Monday February 26, 2007

Jet Blue is where good times go to die sit on the runway all day. (bonus: four days of Beaver Creek pics!)

Oh Jet Blue, someday we'll be able to be friends again. Last weekend (President's Day) I made the trek out to Beaver Creek, Colorado with the Bates kids (4th year out! Also see: 2006, 2005, 2004) but not without considerable airport drama. I'm sure you heard about it - something like 260 flights cancelled, people sitting on the runway at JFK for 10 hours, 11 JetBlue cities shut down, etc. [NYTimes]

We had pretty solid storm on Wednesday, but by Thursday morning I figured I'd be fine (I had an 8:05 flight). And come morning, sure it was cold out, but the skies were blue. Anyway, I got up around 6am, checked the innernets to find out my flight was still okay to go but by the time I rolled into JFK I was met with this mess...

... hundreds of people waiting to check-in. It was chaos, complete with JetBlue employees standing on counters with megaphones trying to direct the crowds. Thankfully, all the info screens were still telling everyone that all flights were still on-time.

I txt'ed Steve who was flying out of Laguardia on America w/ Rob. No problems for them. I txt'ed MF who was in Boston (flying out w/ Tyler) and while there were weather delays, all hell wasn't breaking loose.

It took me about 40 mins to get through check-in (it's now 7:40a) and I'm thinking with all these people queued to check-in bags, the security lines have got to be light. No such luck. It took me another 30 mins or so to get thru security... which means this part of the story ends with me running through the airport Hertz / OJ Simpson style to make my flight ("it's 8:07 and departs at 8:05!!!"). By the way, people in the security line are stressing out all over the place since there was NO indication that the gates to all the JetBlue flights that were marked "On Time" actually look like this...

Ugh. A mob of people queued up at every gate.

I quickly picked up my airport delay survival kit (Flickr). Those little wafer cookies are my favorite. That f'ing sandwich cost me some $8.

I took this pic at 9:22am. At this point, no one had really gone crazy yet but this eventually turned into *4 hours* of sitting on the terminal floor listening to JetBlue employees give us updates about how "the flight to Denver is next out of the gate... as soon as we can find a plane". Oh wait, they found a plane, now all they need to do is get it out of the hanger... "people, people... it shouldn't be any more than another hour and a half". Oh man.

12:26am. We finally board the plane and I feel asleep right away. I was hoping to wake up and find myself somewhere over the midwest. Instead, I woke up two hours later and we were still on the runway queuing for de-icing. We ended up sitting on the runway for about 3 1/2 hours total.

Mind you, the masterplan was that I was going to meet Steve + Rob in Denver and then catch a ride in their rental car to Beaver Creek. I was actually a little bummed at the thought that I was going to be the first one to arrive in Denver (ha!) and I'd have to wait around 30-40 mins for everyone else. Instead, Steve and Rob landed before I even got on the plane.

New plan: catch a ride w/ MF + Tyler. Their flight was set to arrive in Denver around 3pm, so I was txt'ing them from the runway trying to convice them to wait up (12:30 boarding = I'll be in Denver by 4pm, right?). Anyway, by the time I woke up from my little runway nap, they were already in the air (not knowing I was still stuck on the tarmac) which means they'd be stuck waiting for me forever (thought if they didn't wait, I'd have no other way to get to BC besides driving by myself).

So, we take off around 4pm which gets me into Denver around 5:50pm MST. And as soon as I fire up my phone, I get the txt that MF and Tyler are waiting in the airport bar = BEST FRIENDS EVER.

Ah, is there nothing sweeter than a JetBlue-Hosed-Me reunion! God bless Tyler + MF, who saddled up in the Red Rock Denver Airport Bar for like 4 hours waiting for me.

I drew out this little schedule and sent it to Flickr for all the kids keeping score at home.

6:00a Left my apt
8:05a Flight's scheduled departure
8:07a Get to gate
12:30p Finally board plane
1:30p De-icing
3:30p De-icing again
4:00p Take off
7:45p Finally arrive in Denver (5:45 MST)

Can I have my money back, please?

Somehow my snowboard arrived no problem and me + MF + Ty took off in our sweet undercover cop car luxury Mercury Grand Marquee for the two hour ride from Denver -> Vail/BC. (Overheard: "Are you guys sure you aren't NARCs?")

Rumors were flying on the Hertz shuttle bus that because of an incoming snow storm the Vail pass, the super windy mountain road that connects Vail to the rest of the world, might be closed down by the time we got out of the city (meaning we'd have to turn around and crash somewhere in Denver). Luckily, we made it through no problem though the roads were pretty sketchy - especially in our 2WD luxury grandpa sedan. Special shoutout to Tyler's defensive driving skillz.

(Apparently there's avalanches on the Vail pass from time to time? I heard some folks where hurt / killed?? earlier this year in a similar incident. Ugh.)

Annnnddd.... to Beaver Creek. We finally got in around 9pm. Did I fail to mention that Beaver Creek Trip 07 also doubled as Pete's bachelor party (getting married in May)? There were all sorts of Pete memorabilia going around - shirts ("To death do ewe part" - some Bates joke, I guess), commerative steins (!!!).

You may remember Tyler from last year's VODKA CHALLENGE. Kid is the most frequent of frequent flyers - even packs his own carry-on nips in the special 3 liter bag approved by Homeland Security!

Friday was our first day out. High winds kept the top of the mountain closed and made our $85 lift tickets an extra great value.

