Tips on the Proper Way to Couch Surf
By Jacob Levine
Imagine for a moment that you've got the perfect trip planned. Actually, so far you've only got the destination lined up. Mount Rad is calling your name, and you've got to get there. You've never been to Mount Rad, but heard lots of good things, and a friend has introduced you to a friend that lives there, and that friend of a friend said you could crash on his couch any time. You shoot friend of a friend a text to make sure the offer still stands, he says its "chill", and you're out. Next stop—Mount Rad for an epic adventure.
When you're a couch surfer, it's important that you respect your place in the social order of things. A few too many missteps and you'll burn bridges with your hosts. A few more missteps and you'll ruin the spot for all couch surfers in the future. Here are a few tips on how to couch surf in a way that will keep everyone stoked and extend the welcome for your next visit to Mount Rad.
• Free isn't really free. Just because you're not paying for the place to sleep doesn't mean it won't cost something. The people that live there are paying the bills, so do your part by contributing with food, beer, or whatever offering you can swing that will benefit everyone. If cash is tight, doing chores around the house goes a long way. Take out the trash, do the dishes, wax everyone's boards (assuming you know what you're doing), and clean up after the party. A sincere effort to contribute goes a long way.
• The couch is common space. Sleep on it, but don't make the living room your room. Keep your stuff as clean and organized as possible. Minimize how much stuff you keep there, and transform the sofa bed back to a sofa for sitting whenever you're not on it by folding up the blankets and putting away the pillows, sleeping bag, etc.
• Go with the flow of the house. If it's a mellow movie night, go somewhere else to party. If it's a party night, go somewhere else if you're trying to be mellow.
• Don't overstay your welcome. If the original plan is for two nights, keep it at two nights, unless you're invited to stay longer and that invite is genuine, not just polite.
Minimize the gear you bring inside. Snowboards can stay outside in a secure location unless you’re going to wax them. If you are going to wax them, make sure they’ve been at room temperature for at least an hour and the board isn’t cold to the touch before hitting it with an iron. Once it’s waxed, don’t scrape it inside unless there’s a designated tuning area.
Outerwear is ok to store in the cold if it’s dry, same with gloves. Most of your stuff will warm up from your body heat on the way to the slopes as long as you can get it dried out.
Boots are a challenge. Wet boots need to be dried but done so as unobtrusively as possible. When you’re done riding, take them apart if possible, use the heater vents in a car to warm them pre- and post-shred. Boot dryers are a shredder’s best friend, especially on the road. If you don’t have a boot dryer, you can make heating pads using socks and plain white rice: Fill the socks with rice, tie them off, and microwave them at small increments until hot to the touch. You can greatly reduce boot stank by putting some effort in here.
ALWAYS bring your goggles inside. Leaving your gogg’s in freezing temps overnight is a good way to get perma-foggle, which is when moisture gets in between the lenses and can ruin your day.
When you get the text asking for your couch to crash on, let 'em know its "chill".