The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris

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Huntsville, Utah
February 2006
"Never Split From The Group"

We were delighted to learn that last year’s snowboarding trip was going to be an annual event! The date would be moved to February this year to ensure better snow than last year.  At the height of the trip, there would be 14 people this year with a couple of early departures and late arrivals augmenting here and there.   Tony and I, always wanting to maximize our flight benefits, chose a routing through Ontario, California that would take more than twice as long, but give us the best chance for securing First Class seats.  Three other travelers planned to take the direct flight to Salt Lake Saturday morning and the rest traveled on Friday.

Saturday morning, after a few text messages and cell phone calls, we finalized our travel plans.  We checked our bags and stood by for the Ontario flight.   We were cleared in plenty of time to board the airplane and have a cocktail before take off.  We had a nice meal of baked chicken and cannelloni, watched part of the movie (“The Legend of Zorro”), napped, read our books, looked out the window, kept tabs on our location on my new GPS (Jill), and finally arrived in Ontario.  We had almost 2 hours to kill in Ontario so we found a table and pulled out the cards.  We played Casino until time for our flight. 

The Ontario to Salt Lake leg was uneventful – we attached Jill (the GPS) to the window and watched our progress.  The view on the approach to Salt Lake from the West is nothing less than spectacular.

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When we arrived in Salt Lake, we found our baggage, which had preceded us and was waiting to be claimed and headed for the Alamo counter.  The Alamo agent offered a white two door car or an orange four door car.  We told her about our nickname for the “Butt-Ugly Orange Car” we had last year before Tony thought to ask her, “ahem…  What color is YOUR car?”  Hers was blue, so we hadn’t insulted her.  Since it was tradition, we elected to take the “Butt-Ugly Orange Car” once again.

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We attached Jill (the GPS) to the windshield, set our destination to the Ski Chalet with a stop at the Albertson’s in Roy and were on our way.  Shortly after we got on the expressway, we had to make a quick stop to attach the rubber straps from the ski rack so they would stop beating on the top of the car. 

We got to the house around 6PM and dinner was already heating on the stove!  Spaghetti & Garlic Bread!  There was plenty of room for drinks in our make-shift refrigerator.

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After dinner, Scott tried to teach us a new card game called “Set”  It was a little difficult to get the concept, so we decided it was time for the Texas Hold-Em Tournament ($5 buy in).  Kirsten & Mark took first & second and I came in third.  In the second game, Mark & Kirsten swapped positions, but I maintained third (I should point out that there were more than 3 people playing, in case you are thinking I came in last).  Hilton had never played before, but hung in for a fairly long time and commented that he didn’t mind paying $5 to get people to talk to him.  After the game, Sandy had a heart to heart talk with Mark to try to help him improve his personality and stop being an “unapproachable *******”  After we laughed about that for awhile, the discussion turned to who would be the last one up this year.  Mark had traditionally held the record, but abdicated the throne early this year, leaving room for John & Kristi to take over.  John won, finally leaving the sofa to find his bed around 5AM.

Sunday, since we were still on Eastern time, most people were up by 7AM.  I could smell bacon cooking when I opened the bedroom door! 

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It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day!

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One group hurriedly had their breakfast and headed for the slopes.  The rest of us spent some time lounging in our PJ’s, having breakfast and visiting, and were finally ready to go around 9:45. 

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Well, we were ready to prepare our to-go beverages at 9:45…

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We were supposed to meet at the base lodge at 10:45, but the early group was a little late, so there was time for a pre-ski beverage. 

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Three of the group headed out for snowboard lessons.

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After we hooked up with the early group, we boarded the gondola and started our skiing. 

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The first run we took was ungroomed and I quickly realized that powder was my weakness.  I tried to stick to groomed runs after that. 

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We headed back down to the base to check the progress of the snowboarding girls around 1:30.

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It was a convenient time to break for lunch while we waited for the girls to finish their lesson. 

