This is the ninth consecutive year for the ski trip. To date, there are only three people on the trip who have made it every single year. Brian, Keith, and of course me… This almost didn’t happen in 2003. A few of the regulars didn’t make it, so it was less rowdy as a result. Clementine, Terry, and Monica add a great deal of rowdiness, so the void that comes with them missing was felt by all the usual suspects.. A good number of people expressed confusion and annoyance that Terry didn’t come up. Perhaps next year. Regardless, a good time was had by all.

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I get to bed Wednesday night around 1 AM. Wake up at 4, get ready and head up to Receda/Northridge to pick up Dave and Erin. After spending a short time figuring out where they lived, I find them, pack the stuff into the Suburban, and we head towards the grapevine. As we get close to Goreman, there is snow on the ground. We pass a couple of cars in the center divider wrecked. Drive a little more, there are more accidents, a semi with a few bales of hay popped off. The cars start to stack and it looks like there will be traffic going over the pass. I also notice that that fast lane is clear. There are no tire tracks on the snow covered lane, so I pull into it and just pass what has now become a parking lot on the interstate. I reach the peak and once over, I see an open highway, with specks of two or three vehicles traveling with hazard lights on at 10-15 miles an hour. This is absolutely ludicrous – then again, these are folks who live in LA, and haven’t the foggiest idea how to drive in snow. I easily navigate around them and my normal snow driving speed – about 50-60 miles an hour. And I’m just stupefied at why people are so freaked out. Then again, I see about 6-8 more accidents, so I do gain a little understanding for the pace. However, there’s careful driving, then there’s being stupidly slow, which inevitably causes more accidents. The blind are truly leading the blind. Once past Gorman, the roads were clear, albeit wet, but the drive up north was nice and easy.

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Hugo and Beanie quickly adjust to meeting Erin, well Hugo anyways, he’s always been the friendlier of the two. He’s dumber, so he just doesn’t know any better. They take turn keeping Dave’s lap warm, sometimes getting so comfortable as to fall completely asleep. They’re usually awake for the entire beginning leg of the ski trips. A sign that the little bastards are getting older.

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We pass downtown Sacramento at about 11:30 AM, and with about 10 minutes before I arrive at the airport, Brian calls to tell me he’s on the ground with luggage in hand. Talk about great timing. He heads off to get the other rental, and I meet up with the gang(Justice, Kamun, and Binh) and we load up the truck. We pile in and head over to the other terminal where Thong and Ciprian are waiting. There are some issues with the rental company, but it is settled and Brian meets up with us in the terminal B parking lot. We pick teams and head down to get lunch. Lunch as usual is at Tower Cafe.

We get beers and food. With that said, we head up towards the Costco in Folsom. There, we pick up some food, beer, and other necessities for the first couple of days. We’re a little conservative as from past experiences, we’ve always ended up with too many left overs that end up in the trash bin. A few steps into the place, Kamun and Binh disappear; not wanting to waste time looking for them we just plow through and pick up what we need. A few packs of ribeyes, some horseradish flavored cheese, a few cases of beer, a gigantic bottle of Belvedere vodka, salad, blueberries and we’re ready. We find them and they’re picking through the sample areas, eating. Holy hell, Charlie already had a bowl of the corn chowder, the ravioli, and bread at Tower; now she’s picking through the sample carts with reckless abandon for her colon – damn third world Asians and their worm infested digestive systems.

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We leave Costco and start our drive up the mountain. The drive up was very smooth, and probably the fastest ever, same goes for the drive back down the mountain – note, karma to balance the light side with the dark side will rear its ugly head eventually… But, right after leaving costco, I get a call from last year’s “one”, Nancy. She asks if I’m driving to Tahoe, and already knowing the answer to said question, asks if it is too late for her to join us. Obviously it is too late for her to ride up with me, but no, never too late. There is plenty of sleeping space. So she tells me that she’ll be flying into San Francisco and then riding up with her friend. Fine, I invited her back regardless of the fact that while she and her “up in smoke” friend Diana were close contenders for “the one”, title and her winning said title; she was fairly entertaining to the group as a whole. And there were hopes that lessons learned from the previous year would allow her to fit in better. I am rarely wrong about things, and so our re-crowned “one” will now be affectionately referred to as “psycho bitch”; I hate being wrong. PB also asked for a quote for the room costs for which off the top of my head, I said about $120 per person. She said ok, and the folks in the car at the time heard my side of the conversation – this becomes important later.

