The most fun for them was probably the chance to ski at Badger Pass. A lot of people don't realize it's part of the park and a wonderful ski area. When you stay at the valley floor you can get a bus ride up. It's supposed to take 45 minutes, but the luxury bus combined with El Capitan and Half Dome made for a really fun trip. The lodge itself is very cute and the mountain has 10 runs, which were great for my boys who are intermediates. My black diamond skier hubby even enjoyed it. One bummer was that I was unable to ski due to a torn calf muscle I popped just 2 days before going for a tennis volley.
|After a hard day of skiing- kicking it at the Ahwahnee.|
|Boys ! At the visitor center.|
As far as lodging, well there are a few options. The Yosemite Lodge, where we bunked is basic, but good for families. Make sure you ask for a lodge room, which is apparently, a bit bigger than the basics. With these you get a balcony -not fancy, but you may have a view of Half Dome! We stayed in the Hemlock wing, which was a good location, across from the main lobby, restaurants and bar. They have begun to upgrade slowly all 245 rooms to be LEED certified and green, which is terrific. So far, there are only 2 green units available, but you can find out more by clicking here. We were not lucky enough to get a green one. Be warned the walls are THIN! The first night was fine until some college kids came home next door around 12. After that I heard scratching on the window around 3 and opened the curtains to see a large raccoon staring right back at me! He was trying to get in I guess. After a few minute stare down he left ! The next two nights were blissfully quiet. Put it this way, you aren't here to hang in your room, so for sleeping it's fine. Better yet, as a girlfriend put it so well, "It's better than camping". I'll leave it at that. Next time I'm going to check out the Ahwahnee lodging. There is also Curry Village which we did not investigate, but appears to be even more rustic.
|My youngest checking out one of Ahwahnee's fireplaces.|
The Ahwahnee Hotel, is the historic stone and timber lodge. It's a fun place to just stop and gawk. They have a cute bar to grab a drink and you can get chili and other easy meals. There's a good store for overpriced keepsakes like Ahwahnee china and a sweet shop here too. We had our family Valentine's dinner in the the famous dining room with tuxedoed waiters. The food was good, but actually not as good as the restaurant at the Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge. I was a bit worried about dressing appropriately here and brought nice sweaters for the boys. No worries about that though, as a few diners looked like they just dragged themselves out of their tents. The vibe may be a bit more high-brow here, but the clientele is from all walks of life. The Ahwahnee may nicer, but the Lodge is just a bit more fun and young.
|Just outside our room at Yosemite Lodge.|
Oh and one more note, don't miss the Moscow Mules! If you don't already know, it's a yummy cocktail made famous by Oprah when she camped here last summer in her motor home. ( If you get a chance to catch the repeat it's darn funny. I especially liked when Oprah squeezes the limes for everyone's drinks with her teeth- you have to see it.) The ingredients are a mix of ginger beer, lime and mint, oh and vodka. Anyhow, Yosemite has jumped on the mule bandwagon and is offering it all the restaurants. The best one is at Yosemite Lodge Bar!
|Can you believe this was a phone pic? On the way up to Badger Pass.|