Snowboarding in Antarctica (or… Mt. Baldy, CA.)
This weekend I took the family up to the local mountains for some snowboarding. It was my son’s birthday and he wanted to try it out for the first time. He brought a buddy so the three of us boarded while the wife and the 5 yr old played in the snow and went tubing.
We bundled up like crazy and layered like nobody’s business since the forecast was for rain, snow, and wind… with a slight chance of freezing our collective asses off.
The drive up was a little scary in spots with cars sliding off the road and tires spinning on the steep inclines (even with chains). Finally making it to the parking lot, we dressed up like matching Michelin Men and up the ski lift we went.
At 9:30 in the AM the skies were cloudy with the sun peeking through every now and then but as we climbed higher and higher, Mr. Sun dismissed himself from the fun and we were soon introduced to Mr. Dreary Dark Skies.
Exhausted from our initial snowboard riding… well ok… mainly falling, we retreated to the lodge for lunch and the licking of wounds. Little did we know my wife and the little one had retreated to the car down below to take cover from the worsening conditions.
Since they were nowhere to be found above on the mountain, we decided to make sure they were OK, so we went down the lift to the lot and this is when the weather decided to go Sam Jackson on us and proceeded to “strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger!”
Mind you, we were properly dressed for the weather but being So Cal weenies the cold took its toll. Weather.com said it would be in the 40’s but now it was easily in the low 30’s, very dark, and snowing sideways (and this was only noon o’clock). My son’s long curly mop was covers in white snow and ice making him look like a 50-year-old hippie Sherpa.
As I sat on the icy lift heading down, the biting cold blowing through and finding every slight opening of exposed skin, I peeked through my arthritic claw frozen gloved fingers and thought of the many expeditions and wagon trains that drudged and blazed trails early on in this great country’s existence.
These people barely had clothes and shoes and proper means for shelter. They endured through winter frostbite, dangerous terrain, and wild animals with nothing more than a couple of burlap sacks and the sharpened fang of a saber toothed mountain lion. Contrary to popular belief there were no Wal-Mart’s back then. They were truly braving the elements.
Here I was covered in three layers of clothes protected in a beanie and helmet and goggles and gloves and coat and boots… yet, I was seriously thinking of jumping off the lift and diving head first into a giant rock to put me out of this frozen misery. IT WAS FREAKING COLD!!!
I contemplated urinating on myself to feel something warm but decided against it since they’d probably have to stop the lift down at the bottom and pry my frozen yellow butt cheeks off the lift chair. That would NOT have been pretty.
So, to make a long story short, finding my wife and kid safe in the warm heater blaring running car… we decided to call it a day and return the rental gear and try to make it down the hill. But to do this we had to endure another trip up and down the lift!
We bundles up with more dry clothes and proceeded to make the journey up and down the ski lift in worse conditions than before. After the mountain made me its bitch again, we were finally trekking down the icy mountain road, snow chains in place, slowly crawling at a snail’s velocity.
An hour or so later we were back home enjoying the 60 degree weather 4 miles away from the beach. Yes, we really have it rough… a chance to play in the snow in the morning and surf and swim in the ocean in the afternoon.
Lewis and Clark we weren’t… but, it was comical to think we dealt with the same pitfalls and tribulations as they did.
Where’s my iTouch? Damn it… I need a Ho-Ho.