Monday, January 9, 2012

New Years 2012!!!

Every year for New Years, my high school friends and I get together and party. In recent years we have usually camped out or partied on the lake. However, this year we decided to move it to the slopes.

Robert's place at Echota was open for the weekend so we made our plans accordingly. Friday morning I picked up Carrie at her parents place, loaded up the Escape and headed to Boone. We planned to meet up with Drew and Becca on the outskirts of Boone to pick up some groceries and mainly, beer.

From there we planned on heading to the profile trail so that we could hike along the side of Grandfather Mountain.

Heading West on 421, always a welcoming sight.

Once we had the amount of beer and water we felt was appropriate... we made our way to the trail head. The previous couple of days/night had been seasonably cold and with that a few snow showers had occurred.

The trail head was rather muddy from the rain and melting snow but the trail looked to be in pretty good shape so we carried on. From the trail head it was a little over 2 miles to the "Profile View Overlook." It was early afternoon when we started, so we knew we would have to move pretty quick in order to get back before night fall.

The trail was lined with snow as we started our climb up the mountain. As you can imagine, the higher we got, the deeper the snow accumulation was. At some points the trail was completely frozen over. Our pace was rather slow but we continued on anyway.

Starting up the trail. FRESH POW!

Around 4pm we managed to find our way to th Profile View. It was an amazing sight! I checked my altimeter app and we were approximately 5000ft above sea level at that point. Judging by the time it took us to get to the overlook, we knew it was going to be dark when we got to the base again. No worries, over prepared drew brought along his head lamp....

Profile View

When we got back to the cars (3,800 ft above sea level) the sun had already sat for the day. We changed clothes and got out of our muddy boots and headed to JVC's house in Banner Elk to meet up with the rest of the crew before heading to dinner.

Fluffy had built a mini ramp in his garage, which actually turned out quite nice. He and a couple guys from Alpine Ski Center were riding the ramp on skate boards and bicycles. It had been almost 10 years since I rode a skate board, but after some convincing I decided to drop in on the ramp. It had been a while... it wasnt pretty, but I did it.

From there we headed to an Italian place near Sugar Mountain. With 8 of us trying to eat at 7pm on Friday in a ski town, our wait was a bit ridiculous. After calling several restaurants to learn that the wait was about the same everywhere, we looked across the parking lot to see a Food Lion. Becca proudly exclaimed, "I'm a good cook, how about some bow tie pasta and pizza." SOLD.

A bit later we were up to Echota where we met up with Robert, his girl friend Claudia and his roommate Eric. I hadnt seen them since I left Raleigh, so it was good to see them once again. As we unloaded the cars, Becca and Claudia got to work on the pasta and frozen pizzas. The beer bottles started opening and the stories started flying. It was good to be back up there.

Nothing like having a nice winter lager while sitting next to the fire.

We threw a small party for Drew's accomplishment of hitting 200lbs! We hope this is his max and he can get back down in weight. This is our way of encouraging it. Humiliation!

Will rolled in around midnight that night as he had to work late in Charlotte. Unfortunately, we all partied a bit hard and were passing when he rolled in. As he walked in he let us know he had a nice present from playing Dirty Santa with his family...

The next morning I was up around 6am. Showered and began getting ready for a day on the slopes. By 7:15 we were rolling off the mountain and ordering our breakfast at the local country store.

By 9am, lift tickets were purchased and we were making our way to the lift line to catch the first chair for the morning.

Two things Beech has going for it, high speed quad and a hell of a view!

Good freeze the night before, so the runs were a bit crunchy on top. However, it didn't take long for the other riders and the sun to soften that up and make the conditions pretty good considering the lack of snow so far this year.

Drew and Will at the top of Beech Mountain.

Will and I about to make a run down the mountain.

Not too long ago a movie came out about Squall Valley and the game of GNAR. "Gaffney's Numerical Assessment of Radness." Its about having fun with friends and assigning points for doing different things on the slopes. Points are assigned for certain runs, tricks completed and shenanigans committed on the slopes. (Peeing mid run, calling people out, etc.) Points are deducted for crashes, losing you pass, etc. We we started playing our own version of this....

One thing that we took from the movie was, calling your mother while riding down the hardest run on the mountain. Well, seeing as how Lower Shooting star was the hardest one open, we did it on that one.

