Tuesday, February 23, 2010


January 2010 saw an unusual rash of blizzards across the entire continental U.S., whether it was Snowmaggedon, Snopacolypse, or Snowtorious B.I.G., if you were a fan of winter weather you called it one thing: sweet. Arizona was no exception. Granted what was three feet of snow everywhere else turned into 3 inches of rain in Phoenix, but in Flagstaff it was anywhere between 3 and 6 feet of snow over the second to last week of the month. NAU closed its campus on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I-17 was closed W-F and most of Saturday morning. Snowbowl closed its slopes Friday morning and wouldn't open again until Saturday afternoon and even then only the lower runs. FOX News reported that roughly ten million had died in the storm and at least half of those went out Donner Party style. It was the most snow Arizona had received in a three day span in several decades and a plan was hatched.

The Kahn Man called with a crazy idea; we could spend the night in Flag with friends, rent skis, and hope they opened the rest of the mountain on Sunday. The thought process being that even if they didn't open the rest of the mountain, we'd at least get in some solid skiing and have an entertaining Saturday night in Flagstaff. The call went out to all winter enthusiasts, but only the Spartan decided to join us. This turned out to be an ideal mix as topics of discussion ranged from merkins to education to ejaculate to foreign languages, and why the UP wishes it was actually part of Wisconsin. The group arrived an hour before the rental location closed its doors and were greeted by a friendly operator happy to have someone to talk to as he described his Friday morning skiing in fresh powder up to his armpits. An hour later sees our troupe exit the rental location loaded with skis, boots, poles, helmets, and freshly purchased snow pants and gloves. Another half hour (and several wrong turns later) we were tracking snow into the house on whose couches we would be spending the night. Then we promptly headed for the bars. 2 am sounds the closing bell and finds our heroes in the street walking home, determined to be up by 7 and at the mountain by 8:30 (it opens at 9).

The incessant sound of a cell phone alarm rippled through dreamworld and created enough of a disturbance to pull at least one person off the couch. The time: 7:30. A little late, but there was still time for oatmeal...after cleaning a few mugs out (seriously, there were no bowls to be found - at least, no bowls out of which you could eat cereal, soup, or oatmeal). There also wasn't time to completely heat the water which caused at least two of the campers to complain and stick their breakfast in the microwave thereby allowing radiation to warm their food! We received a call from one of the housemates that had to work on the hill that day around 7:50 and in his words, "we're getting fucking slammed today. We're a mile from the mountain and the road is a parking lot." A flurry of activity and we were out of the house by 8:15. To get to the slopes we would have to take the highway to a small, barely paved road and 8 miles later we would be in the parking lot.

We made it to the highway and - promptly made a wrong turn. Not a big deal, we got GPS! After a few minutes we (no fewer than 4 degrees mind you) figured this out and turned around, total detour time: 15 minutes, maybe. At 9:15 we turned off the highway to a confusing site, cars were going towards Flagstaff with skis and boards on their roofs. Denial began to set in. Maybe they had spent the night in the resort and had to return their gear this morning or had long drives home or were flying out. Or maybe they heard their house was on fire. We turned off the highway, the passenger caught a glimpse of an electronic roadside about a quarter of the mile up the road and since traffic was crawling, the passenger leaned their torso out the window, read the sign, and sat back down, speechless. A few minutes later the trio would arrive at the sign: "Mountain at capacity. Parking lot full." And two employees kindly telling everyone to "GO HOME."

And that, ladies and gentlemens, is Fail Skiing


Sarah said...

Good thing Colorado came along.

Anonymous said...

An epic and emotional tale! Devenny's chronicle of three determined friends will capture any audience's heart. Reminiscent of "Into the Wild", but edgier. - The New York Times

Meg said...

Finally, you admit the oatmeal was cold.

juha said...

I admit nothing!

Meg said...

The oatmeal this morning almost burned the roof of my mouth...as it should be! ;)

RiCap said...

Happy Birthday.