We managed to leave town on Thursday without any drama. Small crew, but it's easier with a small crew. Less stomachs to fill, less bladders to empty. There's Danger Mahan (foreground), Harley and vet Angry Tim. I took the photo, dumbass.
Well, all was smooth until about Santa Rosa when I received a call from my uncle regarding the cabin outside of San Luis. Apparently, some cat named Jeffrey said he had a key to the place, however, when he arrived at the property, he discovered that the keys he had did not work. So we're about three hours from home and three hours from the cabin and we find out our accomodations are, well, non-existent. Danger Mahan and I discuss possible breaking in a window or shouldering open the front door, but I'm thinking that damage to their property is not really what my family had in mind when they allowed us to use their cabin. We arrive in Santa Fe and give Pagosa a call looking for a room. Meanwhile, we spot this bad boy in northern Santa Fe. Look at the back tires on this piece. I didn't know the First United Methodist Church of Santa Fe got down like that.
We stopped at what appeared to be the only restaurant in northern Santa Fe--a Burger King staffed by handful of nincompoops who kept screwing up Angry Tim's order. For a dude who is so picky with his food, it's unfortunate that his always seems to be the order that gets screwed up. I was just amazed that tartar sauce was more plentiful than ketchup. Maybe they know something I don't.
I hadn't had Burger King in ages, yo. It was tasty, but I don't think my system was ready for it because I didn't crap for the next three days. Too much information is better than not enough.
With a plan in place, a room in Pagosa and stereo's blasting Hey Diddle Diddle and Danzig, we headed north out of Santa Fe. I would drift from time to time about owning a trailer in the middle of nowhere enjoying views like this. For some reason, I think convincing the wife might be a problem. Danger Mahan played air guitar and air drums. I think there was actually an air harmonica in there too. He's a beast. We began making our way into the higher elevation and snow was everywhere. This territory received so much snow this year. It was incredible. It's late March and their still sitting on top of about 150 inches of snow. It's why I travel so freaking far to ski. I know I could go somewhere closer, but if you're talking about a minimum drive of five hours, I'd rather drive two more and get the best.
Fox News has just lost all credibility because three of the four people on the set said they don't know who Flava Flav is.
When we arrive in Pagosa, we crack open a few beers, catch up on some basketball and smoke some celebratory cigars. Ah, the high life. Hot news story in the San Luis Valley is there were multiple cases of salmonella from drinking tap water.
The reports were coming from Alamosa and we were a ways from Alamosa, but we wouldn't had been had we stayed in our cabin in the valley. Not only that, but the television signal is pretty weak in that cabin. So, not only would we be exposed to salmonella, but we wouldn't even know it. But all is good in Pagosa so drink up. Oh, just as a side note, it's still not safe to drink the water in Alamosa because the chlorine content is five times that required to keep a swimming pool clean from little boys urinating in the deep end.
We got up in the morning with little issue except that the pillows were like a sock and a dryer sheet. Our necks hurt like hell. Danger Mahan was being pretty quiet. Not his normal self. After some waffles, we headed on up and arrived at the mountain at exactly 8:30. After two runs, Danger Mahan's telling me on the way up that he feels like throwing up. In fact, he looks like he's going to barf all over me. I tell him to hang in there until we make it to the top of the lift. Not only will it save my jacket and pants, but the view is spectacular. I mean, you can't ask for a better view when you puke than this.
We threw him in the Harley's truck and told him to rest up and get some water, try to eat something. This mess won't be tolerated on the mountain. He politely obliged. In fact, he spent almost all day down in that truck. Not sure what got him, but dude col' goes off. He pulled off a trail on the backside and just sat down where no one could see him and just started barfing. Tried as I did to catch this on tape, I was unsuccessful. Dude even puked in the parking lot near where family from Alabama.
Harley, Angry Tim and I hit the backside of the mountain like mad that day and got plenty of good video. Harley took some nice spills including one that took him about 50 to 60 feet down the mountain on his chin. That's a man, right there.I felt better than ever. Legs were working right, back was staying cool and not tightening up on me. Pretty good for a rickety 31 year-old. My confidence, the next day, would be rocked to the core.
Danger Mahan joined us later in the afternoon and Harley and Angry Tim split off and Danger Mahan and I hammed up the backside of the mountain. The backside of Wolf Creek is really not any defined trails, but rather just a series of drains and tree routes that you basically negotiate yourself. Fun as hell, a little dicey in places, but worth the afternoon. Danger Mahan was like White Fang back there. I just spent the day following his trails until he took a wipeout that popped his head off the snow. It didn't look too bad on video, but it was bad enough on top of the nausea to set him spinning so we went down to the front. I did a couple more runs and we called it a day.That evening, whatever Danger Mahan was experiencing apparently moved over to Harley and now duke was feeling a little off balance. Now we have potentially two men down. Fantastic. We headed to some place where we had been before to watch some basketball and eat. Danger Mahan (who had long since become not-so "dangerous") now had his head down on the table and was largely unresponsive as was Harley. Angry Tim was angry and I was getting there as I watched a local band, Ralph Dinosaur, set up in front of the wall-sized projection screen that I was watching the basketball game on. These dudes were bringing in enough equipment to play to the entire Four Corners area. I thought there equipment was a bit excessive and, really, how good can a band named Ralph Dinosaur really be? We spent time heckling the band while polishing off our food. I had the Reuben and it was fantastic. We booked before they started playing. I'm sure they rocked the socks off of Pagosa Springs. You know you made it when you dress up in a women's clothing and play covers on the Pagosa-Durango circuit.