The drive up was amazing. Little to no cars, and Brian was fully capable of following me as I aggressively passed the slower moving vehicles climbing the same mountain. Brian usually rides shotgun with me as we drive up, so he’s used to my driving style and knows to how to keep up. We hit the rental place, get the house keys, head over to Safeway for some miscellaneous items then head to the house. We get in and people grab rooms and start claiming sleeping areas. The dogs are let loose into the backyard to enjoy the 1-2 ft high fresh snow. Food is packed away and beers are loaded into the fridge. Dave gets rockband set up in the upstairs living room. The game room is huge. However the pool table pretty much remains untouched for the majority of the trip as there are two bumps in the felt that ruin any attempt at a decent game.

Dinner tonight was the ribeye steaks, one of the four racks of baby back ribs, and salad. The grill on the dining room balcony was lit for doing the steaks. The discussion of proper steak done-ness starts up when folks are asked how they like their steak cooked. I cook mine medium rare – so I have difficulty doing stuff well done. And we just playfully argue that cooking a steak until it’s a rubber tire only serves to ruin the damn thing – so basically, it goes against my moral code as a cook. But I acquiesce and get to it; the steaks are cut in halves and cooked according to what people like, 2 medium rares (Brian and I), 2 mediums (Thong and Dave), 3 medium wells (Kamun, Binh and Justice), and 2 well dones (Keith and Erin). With the steaks doen, we cut them and Keith complains about how rare it looked, but shuts up once he started eating. Keith found the 2004 Silver Oak earlier and questioned my sanity for bringing it. But with our steak dinner, we had to have a nice wine to go with the food. Funnier still was that he hid it so no one would accidentally pour a tall cup full and drink it without any hint of appreciation. A true sign of getting old, once upon a time, these gatherings were held with the cheapest alcohol we could find coupled with fast food or Denny’s as our “meal” together.

After dinner, we broke out the rockband and played late into the night. One by one, folks went off and crashed. Brian and I hooked up with Keith in our closet, the three of us turned in with Hugo and Beanie – pacing around the room not used to it, and trying to find a comfortable spot to sleep.

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We wake up around 7:30 and Brian and I get breakfast going. Eggs were cooked, and Brian and I made a bacon weave with the horseradish cheddar. The tortillas were put to use and we made breakfast burritos. The corgis get much more attention then they have in previous years. Lucky bastards.

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We finish up breakfast and get ready to head up to the resort. Dave and Erin decide to hang back, Kamun decides not to ski but decides to come along with us to the resort to read. The local rental place is hit up as Brian and Justice get boards for the next three days. With that done, we head up the west side of the lake on Hwy 89 North to Homewood. It has been snowing steadily every night, so there is fresh powder on the ground. Here are some views going up the first lift.

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We are about twenty minutes early for the half day ticket sales, so we head up and the folks get some lunch. Once finished, Brian and I are able to escape but the VC are able to hold on to their POW Justice. We hit the lift and wave good by to our friend now stuck in a shoddy, yet strong bamboo cage. Here are some pictures of the view from the top and of Brian as he gets trapped in deep powder.

We hit some blues and blacks. Homewood is a smaller resort, so they do not have the capacity to make the blue runs fairly well groomed, so effectively, in such powder, the blues are pretty much blacks in comparison to runs at other resorts.

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Again, nothing but soft fluffy and untouched powder. Skiing here is a feeling of floating; hitting the runs we just glide along; one almost feels weightless. All morning and while on the lifts, we reassure each other that we’re going to take it easy. We tell each other this every year at the first resort. In the past few years, I’ve only skied once, and spent the rest of the time hanging out at the house or at the casino. I’m usually completely worn out after the first day. And as soon as we pop off the lifts, anything said evaporates, and we hop down and just run non stop until we hit another lift and again, tell each other we’re going to take it easy. Such hypocrites.

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Homewood has some funny run names. They have the Shaft, which is fairly close to the Glory Hole. After taking the Shaft first, we return for a visit to the Glory Hole… Make your own jokes please. The last two pictures are a comparison shot from looking down the run to looking horizontal at Glory Hole.

