A blog about food
Fondue & French Fare at the Roundhouse
No longer will the expressions of shock smeared with semi-superiority fall upon me during every discussion focused on skiing. I have done it! I have actually made it down Bald Mountain on skis! Just exactly how does a woman who has lived here for six years finally get talked into giving it a go? Great company and food, of course. (The recent discounted price of day pass also helped).
Ten days ago: Picture four women seated around a bar table, a bit worse for wear, as conversations focused on household budgets and fantasies of job-quitting. But suddenly there was a gratifying spark of hope for our week… mention of the forthcoming discounted ski pass!
Only problem was, two of us don’t ski. Conversation turned to motivations, just why do people enjoy skiing? “It’s all about being social,” one friend said. The non-skiers crunched ice, wondering how in the world people socialized when screaming down hills in a repeating loop of individual competition.
“And then you have to do the fondue and white wine at the Roundhouse.”
In a single phrase, the deal was done. Fears of avalanches and broken bones vaporized into the mention of French cheese and wine. We agreed. But as women do, we added various stipulations: “You’ll stay with me on River Run for as long as I need?” and “I get to take the Gondola down after all that wine, right?” and “You’ll go do the runs you want to do and leave me so I don’t feel guilty, right? Even though I want you to stay with me really?”
A few days later: We came, we saw and we conquered River Run. And all before having one bite of melted cheese. That lovely goal of stopping the madness for a meal with a spectacular view was great motivation to move beyond our fear and attempt smooth, confident turns.
I am sorry to disappoint, but when seated in the Roundhouse, I was too tempted by the expansive Roundhouse menu and turned to another form of French fare, instead of opting for the Swiss fondue. My chosen croque-monsieur lasted but only a moment on the plate, the melted cheese and ham sandwich fulfilling my longings for hot cheese.
My friends’ faces caught the reflected light, making their eyes sparkle in storytelling around the table. Outside, the Pioneer Mountains seemed so close to the Roundhouse, as if a para-glider could land right on Hyndman Peak after departing from Baldy. Further south, a watercolor of blue and white clouds recalled the ancient seabed of the Camas Prairie just west. The sun glided slowly into cloud cover, the newly whitened hills seemed to reflect our brief morning glory. It was about more than just the food.
Friends ordered the fondue and enjoyed a longer alpine lodge dining experience than me with their seemingly never-ending baskets of bread. Thankfully, the wait staff refilled water glasses as fast as we slurped them, helping our mild cases of dehydration induced by fear-propelled skiing. Since we sat at 11:55, we beat the crowds. There were arriving around 1:00 PM, just as when we left.
And then, the journey down in dreaded flat light! But since hot cheese-filled stomachs and rested legs do wonders for poor conditions, we headed back down the mountain in a much more accepting and brave state of mind.
Instead of fighting the fall line by crossing completely from side to side of the run, I loosened up a bit. I attempted a more parallel foot setting instead of a generally swaying pizza slice. More friends joined us, everyone generously spending a moment with the novices and imparting valued tips. At the end of a Sunday spent skiing, I felt satisfied in a way that only aching muscles, a full belly and happy memories can make one feel. Mission accomplished.
Right: There is nothing better than bread and alcohol to make your first day on Baldy even better. Left: Get to the Roundhouse early, otherwise there might not be room for your skis on the ski racks.
Bonus Shots: Our blogger, her buddies and her first ski experience.