February 2016 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

Happy Chinese New Year!

monkey-characterWelcome to the Chinese Year of the Monkey! Yes, the Chinese New Year started February 8th and if you were born under the sign of the Monkey then you are quick-witted, curious, innovative, and mischievous. And this is exactly how monkeys behave, and they certainly can be quite mischievous. Do you know anyone in the club that fits the characteristics of a monkey?







First Weekend Trip

Due to poor snow coSierra powdernditions, it’s been several years since NSC hosted a weekend ski trip. Now that Tahoe has been receiving a lot of snow, compliments of El Niño, the first Heavenly weekend ski trip went up at the end of January with a busload of skiers. I checked the Heavenly website and the weather conditions weren’t the greatest with high winds, and all lifts on the Nevada side were out due to a power outage on the first day. Sunday’s weather had less windy conditions and power was restored to the Nevada side and all lifts were operational. However, the group decided to head over to Sierra-at-Tahoe for the second day where they enjoyed lots of freshies. With temperatures in the mid-20’s that should make for light and fluffy snowflakes (see photo). I’m sure that those that didn’t know how to ski powder got a chance to improve their skills. Given the weather conditions at Heavenly and the powder at Sierra I’m sure there will be plenty of stories after this trip.


Park City/Canyons Ski Week 2016

The Park City/Canyons trip is moving along well and we currently have 47 signups (yes, we had a few late signups in January). The Park City/Canyons Orientation Meeting was held Saturday, February 6th, and was well attended by our seasoned veterans as well as few new members. Everyone enjoyed basking in the sun in the backyard talking about the Park City/Canyons trip and other ski adventures. There was a minor change in our flight itinerary and an email was sent to all Park City attendees, as well as the Park City/Canyons pamphlet.


February 2016 – Fundraiser for Disabled Sports USA, now “Achieve Tahoe”

Sandy Kiyomura

There is a very special ski school located at Alpine Meadows. The “Tahoe Adaptive Ski School” was started over 48 years ago by a few Vietnam War Vets who were learning to cope with their disabilities. They were taught to ski by Jim Winthers, a World War II Veteran of the 10th Mountain Division and Director of the Soda Springs ski school. They use specialized adaptive equipment and teaching methods to offer persons with any disability the experience of being on the snow. Their mission is “to provide affordable inclusive physical and recreational activities that build health and confidence”.

I had the privilege of working as a volunteer ski instructor for this organization for over ten years. By teaching, I learned to ski better. But working for “Achieve Tahoe” taught me more than how to ski better. It gave me lessons in patience, gratitude and humility that I may not have learned anywhere else. I learned to appreciate things I often take for granted. When I have a sore knee, I think “at least I have a leg”. When I’m having a bad day, I remember all the challenges my students have in daily life. Seeing their joy in skiing made me happy.

Their motto is:

If I can do this, I can do anything.

This is the reason behind this fundraiser. Although I no longer teach for the Tahoe Adaptive Ski School, AKA Disabled Sports USA, now Achieve Tahoe, I would like to raise some monies for them. I was the lucky winner of a California Gold Pass (fully transferable, good for 27 California ski areas) and decided to “rent” it out. On a weekend bus trip with Nisei Ski club, I raffled off use of the pass. That bus trip raised $250 and so far, I have raised over $500.

There were four prizes offered on the bus trip. Three were for use of the pass for a day for $50. The “Grand” prize was for use of the pass for a day for free. Santosh, Sarah Lowe, and Margaret Wong won the $50 a day pass. Then Margaret also won the grand prize! Lucky lady.

If you are interested in donating to “Achieve Tahoe” (or using my pass), please contact me at skiyomura@gmail.com. Thank you to all who have contributed or will contribute.

For more information about Achieve Tahoe, visit the Achieve Tahoe web site.

February 2016 – My Positive Experience with Achieve Tahoe

Len Bridges

Hello everyone. My name is Len Bridges. I am a new member of Nisei Ski Club and recently enjoyed the fun and pleasure of skiing with Sandy Kiyomura and Greg Wong of the club, and with Bill Wong who we are hoping will join the club. I am both visually and hearing loss impaired. Sandy with her connections with Achieve Tahoe located near Alpine Meadows arranged for me to take a lesson from this organization. I was pretty impressed with the program and Sandy asked me to contribute an article about my experience, and so here it is.

First, a young lady at reception helped me to fill out the paper work. I didn’t have close distance reading glasses with me so I was unable to effectively read what seemed to be very tiny print. Once I had completed the paper work with her help, an individual by name of Haakon discussed quite extensively my medical health, hearing loss and visual situation.Then, I was turned over to the care of two lovely lady interns, Kristin and Taylor — their photo is on the Achieve Tahoe interns page. The lesson was to be 2 1/2 hours. This team of two young ladies would provide evaluation, instruction, and umbrella coverage for my safety on the snow.

