Winter Rodeo

Winter Rodeo
2014

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Banked Slalom Weekend Wrap-Up

This past weekend was the 26th running of the Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom.  Every year it is expected that there will be a grand party and friends, old and new, will shred the majestic and world renouned ski area.  This weekend was just that.

Friday I rode with my friend and we were able to take some pretty fun runs.  The weather turned out to be pretty cold and wet, which made for less people than I had expected.  There were still quite a few people up on the hill taking their best shot at the course.  The course has had a new twist this year.  In years past there had been a loop or a full turn, but this year the trick was that you had to pick either a right line or a left line about halfway through the course.  It didn't seem as though too many people had issues with indecision.  I think that might have been an issue if I were to have been in the running.

The day ended pretty early due to the weather and the sheer discomfort of riding in really warm, wet snow.  The runs that I did take were fun, but the cold and snowy conditions weren't the most optimal.  We met up with a crew at Chair 9 for some food before heading back to the cabin in the rim.  That evening I took some time to get my stretching and yoga in while the rest of the house partied.  I was even able to read a couple of chapters in a book that I have been enjoying.  A few of the people that were staying in the house headed over to another cabin to party down and I stayed behind.  It is pretty rad knowing that I can do whatever I want to even if people are doing their own thing.  I tried to go to sleep at 11 but the party was making it pretty difficult.  At points people would walk into the bedroom, turn on lights, have conversations, kick my feet and legs.  At 2 AM the guy that was sleeping in the bed was kicked out so that two people could do their version of the drunken horizontal mambo.  They actually tried to do their business with me in the room but I wasn't about to just lay there and TRY to sleep through it.  The gall of some people really surprises me sometimes.  I spent the rest of the evening trying to fall back to sleep in the livingroom with several other people snoring and one guy had the best teeth-grind noise that I have ever heard.  The best was when the dude that had taken over the bed came down and on his way to the bathroom kicked me in the head.  Drunk people.

Saturday was a little bit better for weather, but it was still pretty cold.  The morning runs were good and I took a few laps on the side-country for powder sake.  We considered hiking around but made the determination that it was a no-go.  I felt really good about that decision based on the low-light, fog rolling in, high winds, and ultimately nowhere near enough sleep.  Apparently the course conditions weren't as good as they had been Friday, but some of the riders still managed to lay down pretty good times.  I met some pretty cool people in the lodge while I was eating and waiting for one of the Wildcard / Mountain Militia riders to finish his run for the day.  I saw some old friends, made some new ones, and tried to make the best of it.  As I left the mountain I had a feeling the conditions on Sunday were going to be much better.

I hit up one of the beds in the cabin for an afternoon nap, then headed over to Chair 9 to hang out, get some food, and do the socialization thing.  It was the night of the Frequency / Mervin (Lib-Tech, Gnu) party.  There were a lot of people and it turned out to be a really rad time.  The music was a lot of fun and the vibe in the house was pretty upbeat.  I noticed at one point that being at bars sober you tend to notice a lot of shenanigans that go on.  More so than when you are partaking in the shenanigans, too!  The Tea-Baggin Bandits played a mean rockabilly set and it was pretty cool to see a lot of dancing.  There was actually a rockabilly mosh-pit for a few of the songs.  I met a few new people and had some good conversations with other people.  Throughout the night the sheriffs came through the restaurant and made sure that things were staying moderately sane.  I took off at about Midnight to head back to the cabin and rest up for the coming day.

Sunday was the best day of the weekend for snow conditions.  The sky was blue and the powder had stacked up pretty nicely.  There was about 8 inches to two feet in spots.  The morning runs were great and as the day progressed we tried to avoid the masses.  At one point I counted 35 people hiking up the bootpack up Hemispheres and out the Shucksan Arm.  The snow got pummeled, the people kept hiking, and some really dumb moves were made by a lot of people.  I also saw some of the most unsafe backcountry practices that I have ever witnessed.  Overall the snowpack was variable and a few slides were set off by backcountry travelers.  I got a couple good runs in and had a very good day.  Also ended up picking up some schwag from a couple of the vendors and booths.  I drove my friends truck back to town, stopping for a bite to eat at one of the restaurants along highway 542.

Another banked slalom weekend in the books.  Congratulations to the riders that took home the golden duct tape.  Next year I will be better suited to have my way with the mountain.

Tonight I tried to catch the Bellingham Circus Guild's special Valentine's Day show.  The show had sold out and we ended up heading to the Green Frog to hang out with a couple other disappointed friends.  I made a list of some things that I want to accomplish over the next year or so.  On that list is the prospect of getting a dog.  I have been avoiding the responsibility of owning an animal for a few years.  I had been telling myself that school took first priority and to be able to do it with an animal wouldn't have been fair.  I think that since I have made this shift in my outlook about the necessity of being able to go out every night and my decision to stop drinking I have a lot more time and energy to put into taking care of another living being.  I had also thought that to have an animal would limit the amount of travel that I can do.  Now that I think about it deeper it seems as though it has all been a cop-out and that I just wasn't ready to grow up and be that responsible.  That and it really isn't too difficult to have a friend or a family member take care of an animal if you make it happen.  We met up with one of our friends that had performed at the Circus after the show ended and had some dinner with her.  We hadn't hung out in months due to her travels and my busy school schedule.  It was really great to reconnect with her and I soon hope to be able to visit her in Hawaii!

I then made my way over to the Wild Buffalo to catch the Del show.  Del the Funkee Homosapien has played Bellingham a few times since I have lived here and I caught one show a couple years ago.  At that show he seemed a bit unenthusiastic.  Tonight was no different.  At least tonight his hype-man was claiming that Del was sick but still wanted to do his best for the fans. 

Take-aways from the weekend:
1. 10 year-old children should not be subjected to the party that went down in the cabin.
2.  I still love to party.
3. I can do it sober and have just as much fun.
4. I want my own cabin.
5. Del is overrated
6. I'm ready for a Dog.
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