If you asked what the most fun ski trip I had ever been on was, I would tell you right away it was my trip to Mt. Hood last July. That would also be filed under: craziest trip, scariest thing that ever happened to me, and would immediately do again. The big snag on last years trip though, was I came home with a $600 credit card bill. At $52 a day in the summer or $800+ for a summer pass, Timberline isn’t a cheap place to ski (It’s $54 a day this summer). I heard about the spring pass that Timberline offers when it came time to plan a sequel to the trip, it’s only $99. The price of a pass is the same as two lift tickets? Well shit, let’s go!
I made the trip with Erik Ringsmuth, Jack Stephenson, and a kid we met on Newschoolers from Illinois, Kyle Gipper. I meet a lot of my friends via Newschoolers, Erik for one, but I still thought it was weird, more stupid that a someone would want to go on a two and a half week road trip with three perfect strangers. Actually, Jack and Erik didn’t know each other at the start of the trip either. It ended up exactly like last year, planned to the last minute with mostly strangers.
We all loaded into Erik’s old family van and set off on the incredibly exciting 30 hour drive. Now, I’d been checking the weather for a week straight, 47 times a day, and all I saw was a forecast of rain. I try to be optimistic most of the time, but all indictions pointed to the possibility of the trip being a total fuck. I didn’t fully accept that that was our fate until we pulled into Government Camp, the town (cough) at the base of Mt. Hood, where it was pissing rain. We had stayed at our camp at the Old Airstrip for only long enough to stake a tent and tie up a tarp in a pathetic attempt to keep some potential firewood dry before running for the dry shelter that was the porch of the general store. All would soon be well though, we were about to go skiing the next day.
Just kidding. We walked into the Wy’East Day Lodge to find that the lifts were closed because of poor visibility. One of three days all year that lifts had been closed. What are the chances? We fled to the nearby city of Sandy for the first time. Armed with duct tape, more tarp, rope, and a hatchet, we constructed a gypsy base camp to keep us dry. There were two pillars propping this 20 foot long tarp up and drainage ditches to channel water away from the tent and fire, it was a masterpiece. Well, until rain accumulated on top of it and wrecked it. Daily. Alcohol makes everything better, and we indulged in quite a bit of whiskey that night. Me and Kyle channeled som Bear Grylls and set up snares and traps all around the airstrip using chunks of ramen as bait. They got increasingly elaborate, our best ones were a pit with a leaf covering, and a stick propping up a large rock that would surely kill a small unsuspecting animal. This is when Kyle discovers he loves whiskey.
Our first day of skiing was perfect. It was windy, foggy, cold, and rainy. Our second day of skiing, it snowed and the park was closed. Erik was not happy, he needs rails to survive. He sheltered inside on his iPhone while the rest of us lapped ankle deep freshies with our neighbors from across the airstrip, two guys from Utah name Trever and Mike. We met them the night before, but being the awful human beings we are, we didn’t remember their names until later, and usually referred to them collectively as Utah. The only chair that was open was the regular season park chair, which meant that it serviced three mostly flat runs. They had moved the park from that chair up to the late season location off of the Magic Mile not long before we had all gotten there. All that was left was a line of rollers that before were presumably, awesome jumps. Following Utah around though, we lapped the chair until close, finding small drops and gaps in the trees. An amazing day. I goggle tanned in the 45 minutes of sun we got.
We fled from the snow to Portland that night, to crash with Erik’s aunt and uncle. Five days into our trip, and we were broken and miserable. The rain, snow, and skiing situation had us completely dejected. We stopped in Sandy on the way there so Jack could replace his broken phone, and that’s where I met my first love of the trip. Her name was Verizon Girl, and I’m pretty sure she was hot. I don’t actually remember what she looks like, but after five days of no female contact, we all thought she was hot. We were chatting it up real nice, and on our way out, she said she was going to the Lake near our camp with her friend who was also female, and said how crazy it would be if she saw us there. Well, we’re all retards, and told her we were going to Portland to hide from the rain. Idiots. The Verizon store is where we discover that Kyle loves parkour. See Video.
