Friday, March 27, 2009

Baldface 2009: Wake Up in Reality, Ascend into Dreamland

When last you left our hero, he was snoozing it off in the cheapest bed in Nelson, dreams of neck-deep powder drifting through his head. Only too abruptly he was awakened by his room mate packing up his shit to make it to the resort early. It was 6am and this rude bastard had strewn his ski gear all over the room, but mostly on the table right next to my head. Let this be a lesson to those of you who dare sleep in dorm-style rooms in hostels. Keep your shit next to your bed. Sounds easy, right? That way your room mate doesn't have to fake sleeping while you pack up for the day.

If you're sleeping on the right, don't put your shit on the left. Got it!?

OK, take 2, somewhere around 10am. Much better. A shower and a short stack of 'cakes and ski-douche is the farthest thing from my mind. One dude who is damaging my calm is this kid Trevor. He's staying at the hostel, I think, and he says he was at some party last night and is still tripping on acid. Matt can give you more details. He can't even finish a sentence and he definitely won't let you finish yours. Nothing is worse than being interrupted by a guy who has nothing to say. Anyway, I feast away with Matt, Nick and now fellow freq Jesse and get gone. The heli doesn't pick up 'til 2, so I've got some time to wander.

Item 1 on the agenda is pretty simple: find a Wunderbar. This candy bar is available in every drug and grocery store in Canada, but south of the border, you get none! I don't know if it's the fact that I can't have it that makes me want it so much or if it's the chewy, crispy, carmely, peanut buttery goodness, but the one I bought the night before just didn't do the trick and I need another one. Sooo good. I don't even eat candy bars in the US except for sometimes the days after Valentine's Day, Easter or Halloween when they're really cheap.

Whilst wandering I notice a sign that simply reads "Fireworks," outside of a gas station. Curiosity gets the best of me. Inside, I'm treated to the real deal. I wonder, will they let me shoot them off at the lodge? Will they let me bring them onto the heli? Will they even fly the heli today, the weather's pretty shitty? How long will it take in a snowcat? Did I remember to turn the heat off at my place? In the end, I settled on 20 bucks worth. If I had to leave them behind, no big deal, I'd shoot them off when I got back. If they got confiscated at the border, 20CDN is like bus fare in the US. (Me: Will they let me shoot off fireworks at the lodge? Matt: HAHAHAHA of course, they have a stash of their own. They'll probably make you shoot some off! [or something like that])

OK, we rally the group at the heli pad only to find out that they're not flying the choppers. Lame. We relocate to the docks and wait for transfer across the lake to the snowcats. Only we wait in a lounge... and no one gets charged for drinks. Hmm... Many of the freqs decide that letting the others go first would be the polite thing to do. As we get on the boat some crazy guy decides to jump into the lake. I realize now that if I was just getting back from Baldface, I might feel invincible, too. That guy came back to reality in a harsh way. Much as I did, now that I think about it.

Jesse's just a little bummed about not getting to heli in

OK, so we get to the cats and the joke's on us, they had a case of Kokanee waiting for us there the whole time. And someone brought a handle of Crown Royal, you know, just to keep it Canadian. I don't know how long it took from there to the lodge, but in that time I met most of the senior staff of frequency and drank, well, I had a couple. The drinking, in this case, served not only as a social lubricant (maybe a little too much in that regard as I started bricking 'dead baby' jokes immediately), but also to calm my nerves. You see, I had no idea what to expect. I knew it was 'epic-ing' out, so the snow would be good, but would that mean increased avalanche risk? Would my ribs hold up? Would my lungs and legs hold up for four full days in a row? The drinks said, "Let it ride." So I did.

Get in. And do you know the difference between jam and jelly?

We were welcomed to the lodge with awesome dinner. Seriously, every dinner was better than most things I've ever cooked. The desserts were far better. Also, by this time, word had spread that I was a lone traveler from Oregon. I guess that's not too common, but not everyone has friends who can afford this type of journey. (I've got at least one friend who, hearing the tales of high adventure on the snowy seas swears his savings start now.) Add to that my long hair and beard and a few guys dubbed me Jesus. This would be a recurring theme throughout the trip. Funny dudes all the way around. When you look like I do, you're prepared for these types of gags, but the lengths they took it to were unprecedented. I'll have pictures of that later.

You gots to chill...

After the feast of the mouth came the feast of the snowboards. Down in the gear room was every board you could imagine. OK, not really, but they had dozens of types, sizes and shapes. I settled on a Burton Fish LTD 160 with Cartel EST bindings. Both this year's model. After a quick wax and tune, she was ready for action. And now that buzz was back. Only a more positive vibe this time. The stick was slick and I was ready to kick it. A little more socializing and I was off to bed early. Not much sleep, though, just tossing and turning. Then my room mate came in. Woody is nice as hell. Woody is also a heavy snorer. So heavy that I went to the couches in the game room for solace. No dice. There my ears were assaulted by the dance beats thumping away upstairs. Half an hour at a time was all I could manage. Thankfully, by the time I retreated back to my room, Woody had stopped snoring. Miracles can happen. It was just past 4 and I would sleep uninterrupted 'til breakfast, almost three hours.

Good morning, Baldface!

In our next installment, I'll tell you about some of the deepest powder I've ever ridden, how to find the pow board for you and a serenade for the ages. 'Til then, get out there and rip your own line.

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