Life's too short to listen to cover band with "dinosaur" in the name at a bar in Pagosa Springs. We found that sleep would be more entertaining and rewarding so that's where we went...to sleep.
Next day, we reported to the mountain a little later than the day before, but also found out that the mountain would be open until 5:00PM because of the time change that provided for longer sunlight. Excellent. This was going to be a long day. Hopped up on coffee and sunflower seeds, we hit that mountain like champs. Even Harley, who was still a little under the weather the night before was coasting this morning and looked sharp and ready.
We hit it all day. Danger Mahan was back to his self and was ready to run the Waterfall Area which I had never done, but was able and willing to give it a go. The back side of that mountain, I'll go ahead and say it, is what I love about skiing. On Saturday, there was maybe about 50 people on the back, the wait at the lift was on you and the snow was softened by the clear skies and warm sun--perfect. We split off somewhere from Angry Tim and Harley, Danger Mahan and I were working our way through the log yard when I decided to get out the video camera to get some motion footage.
We came to this gully that was a narrow and fairly steep chute that gave me a little trouble earlier. I kept the camera out and rolling. Danger Mahan dropped his board down it and disappeared in the distance. I lined my skis up and let 'er fly with my poles in my left hand and the camera in the right. At the end of the zip decent, I find myself going about 20 MPH and speeding directly towards a tree. With only fractions of a second to react, I quickly turn my skis away from the tree and then, unexpectedly, hit a relatively small bump as I'm turning and, as a result, I take flight and rotate 180 degrees--now with my back to the mountain...and a another tree. As I had seen the tree in my path before spinning in the wrong direction, I brace for impact with only seconds to spare and hold the video camera as far out away from the impact as possible and then...
I slam into the tree with my left arm, my poles go flying in one direction and I in the other and I land with a monstrous umph and my head kicks back so hard on impact, the whiplash was immediate and clearly evident. I sat there for only a few seconds and then it dawned on me that I hit a tree and lived. You can hear me on the tape laughing in amazement that I didn't break anything, "Dude, I totally busted off that tree. I don't have a ski. I hit that tree, man!" My ski was wedged into the ground right at the base of the tree and the bindings were twisted and mangled. It's possible that the ski going deep into the snow right at the base of the tree and then tugging on my boot before detaching was just enough to slow me down so I didn't hit the tree at full speed. Could've been worse. I guess someone's looking over me and my ig'nant ass.That afternoon, Danger Mahan and I roamed that mountain without break. We hit the Waterfall Area a few more times and got in your kicks on the back side and then ventured back toward the front/front-middle to meet up with Harley and Angry Tim. We decided we'll pitch it on top of the Treasure Lift and take in some of the beautiful view from up there (formerly on the banner). Danger Mahan unbuckles from the board (now just "Mahan") and hikes up to this overlook. I pop out of my skis to join him when he starts walking back toward me and says, "Dude, there's an old man taking a dump by that tree over there." I don't know what the code is on the mountain about dropping turds on a mountain. I know it's okay to piss on the mountain so long as you're off the trail, but it would seem to me that defecating on the mountain is closer to an outlawed activity. I mean, there are Porto's on the mountain that one could use in the case they need a place to sit. This dude is just gonna hike to a scenic overlook, drop his bib to the ground and take a dump and then urinate on it. He didn't get away cleanly though (considering the fact that there was no toilet paper at the scene). Here he is in the red and black jacket. You dirty dog...
And since I wasn't born with alot of restraint, I took the photo op by the horns and posed over by his turd which had now begun to melt its way into the snow. Mahan caught this picture just before it completely disappeared.
So, with my help, my lovely wife and I go to work and attempt to induce vomiting through pouring hydrogen peroxide down his throat--a stomach pump really. He throws up a little outside, but not much. He seemed alright, though. A little lethargic, but otherwise okay.
We're chilling on the bed about thirty or forty minutes later and he's sitting down by my side as I'm laying there petting him. Then, out of nowhere he unloads about a salsa jar of vomit onto my stomach and all over the bed. Love you too, homie.
I managed to avoid the vomit all weekend until I get home and my dog barfs on my stomach. That nasty sumuvabitch.
Wolf was ill. That new Black Keys record, Attack and Release, is collosal. Duke, you'd be proud. Y'boys represented hard.