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Our attempt to take it easy failed miserably once again. While on our last run, I’m gliding along a green, so I do this with a decent amount of speed. It is a bit bumpy as it’s fresh powder, and their greens are equivalent to blues at other resorts. no excuses however; I’m bloody tired. I hit a little bump and get airborne, land and hit another; and at this point, my legs decide that they don’t want to take the landing they had just taken a mere few seconds ago, so they collapse as I land and I go tumbling. Brian is riding fairly close behind and completely snows me. I’m covered. Hooray! I’m white! Ok fine we snow each other, we fall.. this happens. But then again, I hadn’t fallen all day, and when I do, it’s on a frigging green. But wait, the story gets better. A little 5-8 year old girl that I had passed comes skiing by with just two skis and no poles, whips by me LAUGHING HER ASS OFF; and I think she was pointing at me too. And as she continued, Brian and I could still hear her as the laugh trails off in the distance. I get up with the intent to just zoom by her, but while zipping down, something catches my left ski and I go tumbling again… on the same green. Brian behind me sees my ski suddenly pop up backwards, which can never be a good sign. After I get up, we take a few pictures and I loudly exclaim my wishes that some Uncle touches that little girl inappropriately… just as a family with a little girl ski by, Brian tells me that the mother turned around and apparently gave me the dirtiest look possible. I only wish I still had my camera out. I resigned that the run will be my last as my legs have completely given up. Just like the old days when I used to run until I fell from exhaustion. We headed down.

We find Charlie and attempt to Chuck Norris Justice free from their grasps. They tell is that they did 5 runs, all greens with one blue. And laugh while telling us they saw the Glory Hole, but dared not enter the stall. I believe Brian and I ended up with 15 runs. So much for taking it easy the first day.

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We get off the slope, grab Ka, gear down and pack up to go home. Everyone gets into the suburban and I start it up. Looking at the backseat, I notice that we’re missing someone. Justice had decided to go inside for some coffee. Time to move the car. We drive away and get to a nice little vantage point to watch Justice’s reaction when he finds that we are gone. And as predicted, he comes back to where we were parked and looks around in confusion – then spots us, so I have no choice but to drive towards him to pick him up. I power slide to a stop and he climbs in. We start heading south on good ole hwy 89 and after about a twenty minute drive, we are stopped by a road closed sign. Apparently there was an avalanche along the way and with the coming storm, that road was closed; and probably going to stay that way for the next couple of days. Our only choice was to turn around and head back. We stopped a few trucks traveling towards the inevitable road closure to give some warning. What would have taken another 20 or so minutes now turned into an hour and a half scenic drive around the lake.

Back in town we stop by the Safeway to grab a few things for tonight’s dinner. Chicken thighs and some Uncle Ben’s instant rice to supplement the 3 remaining racks of ribs.

Gooks tunnel into my bathroom and soak in Epsom salt, after a day of runs on 4 greens and one blue. Wow, they had it rough. *cough*BrianandIdidabout15runsonbluesandblacks*cough* Then again, we hit the hot tube with 3 other men later that evening. It almost seems that we have a certain quota for gooks; we traded our 6ft tall one for two smaller models. It wouldn’t have worked with all three of them anyways… the tunnel sizes would mismatch and such.

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They put in Family Guy and everyone lazily relaxes from being on the slopes. Dinner was the remaining three racks of ribs and a partially home made BBQ sauce, soy sauce chicken, uncle ben’s instant rice, and salad. Joe and Cameron are at the house when we arrive. Ciprian and Keith were at the casino all day, but returned for dinner. With dinner done, we continue to relax before starting up the evening’s activities. Brian gets love while Justice stares with a jealous glare. Brian and I search the house for playing cards. With none to be found, we end up starting up rock band for a little while before hitting the hot tub. Joe, Cameron, Brian, Ciprian, and I hang out with our beers in the hot tub. I slipped on my way out to the hot tub and fell into a pile of snow…. damn that stuff is cold. It was a good thing the hot tub was only a few feet away at 104 degrees. After getting out, the folks have switched from playing rockband to watching Tropic Thunder. Thong passes out first, which will be come standard modus operandi for him for the next few nights as soon as he gets a few beers into his system. I was trying to stay awake because PB and her friend were on their way to the house. The dogs wake me up as there is a knock on the door. The living room is clear with only Thong on the couch snoring it up and Tropic Thunder still playing at the Apocalypse Now soliloquy scene.

A quick look at my phone for the time told me it was 1:20 AM. They had finally made it. They get into the house and settle in at the larger hallway between the backyard door, game room, and two bedrooms. There is a couch and the area immediately next to it is where PB set up her inflatable bed. Having let them into the house, I go to bed.

