Monday January 30, 2006
G-Unit ski trip @ stratton (+ bonus 2 days @ mount snow)
Okay, this is going to be a long one. Two days at Stratton for the G Skip Trip (East Coast version) and then another 2 days at Mount Snow. Ready?
The story (we'll call it Part 1) starts Wednesday night. Not wanting to deal with the whole catch-the-bus–at-5am drama, Team Lunch Club (er, 9 of us from G) decided to head up Wednesday after work and crash at my parent's house at Mount Snow. Five hours later (thank you Cross County Parkway + place with "Best Pizza in CT 2004") and we got to VT to find...
... that it had been dumping for the past day or so! We didn't really get anything in NYC, but there was agood 8-12 inches in Vermont.
We shoveled ourselves up the stairs, grabbed some of the finest light beers VT has to offer and then spent some quality time with Guitar Hero. (Sean.O = reigning champ)
Got up pretty early on Thursday morning with our goal being to beat the army of buses that were leaving from NYC, get to Stratton by 9:30 or so and be on the lift by 10am. We got out a little later than expected, grabbed some breakfast bagels down the street (delicious, btw) and made the 25 min trek from Mount Snow to Stratton...
... and, yes, were on the lift by 10am. Pow!
Hold on for a second, because it's worth noting how amazing the ski trip setup was. When we arrived, there were tables set up for us to check our bags, tables set up for us to check-in to our hotel and tables for us to pick our little packets of G* Goodness... a free lift ticket and three meal vouchers!
Okay, so back to skiing. Remember the 8-12 inches? Well, it started snowing again once we got there. The conditons were great (some of the best I've seen so far this season) though the visibility was a little shifty and it started getting choppy late in the day.
I skiied the morning w/ Harry + James + Sean (er, all 4 of us snowboarding). We met up w/ Alex later in the day (skis) and the rest of the Lunch Club crew around lunch time (how cute!).
Stratton is a weird mountain. Posh like Beaver Creek (Colorado), but not too-too difficult. There aren't too many lifts that will take you from the base to the summit (you need to take two charis a lot of times, which can be a pain). The mountain was empty (um, Thursday). We found this one run way on the lefthand side of the mountain where James and I were able to poach first tracks (er, over and over again).
A shot of the same trail a few runs later (after everyone started catching on). I wish I had some pics of the backhoe (!!) that was off to the side of the trail a few hundred yards up from where this pic was taken. After a few runs, the 4-foot wide line heading under the claw was getting tracked up.
Lunchtime. Burger and fries. Alex looking furioso.
And, thanks to you, $26.75 voucher!
A few of us went back out to make some runs after lunch. Started snowing a bit and the fog really picked up. Under the gondola we were dealing with 10 foot visibility. (and in the woods Eric + Harry + Adam + I hit 100% whiteout - zero visibility, not even one-inch. Crazy.)
Late day runs. Here, a Team Vindigo reunion in the gondola (with special guest Eric.S).
ps: Team Vindigo = me + James + Mike all used to work together back in The Day
Sean rocking the cheapo
googles goggles that leave black marks on your face.
End of the day and we head back to check into our hotel. Rising Bear #414 = easy enough, except the elevator maxes out at the third floor. So, we headed to "SL" (which must mean "Suite Level", right?)... but still no luck. After a few dropped cell phone calls, we figured out that we were supposed to be in the buidling next door ("Oh, of course!")
Anyway, that's not so important. What's important is that of the 500 some-odd people that came up to Stratton for the skip trip, Team Lunch Club somehow managed to secure the largest room of them all - an eleven person suite (four bedrooms!!) complete with remote controlled fireplace and 42" plasma (seriously, I am not making this up).
So, we figured that it's our destiny that we're the ones to throw the after-after party. I borrowed a trick from the Katie McKiernan Wedding playbook and pooled our business cards in order to whip up some makeshift invites.
Fast forward a few hours and we're back at the base lodge for a full catered meal (think fanciest buffet wedding you've ever done been at - did anyone take any pics?). Open bar from 7pm to midnight with a dance party upstairs (er, the same place we ate lunch).
ps: Can someone please please please confirm that the party was called "Club G"???
Er, there's lots more of these photos coming up. Here, L*, two Alan's, Akshay and Nikhil.
Team Dodgeball representing. (Harry, is it really necessary to straddle the camera?)
