Twenty-four hours of snowboarding (just in case you didn’t understand that the tricky title refers to minutes). Tina Basich came up with the idea-wake up and ride until you don’t know your own name. Ami Voutilainen and Josh Dirksen were recruited, more likely brainwashed, for the event that took place in the area of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The day would start off with some sort of booter-you know, a jump, a kicker, a launch ramp-enabling riders to get in the air and bust out some freaky-deaky shit. Conveniently located just down the road from our secret kicker spot would be Wasatch Powderbird Guides. We figured some really good steep powder-riding would take place-the ride from kicker spot to the heli-pad being short so no one would fall asleep in the rig. Once we conquered the “extreme” helicopter-accessed terrain, a freshly cut halfpipe at Park City would be waiting for our crew (or so we hoped). Utah is definitely not known for good pipes, something to do with too much snow. Anyway, after “we” were done with our tranny exercises it would be time for a moonlit handrail session.
We had a team, a plan, every caffeinated drink known to man, and a four-wheel-drive van. The next step, in anticipation of the 1440 Project, was to get some rest and plenty of it.
8:00 a.m.-Woke up. Josh got in the night before, fresh off the boat from Japan. The jet lag is on this kid like flies on a fresh cow pattie. We’re amazed to see him walking.
8:30 a.m.-Ami Voutilainen arrives as we are packing the van. We already established the “no board-bag rule” to save space, but that didn’t stop Ami and his rolling gym locker.
9:00 a.m.-We get to Tina’s, and she’s ready to go-amazing. Dirksen has already had two cans of Mountain Dew. The car is loaded, and we’re off like a prom dress.
9:15 a.m.-Stop at the bagel shop to get some breakfast. I think everyone had coffee. Bagels are gone in seconds. Tina bumps into some friends and explains what we’re doing. They laugh and wish us luck on our way out the door. Josh flips them the bird.
9:30 a.m.-Back in the car for the drive to “booterville.”
10:00 a.m.-Arrive at the kicker location and start to hike. No one is in the mood for a death march, so we decide to save energy and build something close to the road.
10:20 a.m.-Hiking is not easy. Luckily Ami was smart enough to bring a pair of snowshoes, and he bulldozes a path through two feet of fresh snow for us. It was beautiful out, total bluebird and crystals swirling above.
10:30 a.m.-After much debate, plans for a kicker are established and digging commences.
11:50 a.m.-The kicker is finally done, although the soft powder didn’t make for easy construction. Once again, Mr. Voutilainen’s snowshoes pull through for us; Tina wears them to pack the jump. A quick game of odd man out, and Josh is first in line to huck his carcass.
1:30 p.m.-People are tired, and the landing is toast. This is probably the spot where I should mention something about aerial maneuvers. Yes, tricks. Yes, they happen. Look at the pictures, dummy.
1:55 p.m.-Upon arriving at the heliport we are told there may not be any more lifts that afternoon. Weather is moving in quickly, and it might become too dangerous to fly. Great. The group decides to wait out some clouds. Bob the cook prepares some food for us-praise Bob for the good treats. The next hour we sit with our fingers crossed and hope for the chance to fly.
2:50 p.m.-The sky still looks crappy, but orientation commences. Finally, we fly. Zacher mumbles something about milk.
3:15 p.m.-Liftoff. The weather is not cooperating, and good light is sparse. The snow is nice and the troops are happy-until we are told we only get one run. At this point the stoke factor is waning between poor and average. It is supposed to be epic.
4:30 p.m.-Milk it we do, ’til the udders turn purple.
5:10 p.m.-Head back tohe heli-port, where we eat some more food and get things together. Load up the car and sit in rush-hour traffic to get down the canyon. Traffic is moving like a constipated turtle.
5:50 p.m.-Still in traffic. Keep in mind, this time of the day is usually spent in the hot tub, not in a van full of smelly feet. This is also the perfect time for Ami’s veggie-burger flatulence to kick in.
7:15 p.m.-Finally make it to Park City. Some snobby rich people who just recently inherited their money give us the “we have more money than you” look as we get into the ticket line. Then the nice marketing guy recognizes us and yells that we need to be at the V.I.P. window.
7:35 p.m.-Arrive at the pipe. It’s not done as promised. Our riding has to be delayed again.
7:50 p.m.-Take over the coffee shop. The troops start to drop like dead leaves. Everyone has a few cups of java, except Tina. She tells us the only time she has had coffee was a sip of Dana Nicholson’s (you youngsters don’t know who that is, but that’s okay because you just look at the pictures anyway), and she got really sick.
