Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mount Tremblant Canada Snowboarding Trip: January 2013

January 13-17, 2013

Mount Tremblant Canada Snowboarding Trip

Let's start with  the main characters of this random adventure and the story of how this college fest trip came to be when I have now been out of college for two years.  First off, my advice is that when opportunity arises you should take it… That pretty much sums up how I went to Canada.  My buddy George (who I know from random meetings  and through other people) was going to Canada this year but the trip ends on a Friday and his winter graduation is on that Friday.  Naturally he didn’t want to miss an awesome snowboarding session but he needed to get back for graduation so he was looking for a group to drive up with him. 
He knew he could get his friend JR (Jenny Rose) to come up with him and one of her good friends Katrina as well.  But they were still looking for a better car to drive up in.  He spoke with one of my friends, Kyle, who brought up my name.  A single text later and I was in.  George is a really relaxed chill kid. I have ridden on the mountain with himbefore and JR is this girl that I have always seen him riding with. 
Although we had never talked much, our mindsets are similar enough that I had no worries about the trip.  The drive up was pretty uneventful because both George and JR had to work late the night before and Katrina had been up late as well, so thankfully I was the well-rested driver. I drove the 5-6 hours up to the Canada boarder only stopping for food and gas in Plattsburg.  I liked the little pub we stopped in. It had caught my eye because of the sweet turtle in the logo that I could barely see from a distance. Afterwards we had a bite to eat  and took a break at a little park outside of city hall to enjoy a flowing river that led into the great lakes. 
Other than getting grilled at the boarder by the agents, the trip up was super smooth and we beat the bus full of students.  When we got to the hotel, we waited for the bus to catch up so we could see who else was sharing our room but as the bus pulled in, the power went out.  We had to meet our other two random roommates in the dark.  Thankfully I had packed a headlamp and all six suite-mates shared the one light.  Jessica and Jackie were our two random suite-mates.  The first night was pretty relaxed and it seemed that everyone was staying in so they could be up for first tracks in the morning. But a couple of us  did not want to miss anything so we decided to go out and see what was going on around the village.  The bars were pretty dead which was a big surprise to me but we went to a dance bar for a little while to hang out even though it was a complete sausage fest.  At least I had two of my girl roommates to make the situation more enjoyable.  We didn't stay too long in any case.

The next morning I was excited to get up early and board with George, JR, and Katrina.  Since last year was a pretty bad season for boarding, it seemed like no one had been out in a while and we were all a little rusty.  I have the oldest board and binding by far, so everyone should have had a one up on me.  The conditions were pretty terrible since it rained the day before so a lot of what was left on the mountain was now ice. Trying not to catch an edge was pretty tough but we all made the best of it.  George and I picked up the boarding pretty quickly but the girls took a little more time to remember. JR seemed pretty good but Katrina took a beating.  She knew what to do but after a few falls her confidence was quickly deteriorating. It was nothing a little hot tub and beer could not fix though. 
It was a pretty relaxed night from there, just playing games since I had brought uno and rumicube.  I figured out that George is an Uno guru and addict.  We all had a pretty good, relaxed night but after a few hours of games and drinks, the girls were ready for bed so as soon as some of our guests left they jumped in bed. There was one drunken kid who kept coming back and knocking on the door but  I ran into him later and sorted things out.  I soloed around the village before bed but honestly it was pretty beat and quiet again not like years past. 

