Wednesday, January 18

Stout of hearts...

Once again for the 8th consecutive year we journey to the Grandaddy of California snowboarding resorts, the picturesque, snow-abundant, gargantuan mountain and a sleeping volcano, Mammoth, located in Northern California. This year and this trip, the feeling is stoic. My days have been consumed by the un-escapable Jersey Girl... but my heart remains stout for Mammoth's long runs, black diamonds and backcountry snowboarding and sheer beauty. With a brand new, bigger and faster board i will surely venture Mammoths limits and dicy off-terrain backcounty despite my heavy heart.

Yet again we are joined by a beginner in Jerome, the funny and guaranteed to be entertaining (especially on that first run and perhaps the last one). I've offered my retired ( 5 years in service) Salomon 450 snowboard to his disposal for the weekend which he happily accepted (i hope he buys beer for the weekend... or i'll charge). Jerome's biggest worry was breaking a leg, Jee was quick to assure him that the worst than can happen was he'd run into a tree and die.. yes like Sonny Bono, i added... how cruel is that?. I told him to ignore him and not to worry about it, because if he, God Forbid, breaks his leg... we'll take pictures for the trip memoirs hahahaha. Joking aside, we are going to try to kill Jerome this weekend in the same fashion we did with all the beginners before him. Franko, Alfred, Andrew, Brainer, Marco.... Allan escaped like a coward and walked downhill lol. Marco on the other hand was the most impressive... willing his way downhill courageously in the face of the perilous double black diamonds of Mammoth in the middle of an almost blizzard like frigid conditions. I salute you young snowboarder!

But the story of all beginner stories is my main man Alfred. He is a little on the chubby side and looks 15 years older than his actual age (thats what happens when you get Married at 16, believe it or not it is a Costa Rican trait to Marry young) and has a cartoonish face, especially when he is staring, which makes this story even more funnier . On his first day 6 years ago (Summit in Big Bear Mountain) right off the ski lift all of the veterans trudged 50 meters ahead of Alfred to watch. When he was finally able to strap into his dowdy & shabby rented snowboard, Alfred bravely jumped forward on a steep hill sending him flying downhill at a speed no first-timer couldn't have handled heading right into the rope fences set up in the middle of a confluence of 4 other open runs designed to slow down skiers. Imagine a big guy on his first run plowing straight down towards the rope fence at almost 30 mph... when he finally reached the rope, it got him (or rather he got the rope) clotheslined right in the throat sending him somersault-ing 5 feet in the air landing on his back with a loud thump... everyone watching (including people on the lifts) collectively gasped... then a big Ooooooohhh, ouuuchhh... are you alright.. and then a guffaw. Needless to say it took him some time before clambering back up... lol

Annually i setup my trip in February and just tag along with friends in December or January. This year is a little different, this January trip will be my annual trek to Mammoth and may be my only one. I want to dedicate my time to the Saturday Basketball league i joined several weeks ago. As much as i love snowboarding, Basketball remains my first love in sports... I think its all going to depend if by late Febuary and early March we have a winning record and is guaranteed a playoff berth, then maybe i'll head up again (we are currently 2 wins to 1 loss and potentially a very good playoff team).


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