It was indeed a blessing to me to have them provide evaluation and instruction to me while at the same time being sensitive to, and providing effective accommodation for my visual and hearing loss. In addition to providing me training as a student, they both also were open to, and positive about learning from me about my hearing loss and visual impairment, and how they might incorporate that knowledge and experience into their service as interns and as they move on to their professional careers of a medical and rehabilitative nature.

The instruction they provided was open ended with no strict pattern. Kristin and Taylor adapted the lesson content to bring my focus on the use of pole planting to improve my skill in making turns. As I learned to ski as an “older than dirt” guy, I did not develop muscle and brain memory of skiing, and thus, I ski out of my head, constantly thinking of what I need to do and how to do it. Along with this goes the extremely high “fear factor” that shoots out of orbit in the event I find myself on something too steep, going too fast, and facing the disaster of losing control. They helped address this by taking me down what seemed a totally vertical slope using a side step, which I call the slippy slide, and we descended down together, both Kristin and Taylor looking quite graceful, and me, well not so much. However, it was a great learning experience and confidence builder exercise. In addition to the value of the lesson, I had a lot of fun and the time flew by so quickly, well maybe not fast enough on that vertical part.

This program is exceptionally outstanding. They have special equipment, special talent, and special people to provide those of us with compromised mental, physical, and sentient functionality an opportunity to participate and learn in a caring, friendly, and supportive environment. They are truly angelic beings on the mountain.

February 2016 – Skiing and Chinese New Year


El Nino is bringing a lot of snow to the Sierras. The snowpack is over normal averages. Don’t miss out. I want to remind you of the different ways to go up and how to get discount lift tickets:

How to go up

1. Ride share – join in on the chatter to see who is giving a ride and who wants a ride. This is open to all NSC members. If you haven’t joined, click on the link on the right hand side of the page. For more information about how rideNSC works, read the article from the December newsletter.
2. NSC weekend trip – the next trip is March 11-13. For more information, see the Trip Schedules page.

Discount lift tickets

1. Sierra at Tahoe discount – you can get discounts of 22-28% from Sierra at Tahoe. Read the information on how to get your discounted tickets
2. Rent Sandy’s California Gold Pass – Read her article on how to rent it
3. BAC discount – BAC has a race league but you don’t need to race in order to get discount tickets. Show up at 8:30am where the racers are. Visit the BAC open league racing web site for more information about the racing schedule.

Chinese New Year


Chinese New Year is February 8th. It’s the year of the monkey, which is the 9th animal in the Chinese zodiac. People born in the year of the monkey are intelligent, curious, and clever. If you’re looking to be a matchmaker for the monkey, the zodiac signs most compatible with the monkey are the rabbit and the ox.

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays. For Chinese-Americans, it ranks right up there with Christmas. Here’s some of the New Year traditions that my family observes:

doc418 1. Lai see: When children wish their elders Happy New Year “Kung Hei Fat Choy,” they receive a red envelope with lucky money. This is called lai see. Only unmarried children are eligible for lai see. When I was a little girl, I would spend my new year money very carefully because it had to last until the next year.


orange-and-tangerines2. The orange and tangerine display: Mom always puts out a plate of oranges with tangerines on top. The tangerines have to have their leaves attached. Tangerines without leaves are not acceptable. To Chinese, oranges represent gold and the Chinese word for tangerine sounds like good luck.  Oftentimes, lai see is nestled inbetween the fruit.


3. Chinese New Year feast: This is my favorite part of the new year. Chinese select certain dishes for the new year because the food sounds like a lucky word or is selected for its significance. For example, chicken is a must have dish because gai (chicken) sounds like ho sai gai (prosperous business) and the sea moss is called fat choy which means prosperity. Not only are the foods lucky and symbolic, they are delicious too.


peacefulness-throughout4. Lucky papers: Red paper with Chinese poetry is taped next to the doorway. The poems often wish for fortune, prosperity, and wealth.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous new year!

January 2016 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s 2016 already? I trust everyone had a Merry Christmas, a safe and Happy New Year’s celebration, and perhaps a few ski-related new year’s resolutions. There’s plenty of snow up at Tahoe and if you haven’t signed up for the first weekend trip to Heavenly then now is the time to do so. We need you to sign-up quickly to ensure that there are enough participants going and to prevent cancellation of the trip. Heavenly is always a good trip because you won’t need to take the bus early Saturday morning (sleep in a little?), and there are plenty of runs on both the Nevada and California sides to keep you busy.

Mystery Resort

Once again, no one correctly identified the resort shown in this photograph for a free lift ticket for one of the weekend ski trips. The correct answer would have been Alpine Meadows.


NSC Ride Sharing

The NSC Ride Share on Yahoo Groups is up and running and several members have already taken advantage of finding rides up to Tahoe for some skiing. If you haven’t signed up then now is the time to do so. The more members that sign up, the better are your chances for either finding a ride to Tahoe or you can offer a ride and get some members to go along and share the costs. To join, just send Sandy Kiyomura (the moderator) a request to join at rideNSC-owner@yahoogroups.com.