Hello! I don't remember any of your names. Come down and introduce yourself! We're on the 19th floor!
The voice of experience told me to cowboy up to the Nascar (Red Bull + Budweiser) late night. For the Stratton version, we had to substitute in the "Full Throttle" (read: good enough).
Nascars + ad sales girls = dance party. (er, who's jacket??)
Earlier in the night, prizes were given away for fastest skiiers + snowboarders. This guy (name? sorry.) took the top spot for snowboarders*.
Note the * as Team Lunch Club certainly did not know about this event. I tried to challenge him to another race (winner keeps the gold!) but he was having none of it.
Google knit hat = rad.
Me + friend-from-first-day-of-work-Leigh.
12:30am. We've handed out all our makeshift invites (er, at least I don't have any left). When the bar shut downm, we dragged as many people as we could to head back to the Super Suite. Here's one shuttle full.
Someone propped open the door to Rising Bear. Sameer showing off the "Come to room #414!" sign.
A full shuttle's worth of people in the elevator.
And another one of these. er, Denise and Lynn crowding everyone else out of the pic.
Okay, so here's the hotel suite. It's like MTV Cribs up in here. By the time we got back, there must have been 100 people there.
iPod to the Bose Wave Music System RadioTM (included in the room!!). Volume at 99 (we're so crazy!!)
Speical thanks to the Dom + Alan who were taking the birds-eye-view pics from the 2nd floor balcony.
A record for the most people ever fit into one of these pics?
By the way, more special thanks to whomever spilled this drink on me. (er, I swear I did not spill on myself). Amazingly, the stain came out of the carpet. And yes, I am wearing these pants today. And no, I have not washed them since Thursday. Huh.
Tudor rocking the dodgeball shirt. Alex rocking ambiguous gangsigns.
Okay, last one of these I promise. L* apparently has a special talent for weaseling her way into these shots.
Late night. We ran out of drinks around 2am (ps: even more special thanks to Team Epstein for bringing a box full of liquor + mixers)... so we journeyed down to the after-after-after party in room #212...
... where everything started to get a little blurry.
By the time we had made it back to #414, a lot of the mess had magically been cleaned up.
I took a nap on the floor for a bit, waking up at 8am thanks to The Dan Bentley Alarm Clock. James was packing his stuff to go riding, and he convinced me to motivate, so we grabbed our boards and headed out.
Day 2 @ Stratton was unadventurous. While there was plenty of after-after-after party talk about getting out early, the slopes seemed pretty Google-free. Admittedly, I too was almost too hungover to be productive on a snowboard. Made some runs with James in the morning, met up with Alan.D later on, ate some lunch and called it a day after about 8 runs. (Lynn, sorry I bailed on your for last run.)
And that's pretty much it for Part 1 of this story. While most of the Google folk headed back to NYC, I drove back to Mount Snow (er, got lost on the way. Thanks for nothing, stoopid car nav!) and met up with JJ + Matt + Will + crew.
The plan: Thursday and Friday at Stratton and Saturday and Sunday at Mount Snow. Jonathan was driving up with Jackie + Kristin + Gina, Matt + Will were taking the bus, and I was going to pick up Grellan in Bennington (aka Growler City) after catching a ride with some a random girl he met on Craiglist (no joke).
The short version of this story: JJ + friends make it up Friday night. Grellan never makes it to Bennington. Instead he gets stranded in Burlington (3 hours north!) and forced to take a bus south, then hitchhike to the Mount Snow shuttle, and then shuttle it to the house. I'll let him write up the whole story and put it on his stoopid blog someday, but for now all you need to know if that I drove to Bennington (35 mins!), ate some dumplings (by myself!), had a drink in a seedy townie bar (I could have been stabbed!) and then drove home again (35 mins!) when Grellan didn't show. (the end).
Anyway, so Saturday. The snow from earlier in the week convinced pretty much everyone in New England to drive up to Mount Snow for the day. Normally, we shoot over to the backside of the mountain (North Face) to escape the crowds, but even there the lines were wicked long.
No worries though. We rode as single most of the day and the snow was super nice.
The glades (er, runs through the woods) were looking pretty good. In two consecutive runs, Jonathan both (a) took a bite out of the base of his skis and then (b) accidentially filled it in with the bark from a tree he crashed into. Well done!
Lift line art.
