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Eating Snow

Ski Gabber: Finding The Hole

Nothing besides actually skiing is easy in ski gear.

Walking sucks, not going downhill is exercise, and God help you if you have to go to the bathroom… Among other things.

I was taking some adult liberties last weekend on the mountain… In the beverage capacity that is… When utilizing the facilities became a necessity.

Thank Jesus my retro onesie has a double zipper… But I still had to dig through 37 layers just to find the hole! When I finally found Mr. Jones it was one of the most rewarding feelings in the world! A triumphant endeavor indeed… Which is what finding the hole really turns out to be no matter the circumstance.

It’s 3am, the front door is locked, you pull your keys out. Hole. Boom.

It’s 330, you’ve had a few too many, the lights are off… among other things. Hole. Boom.

It’s 845, foot of fresh pow, you’re in the trees. Shoot the hole. Boom.

It’s 1017, you’re on the 13th green, you’re sitting 8 hitting 9 (on a par 3). Hole. Boom.

Really… Doesn’t matter when, where, or how. When you find the hole you find yourself an accomplishment. Strapping in, carving up, shooting one down. The hole is the hole. Its never easy and finding it is half the battle otherwise we wouldn’t even suit up for the game.

Catch you out there champion of OH’s.


Eating Snow: I Hate Skiing!

I hate skiing.

I hate everything about it. I hate that I have to wake up at 6:15 when it’s still dark out just to get to the mountain. I hate that even at 8am there are still highway patrol cars trying to catch me going 80 down the freeway just to make first chair.

I hate the exorbitant amount of money it costs. I hate that I have to pay $65 just to be cold for the day, another $15 to eat some sub-par chili, and another $7 every time I try to warm up with a beer.

I hate ski boots. They are the most uncomfortable things in the world. Whoever invented the hard plastic weighted shoes we need to use to click into our bindings should be exiled.

I hate lift lines. I hate waiting behind Citidiots just to get to the top of the mountain, only to have to play frogger on the way down avoiding those same people who aren’t even able to sit on a chair in the first place. Jerks.

I hate that the mountain closes off the best trails and considers them out of bounds. I hate how if you do decide to ski those trails, ski patrol comes along and pulls your ticket for the day. See ya later $65.

I hate ski equipment in general. You need 17 layers to go out and brave the cold. Any exposed skin surely ends up with you getting frostbite. Then you have to lug your skis around with you from the parking lot where you had to park 300 yards away… then lock it up because you just spent $1,200 on brand new sticks… only to take a chunk out of them half way down your first run because you hit a rock.

I hate how tired you are at the end of the day. When you do get back to the lodge and can finally relax, you’re too exhausted to do anything besides take off your boots that were killing your feet anyway, put your shoes back on, and then complain about the drive home that is waiting for you – 300 yards away – with the car that probably has frozen locks you can’t get into.

God, if only all that were true. I love skiing. I love everything about it. I don’t care about the money, or the boots, or the cold – there isn’t anything I love in my entire life as much as the mountain. Thank you skiing, for everything. From the hole in my wallet to the roof rack on my car with the locks that don’t work – I owe it all to you – and I love you for it.


Eating Snow: Getting Lost, Literally

The New York Times recently printed a very interesting article about skiers getting lost skiing back country in the greater New England area and ultimately needing search parties to get them back to civilization.

I read this on Monday and thought a lot about whether I wanted to post a concerned response or a gripe about it. Eating snow is delicious but it’s never nice.

First let me start with the winter we have had so far. The snow has been incredible, the conditions have been heavenly, and everyone seems to think that the record snowfall is a sign that the apocalypse is upon us. I hate those people. RELAX! This is a good thing. The skiing has never been better, the economies of the ski towns up and down the East Coast were in dire need of a season like this, and it has allowed people to experience what it is like to actually ski on surface conditions other than sheer ice. If I had the Donald Trump authority to fire every weather man who harped on how much snow we have had this season there wouldn’t be any left to tell us about the next resource consuming blizzard to come our way.

Then we come to the issue of people getting lost. Now I hate euphemisms and metaphors but everyone is familiar with the one that goes “those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. I live in that house and I hope it shatters, plus it’s drafty as hell. Every chance I get I go out of bounds. When i’m out with my ski buddies we are all on the same page: snow on the ground, bring out your rock skis because we won’t be playing on the groomers. Heck, we even ended up with a really close call at one point (see: Getting Lost To Find Yourself). But people, CMON… Know. Your. Limits.

If you have a hard time skiing anything groomed, albeit Great Northern (beginner trail at Killington with headache inducing skier traffic) or K-27 (moguled up double black diamond at Hunter) then you’re going to have a problem out-of-bounds.

If it was easy everyone would do it. If it was something the mountain thought you should ski they would put it on their trail map for Christ sake.

I get it. Skiing is fun. I love everything about how it brings people out to enjoy themselves in the dead of winter. I love how in my entire life I have never seen a fight on the hill. And I have nothing but respect for anyone who comes to the mountain to give it a shot for the first time. I actually encourage it. We were all there. From Shane McConkey to Picabo Street – we all started somewhere and the only way to get better is to get out there and shred it.

But for crying out loud, pizza french fry before you start searching out powder stashes in the trees! Don’t ruin it for everyone and stay on the map. And if you can do it and decide to head out of bounds, let me know and i’ll be right there with you.

Until next time, cheers & keep shredding!

Ryan


Eating Snow: Lift Ticket Prices & How To Avoid Them

I was out moving the car this morning, complaining to myself about the frigid weather in the greater New York City area… and then I realized, I had not posted a gripe yet this week!

