March 10, 2001
The Vail Valerita!

The Vail Valerita!

The arrival at the airport was somewhat uneventful, which was a good thing. This time, no one's luggage ended up in South America! And we'll just ignore the fact that, through my brilliant navigation, ten miles into our trip, we were passing right by the Hertz lot. Again.

Once we got on the road (the real road), things started looking good. It was snowing. POWDER would await us! Eventually though, anxieties ran high when the road kept disappearing in the white out. So intense was the snowstorm that when a bag of potato chips exploded (due to the lack of air pressure), the entire van screamed! It was a good thing there was a level-headed, quick-thinking, intelligent, non-east coaster in the car to calm everyone's nerves (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm going to pay for that last comment someday, but it was worth it.). A tense six hours later, we arrived and immediately noticed the hottub needed water. Just like dedicated troopers, Perry and I started filling it pail after pail until it was ready. And remember it's not a ski vacation unless something is broken.

Talk about a great first day! Back bowls. Powder. No crowds. But where was Erika? Doh! She was renaming one of the lower runs: Erika's Cat Walk. Did anyone ever tell you there are shuttle buses to take you from one side of the mountain to the other??? Well, at least it's a good thing that you weren't wearing your ski boots on the wrong feet. How stupid would that be? (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Of course, there's nothing like Apres Ski to make it all go away. And with the arrival of Lisa, Andrea and Kelly, we now had a good sized party! That night, we retired to the cabin for a pasta dinner and hottubbing. Boy were we lame.

Things were okay Friday on the slopes. Pete Rose joined us for some runs (when we could keep up with him). There’s nothing like trying to keep up with the Vail all-round snowboarding champ. And let’s not forget Scott, Laura and Mike, who almost found out that you couldn’t get off the chairlift unless the safety bar is up! Whew! Perry would've been talking about that for YEARS! So we finished off the day at the slopes with Apres Ski at the Ore House, where those tiny Corona's became known as "Valeritas". Catchy name, eh Val? After hottubbing, it was back to the town for dinner (The HubCap Brewery), drinks (The Ore House) and property damage (To the minivan unfortunately parked next to us.) But at least Erika was considerate enough to beautifully polish the damage, which now was visible from the slopes…

For the mid-week break, we did the snowmobiling thing. Boy did that guide haul ass! But without Kurt, there were no incidents. Of minor consequence, Erika and Perry tipped their sleds. Did I mention Erika got hers upright by herself? Kind of separates the men from the boys, wouldn't you say, Perry?

After a day out in the wilderness, it was time to hit the city. Margaritas awaited us at Los Amigos. Scott and I managed to secure a few barstools, and before long, Laura, Lisa, Kelly and Andrea showed up. Queso and chips were not a bad start to a fabulous home cooked fajita dinner, compliments of Erika and Val. Wow, for a minute, I forgot PJ wasn't on the trip! Before the end of the night though, Scott, Erika and myself had one final venture to Garfinkel's for a bucket of Valeritas. You go girl!

On Sunday, there was a definite lack of powder on the slopes. But it was a fun day all the same as Pete, Lisa, Kelly and Andrea all joined in for a party on the slopes. Even happy hour on the mountain, with live music outside, was a blast. That was, until Ski Patrol told us to chug quickly if we wanted to ski down, or relax and then have to take the gondola down. Sorry, no wimps in this group. Chug, chug, bonzai! As soon as the skis were off, happy hour continued at Garfinkel’s. And let’s not forget the overheard bar chatter about Michael Chang being on the premise! Geez, that guy seems to show up on all of our ski trips. But pretty soon, the Valeritas were flowing, and the hottub started calling, where the real fun began.

So there we were, Scott and I as the last remnants of the hottubbers, enjoying our last drinks, Perry walking around the hottub with a shovel full of snow, and Erika already inside the balcony, locked. It was soon a stand off as Scott and I stood ready with the empty chip and popcorn bowls, and Perry realized he had no way of getting to the balcony door without getting a thrashing. Truce? Yeah, right. In the ensuing battle, Scott and I managed to empty half the hottub on Perry, as the ground beneath his feet quickly turned to ice. His shovels of snow were few and far between, and with Perry slipping all over, they were mostly hitting the wall, or himself! Soon laughter overcame Scott and I, and Perry gained the upper hand, winging the snow at us. Ouch! Time to get in the cabin. Erika, open the door!!!

After a late night at the Ore House and Vendettas, our final ski day, Monday, saw the intro of snowboards for Scott and Laura, at least for part of the day. It was about time, losers. We finally managed to ski together as a group, giving us all the opportunity to witness an Erika tumbleweed wipeout. Hmm, I wonder how many of those we’ve missed? Soon after, Erika’s tumble was outdone by a lone skier wiping out on a run that was visible from the Los Amigos outside patio. She received several rounds of applause from the bar as she fell, worked her way back up to her first ski, slid past her other ski, got to both skis and finally made it down. But even more entertaining was the poor guy who carelessly tried put his skis up against the bar railing, thereby starting a chain reaction which knocked down ALL of the skis outside the bar (The chain reaction even somehow worked it’s way around the rail corner!). An hour later, after he had finished re-stacking everyone’s skis, he took a bow and was ready for a drink. A big drink!

That final evening, we finished off the trip with a nice dinner at Up the Creek, followed by a final trip to the Ore House for a visit with our gracious host, Pete. Thanks, Pete!

And as luck would have it, all our flights were on schedule. Bummer! Time for that long drive back to the airport, and that constant harassing from Erika…”Where’s my story???”, ”Where’s my story???” Here ya go!

March 2001

Posted by mbang at 01:06 PM