Yant Rant: Sucking Gas and Other Travel Treats

The trip started out great: Double Double’s at In And Out Burger in Placerville, a six pack of Boas for the passengers, and Monster Magnet on the stereo. We were making killer time. In what seemed like minutes, we were on the outskirts of Sacramento. Damn, we would be in Portland by four a.m. and in Vancouver by two p.m. But then I opened my mouth.

“Just wait ’til the next exit to get gas, I’m not quite finished with my beer yet.” I swear I have never seen a gas gauge drop so fast. Twenty minutes from the exit, the car sputtered on the last fume of gas and crept to a standstill. “Nate, you idiot,” Halopoff and Ruhter said simultaneously, and we got out of the car to assess the situation.

I opened the hood of my sled and pulled off a hose from the carburetor-then for the next half an hour, the three of us took turns siphoning gas into beer bottles and pouring it into the car. As luck would go, we had to pull over twenty miles down the road to do it again. We made it to the gas station two hours after our ordeal started, and drove into Vancouver some eighteen hours later.

It was pissing rain in the city and the mountains were getting puked on. Uh, this was going to be the sickest trip. We rode Seymour the next night, but it had rained almost all the way to the top of the mountain, so the snow was crap. Then we drove to Whistler and snowmobiled to some of the sickest terrain ever.

Sean Johnson, Lukas Huffman, and Jimmy took turns roosting sick powder lines and drops, but it was so socked in and snowy, shooting photos was almost impossible. For four hours I stood at the bottom of a slope, in the middle of a blizzard, with photographers Ian Ruhter, Scott Serfas, and cinematographer Gary Pendograss. We waited for a break in the weather, watching Jimmy, Sean, and Lukas shuttle each other up on the snowmobiles and do lap after lap on an open face, just for fun. Six months in a cubicle made me forget how awesome it was to be in the mountains for hours on end, hiking, building jumps, and freezing my ass off, even if I wasn’t the one snowboarding. I’m not even joking, there is nothing like chilling in the middle of nowhere, shooting the shit with friends.

The next day, we went to the same spot and the weather broke long enough to convince us to spend an hour building a road jump. But as soon as Lukas hit it, the sun disappeared behind a gigantic cloud and we were left in darkness for the rest of the day. Oh man, if this continued, the trip was going to be a complete write-off. To shatter the suspense I just built, the weather never cleared-except for the final night before my flight home.

We got to Cyprus right around 8:30 p.m. and hustled through the ticket line. It was super clear and cold, the snow was dry and chalky, and there were no big jumps to speak of. There wasn’t a photographer either. Ian flew home early on account that his Grandma is in the hospital-best wishes Grandma Francis. Despite the fact we weren’t going to get a single thing done for the mag, that night of snowboarding was the most productive event of the trip. Johnson, Jimmy, and I ducked ropes to ride powder in the pitch black trees, hit pinner sidewall hits, dodged city folk, and tried to jump, spin, or ride anything that showed even the slightest bit of transition.

We rode all the way ’til eleven, and we were the last ones to go up the chair lift. We couldn’t remember the last time we had that much fun snowboarding, and stayed up ’til two talking about it. The next morning, I got up at 5:30 a.m. to catch a taxi to the airport and get back to Tahoe where there is plenty of sunshine, but not any snow.

The North West stayed true to itself once again with tons of snow and very little sun, and in doing so, got three dudes stoked on their job again.