Park City/Canyons Ski Week 2016

The Park City/Canyons trip is moving along well and we currently have 45 signups. An orientation meeting is planned for either late January or early February so keep that in mind.

January 2016 – We need more sign-ups for Trip 1!

Karen Soo, Trip Director

Do I sound like a broken record? We need more sign-ups for Trip 1!


Happy New Year! What a way to start a new year! After 4 years of drought conditions, we are finally getting a nice base of snow in the Tahoe area. Our first weekend trip is scheduled for January 29 – 31, 2016 for Heavenly / Heavenly.

The bus company and hotel are requesting deadline commitments by January 13, 2016. So we need you to send in your checks. We will be skiing 2 days at Heavenly and staying at the Blue Lake Inn, which is practically a block away from the gondola. Breakfast is available from the hotel. Amy Tsuhako and I will be your trip leaders.

I know the Christmas holidays might have put a dent in your wallet. If you want to send in the money later, then I will allow you to do this provided you are a loyal NSC member and that I know your word is good. Just email me if you are joining us or not at TripDirector@niseiskiclub.org.

The snow is great right now. This is what we all have been waiting for. It’s also a good way to get in some runs in before the NSC weeklong Utah trip. So stop thinking about it and send in your money along with your sign-up form now.

Did you know Nisei Ski Club has a ride share group? If you have available transportation or want to share a ride with someone from our club, this is the place to be. It’s an open communication forum for our members to go skiing with another NSC member. Sometimes it’s a one day trip or an overnight trip. We ask that you pay for the gas if the other is driving. Or if you are able to drive, then your passengers will pay for the gas. The more people sharing the ride, then the lower the cost.

Lodging is available for overnight trips. Please email Sandy (the moderator) at rideNSC-owner@yahoogroups.com if you want to be added to this list.

See you on the slopes.

If you have any questions, please email Karen Soo at TripDirector@niseiskiclub.org.

January 2016 – Skiers used rideNSC and enjoyed great skiing

Sandy Kiyomura

A group of skiers used the rideNSC Yahoo Group to arrange rides to Tahoe. We skied Northstar for 2 days. The snow and the skiing were simply awesome.

To join the NSC ride share group, send a request to me (Sandy Kiyomura, the moderator) at rideNSC-owner@yahoogroups.com.


Left to right: Allen Hu, Greg Wong, Hong Chin, Armand Gutierrez





Sandy Kiyomura

January 2016 – Calling All Racers

Sandy Kiyomura

I am starting the NSC race team. Who’s joining? We only need a few skiers. Information about how the ski league works is in my December article. NSC will supplement $25 of your fees and you will be skiing at your own level.


I will be participating in the January and March races. Use the rideNSC Yahoo Group to arrange a ride. Contact Sandy Kiyomura at skiyomura@gmail.com if you are interested. It’ll be fun!

December 2015 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

Let the ski season begin! A few resorts opened before Thanksgiving and after Thanksgiving more resorts have opened with an abundance of snow on the slopes. The season looks very promising and the weather forecasts are for more rain in the Bay Area and more snow up at Tahoe. If you haven’t planned on taking a trip up there before the Christmas holidays then what are you waiting for? And don’t forget to signup for one of the weekend ski trips. There’s going to be plenty of snow this season so let’s take advantage of what Mother Nature has to offer.

Ski Resort Open in OctoberLast month there was a contest to identify this ski location and earn a free lift ticket for the first weekend ski trip. Well, there were no correct guesses. Those that did guess mistakenly named California ski resorts, which weren’t open at the time the newsletter was published. The correct guess was Loveland, CO.







So  let’s try this again with a new resort, and as a hint this location is somewhere in California. Once again, as an added incentive the first person to correctly identify the resort and signup for any weekend ski trip will get a free one-day lift ticket. Email your answer to president@niseiskiclub.org. (Board members excluded, deadline is 31 December, and only one answer per person so guess carefully).

Ride Sharing Service

Sandy Kiyomura has set up a ride sharing service (a first for NSC!) for NSC members to facilitate getting to the slopes with other members. The service is called rideNSC and you have to join Yahoo Groups in order to gain access. Members can post to the group to either offer a ride-sharing opportunity or make a request that you’re interested in joining with somebody that might be going up. Details can be found in Sandy’s rideNSC article.


Park City/Canyons Ski Week 2016

The Park City/Canyons trip is moving along well and we had one new signup, so that puts us at 46. The final payment is due December 10th so be sure to remit your payment if you haven’t already done so.


Christmas Greetings

This has been a good year for NSC with the highly-popular Jackson Hole Trip, numerous hikes, a pizza social, and what looks like the start of a good ski season. At our November board meeting we had all board members in attendance, which is sort of a rarity considering there are 11 board members. On behalf of the NSC board I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

December 2015 – Happy Holidays!





























I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens