December 19, 2004


The View From Rainbow Chair: Mount Bachelor, Oregon

Sometimes I wish that puzzles were made of metal and each piece weighed a hundred pounds, because then people could actually have an idea what I mean when I say that everything is starting to fall together. When you talk about puzzles, most have in their mind the vision of a tired old man, with white hair growing out of his ears, hunched over a card table strewn with puzzle pieces, slowly and meticulously arranging them into their intended pattern.

This is not what I mean when I say that things are falling together. My thought involves a machine shop and a crane, with a large chunk of metal suspended over a floor littered with twisted wreckage. For months the piece will hang in the air, nudged into position an inch at a time, searching for a proper fit while simultaneously trying to make sense of the mess on the floor. Out of nowhere the piece will cut loose, and when it hits the floor the earth shakes. The earth shakes, and the wreckage rearranges itself into an iron tapestry, radiating out from its new edition.

I have fired off my job application for working as a trip leader in the BWCA this summer. I have picked up the tickets for my kiteboarding trip to Baja this February, and all the paperwork for renewing my passport is in the mail. On my trip to Hood River last weekend I found a great place to live, and I’m all set up to move in next month. Today I dropped by the trailer store down the street and ordered a trailer hitch for mah Soob, and I should have time to get it installed after New Year’s. I’m set to take off for Minnesota next week, they expect me for Yukon Days, and I have some vague plans for meeting up with friends both old and less-old.

Today I finished up with my errands far earlier than expected, so I gathered all my snowboarding gear and was at the Mountain by 1:00. If you don’t count hiking Mount Bachelor with Shane in August, or gibbing in our front yard earlier this month, this was my first time back on my board since I busted my leg back in March.

To ride again was spectacular. It was a banner day at the Mountain, sunny and fifty degrees at the base. I managed to hit up every single chairlift that was open, including Sunrise, Rainbow, Skyliner, Sunshine (i like the kiddie terrain park, so sue me), Pine Marten, Outback and Summit. My muscles protested over the first few runs, but after crushing their dissent I picked up my skills pretty much right where I left them back in March.

I chose not to gib and huck as strongly as I did at the end of last year, mostly because it was my first time out, and also because that’s exactly how I busted myself up the last time. My carving was really strong, and I can just about lay out flat against the snow when the conditions are right (like, when it’s not 3:55 and everything isn’t iced up). I could pull an endless chain of flatland 360s in either direction, and I’m still perfecting all four of my air 180s (frontside and backside regular, and frontside and backside switch). I can comfortably ride switch for extended periods, and I have no problem linking turns so long as I remind myself to keep pressure on my front (usually my back) foot. I still need practice on spinning my nose and tail butters.

Even early in my session, I was already ecstatic to be on the snow again. I was riding up an all but abandoned Rainbow Chair when my cell phone rang. It was Erin, who had called to inform me that she had just been in a car accident, and then tell me that she was just kidding, and then ask whether I wanted to make a trip to the UberHeartless MegaSuper TransGlobal Store. I told her that I was on a chairlift, and she asked how that was, and I said that it was the best thing in the world right now.

I added that if there was some way I could do this every single day and still maintain my existence, I would. She told me not to dislocate my shoulder, which is probably good advice.