Drew was the first to call his mom.

Will followed Drew and completed his run with far less turns than Drew did. :)

This type of thing continued for the entire day as we rode. It really was good time considering the lack of runs that were open. For the most part we stayed on the Robbins Run/Shooting star as there were less people on it than Upper/lower Shawneehaw.

We stopped for a bit to rest. Robert, will and I went in to grab a few cold beers. They had Busch Light on sale for 2.00 a can. (for the slopes,that aint bad) However, things changed when we found out there was a 10.00 debit card minimum. We walked out with alot of beer.

Back on the slopes we continued playing our game and trying not to make fools of our selves. (oops) At some point we talked Becca into going up to the top of the mountain and riding. She was very scared, but she did pretty darn good.

We did pretty well to not embarrass ourselves on the slopes. However, the lift lines were another story. At one point we made it our mission to keep Drew out of his skis. We would hit the latch to release his bindings, then someone else would push him at the same time. This got alot of attention and laughs.

At another point, Carrie threw a snowball at me and managed to miss. (surprise) This ended up starting a snowball fight in the lift line.

Becca and Drew on top of Beech Mountain. Her first time up top!

Can't get enough of this view!

Through out the entire day of riding I was putting the Go-Pro camera up on my helmet and making runs down the mountain. I did this in order to make a short movie about the day. This was all fine and well until I ended up taking some kid out (really he took me out) while recording... Below is a link the to the video. The crash is at the end.

Enjoy. Beech Mountain New Years Video <~ Click

Walking back to the car we saw this thing. Parked in the Handicapped spot, too.

After leaving the slopes we stopped by our favorite restaurant on Beech Mountain, Brick Oven. We killed some more pasta, wings and pizza before heading back to Echota to celebrate the new year.

Every Christmas Carry buys us guys a nice dark beer. This year's was a aged stout from Trader Joe's. Was very good had a high alcohol content as well...

Chillin out around the fire place waiting for the ball to drop.

We ended up playing circle of death that night, again. Along with some other card games while watching the ball drop and the RedBull jump. It wasn't long after that we all passed out again... there is a reason why...

Will's present from Dirty Santa. Peach Moonshine. This ended up making laps around the table...

Sunday was a lazy day with some crazy weather. Woke up to an amazing view and temperatures in the lower 60's. We managed to get up and moving to make it to lunch at the Banner Elk Cafe. The food was great, fried chicken, green beans and mashed redskin potatoes. All for like $7.00! We were all a bit hungover still and apparently I was a bit rude to our waitress, but honestly the service was crap right from the start. But anyway...

Good Morning, 2012!

While we were at lunch the temps dropped like 10 degrees and rain came outta no where! It went from sunny and warm to cold and wet, quickly. So we went back to Echota to drink the rest of the afternoon away and lounge.

Becca ended up having us all craving some baked Mac and Cheese after telling us about her recipe. So we managed to make it down the mountain to the store and picked up the ingredients we needed. For 24.00 we ended up getting enough stuff to make two pans of the stuff and it fed 8 of us, well! I think we will be cooking more often!

Later that afternoon the temps kept dropping and the wind was blowing hard. It found its way through any lack of seal around the windows and doors. The blinds were moving and the doors were creaking due to the wind and the pressure. We later had fun with this by opening the front door then the back door... If the back door was open, it was all I could do to open the front door for all the pressure on it.

The next morning a few of us decided to go back to Beech for a half day ride for 20.00 since it was weekday and the holiday rates were over. The temps were well within blowing range so they had them all on that morning.

Drew and Robert decided to get some more GNAR points by parking at the top of the mountain and riding down the slopes to pick up their lift ticket.

All the blowers were on at Beech.

After one run down the mountain...

Conditions weren't as good on Monday as they were on Saturday thanks to the warm weather and rain. But it was still worth $20.00. We rode till around 12:30 that afternoon, called it quits and headed back to Echota to pack up and head home.

Visibility was a bit low again, but manageable.

All in all it was great weekend. Good times with friends on the slopes, lounging around the condo with drinks and good food. Really can't complain. Hopefully things will turn around in the weather and we can get a trip up to Snowshoe, WV soon!

Until next time... think snow!

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