Category Archives: Snowboarding

Rice Balls

We’re done. Kate and I have finished our applications to graduate school, all of our transcripts have been submitted, and our recommenders have completed their assessments of our qualifications. In the end we only applied to three schools, as the fourth school on our list made considerable effort to come across as an arrogant prick. It was as though they were doing us a favor in allowing us to apply to their school, and we should be so lucky that they were taking the time to communicate with us in the first place.

So now after four months on this project, averaging two hours of work every evening of every day, we now wait to hear back. Or at least, some of us are waiting to hear back. Kate was accepted to her program at one of our schools less than a day after submitting her application. I keep telling people that I’m involved in an abusive relationship, and my girlfriend beats me. Not only does she beat me by turning in her applications before me, but she beats me in getting accepted to her schools before me.

In other news, on Friday I finally got my car back from the auto body shop. They were having a hell of a time resetting the error codes in the system, so they had to take an extra day and drive it to the Subaru dealership in The Dalles and have them clear out the codes for good. While they were driving to The Dalles a rock got kicked up by another car, chipping my brand-fucking new windshield, and requiring yet another day of repair. I am becoming increasingly convinced that either my car or that stretch of highway is cursed, and I will never again be able to drive to The Dalles without suffering the consequences.

I went snowboarding at Mount Hood Meadows today, and had a splendid time scouring the mountain for something that was not ice. Conditions were fairly mediocre, as we only have a 50-inch base and we haven’t had a significant snow storm in more than a week. Ice and rocks aside it was great to get on the hill, and even though I loved driving the Ford Focus while my Subaru was in the shop, it’s nice driving a car to Hood that doesn’t leave me feeling terrified. Oh, Ford Focus, it’s sad and alarming how much you have in common with my old Ford Tempo.

There is encouraging news, too, on the knee side of things. I went riding at the mountain last weekend with my friend Joe, and on my second run I took a huge digger right on my knee. While it hurt like crazy I assumed I was just acting the wuss, and so I forced myself to keep riding on it for four more hours. By the time we got to the van it was feeling pretty tender, and I iced it with a ziplock bag of snow for the drive back to Hood River.

When I got home my knee had since swollen to the size of a grapefruit, to the point where I couldn’t even stand and cook dinner. It was all I could do to drop ibuprofen, ice my knee, and sit on the couch watching episodes of The West Wing. The injury has since matured into an impressive bruise that spans my leg, and I no longer look like I have the knee of a World’s Strongest Man.

Hot Air

The other night I went to see Playground, Warren Miller’s new ski flick. I believe this was about my third or fourth snow pr0n movie of the season, and to be perfectly honest I’m going to vomit if I need to sit through another half-hour of Alaska heli-skiing. Seriously, I don’t care how hardcore the terrain might be, or how many times you can say “stoked” in a sentence, your big-mountain shit bores me to sickness.

I suppose Playground was decent, in that it was just like every other flick I’ve seen so far this season. Except, what the hell was up with the ten-minute spot on Bode Miller? How the hell do you toss that f-wad in the middle of your ski movie, with nary a hint of irony, and expect to be taken seriously? The ass didn’t even bother to shave for your interview, for chrissakes.

Additionally, there were times where I felt like I was watching an ad for Corona. After about the fifth hot tub shot (in the Alaskan Chugach Mountains, natch) framed with a half-finished bottle in the foreground, I became a bit suspicious. Indeed, I came to discover that Corona was one of the major sponsors for the movie.

In wholly unrelated news, I got a flat tire today. After spending fifteen minutes trying to fill it back up at the Chevron’s broken-ass air compressor, I went across town to the 76 Station next to the freeway, where you can enjoy Oregon hospitality at Washington prices. One person didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked if they had compressed air, and the other person looked at me funny.

“Compressed air? Do you mean air? Like, just, air?”
“Uhh, yeah. That’s right. Air.”
“Oh yeah, we got that. Blue hose, right over there by the propane tank.”
“Blue hose? Now, you’re sure I won’t be filling my tires up with propane, right? Because I don’t want that.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure.”

He seemed a bit too sure.

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.