Well this weeks gripe: lift ticket prices.

Thanks to a Mammoth Mountain forum I was able to track down, they outline ticket pricing and highlight top end resorts on both coasts:  http://forums.mammothmountain.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=8301&start=45 )

I knew Killington (tied with Sugarbush for 3rd on the list) was $82 last year… they jacked it up to $84 this year but for comparative purposes  we will focus on last years pricing and it is no surprise the resort is in the top 10. Then there us Stowe at $89 for a one day pass. Are you kidding me?! So after the $30 on gas, $15 spent on lunch, and $20 spent at the bar – your conservative total for the day is $154 for 6 hours of skiing.

I just don’t understand it, aren’t we in a recession?? Shouldn’t ticket pricing be diluted??

My buddy suggested organizing some ‘funemployment’ trips to local mountains this season. Maybe if we go midweek, get a group discount, and get fake ids that say we’re only 16 we can make it affordable for everyone to go. We’ll see.

Or you can try a different strategy. This is how I beat the system at Mount Snow ($79 – #8 on the list) my freshman year of college.

This was college for most people; you were poor, you used to try and sneak into the mess hall without a mean plan, and you would only go to happy hours if they served free food (see: Noah’s in Poughkeepsie, NY for free wings and ziti on Thursday & Friday HH). So an $80 lift pass was out of the question. Sorry Mount Snow, I can pay for it now – but as a broke college kid it wasn’t gonna happen.

To their credit they do have a *Our Snow Guarantee* that I like – basically if you don’t like the snow within an hour of skiing you can get your money back.

But we aren’t talking about guarantees, we are talking about shredding the gnar. Not only was the ticket way too rich for my blood, but they didnt have any student pricing… I had to figure out a way to beat the system.

As I remember it, 8 years ag0 (Jesus I’m old) Mount Snow had a 3 tier pricing system. Youth, Teen, and Adult. Well the youth pass was $20 cheaper than the Adult and fifty something sounds a lot better than seventy something doesn’t it? So I pretended I was 13 years old – on my 19th birthday.

It’s cold, I’m wearing a mask… I can DEFINITELY get away with this. Well, it actually worked out pretty well until the last few runs of the day. The new liftie started giving me a hard time in line but we got through. I was skiing with my freshman year roommate & best buddy Jay and we both decided 2 more runs and we’re done for the day. We should have known we were testing our luck.

We get to the bottom… we were dumb as could be for going right back to the same liftie. Of course he was on his little walkie talkie, “uhh, I got em, yea… they’re right there”. And then he made us wait for his boss. The entire time I’m formulating a what to say to the next wave of  mountain management that was about to yell at me. So then this guy showed up on a snowmobile – looked JUST LIKE Santa Clause, I kid you not – and then started grilling me. So here is the exchange:

Santa: I’ve never seen a 12 year old with a beard

Bearded 12 year old: It’s not really a beard, it’s pretty patchy.

Santa: (Pointing at Jay) Who’s this guy and how old is he?

Bearded 12 year old: Oh, thats my cousin Jay and he is 19. He’s watching me while our parents are at the bar catching up (Jay is Puerto Rican btw)

Santa: Do you have any identification?

Bearded 12 year old: Oh course not, my middle school ID is in my wallet at the house and are you looking for a drivers license or something sir??

So he finally let us go. I mean, honestly, what is he going to hold us for? I told an impeccable story and he had NOTHING. That last run we took was bitter sweet and I have never had a grin quite like that written across my face since I was 12 years old.

So anyway… the moral of the story is the best way to avoid the high lift ticket prices is to pretend you are still in 7th grade. If that is not a viable option other alternatives include; finding online discounts (http://www.onthesnow.com/lifttickets_guide.html?gclid=CIubsf3686UCFU1-5QodBBm2nw), joining community ski clubs (Hoboken Ski Club for example), or find your local ski shop and buy some before you get to the mountain. Any of those options will probably save you 15% or so – and when you’re paying $80 / day to ski anything helps.

Happy shredding fellow coupon clippers! Cheers,

Ryan


Eating Snow: People Who Don’t Like Snowball Fights

Eating Snow is the gripe category. First of all, I love eating snow… I don’t care of that makes me seem weird, its delicious. Secondly, every week I will be sure to include a gripe story of some kind and as always, contributions are appreciated.

This weeks gripe: people who don’t like snowball fights.

Who in their right mind doesn’t like a snowball fight?! What’s not to like?? Its like the laser tag you used to play as kids in your basement except outside, with man made snow forts, and you have an endless amount of ammo thanks to the Sky Gods.

With the exception of having a snowball fight with pitching great Randy Johnson (as the Geico commercial points out in detail) it’s never a bad idea! With the exception of the rare face shot, snowballs are harmless grenades that generally don’t hit their intended targets anyway.

Not to mention… its a chance to relive those early years where you had no responsibility, no worries, and not a care in the world. All you hoped for was a snow day & hot chocolate.

I just don’t understand people that don’t like snowball fights… not enjoying a snowball fight is the equivalent of waking up on Christmas and getting pissed off at Santa for eating all your cookies.

Buddy the Elf likes snowball fights too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIjYbG7vB_I

Word to the wise; the next time there is snow on the ground, pack up a snowball and launch it at your closest friend. And see if it doesn’t make you laugh your @$$ off for at least 5 minutes, just have a backup handy in the likely hood that you’ll still miss the target even from a range of 5 feet.

The Great Times Square Snowball Fight of 2010

The next time you come across someone who declares their dislike of the time honored tradition, unload a barrage of snowballs in their general vicinity and see if that changes their disposition.

❤ Snowball Fights ❤