Tuesday, March 14

Weekend Warrior no more...

A few years ago my unavailing snowboard mentor Kris and i decided to stop going to Big Bear Mountain due to the ever increasing number of snowboarders crowding the ski resorts. The Herd we like to call it. Snowboarding had become a popular sport even in this part of the country where snow is mainly man-made. The drive up the canyon roads of San Bernardino Mountains remains relatively fluid even with the influx but the drive back down has become almost interminable. The number of accidents it seems augmented by the number of new and young snowboarders (... and street tires.. even lowered cars??) have significantly increased. Never had i seen so many cars stranded, snowed in, even snow chains installed in the wrong tires. I saw someone install snowchains in the rear tires of a Honda Accord and another in the front on a Ford F-150. Have these people no sense of their own cars? Installing snow-chains in the wrong tires makes about as much sense as driving blindfolded or as stupid as forgetting your chute on a sky dive... Gone are the days when the snow laden winding roads of highway 38 and 18 were dominated by AWD or 4X4 vehicles. Nowadays we see more coupes and sedans laboring to scale the canyons. Even fullsize SUV's... rolling on 24's as they say it and the intrepid drivers of lowered Hondas... i admire their devotion to the sport but abhor the way they treat their cars. These guys use feeble wire-snow-chains that snap over potholes. For the sake of not-looking-stupid please keep away from snow will ya?

In lieu of the cancelled Mammoth trip (... thanks to Rose's friends) comprised with the best conditions thus far this season (Bear Mountain received 3 feet of snow from the recent storm), even going against my conventional snowboarding wisdom, i setup a Sunday trip to Big Bear Mountain. I coaxed veteran snowboarders Kris and Stan and newbies Rose and boyfriend Dustin into joining me on this potentially arduous weekend day trip.

The snow was simply divine. Geronimo the tallest and longest trail this side of Mammoth Mountain opened for the first time this Season (... in March??) citing how bad this winter season has been for Southern California. The resort as expected was packed. Surprisingly however the wait to the express lifts was never more than 10 minutes. Thanks of course to the 3 feet of new snow the resort opened all available lifts staggering the usual long weekend lines. The temps was under freezing all throughout the day with the winds at times gusting up to 35 mph. The wind chill made it so cold i wore a ski mask. Haven't used one since bootcamp in Chicago when the temps dropped to 30 below.

The long drive home reminded us the veteran snowboarders and especially myself who was driving why we stopped going on the weekends and why i structured my work schedule to accommodate my snowboarding needs. Getting down the mountain alone took over three hours. A drive that normally takes a short 30 minutes on any other day. Of course if Kris hadn't been 30 minutes late and the fuck-head CHP guy at the Highway 38 checkpoint had not required all vehicles including 4 Wheel Drive with snow tires to install snowchains we wouldn't have been 2 hours late and subsequently would have been able to leave the resort at a more suitable time. Even the Caltrans radio reported chains only required on non-4wheel-drive vehicles. So i drove no more than a few miles then pulled into and turn-out and removed the chains saving perhaps a full hour. Nevertheless installing the chains which i have never used before and Kris being late delayed us enormously.

Once again, as we did years ago, vowed never to visit Bear Mountain on a weekend. Never again Stan poignantly stammered. Kris was too tired to speak having not slept the night before meeting me at my house at 4:30 am straight from Marco's birthday party held at his new house. I on the other hand was just happy to get this homogeneous trio back together again. But i strongly agree no more weekend trips.


At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See Marc, if you had stayed at my Bday party, which was enormously entertaining, none of these things you are so arduosly whining about would have happened....you whiner.


At 3:10 PM, Blogger Marc Gabay said...

indeed... indeed

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is commenter no. 1, Marco? Hey Marco, WO-WO-WEEEEEEEEEEE!!!


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