Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Sledding at Granlibakken

This morning we went sledding at Granlibakken, a resort on the California side of Tahoe. (It seems to be going through an identity crisis: its singularly uninformative Web site describes it as a conference center and lodge, but the big sign at the entrance calls it a ski and racquet sports center.) We often go sledding on the last day of our trips to Tahoe.

At first I figured I had given my backside enough of a workout snowboarding for two days, but after it looked like my daughter was getting cold feet, I got a saucer and joined them. As soon as I reached the top of the hill, she took off. (Mission accomplished.)

After a couple hours we stopped for lunch, then did a couple more runs before getting on the road again.

The drive was as pleasant as it can be, when the traffic is heavy and there’s the usual mix of alpha male professionals who seem to believe that the Lexus LX 470 will turn into a pumpkin if it’s back in the garage of their faux Craftsman before 6 p.m., amped-up young men in 1988 Celicas who treat I-80 as a place to practice their mad Super Mario Kart skillz, and large trucks.

Taken by Heather– I don’t drive and self-portrait!

What makes it redeemable is that parts of 80 are stunningly beautiful: obviously Tahoe and the Sierras are great, but I find the hills and ranch land around Fairfield to be singularly magnificent, especially in the 10 minutes of springtime when they’re green. I find the mall-ization of large parts of 80 disturbing: even I can remember in the mid-1990s commuting from Berkeley to Davis, and driving past large sections of farmland and orchards, much of which have now been “developed” into retail or apartments. It’s a trend that doesn’t feel sustainable, in the various senses of the word.

[To the tune of Rosanne Cash, “I’m Movin’ On,” from the album The List (a 3-star song, imo).]


  1. The soundtrack should have been from the Terminator, with Linda Hamilton intoning the storm is coming speech. Honestly, this is too cool for words. The sunglasses really set the mood.

  2. Ha! Thanks very much. The sunglasses are actually shop bifocals, made by (or at least cobranded with) Dewalt. Excellent stuff, though I’ve never been in a shop that so bright you needed shades. And if I was arc welding, I’d want a lot more than just sunglasses. Still, they’re cool.

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