There is something amazing about the place where I’ve decided to locate myself for the past two weeks. I come every year for opening day. It’s something of a personal ritual.
Opening day excitement makes me realize I’m part of a community. Friends from all over greeting each other with coffee; lined up for the first chair of the year. The reality of what we do is pretty incredible. There’s nothing like being part of a group of people you see year after year–people who you might not have that much in common with other than your love for this mountain and the fact that you keep coming back no matter what; coming back even if it means missing work, or school, or finding a babysitter.
I can’t reveal the location of this mountain because then I would have to kill you. Let me assure you that it has been the most incredible opening weeks I can ever remember. It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had snowboarding.
One hundred and fifty inches in the first two weeks. Sorry, but that just doesn’t happen every year; day after day of powder, and by the end of the second week we could do lines that don’t usually fill in till mid January or February.
I lodged at the infamous Texan’s (huge hint), otherwise known as the Bison. The man is known for his lust for life and HE IS NOT AFRAID! He charges through life like no one I have ever encountered. It’s funny that a Texas transplant is ripping the gnarliest lines ever done on this hill. It’s not a hill really more like a mountain and the best steep, short vertical this side of the Mississippi.
The Bison makes me coffee in the morning and we hop in the truck and I just hold on, cause baby it’s on. That’s been the saying around this house for I don’t know how long now. No joke, there have been something like 16 days of powder since opening day. Never in my 13 years of snow shredding have I experienced two solid weeks like this.
I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun; its called lock down around here. Who needs light when you have pow up to your ears? Every respectable freeriding pro has made an appearance: Wes Makepeace ripping; Dave Lee; Jamie Lynn; Temple and Barrett; Matt Cummings; Noah Salasnek; Aaron Vincent; Andy Hetzel; up and comer Elan Bushell; Weeg; Chris Fulton; Mark Friesen; Ranquet; Bas; Goodwill; Warburton; local 17-year-old ripper Javis Lehn; Kelly Joe; Jake Blattner; Jason Ford; Michele Taggart; Pat A; Marcella; Dale Rehberg; Andy Johnson; and many more.
A highlight of my adventure was taking a few runs with The Legend himself Craig Kelly. He decided to make a guest appearance. Then he threw a snowball at Tex and Tex decided to sic the Dog that goes by the alias Destroy on him. Destroy parties like it’s 1999! Strip teases in the bars. Brands himself with his confederate flag belt buckle and pretty much keeps everybody on the floor: Smidtz, Old Golds, and party stamina that challenge us all.
Needless to say, that was last that I saw of The Legend. I must mention some of the other housemates: there’s rocker James who drinks Crown for cough syrup; Marcello, who is so mellow you forget he is in the house until he puts on his rave music (only when the Texan is out of the house); and, Stamnos the pseudo hippie who eats cheeseburgers, skates like a dream, and is ripping on his snowboard so hard it hurts. There’s some Puff Puff give going on at all times, constant beers, and the truest snowboarding vibe.
Everyday has been totally unforgettable. There’s been adventure here and there; they found a first year snowboard instructor buried two feet under during the evening sweep. Just her hand sticking out. She’d been buried for two hours. A serious case of hypothermia and she’s okay. We saved some kid who completely buried himself right under the chairlift–Ranquet to the rescue. It’s a lot of buddy system. We watch out for each other.
It’s all good in the hood, and baby it’s on.