The Sound and the Fury

I just got back from doing a bit of night riding over at Mount Hood Meadows. Apparently this weekend they’re having a throw-down called Jamaican Days, which means they pipe reggae music through their outside speakers, host a bonfire out on the snow, and cook something at the chalet that smells vaguely Jamaican. It also means that the snowboarders burn something in the terrain park that smells vaguely Jamaican. How this makes it different from any other weekend is beyond me.

However. If snow conditions had any say in the matter, the festivities would be known as “If you hate your life and want to die, let’s go snowboarding! Days.”

As I was taking my first ride up the chair lift (I take Daisy Chair because I’m a sucker for its vintage charm) I heard a very odd sound, that was not unlike the sound of waves crashing on a beach. At first I thought it was the lift, and I braced for my imminent plunge to the earth, but when the sound didn’t change as I passed lift tower after lift tower, I began to wonder. Why, the sound even seemed to echo through the resort, and besides snowmobiles I know of no lift that creates such a din to actually echo.

No. The sound I heard was every single person at Mount Hood Meadows, simultaneously scraping the metal edges of their skis or snowboards across the ice, the bulletproof ice that covered the entire mountain in a cruel mockery of actual snow. Oh god, that sound. I swear, it was so loud you could probably hear it all the way down in Government Camp… hear it, that is, if you weren’t deaf already from getting punched in the ear in a brawl down at Charlie’s.

Anyway, in contrast to the abhorrent snow conditions to be had at the mountain this eve, we had a beautiful day here in Hood River. It started out as the typical crud, cloudy and somewhat chilly with a cold drizzle every now and then. Early in the day someone at the bagel shop said it was sunny in Cascade Locks, however, so that gave us hope. Hope and rage. See, Cascade Locks is located in a fucking rainforest, such that we firmly believe it should never be sunny there. When it is, we Hood River peoples take it as an affront to our very existence.

Fortunately, the sun was kind enough to migrate this far east, and we were treated to cloudless skies and 60 degrees for the entire afternoon. I was busy soloing the shop for a good part of the day, but I managed to get outside for a spell and unwind some kite lines. In the evening it was still crystal clear, and the stars were out while I was riding at Meadows.

Or perhaps that was because I slammed my head into the ice one time too many.