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We wake up lazily again but just in time to see PB and her friend whom she introduced to me late last night as William, step out the door on their way to Kirkwood. Hanging out with people in the house, folks are coming up to me with grins on their faces as they tell me that they met PB and William, however, William introduced himself to them as “Ripper”. Ok terrific. We laugh about it and Keith states that he should just be called “one”; and an even bigger laugh is shared by all. I finally get breakfast going, this time with some left over tomatoes, and one of two left over uncooked ribeyes. A special no tomato steak omelet was made for the two people that did not like tomatoes. Bacon was also baked, so the breakfast burritos this morning were a little fancier than the previous. Dave, Erin, and Joe come along today with the same group that went the previous day, except for Kamun. She was starting to get a sore throat and was feeling ill, so she decided to stay at home and watch the dogs. Ciprian, Keith, and Cameron went to the casinos, while the rest of use head to Kirkwood.

Kirkwood is one of my favorite places to go, I think we hit this place at least once every year. Brian and I decide to stick with Justice, Binh, and Thong – our attempt to take it easy. Dave, Erin, and Joe go take lessons as Joe and Erin have never skied before.

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With the easier runs, I can take some attention off the skiing and take some videos. With that said, here are the three musketeers getting off the lift…

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We do a blue for a quick warm up. And Brian and I see a bowl which is a black right next to the blue run we do, and discuss the idea of taking J and the Gooky bunch down the bowl. We get on the lift and tell them to head right, then break the news to them; we’re flushing them down the bowl… Brian does some explanation about the mechanics. I head down first to find the easiest entry point for the bowl, and they follow down one by one. Brian heads into the bowl for a quick visual demo.

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One by one, they head down. Thong gets going.

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After half way, everyone is getting the hang of it; and they’ve learned some new techniques for a different type of slope.

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Well, almost… I was filming Binh riding down when all of a sudden she didn’t pop back out as she was supposed to. And then Justice and Thong who were down a bit but resting on one side of the bowl start laughing their asses off. Brian and I naturally assumed that she had fallen or something. Watch closely, you can see Justice and Thong point and laugh, and then Thong pulls out a camera.

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Brian is already half way there, but they tell me to quickly ski down… so I can take a picture. This is what they were lauging at, her board was half sticking into the side of the bowl; and she was trapped. We were called down to take pictures, not help.

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We did the bowl again, and after a couple of runs, we split up. Thong wanted to try the wall, and Brian was going to supervise. I was willing to stay with the others who didn’t want to hit the wall. Justice and Binh decided against it… I think it may have been the fun little story I told them of from one of my visits to the wall that nailed the coffin shut on their answer. I take Binh and Justice down a blue to another lift that takes up to a run that um, we’ll call “mini wall” At the peak it was windy, but I could still hear the curses on my life from Binh.

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I drop in and pave what I can figure as the easiest way down, and while waiting, pull out the video camera capture their descent.

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Conquering that black, their confidence is further strengthened, and I believe they had a really good day with Brian and I. We meet up with the ski school rejects and pack everything in; Charlie is thrown into the fluffy snow bank for the enjoyment of all. Brian gets a pack of snow thrown down his shirt by Justice. Suddenly we are teenage frat boys pranking each other.

Once in the car, we start our drive over. I think I may have freaked one or two people in the car out when I passed 5 cars on the first open passing zone, then after the curve, passed an additional 5 or 6 cars on an incline that was quickly heading towards a blind curve. Even Brian went and placed his hands on the “Oh Shit Handle”. I set the camera on the dash and took a timed picture. Thong is in there, he’s just a little short to sit up in the chair.. then again, I think it was the combination of Binh and Joe’s ginormous heads that blocked him. While driving, I’m asked what I was cooking for dinner. Having cooked two nights in a row, I figured folks were up for taking a break from the prison gruel I was serving… but they are gluttons for punishment; and I was once again, volunteered to cook.

While on the drive home, I come to a realization. Cameron == Mini Keith. Think about it. He’s hairy, got the same widows peak, starting to get that small bald spot at the back of his hair, and a good number of people who just meet him, think he’s gay. Cameron has been working out so he’s getting back to the svelte little twink he was when I first met him; but on the flip side, he could lose himself and just be a mini version of Keith. We come up with a new nickname for him, mini Keith or MK for short.

I make a mental list and we head to return Joe’s skis, then hit the local Safeway for more foodstuffs and ingredients for that night’s dinner: my variation on the chicken Marsala. We get some french bread, pasta, and two cases of blue moon.

