First stop was Napa so we could pick up a friend and our gear. Some high tensions while packing things up (Austin has a very specific way of packing things), but after negotiating with his mom to borrow her car for the trip and getting the car loaded, we went to Boardgarden in Napa and bought the last piece of equipment I needed to be able to use my spiffy new board (Burton Cartels... awesome!), and we were off.
Next stop was Atlantis... one of the newer hotel/casinos in Reno. "No gambling"... yeah, right. :P After dealing with some room issues, we decided to head down to the casino. That insane "ding ding ding!" of the casino is too much for me to resist... must... pull... lever... giving... in... to... vices... ugh. Oh fuck, just give in to it already! :P We hung out in the casino for HOURS of much enjoyed gaming fun. Cody made love to a slot machine (at least his machine was putting out ;), while Austin and I played around with video poker (Jacks or Better is fun), blackjack, and some slots. We lost everything, but for a good 5-6 hours of fun, it was cheap, and arguably a good deal when you think about the free drinks ;) As the hours ticked by, I couldn't help but sit there thinking "oh geeze... we're boarding tomorrow... this is gonna be hard"... 2am ("we should really head back to the room..."), 3am ("I'm up! I'm up!"), 4am ("oh god, please help us")... we finally got back to the room at about 4:30... and then decided we wanted to be up at 7am to get ready to go. ("we're never gonna make it..."). Schedule wakeup call, with breakfast delivered at 7:15 for some positive reinforcement (new tip... get breakfast delivered when you REALLY want to get up... it works!). After some "maybe we should just stay up" conversation, we passed out... but DAMN we had a good time!
Next was SugarBowl. Kinda nifty... same place I boarded for the first time ever is also the first place I get to use all of my new gear. We managed to score some free lift tickets (thanks Austin and Friends), put my bindings on (the ski repair guy was cool, giving me some advice and telling me "it's easy, take you 5 minutes, and you won't have to pay us $25"). There was some confusion with some "extra" parts Burton includes, but we got it all put together, made some basic adjustments (15 degrees front, 0 back), and we were off. The board's factory wax was SLICK as hell... way too much for me to handle. Being a newbie meant I had to re-learn how to do this whole sliding-down-a-hill-with-style thing (and being coerced onto a blue run wasn't good), but once I got my groove on I was HAPPY. Leaning forward while flying forward is not a natural motion for a scared body, but that was this weekend's lesson... I can now finally do the switchbacks and "carve the mountain" with some pretty good grace. Figuring this out and learning the motion and feel was the most gratifying moment, and a major confidence boost... it's as though all of the possibilities of fun that snowboarding was offering me suddenly came through... it was fucking AWESOME. :)
Unfortunately, the season is rapidly working it's way out. You could see the snow melting (fast!) from the buildings, and the ice under the board as the shadows crept across the slush. This was even closing weekend for several of the parks... so the question is, should we try and get in one more weekend before it's all gone for the year? temptation, temptation, temptation... :)