asssssspen… pt. I

19 02 2010

how’s it goin? i am sitting at the lovely tiny place that is the aspen airport, waiting on my flight home to atlanta. i was hoping to write a few posts while i was here, but the internet at our condo really sucked so i just gave up. currently, even just sitting at the airport, it’s amazingly beautiful right now here in aspen with all this thick pretty snow falling (perhaps not a great thing for flying… the flight that leaves before mine couldn’t even land here so hopefully the next flight can land so i can get home today… my luck). so i guess i’ll just start from the beginning…

what up, aspen?? so yeah- me & my homies are in aspen for a lil’ bit… where the beer flows like wine, and beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of capistrano… we got here saturday afternoon (after WAYYY too many flight delays & luggage mishaps– apparently the pilots on our plane needed to sleep in, so we weren’t gonna catch our original flight out of denver to aspen, and ended up spending 3 hours in denver), got to our condo in snowmass, settled in. went to the store & got WAYYYY too much food (fo’ real) and then realized we would be strugglin to get it back on the shuttle (4 ppl + 20 bags + heavy bottles + case of H2O = clusterfuck). jason’s friend nina got in late in the afternoon, and once we were all settled, we had the obligatory “let’s do a shot!!” time before we headed into downtown aspen for dinner at this place called social (tapas). it was pretty effin’ awesome. lots of good wine & realllllly good food. we got soooo much great stuff… including some amazing form of brussel sprouts with truffle oil, some awesome cabernet braised short ribs, and the most delicious edamame i’ve ever had (they had some sort of sweet chili sauce that was amazing). two bottles of wine later we found our way home after a bit of a, uh, struggle (what’s our bus stop again??) and crawled into bed.

view from our condo

i didn’t really sleep well, so it was all good that i decided to put of my snow lessons until monday. stayed in bed til 10ish when the others left to go hit the slopes and then shaniah & i got up, had a little breakfast, and headed into snowmass village to find the mall. not really what we were expecting… actually just a bunch of shops & restaurants near the base. we got some coffee, and then i stopped in to ask about ski school. we talked to a couple different people and i decided that maybe i wanted to try snowboarding instead!! and, the best part? i got shaniah to do it with me!! (she was so anti snow-stuff from her last ski attempt that she was planning on writing a book here in aspen instead of playing in the snow. ha!) so, we signed up for two days of snowboard school (not really that bad of a deal- included lessons from 10-3 both days, lift tickets, equipment rental, and equipment storage. after we got done arranging all that, we met lindsay for a drink and then headed to zane’s tavern to watch the superbowl. jlam & nina went home & changed & met us there. i think i was the only saints’ fan in my little group– and because i am not a pro football fan, i only picked the saints because jon stinchcomb went to elementary school with me– so it was a pretty good game to watch! we’d eaten some food there so once we got home we just kinda hung out, watched some tv, and i got my stuff together for my big adventure in the snow the next day.

MONDAY i woke up having not slept very well again (had music on this time but the silence in the house was so effing loud…! i usually sleep like a rock… what gives? we got up and made breakfast– pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc (all that food we bought was coming in handy after all) and, since we were supposed to go rent our snowboards and stuff and be at our meeting spot by 9:45, we got on the 8:50 shuttle and rode to the village. the rental guys set us up with snowboard boots, snowboards, wrist guards, and helmets. lindsay’d let me borrow her goggles and siraj had given me gloves, so i was pretty much set. i was wearing nadia’s ski bib with long johns & yoga pants layered underneath… and under my big jacket i had my softshell, a fleece, and a long sleeved shirt. i was warm! probly a bit too warm… but better that than freezing, right? the guy who was getting my board asked me which foot i was, and i had no idea… so he said, ok- imagine you’re running down the hallway in your house in socks and you’re gonna slide into the kitchen. which foot is first? LOL! my left, of course. i actually do that all the time. love to slide 🙂 so apparently i’m ‘regular footed’ as opposed to ‘goofy footed.’ awesome. once we had all our stuff we took the sky cab gondola down to the treehouse area to meet up with our group.

there were 11 of us newbies waiting to learn how to snowboard. we ended up with two awesome instructors, rom and dan. dan is from harlem, ga, some town in south georgia. he was cool and actually stuck with us both days. at 10 we rode the gondola up to the top of assay hill (a green run) and found a little area to get aquainted with our boards and boots and bindings and all that. we sat in the snow and learned how to strap ourselves into the snowboard, just our front foot at first, and then we practiced sliding around on the board with one foot in. that powdery snow was just so slippery, it was easy to fall 😉 we practiced learning to handle our boards like that for almost an hour before we actually went to the top of assay hill and started learning to traverse. once we got strapped in with both feet (oy ve!) we learned about the different edges of the board: heel edge and toe edge. heel edge means you’re facing downhill, kind of resting back on your heels in a chair pose. we went across the hill on our heel edge, then flipped over and learned to go back the other way on our toe edge. flipping over! took so much work. the board is really hard to maneuver when you’re connected to it… kinda… toe edge was a lot harder for me to master than heel edge. traditionally everyone hates it, and i can see why. you have to balance kind of up on your toes, and your posture has to go from being in a leaned-back sitting position to a standing up flexed position. in other words, as dan said, “stick your brazillian out!” go figure. so imagine a pelvic thrust, with your arms out for balance, facing up the mountain, and trying to move perpendicularly across. yeah, not a fan. but, it got better! we started doing these traverses across until we all got to the bottom. what an accomplishment!! …or so we thought. next came the chair lift. i was a little nervous about this anyway because i’d heard it’s a tricky little place and a lot of people fall down. and you know me… super klutz waitin for action!! 🙂

rode the lift up with rom and he was trying to mentally prepare me for it. apparently you’re supposed to scoot to the edge of the chair so your hip is facing out with the nose of the board hitting the snow perpendicularly, with only your front foot strapped in. then, once you hit the snow, put your foot on the board right in front of the back binding, stand up tall, and coast down the hill. yeah… that first try rom was holding my hands to help me and after he slid away i kept going towards his hands and faceplanted. wooohoooo!! apparently it made an awesome noise. flat on my face! gotta love it. so after a full morning of that, it was time for lunch. we headed to this place called the sweet life, because our first pick (sneaky’s tavern) was full. jlam, lindsay, and nina happened to be at the same place we were, so we got to see them for a little bit. the rest of the afternoon was spent going up and down assay hill to perfect our traverse. most of the people in our class decided that one day was enough and they weren’t coming back. there was this one brazilian guy, raphael, who decided to get a private lesson with rom the next day. so there were only gonna be four of us left in class. and guess what? we were somehow already level 3!! we’d started at level -1 i think, so we made a ton of progress!

after class we rode the sky cab back up to base and then stored our boards overnight near the gondola and then hopped on the shuttle back to snowmass. lindsay made us an awesome dinner & we went to bed early. worn the eff out! i figure i’ll break these posts up so there’s not one super long one… so stay tuned 🙂

peace,
james

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