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I get Binh going on deboning the chicken thighs, and smashing them flat; she seems to have a knack for beating meat. Justice is chopping garlic and shallots for me. And I prep everything else. PB and Ripper come back from Kirkwood as well. While on the mountain, I saw someone I thought was PB, called out to her, but the boarder was unresponsive, so I just left. I didn’t remember see what she was wearing when she left, but when I saw her back at the house, I was positive I saw her, and tried to say hello. Oh well. She start talking to everyone, and while doing so, EVERYONE looks over at me and proceeds to roll their eyes. Oh how I love having PB around. Ripper is talking to a few people and hanging out. He’s meshing with the group so his contention for the One Crown fades. Also, while cooking, we bring up the subject of MK again. And we told a story from last year. Marissa was told that there was a gay guy on the trip but wasn’t told who, so she had to figure it out. She pegged our lovely MK as the lovable twink. While relaying this story, Charlie turns around and calmly says that she thought he was gay too…. I only wished Monica was around for all this.

The folks are playing rockband and make the mistake of handing the mic over to PB. As she’s singing, Joe looks over at Justice asking for more beer as it would help stop the bleeding in his ears. She exclaims that she’s not good at it, for which Joe responds, “That’s ok, you won’t have to sing again, ever.” Joe’s humor is subtle, dry, and VERY quick, so once you get it, he’s hilarious to just stand and listen to his comments. Justice and I realize that we need more alcohol as well to help us drown out the sorrow and depression that is PB’s singing.

Lisa shows up with Keith, Cameron, and Ciprian, as they met up at the casino. Lisa was at Alpine Meadows boarding with her friends that day. I finished cooking and we all sat down to eat. Keith complimented my food with three words, “num num num” For which I could only guess that sometime between the last time I saw him and then, he had picked up VSL. Funnier still was that MK was sitting right next to Keith, so the whole story behind the new nickname came into light, Cameron didn’t understand why we were calling him MK, but sitting right next to Keith, the comparisons were just too easy. Cameron is also lovingly nicknamed Kit (Keith in Training)

With the food settled, cards in hand from Keith, we got ready for beeramids. The unfortunate side affect of some of the rather rich food I cook, is that it’ll make folks relatively gassy. Oh let the games begin. 20 points for head shots, and 10 for anything else. I picked up 80 that night. One for PB, two for one when Brian and Justice were wrestling because Justice got faked out, again, while playing beeramids, and 10 for each time I hit Charlie with one.

Funniest thing was PB running off to wash her hair. Granted, it could have been that she needed to because of boarding all day, but I like to think that it was my flatulence that did it. The rest of the evening was fun to just point my ass in the general direction and get her to squeal like a pig about to be gutted. The not so good side affect was that she kept spilling her drink, on people. My bad.

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Saturday night was fairly fuzzy for me. I do remember that Thong passed out before finishing beeramids. At least in my mindset. I could barely focus on the game as well, so I dropped out and handed in my cards. A few people continued to play. When done, we headed down and hit the hot tub. Hooray, we were slightly less gay this time with 4 guys and a girl in the hot tub.

A little side note, earlier that evening, I told PB that she should put her air mattress inside the game room and sleep there, as the area she set up camp in was a high traffic zone. It was a slightly widened hallway with a couch. She puts her mattress into the room stating that she’ll pull it out later to sleep. Not wanting to argue logic with one that lacks the capacity to fully understand the intricacies of such things, I just nodded and left. Sure this information makes no sense here, and most folks will just not give a shit knowing, but it sorta prefaces what is to come…

We head to bed, and I tell Brian to take Hugo with him to bed. He gave his bed spot to Keith, so now I get to spoon with the bear, and he’s crashing on the floor with Kamun and Binh on the bed. Lucky boy. Hugo jumped into bed with Ka and Binh, lucky bastard. The little shit never jumps into bed with me. I’m thinking that he got carried onto the bed. I just hope he dutch ovened them, the great thing about Hugo farts are that they’re unfiltered.

The morning of the third ski day was much like the same. Ka was feeling worse, so she needed to seek some medical attention, so Brian was taking care of that. The core skiers and boarders were hitting Heavenly. Joe and Cameron took off towards town then were going to head back down to Sac to avoid the incoming storm. Lisa was too sore for boarding, so headed out to the casino with Ciprian and Keith. Erin was bruised on the leg from the previous ski day, so she wanted to stay in, but Dave was coming along. When Brian and Ka came back, Brian told me that he was staying in with Ka, so it was just Binh, Justice, Thong, Dave, and me. We got ready and headed out. Partially on the way, I realized that I had forgotten my ski pants, but didn’t feel like turning around. When I reached the resort and parked, I called up Brian to come bring the ski pants and Thong’s glove linings over. As it was only a 10 minutes drive, it wasn’t too big a deal. Binh was relentless on making fun of me for forgetting my ski paints. It wasn’t like we were in any sort of a rush, the half day tickets were going on sale at 12:20, and it was 11:50 at that time, so we had plenty of time to sit around and wait.