 The next day the conditions were way better, although no one wanted to get up.  George almost made an attempt but stayed in bed instead.  That wouldn't stop me though, sleep is over-rated and the mountain called my name.  I boarded by myself all morning, which was the best part of my trip. There was no waiting, just cruising the open snow without music.  Just plain natural beauty and endless thoughts running through my head. 
I hit every trail I possibly could. I was revisiting old memories and imagining riding with old friends down different trails. It's funny to think how many people I have ridden this mountain with and the different styles that they all have.  My favorite are still the trips that I spent trying to keep up with my buddy Joe and the rest of the pack that came out with us.  Not gonna lie, not having the awesome yard sales from Ian this year was missed.  I am sure I did everyone proud though, cruising at speeds I had forgotten I could get up to. 
My favorites were the black diamonds, although I can’t decide between which of the 4 sides of the mountain was best.  My other enjoyable moments of the morning were the different groups of people that I ran into and started riding with.  Of my favorites were the Russian family on the lift that were from New York, along with a huge group of women racers that pushed my speed well past my comfort, and the group of boarders who shredded the terrain park as I simply practiced my jumps and tried getting some air.  You guys all killed it and although we only spoke for a little you all made my day great.  Oh! How could I forget the three older French women? You were great,  although we couldn’t talk because of a language barrier, I had so many questions I wanted to ask you.  They looked as if they had the nicest demeanor. I just wanted to hear stories and wisdom from them because from all the wrinkles I could tell they spent years in the sun and wind skiing. 
After my morning of peaceful alone time, I was glad that I ran into the girls from the room in the afternoon and did some runs with them before calling it quits. 
As soon as we got back I was in need of a hot tub session.  Then we followed the afternoon ritual of drinks with new friends in the pool room before we went out for a little (although I dominated pool all game, my skill of scratching the 8 ball always gets the best of me).  The highlight of the night was when I decided to climb the rock wall siding of the hotel to a balcony then tried to get into the hot tub from outside.  Everyone was excited and all dressed up since no one doubted my climbing skills.  However, the door was locked from the outside and the windows as well….The water was nice for me at least haha.

