I Turned 40
And Celebrated for 252 Hours Straight
It began with a snowboard race...
Wait. No it didn't. It began with a dinner with a dear friend at
Dante Boccuzzi Akron.
Hours 1 - 81
In 2013, I turned 40. On January 3rd to be exact. The day before I left on an epic adventure of snowboard races, ski goodness, peak bagging and lots of UBU. But it all had to start somewhere, and that start was a fabulous birthday dinner compliments of my dear friend Rita at Dante's Akron empire. (Maple Manhattan anyone?)
Unfortunately, I had about 8 hours of work (and 6 hours of sleep) that stood between the dinner and my drive to Kissing Bridge Ski Resort to meet up with my beloved Snowballers Ski Club and little did I know it, my future boyfriend: The Yeti.
Afterwards a very strange dinner at a Mexican restaurant hosted by a small Asian woman with a bull whip took place (I am serious). After that excitement, it was decided that we should all just get a good nights sleep. We had some distance to drive in the morning. Baller Llama Hauler? Ready. For. PLACID.
Touchdown Lake Placid!
Let the skiing resume!
Hours 82 - 104
But not before the #Ballers traditional Placid kick off ritual of martini's. After a fabulous dirty martini in the hotel room, we then ventured out for a night on the town. And dinner. Burgers at the Dancing Bears. After, we decided to keep with our theme & headed to an Italian place run by Serbians for more martinis. Actually, we did eat there a couple of days later. I mean, we had to! It's the THEME yo.
Can we ski yet? Oh. Wait...sleep.
Hours 105 - 126
This year, the mountain did NOT live up to the ole' "Iceface" nickname. In fact, in honor of my 40th Mother Nature gave us CLEAR BLUE SKIES and perfect snow for our first (and second...and third) day out. OH THANK YOU MA NATURE!
We skied the face...and HARD. (Ok. Gary snowboarded...but who's counting?) We also washed that day down with many a bloody mary, several UBUs, Ben & Jerry's and a visit to the hot tub at the Crown Royal. Dinner & bed happened next (ok, after more UBU I am sure)...we had quite a Tuesday awaiting us.
What happens when you talk your friends into hiking up a mountain with snowboards strapped to their backs.
#OperationADKs - first attempt at Whiteface
Hours 127 - 143
So, on my quest for the 46 I aimed to hit Esther & Whiteface on this fine day. And I talked 3 others into going with me. Packs were packed, breakfast was had and off to the trail head we went. Only to the get the Llama Hauler stuck. (Hour 128.5 - It wouldn't be a Baller adventure if we didn't.)
Ok. Unstuck. ONWARD!
A few things to think about when heading up a mountain with a snowboard on your back:
- Did you get your vehicle stuck at the trail head? The same vehicle that your drivers will be moving to the base of the mountain you are climbing? Add an hour or two. (insert some swear words here)
- Do your friends mountaineer? Do they do so in 2-3 feet of snow? If not, they will probably hike slower than you. And swear a lot. (add a few more hours while yer at it)
- Does your route follow an old ski tow line? If so, know that it is narrow and lined by very tall trees. Laden with snow. Which catch on your board as you crawl under them. Every 2.3 seconds. (insert more swearing here)
- Do you have nuts, cheese, chocolate and wine in your pack? You should...because when you reach the top of the Wilmington lift after taking way longer than anticipated, deciding not to hit Esther due to said time, losing the trail for a smidge due to blasting snow guns, still have another mile & a half to go to the summit and THEN see that they started running the lift and you prolly coulda asked em to take your boards up for you? YOU WILL NEED IT.
Needless to say, it would be much too dark coming down to snowboard safely (even with headlamps) - so we called it fun, strapped in & headed down the closed run after our snacking goodness. And wine.
Then we had dinner. And UBU.
More skiing, snowboarding & UBU happened
And then? I bagged COLDEN!
Hours 142 - 192.5
More epic Blue Bird Goodness got us through the following day with fabulous skiing and riding all around! Hump day - who knew? But come Thursday, the trail was calling me back and I headed off to experience something I had been waiting for: Hiking Mt. Colden in the winter!
I saved this gem for snow & ice covered awesomeness because of the photos I have seen and the stories I have heard. I was looking forward to an epic day of snowshoeing and seeing the snow goblins that inhabit the top of Colden with my 46 baggin' pal Derek. The day started out with a hearty breakfast and a glorious blue sky too, and it only got better from there! The hike from the Loj was scenic, we crossed a frozen lake with ease and took the path up, up and up with energy and excitement. No snow laden trees lining the trail either. Clear and wonderful!
Then? We hit the false summit. The TUNDRA. Wind. Ice. Frozen temps. We even had to duck behind a large rock to add layers and face masks. BUT IT WAS ALL GOOD. Because soon? We arrived at the TOP. The glorious snow covered, ice coated, silent beauty of the Summit. The sun peeked out from the clouds. The views started to happen. The snow was crunchie yet soft....and the GOBLINS surrounded us in every direction.
It. Was. PERFECT.
(see how perfect it was & then watch a short video of the descent below...)
Last day at the Face and then all was
Hours 193 - 251
We all enjoyed our last ski day (and a few UBUs) at Whiteface Friday morning. It was bittersweet, because I love me some ADKs. But? We had to leave some time.
Never fear however! There was still a full weekend of skiing to be had at Holiday Valley. In fact, it was our second race weekend of the season and I couldn't think of a better way to round out my birthday week than to end with the very same people I started with.
The drive back was about 5 hours or so (and included another Ben & Jerry's stop), which put us in EVL in the early night. Just enough time to stop at the house and gather the Baller roommates (including Yeti!) and head on over to the Friday night HV race weekend tradition spot- Cadillac Jacks. It was a great reunion full of stories and beers (no UBU however). It seemed so long ago that we had all parted! We made sure to tell the tales of van stuckage, snowboard hikes and bull whips :)
Saturday brought us HV race day #1 where not only did the Yeti qualify for racing, but my dear cousin did too! Me? I sucked however. I took 5th. (um. outta 5. I used being old as the excuse)
Saturday night was a wander around EVL kinda night and Sunday brought us more racing goodness. And then? After the awards ceremony, after the hoopla and goodness that is a CMSC Race Weekend...it came to a close.
Bags were packed. Hugs were given. (it would be another full week before most of us saw each other again!) And it was time to head back to the CLE.
Hour 252: And like that?
I had officially celebrated my 40th birthday. For 252 hours straight.
PS: I really wasn't sad to be 40. I was just faking it for picture purposes. Though, I was sad I had to return to work the next morning. Yup.
PPS: The Yeti asked me out 34 days later. Being 40 ain't so bad :)