Brian shows up and I suggest that he stay and board. He wants to, but also understands that Ka was sick the majority of the trip, and this gives him some alone time to spend with Ka romantically snuggled up in a warm house while 30 mile per hour winds were beating snow flurries against the house. If I were him, I would have made the exact same decision.

We headed over to the lift tickets booth and get half day passes…. nice. 71 bucks. Really? The kicker was that a good number of the lifts and trails were closed because of the high winds. (*sigh* I’ll probably cut Heavenly off the resort list, but it’s just so damn close and I’m SO much more lazy to drive by day three.) 30 MPH on the ground and 70-100 at the peaks – so it would really suck to get blown off one of the lifts.. or just off the bloody mountain. We clip on our lift tickets and we hear Binh scream, apparently she’s retarded and is unable to loop the open end of the plastic zip tie like item around her jacket part. Karma for making fun of my forgetfulness. Everything settled, we headed up.

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We hit the first run, and I take them to some other lifts only to find out that those lifts and a good number of blue runs were closed. So we ended up returning to what I can only desribe as a parking lot of people on skis and boards in front of the biggest in that general area. We head back into line and like cattle, herd 20 minutes or so before getting on the 6 person lift. We head back down, and I steer us to a blue which ends with only greens, while heading down, I see a slight opening, and take it, they follow. I look up to see that I’m in a black with nothing but trees. Too late to stop them, they’ve already followed me in. Today’s lesson is tree skiing…

They all make it down slowly, with Dave having the most trouble.

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Conquering the trees, the group decides that they want to hit it up again. Dave will just take the blue that runs parallel. We hit the trees and get through it in a fraction of the time from earlier. The winds are kicking up and the lines for the lift we’ve been using have only gotten longer, so I decided we should head down.

We take the long roundabout run, which for a good first section is utterly flat. I tow Binh, and we’re off. We stop at a slight hill top and wait for the rest. Then continue onwards.

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After winding our way back and forth, we come to the last black slope. I wasn’t sure the boarders wanted to take the black and I figured it was icy. There was no snow the previous night, and it was windy as all hell. The roundabout was taking it’s toll on Thong, so he wanted to drop down on this. Binh and Justice joined, and Dave continued along the roundabout to the bottom to meet up with us. It was icy. But every was able to make it down, albeit plowing most of it down. Regardless, they conquered this one as well. And I think the experience has strengthened their skills as boarders.

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Wishful thinking…

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Not to be left out, Hugo and Beanie had their fair share of fun as well. They’re found a new family to join. This was the fourth day of the trip and I can see the fatigue in their eyes.

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Here is a video of Beanie hopping and playing in the snow. Hugo doesn’t care much for the snow, Beanie however, loves it. So he’s just running back and forth, just enjoying the hell out of it all.

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I finally catch a break from cooking, and Keith, Lisa, and Ciprian use their casino cards to comp the dinner. We ended up paying about 5 bucks each for the meal. Not too shabby. While walking through the buffet, Justice turns to me and says that I should watch out for anyone who picks up the ribs at the buffet – as it would be an utter insult to me had anyone eaten the restaurants ribs after having the pleasure of eating what I made. That said, there’s always one. Which made for some good target humor as everyone also stated the audacity of having the restaurant’s ribs over mine. Guess it was a good thing I didn’t grab some too… A good time was had by all at dinner, and we got our waitress to snap a quick picture. For you guys who know, I know I got you.

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We went and gambled a little after dinner. I hit the paigow table and found an open seat. Sat down and pushed my first hand. It’s interesting that the folks grandfathered in from the previous minimum bet were limited on the amount of time they were grandfathered. Meaning, after a short period of time, they had to follow the minimum bet that is shown at the table. I’m wondering if Vegas does this too, of is this a Mont Blue thing. No worries, I wasn’t playing earlier so it didn’t matter to me. I think I only played for about an hour and a half. The two gooks were watching, Brian and company were also back there but were talking. Justice and Kamun didn’t like the smoke so they left and went to a smoke free area to hang out. After a short while, a spot opened up in the middle of the table. I was at the end on the left side facing the dealer. The lady next to me thinking that Binh and I were dating, told her that she would switch spots so that we could sit together. Now isn’t that sweet of her. I played another hand and had to excuse myself to visit the little boys room. Dave and Erin had come back from winning 60 bucks are Wheel of Fortune. I come back and get two or three more hands in before we had to leave. I ended up losing about 20 bucks. Not too bad. But I was up at some point. Oh well. We cashed out and left.

