La Nina went out like she came inpoo everywhere. Eight inches on top of 300-plus. Still snowing. And Mt. Hood Meadows’ last season before the millennium was history. The sunshine and fresh corn kickers hardly came. On the last day, lifties pulled the ropes, prepped for summer construction, and counted the minutes. Shortly after four, Meadows’ bullwheel turned its last until next fall. But thatapparently nothingwould stop the storm.

In May, when it should’ve been spring gloves and wife-beater Tees, it was hood and neck gaiter weather, and I drove lazy, fakie powder turns toward the dive into Jack’s Woods. Marty had graciously shown me the linethe steepest part of continuous vertical and in January we spent days doing waist-deep laps. Enough to make me feel like I was back in Telluride where one winter every break from trying to earn subsistence was blown down steep trees in thick poo.

At century’s end, time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future. T-Ride hardly seems like yesterday, instead of a decade ago. Here at Hood I’m a long way from then, but with a winter of unrelenting powder in place of Cascade Concrete, gray days of swirling feather-light heaven following one another, I recall all too well what that glorious pursuit was like.

Remembering when I should have been ridingdown a steep face the snow swirled, my board twirled, and the slope let loose with wind-blown fury. In an instant up was down, fluff flew all around, and sixteen years of snowboarding fast-forwarded by my mind’s eye for what seemed like eternity. I remember:

Post-holing knee-deep through the woods in waist-deep snow, about ten yards every twenty minutes. Burton Backhill slung behind my back like a cross, in hi-top Vans, plastic sandwich bags for socks, and a peanut butter and jelly in my jacket for lunch.

Not being able to ride twenty feet without falling.

My first board, hidden under my brother’s bed until Christmas morningP-Tex Burton Performer without metal edgesslicker than snot on a doorknob. To me, an uncontrollable rocket to a speedy demise and the only thing I wanted.

Hiking in the woods, in the snow, with my friends, every snowstorm we could, having a fucking blast.

Riding golf coursesthe first snowboard parks!

A pre-dawn Thanksgiving raid on the then-Fairfield Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Arizona. After first allowing riders to board lifts with short, plastic skis snowboards were disallowed when two dudes from Phoenix got in a fight with ski patrol. So after an epic, early-season dump we post-holed to the liftlinejumping in the woods to dodge groomersand into Upper Bowl. We rode down, then post-holed halfway up again and rode liftline below cursing, spitting skiers. At the bottom we got popped but pleaded ignorant out-of-towner and skated scot-free.

Early hero-worship at Snowbowl’s first snowboard instructor hiring clinic. Brad Steward arranged for Tom Sims to come ride and decide. We all had 1500 FEs and when introduced, Tom fell to his knees and checked the sharpness of our metal edges, hand-filing them sharper than we deserved. After a hardy shred, Brian Harper, Jon Jensen and Noah Brandon (just moved to Flag from Vermont) were the inductees. Snooarding in demand, I got hired later, too.

Continued hero worshipdriving up to twelve hours almost every weekend, half the time in vicious snowstorms to Colorado to compete in the Rocky Mountain Series, sponsored by Z&eacutelea Zima for the 80s. There we met (or watched in awe) all the first-generation snowboard prosKelly, Kidwell, Palmer, Bonnie Zellers (then Leary) kick ass and make names. At every race Ted Martin, technical king of Olympic snowboarding, collected our entry fees. A North American Snowboard Association membership card is in my wallet.

Talking as much shit as we could fit in a chair lift ride.

Chair lift rides alone, wondering why the hell I was spending half my life on a fringe sport that no one but a scattered few seemed to care about. Then riding down and forgetting what I wondered.

Games of Chicken Head, where someone rode with the dreaded Chicken Head Hat and everyone else gave chase tried to snatch it off their head, carnage be damned.

Riding naked at the end of the season. Not once, but twice.

Fleet further flashings forward: An Angry Intern&trade at The World’s #1 Snowboarding Magazine, slaving every summer to ride somewhere in winter. Meeting the craziest characters, traveling, witnessing riding and places that expanded and blew my mind.

Through freak of circumstance, appearing in the background of a back-page ad, on the cover of a Japanese mag, winning Snowbowl’s annual halfpipe contest and coming in DFL at a Kirkwood boardercross.

Tricking my wife into getting engaged atop a Wasatch peak on a Valentine’s Day heli trip. Beastie Boy Adam Yauch was on hand to pronounce the move dope.

Hearing Jane’s Addiction’s Mountain Song (as played by Porno For Pyros) echo into the hills while we raced down the Board Aid boardercross course. Seeing Jackson Browne learn to ride. And later, having his then-lady Darryl Hannah snake her two friends from my lesson.

Dropping my board down an Alaskan powder face and watching it disappear over a knoll, not knowing how I was going to get off the mountain.

Walking into a Valdez bar to have Matt Goodwill tell me how he fell into, and crawled out of a crevasse.

Being scared to death in Alaska.

Watching Terje qualify fakie one year and another, dump it three timesheels over handlebarsin the Mt. Baker Banked Slalom.

Slipping on a beer slick in Japanese slippers at an Olympic party and landing flat on my ass. Before he realized what happened and ran to get a mop, our host, Jake Burton stood over me, pointing and laughing,

Power of the Press? Terje told me to fuck off, Daniel Franck ran from our interview through ankle-deep slush, and I bought Ross Rebagliati his first beer after winning snowboarding’s first Olympic Gold medalall in the same season.

Riding the Grand Prix, Olympic, US Open and Westbeach halfpipes that same season.

Lifted by chair, tow rope, Poma, snowmobile, snowcat, heli and my own, damn two feet.

Summitting Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and getting denied on Mt. Rainierthat same day, watching a massive slab break loose down its side.

Too many times to mention, like snow packing around my bodyplane flights, road trips, interviews, articles, typing into the night, sights, sounds, snowmemory created by the chemistry of time in sideways motion.

Watching the outsiders become so cool they’re insiders. Watching sport become passion and product. Viewing the world through a side view mirror, finding friends for a lifetime.

And it is not over yet. The powder cleared, I saw the forest for all the magnificent trees and finished my last powder day of the season. Every bit as fun as the first, can’t wait until the next. What I’d had, you see, was one of those outer body experiences. A momentary meditation where what is within is seen from without. The future became present, then passed. Memory is history but Lao-Tzuwho I believe would’ve dug snowboardingtells us, The is of what was is what shall be.

So I went home, put boots on the heater to dry, triggered the chime of a Macintosh PowerBook 165 (no P-Tex, no metal edges) and made this up.ke snow packing around my bodyplane flights, road trips, interviews, articles, typing into the night, sights, sounds, snowmemory created by the chemistry of time in sideways motion.

Watching the outsiders become so cool they’re insiders. Watching sport become passion and product. Viewing the world through a side view mirror, finding friends for a lifetime.

And it is not over yet. The powder cleared, I saw the forest for all the magnificent trees and finished my last powder day of the season. Every bit as fun as the first, can’t wait until the next. What I’d had, you see, was one of those outer body experiences. A momentary meditation where what is within is seen from without. The future became present, then passed. Memory is history but Lao-Tzuwho I believe would’ve dug snowboardingtells us, The is of what was is what shall be.

So I went home, put boots on the heater to dry, triggered the chime of a Macintosh PowerBook 165 (no P-Tex, no metal edges) and made this up.