Monday, February 25

Mammoth 2008 Part II

I drove to Blockbuster on the eve of my latest Mammoth Trip hoping to pick-up "We own the Night". I thought a good crime thriller would be fitting for such a trip. We'd sit with our cold beers and perhaps participate in the investigation in our own quiet cerebral way. I would have no luck unfortunately for they were all taken. It's a popular rental apparently. Instead we saw Stan's testosterone-induced "300" DVD. Admittedly one of his favorite movies. Not so for me i must say. I think it looks and feels a little too artificial... Perhaps one online review put it best "This film is GORGEOUSLY shot, the cinematography is wonderful, as are the fight sequences. In this respect, I equate the plot in 300 to being much like the plot of a porn movie, if we were to substitute testosterone induced violence for testosterone induced sex. The plot really only exists to get you from one fight sequence to the next, and since the truth about this historical battle was that Xerxes has a fighting force that outnumbered the Spartans and their loosely assembled Greek allies by something like 1000 to 1, there are plenty of fight sequences to enjoy". Stan seems to think it the perfect movie on the eve of a long snowboarding day. "Nothing like a action-packed flick such as 300 to pump you up before going snowboarding!" he cried. Frankly i think it makes no sense whatsoever. It's like that Best Buy commercial where the young sales lady in the Laptop section is clairvoyant or something. A clairvoyant Best Buy salesperson-- What?!?! It's snowboarding man we're not exactly fighting any armies. In all honesty i would rather laugh at a modern-classic comedy like Old School. At least there was no cgi involved with the naked men in the movie. Right Stan?

Snow began to fall as soon as we step foot in Mammoth Mountain as if to say "Welcome". And let me tell you something, it was a heck of a Welcome party because it never relented. From Thursday on through Sunday it was snowing cats & dogs. But lots of snow is what snowboarders pray for isn't it? Well, yes. But there was only one problem, it never actually stopped snowing. As a result the top half and a good portion of the backside of the Mountain was closed down. Visibility was very poor as you can imagine and the winds were tremendous. I'm no meteorologist but i believe Saturday's storm would actually fall under the "Blizzard" category. I mean it must, because we actually experienced several "white outs" around the 8000 feet elevation. In fact i called it a day at 3:30 pm on Saturday not because i was too tired to continue but because of treacherous conditions. Many others did as well...

The snow was very heavy at times. Although i have seen more snow accumulation before over a period of time (even in Big Bear) i had never seen it snow for that long. It was pretty amazing to witness. The snowboarding, well, not so great i'm sad to report if you're not at least above the intermediate level. The snow was deep and very heavy in some areas. And not to mention it was way too cold. And the strong winds made it piercing cold! But luckily for the newbies they did a very good job of trimming and packing the trails. For me though, save for the areas they had to close-down and the laborious scraping and shoveling to get to my truck in the morning, it was Heaven on Earth. To me the snow accumulation was just right (around a foot on Friday and close to two on Saturday). Digging need not necessary.

I have been to many of these and i remember every single one of them. And though this was not the worst ever, it ranks up there in dreadfulness. Yes this one was not the worse i have seen guys. I would probably put it third all time. Number two was February 1998; it was so windy and miserably cold my snot actually froze. Gross i know but when the temps start to dip dangerously close to zero, it's no longer fun. And the all-time most dreadful ever was two years later; they didn't even bother opening the resort that morning and it took us 8 dreadful hours to get home.

Above all though it was still a fun trip, miserable conditions notwithstanding . I'm glad my unavailing mentor Kris made it (He drove solo wow). It's been too long since this homogeneous snowboarding pair had gotten together. Too long my friend. My cousin Adrian looked to be a little more comfortable on the board and perhaps even adventurous now. He even had a two-day snowboarding plan designed to give his talent level an adrenalin shot!! It's too bad his digital camera took the brunt of the shot (Broke it...). Mori on the other hand seems to be more and more confident the more he goes out there. I'm proud of him because he ventured out on his own to seek higher and more difficult runs (Which, incidentally, inspired Adrian to do so as well. Good job guys!). And he seems to posses that insatiable drive Kris and I shared when we started out just over a decade ago (Now it is just a matter of harnessing that drive and take some local trips). Albert did great considering he was nursing a bleeding Mountain Biking injury on his left arm suffered just three days before the trip. That trip would be his first time back in three years by the way...

Remember guys, snowboarding is all about having fun. It is not about how fast you can go or how much air you can get off a jump. Talent is practice. Talent is earned. Talent is the ability to get out of trouble when you get yourself into trouble. And last but not the least, talent is being proficient in every type of terrain. And how do you get to that? Well, remember the old proverbial question "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?". Practice, practice, practice!!!


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