Back at the house, we clean and packed up. I calculated the costs of things and we settled the house and food costs. Food and beer this year was 40/person. Very nice especially for cooking on three of four nights. I really ought to get some kinda of humanitarian medal for not killing everyone with my cooking…

We played rockband a little that night. I had finished packing most of my stuff. My voice was really starting to go, after singing at least a couple of times each night. Folks started to drop off and head to bed. Thong determined to not be the first person to pass out stayed up with us, but without any alcoholic influence. Dave, Justice, Binh, Ciprian, Thong and I played a little more, then stopped and cleaned up the rest of the food stuff. Cute that little Charlie would suddenly run over to me and turn her butt towards me in a sad attempt at perpetuating our little flatulence war. A quick pinch of her butt got her to turn quick enough that she misses her intended target. It’s a losing battle, but cute that she still tries.

I ended up crashing around 2, figuring that 4 hours was good enough for the drive the next morning. We get up around 6 and sorta lounge around chatting for a few minutes before getting into gear to load up the car and finish cleaning up the house. We leave around 7:30. Lisa was gracious enough to drop off the keys to check us out of the house so that We wouldn’t have to back track. We headed down the mountain, and traffic was as light as it was on our way up. We got down to downtown Placerville around 8:45. Filled up with gas and headed across the street to Mel’s Diner.

We get in and sit at the back and order our food. I’m sitting next to gooky girl and I sorta over hear her order, but I wasn’t quite sure, because to me one of the items she ordered wasn’t what I would normally consider a “breakfast” item, what what the hell do I know.. oh right, I know the differences between over easy, over medium, and over hard eggs… Anyhow, food comes, typical stuff such as orange juice, coffee, eggs and such. Then there’s a root beer float. Really? At 9 in the friggin morning?!? And she finishes the bloody thing. Good thing it’s only another 30-40 minutes to the airport. I don’t want that hitting her digestive system and eeking it’s way out; I’d definitely lose the gas battle that I’ve been winning so far.

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We get to the airport and drop off everything, we’re gone by 11, and start heading down the 5. Dave is getting calls from his parents telling me that the 5 at the Grapevine (Gorman) is closed due to heavy snow. Great. I drive for another 2 hours getting past the half way point and still, the news is that the 5 is shut down. We get 128 miles outside LA when we hit junction 40 that will take us about 70 miles west towards the coast through the California wine country. It is about 2:30 PM. I made the decision to take that route and hit the 101. We get to the 101 around 3:45. And it’s bumper to bumper traffic. We’re now 14 miles north of San Luis Obispo, and 220 miles from LA. I’ve effectively navigated an additional 160 miles to my trip. The four hours of sleep isn’t enough, I’m starting to strain. I know Dave can see it, but I don’t want to make him drive. I’m also getting easily aggravated at the traffic. *sigh* I get Dave and Erin to Dave’s parents house around 8. I get home around 9. Unload, and head out to drop off the rental. Pete picks me up from the rental place and drives me to work to pick up my car that has been sitting here since last Wednesday. I finally get home at 10:30PM. I was pretty much on the road for about 13 or so hours. FML. If this isn’t further proof that there must be balance in everything – I don’t know. I had an amazing drive up to Sac, and amazing drive on and off the mountain. Horrendous drive back is just the balance to all the good.

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So thoughts about things. Definitely mellower than previous years, and this isn’t because we’ve gotten older. At least not completely. This has to do with the people that didn’t come, Clementine, Monica, and Terry. As much as we enjoy picking on Terry, I think he enjoys the attention as well, and it works. Clementine picking on Terry, or just everyone in general also works. And everyone loves the dirty flip that is Monica. Hopefully we’ll see a triumphant return next year.

Now, on to the infamous “one” crowning. Up until Sunday, there wasn’t one. To be the one isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just a label for the folks that REALLY don’t fit or mesh with the rest of the group. Folks that stick out like a sore thumb. And it’s funny how so much is built up on the idea of being the one. Our list: Wexx, A-Rob, Diana, Uwen, Kotex (a few will get the joke), etc. Some people don’t even make a concerted effort to join the group, or just lack the social skills. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re awful people, just people that won’t get along. I would hate to see a world where everyone gets along. I mean, know that Keith has had to tell a friend or two of his that they’re not invited, and so has Ryan to his wife. Some people just won’t be able to handle such a trip with the douchbags that are the folks that do get along.