8:30 p.m.-Back up to the pipe. It’s done and we make a few side-slips-looks damn good. It could even hold a candle to some of those Colorado pipes. Shannon Dunn and Mikey Basich show up. Were they on a date? No, just there to get in the way and laugh at us. Jerks.
9:00 p.m.-Once again I should mention the riding, but I won’t cause I’m just a stupid geek with a computer and don’t really know the names of any tricks. Method-how’s that?
9:20 p.m.-Ski patrol shows up and tells us it’s time to go-bummer. We are only there for fifteen minutes. Oh well, got to listen to The Man. Josh does that finger thing again and Mr. Voutilainen screams his favorite Finnish vulgarities. Tina is on her phone. Snowboarders are so cool. I’m lucky I get to hang out with them.
10:00 p.m.-Stop at Mickey D’s for some food. Dirksen eats seven cheeseburgers and a small french-fry order. Ami is a hardcore vegan (no meat, no dairy, and don’t kill anything-ever) so he is really out of his element. Tina is on the phone.
11:30 p.m.-Get to downtown Salt Lake. Begin looking for handrails.
12:00 midnight-Find ourselves at the university hospital with a handrail that resembles the snake in Anaconda. Where is Cube when we need him?
12:15 a.m.-Tina gets off the phone for a second to say she wants no part of this and that she has paid her handrail dues. Meanwhile, one of Utah University’s finest approaches us with quite a bewildered look on his face. We may as well have all been naked. He’s not down with our program and asks us to leave-immediately. We leave with no incident as Ami mentions that he would be back sometime in the future. He wants it bad. He’s so devoted.
12:30 a.m.-We find something to slide at the Capitol Building and shape out a runway as a cop shows up and asks what we’re doing. Ami tries to pretend like he doesn’t understand English. Tina is still on the phone. Kevin, our photo guy, tells him we’re doing a fashion piece on snowboarding. Mr. Policeman says he’s sorry for bothering us and wishes us a good night. Pretty cool cop, I must say. He knew what it is we were doing. He must have surfed these same sidewalks back in ’76.
12:45 a.m.-Destruction of government property begins. The handrail isn’t super long, but it is all we can find with some adequate snow. The dudes have to be pushed into the runway and abruptly stop before landing in the street. Ami and Josh say they aren’t very good at rails, but they kill it anyway. They do some doubles shit that is pretty cool. We are impressed by the time we leave, considering how ugly it looked at first. This is why they get paid to snowboard and you don’t. They are professionals, damn you.
1:45 a.m.-Handrails defaced and we’re back in the van. Tina suggests we drive by Bricks (the local meat market) and see who is out. Remember, we were in our friggin’ snowboard clothes, for god’s sake!
1:55 a.m.-Arrive at Bricks and sit in the parking lot watching drunk dudes try one last time to find a nice girl to go home with. Tina runs around talking to everyone, while the rest of us laugh at more drunk people.
2:00 a.m.-Josh sticks his head out the window to talk to some girls. They come over and want to get in with us, but we won’t let them because it smells so bad. Dirksen whispers in one girl’s ear, then she grabs him by the neck and thrusts her tongue down his throat. What did he say? Oh, I know, “Hey, I’m a pro snowboarder.” This is Utah, after all. Tina comes back to the van, and we decide to cruise around looking for something more to ride, but not before Josh got the digits.
2:30 a.m.-Run around downtown with the night people. Do some window shopping and locate some more coffee.
3:30 a.m.-Still searched. People are starting to get weird, so we pull over to regroup.
4:30 a.m.-Regrouping is not happening. This is where things get a little fuzzy, so keep that in mind when you read the rest of this crap. You’re a champ if you’ve hung in this long.
5:00 a.m.-We are only three hours away from ending this thing. We discuss our options. Options are thinning. Zacher says he has one more spot to check out, a “last resort” he scouted the previous day. It’s up on Highway 89 overlooking the entire Salt Lake Valley. As we arrive, Zacher shows us what he thinks could be worked into a jump. Tina, Ami, and Josh give him the Ricky Lake forearm dis, and we leave almost immediately. “Hey, I know it’s small but I could make it look good,” Zacher exclaims as Tina lays some rubber down. Outta there.
5:15 a.m.-At this point we have two options: be strong and continue on, driving the hour and a half north to Powder Mountain, arriving in time to do some catboarding, or be wussies and call it a night.
6:00 a.m.-We literally spent this time in the van debating what to do. Everybody wants to forge on, but our bodies are telling us it is over.
6:01 a.m.-With too much irrational rationalizing going on, we finally decide it is over-just too darn risky to continue. We are all so tired it hurts. The half-hour drive to Tina’s seems an eternity. Once home, Tina promises all of us a nice place to sleep-and if we keep the place clean, she’ll maybe tell a scary story or two.