Actually, Friday may have been some of the worst "out west" conditions I've ever seen. We could have been blown off the mountain! We did prob 6-7 runs before calling it quits early. Ironically, the storm dumped on Mount Snow (VT) creating some of the best conditions in years. That's *so* my luck. [video]

Saturday was 800x better. We were back to the usual Special Treatment we expect as guests of Pete's palace. For example...

... the private locker room! Oh, what nice brand new carpet you had installed during the off-season.

Complementary hot chocolate! (For a bit I feared they got rid of the hot chocolate machine, but they really just moved it around the corner - sneaky!). I actually upgraded to the free Spiced Chai Tea half-way through the wkd. Fancy!

And don't forget the Argentinian girls in the lift lines giving out free cookies. Thanks! They're delicious!

Oh yeah, weather was great. (is *this* the only ski pic I have???)

Check out this slamming video of me trying to clear this telephone pole they had set up in the park. The Beaver Creek park is usually pretty sick (last year = perfect), though this year (and maybe I'm just Old Man Crowley) but the jumps were *too* big. They had a baby park at the summit with 5-10 feet tables and then this big boy park near the bottom with 35-40 foot tables. Where are the 20-30 foot kickers? Give us something to work up to, people! Oh, anyway, this pole slayed me 2-3x (I didn't hit it clean once). [video]

ps: Last year this was the scene of the big quarterpipe box. See?

Lunchtime is for $12 pulled pork sandwiches. Rob and I kept trying to see who could get the closets to $20 w/out going over. Brisket + $4 gatorade + Kit Kat put me *just* over at $20.80. Damn you!

(Cue flashback to 2004 when this sandwich cost a mere $9.25)

Watch out for unexpected clotheslines. Ouch.

Beaver Creek is a pretty chill weekend. Very little apres; lots of fine dining + beers + dudes in hot tubs. We hit up our go-to Mexican place...

... treating Pete to shots of the Tuaca. Wait, hold on, I just looked up Tuaca on the Wikipedia and it says...

Tuaca is a brand of Italian liqueur. It is sweet and viscous, and its ingredients include brandy, vanilla (which gives it its predominant flavor) and citrus. The recipe supposedly dates to the Renaissance; one story is that the liqueur was created for Lorenzo the Magnificent. Tuaca is produced by the Tuoni family in Livorno, Tuscany. It has been marketed in the United States since the late 1950s.
... "sweet and viscous?!" Ha, awesome! Note: this is probably funny to me as about 10 years ago I heard some crunked girl refer to Sweet and Vicious (the bar on Spring Street) as "Sweet and Viscous" and I've been calling it that ever since. Huh!

Also, I'm not sure why tuaca.com doesn't use our Dude Factory photo(s) as the splash image on their website. What do you got against 12 dudes, Tuaca execs?!?!

Mexican was Saturday? So that means Gaslamp was Sunday? Gaslamp = our other go-to dinner spot. I loaded up on the ribs + some skrimp skeweres. Ryan.H (I know you're reading this), you should check out this place next time you hit up BC (did you head out already?). Load up on the surf and turf)

Late night at the silo barn is for dressing up in old-school ski onesies. I'm sure this orange job cost some $$$$$$$.

Or, you can dress up like Captain Solo on Hoth if you want. Either way works.

Loyal teendrama readers may remember just how sick this house is. Which is why seeing carved animal figurines making the sex with one another all that more special.


Another little bit of Colorado trivia - any beers you buy in the supermarker at special "3.2 beers" (limited to 3.2% alcohol). If you want real big-boy beers (5.0%) you need to swing by Beaver Liquors (yes, that's really the name).

Also (for next year - Ryan, you listening?):
+ 3.2 beers is not subject to Colorado open-contaier laws. (huh!)
+ liquor stores aren't open on Sundays.
+ Beaver Liquors delivers anywhere in the Vail valley! (800-483-9887, $100 minimum)

Late nite is for Strike Outs Fielders' Choice(s?). College!

And ping-pong tourneys. That sure is a lot of dudes.

I'm not much of a pong player, so I challenged Rich to a battle to the death on this rickety old foosball tables. Rods were bent and egos smashed, but dpstyles97 came out on top once again.

So four days on snow... what's that bring me to 17 for the season? (Plus a week in Whistler coming up - hoo boy!) I prob won't hit my 30, but I bet I clock in around 25 for the season. Sigh.

Oh anyway, back to this story. So I had to pack up and leave Monday night. I caught the 6:08 CME (airport shuttle) for a 12:55am JetBlue redeye (that's the last shuttle they had, and I have no idea why I keep booking myself on these redeyes). Anyway, when we rolled into the Denver airport (8:30?), on top of all drama from the front end of the weekend, I found the JetBlue ticket line *closed*. Come'on!

See you at 9:15 I guess.

Check out all my airport friends. Lauren in the red (me her in the check-in line) and *Danielle Strle* in the blue (on a layover from LA, randomly ran into her in the airport bar). The other dude is our server (What was his name? David?) Anyway, we pounded beers until out 12:55a flight. I slept like a drunk baby.

In line to get on the plane. Lauren: "He's bringing it back!"

And to top off the whole small-world-in-the-Denver-airport angle, when I found my seats, Edgar (Grellan's brother) was in the row across from me w/ Grell a few rows ahead. Huh! Once we arrived in JFK, we pulled the 2006 all over again - skipping the taxi line (for suckers!) and getting a ride backin a gypsy Cadillac Escalade. $25 each = gold!

And so that's the end of my Beaver Creek tale. Still hungry for more, check out years past!
+ 2006
+ 2005
+ 2004


Mon 2/26 @ 2:25 PM | # link| Comments (6)
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