weekend):

April and Jessica
Jessica (foreground) and April, starting their first run of the day.

April, appearing to be having lots of fun.

For the first couple of runs we stayed on Links, a beginning run. Later we split up with Kathleen and Leslie going with April and Jessica, and me staying with Jill, Danny and Jennifer.

Jennifer and Jill riding up Links
Jennifer (left) and Jill riding up the Links chair lift.

Jennifer and Jill getting off Links
Jennifer and Jill getting off Links, with Lake Tahoe in the background.

Jennifer on East Broadway
Jennifer showing her great form snowplowing down East Broadway.

Danny and Jennifer on East Broadway
Danny (foreground) and Jennifer skiing down East Broadway.

Jill and Danny on East Broadway
Jill (left) and Danny zooming down East Broadway.

Danny, Jennifer and Jill
The 12 year olds coming down East Broadway.

Saturday night:

After skiing Squaw we had decided to use the $75 gift certificate at Bullwhackers Pub, located in the Resort at Squaw Creek. After straightening out where the gift certificate was waiting for me, we enjoyed a loud dinner. A side trip to the local market to get some ice cream (!) and we returned home. Some of the night's activities included:

April, Leslie and Jessica
April, Leslie and Jessica enjoying the outside hot tub.

Jill and Danny ping-ponging
Jill and Danny getting a workout playing ping-pong.

Sunday morning:

Leslie and I were the only ones up to going back to Squaw for a couple of hours since we had to leave the house by noon on Sunday. Kathleen let the other kids sleep in late and starting loading up the cars before we got back. Before we left, we asked Marin, the on-site manager for the house, to take pictures of us. Because everybody had a camera, she graciously took about 30 pictures of us:

In front of the house
A group photo in front of the Ford Ski House.

Snow covered trees
Another group picture.

Happy faces
Jennifer, Jill, Danny, Kathleen, Ray, Leslie, Jessica, April
We all had a great time!



I had the opportunity to make a SECOND trip to the Ford Ski House when my friend from work won! Click here to open up a separate window where you can view some pictures. Note: this link is on KUFX's site and may disappear at any time! I'll get around to posting my own pictures when I spend some time to prepare them.