Sam Bauman
For the Nevada Appeal

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July 28, 2014
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Once a year dinner on the slopes set

Seniors often make up a “bucket” list of things they want to do. But once in a while something comes along that is a rare chance to do something different — for instance, dining on a run at a ski slope.

That’s what Homewood Ski Resort offers a couple of times this year — Saturday, Aug. 9 and Aug. 30.

I’ve skied Homewood many times during the years and last year enjoyed dinner where I had skied in the past. The run where the dinner party happens offers a striking view of the lake.

The dinner is a “Farm to Peak” affair with chefs Billy McCullough, Gordon Verbeck and Jessica Stutz presiding in a tent kitchen. The seats are along a long table running down the slope; last year I sat next to a New York state lawmaker and her retired husband.

Part of the fun is riding the scenic Quail chairlift before sitting down to a five-course dinner.

Last year, we were met at the gate by a flute of champagne before boarding the lift and at the top were served canapes from a waiting server. Some 150 guests milled about, enjoying the view and sampling wines and snacks.

The Farm to Peak dinners will be offered as a one-of-a-kind experience at $150 per person, with a limited number of required reservations available.

Guests will meet at Homewood’s South Lodge, 105 Tahoe Ski Bowl Way, Homewood, Calif., and will begin the chairlift ascent up the mountain between 3-4 p.m. Dinner concludes by dusk.

For reservations, see or call (530) 584-6849.

I rarely recommend such dinners, but this one is one of a kind and worth adding to a senior’s memory.

The high cost of dying

I recently has a visit from a representative of the Neptune Society, a nationwide organization that offers prepaid cremations, owned by the for-profit SCI, the biggest such operation in America. I had replied to a letter from the society out of Reno, and since the only sure thing in life is death I figured I wanted to look into cremation. Being irreligious, cremation seemed to make sense to me.

The terms from Neptune were simple. Pay $499 up front and then $30 a month for an undefined period and that was basic start up. Everything not included, and there’s a lot that goes into cremation. I did not sign a contract and thus did not get all the costs involved, but Internet sources suggested a total of $2,990.

But it is less expensive than the typical American burial, which easily cost more than $10,000.

I checked Neptune on the Internet and found both positive and negative comments. The BBB gave Neptune a positive rating along with a listing of some negative actions taken by consumers.

Enough to give me pause and the desire to check with local providers. I visited two funeral and cremation offices in town. Both offered direct creation for around $2,000. In both cases this is for a no-frills cremation — no viewing, no embalming, no special rites. In both cases I asked for a price without a container for ashes.

Prepayment was possible but my bank said the fee could be listed in my checking account with the provision it was to be paid on my death.

So where did I end up in looking at cremation costs? Basically, that the local providers could do the task for an industry-wide figure. I never got a final total from Neptune. All I was asking about was a direct cremation with none of the available extras.

Hope I’ve helped readers who have questions about cremation. I suggest further research for individual questions; the Internet can make the task easier. Just remember that there is plenty of misinformation on the Internet, just as with political columnists.

Nothing is truly free in life, nor is it in death.

Readers write …

I got two letters from readers which I planned to use next week. I welcome ideas from readers.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Aug 1, 2014 12:07PM Published Jul 30, 2014 09:25AM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.