Our night in Portland was amazing. We had hot food, showers, TV, and a dry place to sleep. Erik’s uncle even bought us beer, a cool local micro, because he spied a 30 rack of Keystone we had procured for Utah in the back of the Van. We wandered the downtown area afterward, and in the span of an hour, Kyle got shot down and called 14 years old by a girl on the street, practiced martial arts with a bum, and got his ass kicked by some nerds LARPing in the street. He was knocked over into a puddle. My friends are retarded.
Clean and ready for more, we left the next morning ready to ski. No such luck. As we re-entered Sandy from Portland, the battery gauge in the van started dropping. Does your car even have a battery gauge? Mine doesn’t, but this ‘95 Ford Aerostar did. We pulled over and let the van die after the headlights, wipers, and speedometer stopped working. The battery and alternator were toast. Cue $300+ spent and and an entire day wasted walking across town. In the waiting room of a repair shop, Kyle discovers he loves coffee. This day is also when our spree of petty theft begins. We left Sandy with a fixed van and dozens of packets of tea, hot chocolate, and saltine crackers. We are so good at roadtrip.
Our luck shaped up somewhat after that, it didn’t seem like anything else could go wrong at the point. We met some new neighbors and tossed a couple beers back around their fire. Actually, Kyle had already met one of them the night we set up snares. We were sleeping in the van to escape the rain, and Kyle, upon seeing a new truck pull into the camp, ran out of the van to meet them before they even got a chance to park. Allegedly, he wasn’t wearing pants, unsuccessfully offered them applesauce, and was very drunk. Eventually, it is revealed that me and Kyle were retards who propped up a rock with a chunk of ramen tied to it. Our neighbors think we are retarded.
Over a week into our trip, we finally get a sunny day. We dubbed it Magical Monday on the Magical Mile. Pretty soon after that though, Utah decides its time to call the trip off, it just wasn’t going to be worth it for them with the weather how it was. Mike blew most of his remaining cash of a handle of rum and an 18 pack of beer at the general store and we proceeded to go from sober to blackout in under an hour. We invited over some new neighbors, Idaho Dan the Man, Idaho Pete, and Idaho Pete’s girlfriend. We made asses of ourselves. There was puke and piss everywhere. Our neighbors think we are retarded.
A few days after that, I met my second love of the trip. Her name was Hot Chocolate Girl and she was hot. I actually don’t remember what she looks like either. As you can tell, I’m really bad with names, and most of the girls I saw were put in the ‘hot’ category because when you are camping in the woods with three other dudes for two and a half weeks, every girl is hot if she’s under 250 pounds. She was worth three points, I talked to her several times, and got a hug. I should probably explain the game we play on ski trips now. It’s the talking to girls game. Every girl you talk to is worth one point. Hugs are worth two points, you get the idea, the points reset every day. Well, I thought I was doing pretty good. Then I saw the braces. Abort mission. She keeps running into me the next couple days and talking to me. Jesus, how old did she think I was? All my friends have beards. My friends now think I will shortly end up in jail.
The trip was mostly uneventful until our last night, we passed the time by drinking in the van, off-roading and almost flipping the van, poaching wifi in the van, sitting in the rain in the van, stealing shopping baskets from chain retailers, going to Jack in the Box and stealing sauce packets, stealing logs, plates, and plastic forks from the lodge, and playing card games in the van. Our routine was skiing until 2:30, sitting in the lodge until we got kicked out at 5, then failing to make a fire until 10. The on and off rain meant that it took pretty much a full can of lighter fluid to start a fire on any given day. On our last night though, Kyle acquires some gasoline in a five gallon can. He proceeds to be a moron by making gas trails, lighting rocks on fire, and pouring it on our pile of soggy wood in our fire pit we are attempting to burn. Eventually we get some flames going, but Kyle keeps hosing it with the gas can. It happened pretty quick, the flames shot back up the stream into the can. Kyle drops it and we all hide behind trees, staring at our flaming gas can. Kyle is freaking out and we are all yelling at him to douse it with some water bottles. He’s practically crying in fear at this point, and he tries to splash the gas can from ten feet away. There is also a tree in between him and the gas can. At this point, I am resigned to the fact that I will shortly die in a fiery, gassy explosion because of my inept friends. I guess I’m not doing anything either, except for yelling at Kyle to stop sucking at putting out gas fires. Somehow, Kyle finds his balls and puts out the fire. My friends are retarded.
See you in five weeks to do it all again T-Line.
Circle 13: My Friends are Retarded