How To: Travel To Minnesota For A Rail Trip

By Pierre Minhondo (MDP-People)

STEP 1:—this Web site gives you info on snow accumulation for the surrounding Minneapolis region. Since it's usually off by about six inches to a foot, I wouldn't flinch unless you see an accumulation of a foot and half of snow or more across the board.

STEP 2: The guys I film the most in the People crew are Nima Jalali, Jon Kooley, and Justin Hebbel. Justin is notorious for getting really excited and calling everyone to let us know that it just snowed two feet, when in reality it just rained two feet. Check for yourself by calling a friend in the area. Nima likes to meet his Minneapolis friends on—maybe you can, too.

STEP 3: Time to book a flight leaving ASAP. If you're poor, check for a good listing of prices. Remember, you're booking your flight within 24 hours of leaving, so you'll have to pay a retarded amount of money for a flight that would normally cost 100 dollars one way.

STEP 4: You just landed at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport. Hopefully you brought enough warm snow gear for the negative-30-degree weather, and hopefully the airline actually got your luggage there. The airline always loses Nima Jalali's luggage in airport hell. Usually a day or two into the trip Nima's board bag will resurrect itself at the hotel filled with about two or three decks, extra bindings, wax, detuning gear, clothes that aren't bright enough for filming, and cartons of cigarettes.

STEP 5: It's time to rent a vehicle. We usually run with a group of five people: three snowboarders, filmer (me), and a photographer. I suggest a Ford F-150 or large passenger van. You'll need enough room for your gear and the gear you're buying (see Step 7). Expect to get ripped off by a very nice, very large woman with a Midwestern accent who will tell you that you got the best deal on a rental car in all of Minnesota.

STEP 6: While you're sitting in your rental waiting for the damn thing to warm up, call around to hotels not in the vicinity of the airport for the best prices. Drop your non-shred gear off there and head to Home Depot.

STEP 7: We usually rent a generator, buy lights, extension cord, chain cutters, files, tape, oil for generator, and last but not least, we buy the supplies needed to build a drop-in ramp. Build the drop-in ramp directly outside of Home Depot in order to use its power supply and rental department's drill. This usually annoys customers and employees, but since everybody from the Midwest is really nice, they won't say anything.

STEP 8: Where are the rails? I know that kink rail that Jeremy Jones did a half-Cab tailpress on in Picture This is around here somewhere. What about that yellow rail that Darrell Mathes switch back-lipped in Follow Me Around, and Jon Kooley switch frontboarded in People. You're going to have to figure this one out for yourself. Good luck!