Day three turned out to be a pretty sweet day, woke up semi early and waited for a nice group of us to get up and ready to go out.  Finally I had the go pro ready to test it out a little better.  At first it was just the boys and JR tearing it up.  Ryan, Horhey, David and I cruised at some good speeds hitting up some sweet trails while JR tried to keep up.  It was amazing because after a short rest you could really see JR find her confidence as we pushed her a little to do some diamonds.  While Horhey and JR took a short break the rest of us took the short chair lift to the steep section of the mountain and hit up one of the few open Double black trails.  It was steep!  But conditions were pretty good and I enjoyed taking pictures on the way down.  
Then we get the two other ones in our group and start pushing JR's limits to try some new runs….she went with the flow and found her groove and as we cruised along, we all started finding the same pace on some of the longer trails on the back side of the mountain.  We rode for a long while before heading in right before the close of all the trails. 
After some lunch I wasn’t really feeling the hot tub, I had been thinking about checking out the village but then I heard a rumor that the Hot Tub had been bubbled over with shampoo bottles taken off of the maids cart.   I, of course, ran downstairs to check out the pictures and take pictures. After seeing the brilliance of it all, I ran up stairs to put on my bathing suit so I could enjoy the adventure of it all.  The tub foamed up so high that it over flowed and almost made its way into the other room.  From what I understand the boys wanted to use the outside tub but it was temporarily closed for about an hour. 
Well, after the hour was up, the boys didn’t want to wait and retaliated by bubbling the inside one.  I can’t say that I would have done that myself, but I sure did enjoy the treat.  While I was in the tub, the girl from the front desk came in to open the door to the outside one and her face was priceless!  Not to mention her reaction of “did you guys put something in here”.  Her look of shock quickly turned to anger as she walked back to the front.  No harm done though, just a little fun and a small mess to make for a great story I will never forget.   
After that I went to the bar to find Katrina and Jason who had been at the bar all day drinking and shopping around the village so I could invite them out with the rest of us since we were going ice skating and tubing. We had all decided to skip the side trip to Montreal.  At the Bar, Timmons showed me this cool dice game they play at the bar and he lost and had to buy a round of drinks.  After that we headed back to the room and I made a pit stop to grab beers from the store.  We pregamed in the room drinking beers and taking shots. We even had the bar tender from the Caribou join us.  Jackie poured shots into normal glasses which meant they were way too strong. 
I took the biggest and caught up pretty quickly to everyone else as I chased my triple shots with my PBR.  As we headed out I packed a backpack full of beer and the adventure began with Ice Skating.  It was a good old time skating around on this little rinky dink pond that was not very well maintained. It was all chucky Ice.  Timmons and I skated around holding beers doing our laps and playing tag as we skated around.  It was funny to see who could skate and who had no idea what they were doing.   As always, I added some fun by setting up a sliding contest for Timmons and I as well as challenging everyone else to a diving over the snow bank contest…
I think I won both but I lost the next day when I woke up to a super sore body… although Katrina was even worse from falling hard; she could barely walk around and looked all gimpy.  Anyway, after our share of skating we headed over as a giant wolf pack to the Tubing area at the base of the mountain.  There were two sections, tubes and dinky sleds.   The more I drank the more fun I had especially since we were surrounded by friends. A bunch of us raced on the tubes but more importantly on the sleds… The sleds were hard to stay on unless you stayed perfectly straight; which I did not manage to do… I seemed to always run into Dave and then flip and roll to a painful heaping stop.  I did manage to keep the beer with me though and share it with the two guys working at the top of the magic carpet. 
After that we changed quickly and then head out to the bar to check out the night life.  Since we knew the Bar tender we went to the caribou first for a few drinks and relaxed conversation before heading over to the dance bar happily drunk.  I had fun wandering and dancing for a while meeting some new people before heading back to the room at some point with Dave and Timmons.  We bonded in their room and drank some more before heading into my room where I realized I was super drunk.  I know it was super late and most people were already asleep but apparently I made it back to the room and passed out in a chair.  Horhey woke me up eventually around 5 am and put me in bed.
A few hours later around 8 or 9 Horhey and JR tried to wake me up and were surprised when I basically sprang to life in a second.  “Are you ready?” they asked and in a very drunken just barely awake state, I replied “Hell yes”  I am not sure what let me do it but I was ready to go…. I was just a little drunk so the first few runs on the mountain were interesting ones for sure.  I have never had such goofy fluid riding before.  Somehow I did alright and didn’t fall. 
The only problem is that it was freezing outside in the morning.  I am pretty sure it was in the negative Fahrenheit.  My eyes teared as we rode and my whole body could feel the chill even through all my layers.  Needless to say there were a lot of breaks and it turned into a quick morning session before everyone decided to head in for lunch.  It was a bummer that everyone decided it was too cold to go back out except for me.  I convinced Timmons to go out on at least one run with me since he had not ridden that much all trip.  His Board is super strange since it is one of the only models of boards that has its edge rails pulled in so that it is a much better rail board meaning you don’t catch and edge.  However, it makes it extremely difficult to ride if there is any ice whatsoever and just steering in good conditions is sketchy and scary as the board usually slides out from under you pretty quickly.  Timmons didn’t lie at all after one run in the cold, he was ready to head back in.  Thankfully Jackie decided that she was ready to head out so I only took a few minutes to defrost and head back up with her.  I could tell Katrina really wanted to come out but her knees were so black and blue from falling while ice skating that she can barely bend her knee, let alone walk, so boarding is definitely out of the question.  I felt really bad. 
Jackie and I did a quick run, but that was about it because at the bottom she was done as well.  I'm not sure if it was the cold, her being sore, or her feeling bad about holding my pace back that made her go back in so quickly.  I hope it wasn’t me, but I sure as hell was not quiting early on the last day.  Even on no sleep, I stayed out all day in the cold and had a blast riding alone the last bunch of runs.  I just decided to race random people down and push the amount of runs I could squeeze in before the closing of the mountain. 
It was sad to have to stop but eventually I headed in and went into the hot tub one last time.  Bubbles from the day before still foaming up.  Before fully packing the car and leaving I took one last trip to the bar with Katrina so she could say goodbye to her new Canadian bar tender friend from Montreal.  All in all, the trip was amazing, nothing what I expected, full of new people and experiences.  I truly am glad that I took a chance and went.  It broadened my horizons and friendships to boot.  I was disappointed that I didn’t hear any Canadians say “eh “ though!

The drive home, I mostly slept and thought about the trip and trips past.  Trembelant is a magical place with magical people.  I think about all of the trips but one in particular stands out in my mind. Life is random and awesome.  It really is a small world if you think about it.