Sunday, February 05, 2006

Drunken Skiing

Kind of like Drunken Boxing, only lots more dangerous and not nearly so elegant.

Look at all these fools! I was right out there in the midst of them. See that little speck up there? Yeah, that one, the one that's spread out under the lift like so much roadkill...

Shot with the Stylus, then heavily postprocessed in Photoshop (well, duh).

The next shot was the only time I took the Nikon out all day. It's too big for me to want to fall down on.

I need to study up on how to do good high-key effects in Photoshop. Luminous, soft high key and moody, grainy heavily vignetted B&W images are both techniques I've seen done beautifully and been trying to learn lately.

Blame the boys at Sweet Rigs for distracting me. I've been rigging and blogging over there quite a bit recently, meaning I've been letting this side of things languish.

Kudos to
jdub and friends for kidnapping my lame arse and spiriting me away to Breckenridge on Saturday for what turned out to be absolutely THE best ski experience of my lifetime. Cool company helps, a lot, along with 12" of fresh champagne powder and a couple of personal breakthrus on the ability level.

Your fearless narrator here happens to be the World's Most Wretched Skier. Ever. Seriously, I've been skiing since 1988, when I first strapped on a set of knackered rental sticks at none other but Mad River Mountain in Bellefountaine, Ohio (all 450' of vertical drop - no kidding). Home of Midnight Madness, meaning every Friday and Saturday night from 10PM to 4AM the combined student bodies of Miami of Oxford, OSU and the University of Dayton descended upon the place to engage in copious alcohol consumption in preparation for nerving up to hurl themselves like so many fibreglass-shod lemmings from the top of the boilerplate-clad 'black diamond' at speeds approaching escape velocity.

My instructor on that first night was happily and comprehensively drunk. Which pretty much set the tone for my subsequent ski career. Since 1988 I've flailed my way down the groomers at some of the most prestigious resorts in North America with little clue and even less progress. Along the way I've done everything from the Starfish to the Agony Of Defeat Yardsale, but I've rarely performed much that resembles competent skiing. It might help if I skied more than one or two days every couple of seasons. In other words, I'm an Irredeemable Spork (SPaz On Rental Kit). A happy spork, but a spork nonetheless.

jdub is the cat in the green parka on the right. Tina's in the khaki on the left, and Ponch is the guy in the watch cap, centre, arguing about which way to go. I learned a valuable lesson: do not listen to Ponch, if you value your hide and you suck. He's a damned good snowboarder.

jdub and his crew tried, hard, to talk me into ditching the whole ski thing as a bad show, and picking up snowboarding instead - especially as they all ride, the guys can positively shred, and Tina is quickly becoming a Shred Betty in her own right. I've really considered it over the past few years, since I'd have to rent equipment either way. However, the legendary steep learning curve of riding always caused me to wimp out - I mean, I at least know how to operate skis. Sort of. And at Breck, at least, having a skier in the mix can prove advantageous in the flatter bits, where a pole tow can be a handy thing.

So once again, when facing the prospect of spending an entire day on the bunny slope with an increasingly sore, wet arse, when I could at least be back on the trails making starfish and snow angels and flailing about pissing off competent skiers in my customary state of Spork Bliss... well I opted for the bliss.

And bliss it was. The Central Rockies are currently enjoying the best snowpack for the past 20 years. And, because I was blessed for once with truly awesome companions, I was actually encouraged, pushed, and also left alone enough to start figuring out some major skill factors and put together a couple of awesome runs.

Check out this view, willya? Conditions do not, ever, get better than what we had. Warm, sunny, no wind, deep, fresh groomed powder. Well, it could be a lot less crowded, but that's what you get for going on the Saturday before the Super Bowl.

Ponch and jdub, I'll even be gracious enough to let that impromptu trip you led me on thru those godsforsaken steep-assed moguls slide. Mostly. You unholy bastards.

All of these pics were shot with the Stylus, which survived a couple good wipeouts and even a Flaming Yardsale unscathed, because it's small, tough and weatherproof. A good parka helps, but that camera is a trooper. Thanks, Mike!

I haven't known these guys for long, but I've caught on to the part where random silly acts pursue them like stench pursues a garbage truck. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I'm never slow with the camera - somehow it developed that Tina here was offered $10 cash to eat this entire (rather large and disgusting) cup of Ranch dressing. She complied with amazing grace and aplomb, and even managed to keep it down.

That's jdub on the right, getting royally sunburned. It turns out Ponch was willing to pony up a cool $20 in the interest of science, but jdub beat him to the punch with a Hamilton, Tina accepted, and the bet was taken. She must really like that stuff.

As you can see, beer was involved in the making of this bet. Drink; it's the very tool of the devil, and this is simply further proof.

To the victor goes the applause, the toast, the $10 and the indigestion. Upon interviewing the victor after her successful bid to rid jdub of his cash, her response was 'eurgh, that was REALLY gross!!'.

And finally I'll leave everyone with a thought to ponder: Don't ski drunk. Cos afterall, that's how I got into this whole mess in the first place.

This has been a Public Service Announcement by none other than



Blogger jdub said...

Beauty Clark! Your right, Company can make all the difference. Ive seen nicer days on the slopes (ie; less sporks) but with the wrong company, its just not worth it.
Great pics - Really ties the whole damn day up nicely. Good times good times.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

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2:05 PM  

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