Saturday = Captain Morgan Day on the mountain. Meaning not only was there a guy walking around dressed like the Captain Morgan pirate (foreshadowing!), but they had this tent sent up with a tug of war contest (er, we won) and this American Gladiator setup.
Skillz. (and don't call it a snowboard boots vs. ski boots thing) [video]
Snapped a pic of this guy's ooooollllldddd school "Tubular" skis in the lift line...
... and left some more anti-Bruce Jacques propagana in the lodge ("Bruce Jacques is ruining America!").
So, there's this one part of Mount Snow (on Deer Run, right after the Corinthia split) where there's this kicker built into the left hand side of the trail. If you hit it just right, it'll shoot you straight into the air (and usually into a crowd of 10 little kids snowplowing around). Anyway, last spring, Jonathan and I were hitting it blind (read: without scoping out the landing) and, with all the spring thaw, while the front of the hit looked clean, you'd find that when you when launched over it, the backside of the hill was all rocks + mud + grass (which if you didn't clear, you'd get wrecked on). And thus, that is how that part of the mountain became nicknamed "Mother Earth".
Now, earlier this season, Jonathan is shooting through the woods and comes out with this tall tale that there is a *secret halfpipe* in the woods, just behind Mother Earth! Of course, we don't believe him, but next run, sure enough we dip in and there is this tiny, one-hit halfpipe in the woods (about 50 feet off the trail) that - as an added bonus - has a fallen tree jetting out from it.
So, this is what we've been trying to land (unsuccessfully so far) - straight air off the mini halfpipe to a frontside grind off the tree. Five tries this weekend = no one has landed it yet. Me = overshot the branch. [video]
Jonathan, overshot as well. video
Will hits it, but can't stick the grind. [video]
Matt just takes a digger. [video]
And J goes back for a 2nd attempt and loses his ski. [video]
Ah, till next weekend, Secret Mother Earth Halfpipe.
A solid day of skiing. The nice folks at Mount Snow kept the lifts running till 4:30pm since it the snow was so nice. We made three post-4pm runs, sliding in at 4:31 to catch the third-to-last chair.
And then stopped for a quick (and blurry) photo shoot at the summit.
I'm kind of blowing through the weekend here, but after skiing + hot tub + sauna + video + beruit + 800 beers, we headed to Snow Lake Lodge -> Snow Barn -> home -> Snow Lake Lodge -> Snow Barn in search of some good times that weren't going to cost a $10 cover.
Kristin eventually talked them down to $5 each (we were rolling with 3 girls after all), so that worked out. I'm assuming the cover charge went to finance the crappy 70s disco band that was playing.
Still, one of the larger crowds I've seen at the Snow Barn. Itook this pic from the VIP lounge upstairs just as the people downstairs are going all apeshit...
... because The Captain is making his special guest appearance! He was throwing down Captain Morgan trinkets. We were throwing down chicken wing bones and dirty napkins.
ps: Welcome Grellan! The bus -> hitchhike -> shuttle adventure actually worked out... and nobody even got stabbed!
Grellan + Gina + Kristin and one really crunked dude.
Abandoned Red Bull = found Red Bull = free Red Bull = free Nascar = delicious!
By the time we got home, the wind blew the wreath right off the porch! (not dissilimar to last week's grill drama)
Being the good kids are are, we hung it right back up.
Fast forward. Next morning we got a late start. JJ made me a little PBJ-in-the-P. Thanks!
A solid day of skiing though it started getting cold at the end. I called it quits early (2:30?) and fell asleep in the lodge, old-man style. When I woke up like 20 mins later, it was a full on blizzard out (albeit wet snow). Figures it starts snowing with 30 minutes left in the weekend.
ps: Peanut Butter and Jelly in the Pocket, fool!
Got home, cleaned up and took off. We tried really hard to get out of the house early in an effort to get back in the city before midnight. Foolishly, we stopped for a 2+ hour dinner in Wilmington (though, hey, free brewery tour)
ps: mussels marinated w/ apples = crazy delicious!
So... 2 days at Stratton + 2 days at Mount Snow = puts me at 22 for the season. (again, I'm shooting for 30)
I'll tell you what though, my legs are killing me (and my shoulder - er, what happened there?). I'm actually really looking forward to taking this weekend off (No Data + Superbowl) and resting my legs for a week. Me = old man. This blows.
Mon 1/30 @ 2:57 PM | # link
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