So congrats to PB for being the one again this year. Not so much as doing something awful and not fitting in, but if we had to label one for this year, it defaults to her. So going back to Sunday morning, I’m hanging out with Brian, Ka, Binh, and the dogs in their room, she knocks on the door and asks if I was interested in the 2 for 1 passes to Heavenly. She states that she and Ripper are planning on drinking tonight, so they don’t want to drive back to the house. And I believe that her intent was to trade the tickets to us as payment for the house. She stated that they were a face value of $38. I declined, and she ran off. Ripper came in and asked about settling the house. I run down to the car and get the receipt calculate the cost over 15 people and come up with $120 per person. When I tell him this, he nods and goes to tell PB. Who is in the front door hallway. Lisa and I are sitting on the couch in the little hallway between the second floor rooms, so we hear everything. PB flips the f out, saying that the cost was not justified. Funnier still that we’re all within ear shot.

She comes over with kinda of a forced smile and says she doesn’t really agree with my pricing. Asking if I could do a by day by person cost. No, I’m not about to pull out a friggin excel spreadsheet program just to shave a couple of bucks off her cut. She claims that she’s only staying 2 nights. For which Lisa immediately says that she’s only staying 2 nights. The wind has now been cut from her sails. So into passive aggressive mode she goes. Complaining that she wasn’t treated nicely. Really? She was here last year, for the whole of the friggin trip. And let us not forget that she completely occupied Terry’s time by having him take her to the Emergency Room, Urgent Care, etc etc… 7 hours of his life he’ll never get back – and for something that she caused by being a compete dumbass. She starts to complain that people were walking back and forth at night and that she could not sleep. Hmm.. I distinctly remember telling her that the very area she made camp in was a high traffic area and that she should have moved to the game room, where there was plenty of space. The she goes to complain that “She would never treat her friends this way”. Wow, I treat all my friends this way, and they’ve been my friends for well over 10 years and they still return to the trip year after year. I stare blankly at her, Lisa is still there, and she give us and runs off to the bank to get money.

I held back. Hell, I wanted to get paid; so I held back. Plus it would have been kinda awkward with all the bloody ears that were up against the walls and doors in the other rooms who were all listening in on everything. I would have had you bastards listening in laughing your asses off; especially if I made her cry, which was why I was holding back. I so wanted to destroy her. She tried her case again when she came back, she came upstairs and asked, “Can we talk?” which usually means that she wanted some privacy so that she could plead her case. My response was “sure, what do you want to talk about?” and I didn’t budge. She started to try, but gave up and just gave me the money in protest. Funny that she made an effort to count the money for me while handing it to me, and then took off in a huff. Sorry PB, your stupid princess act may work on the 90% of the people you deal with on a daily basis; not today, not me. There’s always one. Even for the years that one isn’t as prominently displayed or discussed; there is ALWAYS one.

Regardless, we did get a nice new line for the incident. Everything I do or say now is retorted with “Geeze Clem, I wouldn’t treat MY friends this way” or some iteration of the phrase. So enjoy the story you assholes, and feel free to leave a comment.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Brian

    You’re such a jerk Clem. I wouldn’t treat my friends that way.

  2. GameraBaenre

    I know, and regardless of how hard I try, come September, I get individual emails from people telling me to get the ball rolling with the cabin and such…. Can’t fault a guy for not trying!

  3. kurios

    Jerkface. Thanks for not mentioning me in the “People that didn’t come” column. Haha.

  4. GameraBaenre

    Um, when we think of you and kris, rowdiness isn’t necessarily the first word that comes to mind. Plus, this is the second year in the row that you two have missed… your presence or lack of doesn’t really hold any bearing. *hint*hint* 😛

  5. bhop

    Two things..

    1. All that pow… i’m crying on the inside
    2. I hate you

  6. Lycantivis

    I want in… I cook and clean

  7. GameraBaenre

    I saw the local mountains last week before I left. It looked like some good powder there too… we’re going to have to hit that up soon.

  8. dhcloud

    I am surprised at some of the small details you remembered…. were you secretly recording everything.

    I still can’t believe you treat your friends this way… cook, drive and hang out with them…. what kind of person are you?

    I sort of wish you had already gotten your money from PB… I am sure the new one being ripped would have been EPIC for all of us listening.

  9. charlie

    i’m not coming back…didn’t like how Clem treated me.

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