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We took the Gondola back up and skied over to the Porcupine lift. 

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After a run or two, the sun went away and it got really cold and started snowing.  I decided I had had enough for day one, so I split from the group to head for the base.  On the way down, my ski bibs decided to make a phone call, as tight pants with a cell phone in the pocket sometimes do.  My skis seemed surprised by the noises coming from my pocket and crossed, causing me to fall down.  While I was down, since I knew it would be a struggle to get up, I thought I’d better check out the cell phone/PDA.  I was sitting down, fiddling with my PDA when the Ski Patrol skied up.  I assured him that I was okay, but he continued to stand over me and was joined by 3 other Ski Patrol-ers.  I really wanted them to go away so they would not witness my struggle to get up, but they just kept standing there, so finally I tucked my PDA back in its place and started the struggle.  They all came over to lend a hand which was appreciated, but embarrassing.  When I was finally up, one of them asked if my PDA was a Blackberry.  I told him that it was an iPAQ.  He said, “Wow, that’s pretty state of the art…  More than I can say for your ski equipment.”  Well!  I couldn’t have been more indignant!  Since he was wearing a helmet, I decided to just hit him on the head with my “old” pole.  I skied on a little further, but now flustered and still tired, it wasn’t long until I fell – backward this time.  A passing skier commented, “At least you have a lot of padding back there.”  If I could have gotten up, I would have hit her on the head with my pole too! 

When I finally hooked up with the others at the bottom, we had a few beers and then went to the Shooting Star.  

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I had heard about the Shooting Star but had never been before.  It is a “Must See” attraction.  It is the oldest bar in Utah and home to Newfy, once the largest St. Bernard in the world and some other assorted animals. 

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Graffiti is everywhere and the ceiling is covered with dollar bills.  We tried the “Mini-Star Burger” which consists of a hamburger with a hot dog on top. 

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Back home, dinner was Chicken Quesadillas while we tried to watch the end of the Superbowl (we had really bad reception on the TV).  After dinner, some of the group watched Gray’s Anatomy while the rest played Texas Hold-Em.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith was the movie attraction for the late night crowd. 

Monday morning, we awoke to a wonderful breakfast of pancakes and sausage.  After the usual dawdling, Tony, Sandy and I headed for SnowBasin.  

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We were to meet the others at the upper lodge at 11:30.  We decided we had time to ski over to the Strawberry Express gondola. 

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I had forgotten how wonderful the view was from the top of Strawberry Express.

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The snow was perfect and it was sunny and warm.  The only problem with our plan was that some of the lifts weren’t running so we couldn’t work our way back over to the lodge.  Instead, we had to ski all the way to the base and take the gondola back up.  When we got to the upper lodge, I went straight to the restroom.  It was very ornate.  All of the stall doors were golden oak with brass fixtures.  When I came out of the stall, I had a little difficulty finding the exit.  After making one false start and almost colliding with the mirror, I was about to start in another direction when Kristi came in.  “Oh thank goodness you came in”, I said.  “I couldn’t find the exit.”  I walked straight to the door she had just come in and opened it to go out, only to find that it was a handicapped stall!  She had a big laugh over that.  In the pictures below, can YOU tell which one is the exit?  (Its the one on the right)

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We had an early lunch and enjoyed watching some skiers with a death wish come down a sheer drop off outside the window of the lodge.

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We found a skier patient enough to wait until we could get everyone organized for a group picture.

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The group headed over to Strawberry and did a few runs there.  We hung with the snowboarders.  I am very jealous of their ability to sit down to rest (and then get up again without help).

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Before long, Tony and I decided it was time for us to head for the bottom.  We had a few beers and then headed back to the house to dine on the wonderful roast beef that Sherry was preparing. 

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After dinner, dancing was the predominant activity for some of us.  We ended the evening with a game of “SET” which we decided to rename “Buzzkill”. 

Tuesday morning, Scott left for his business trip to Orlando.  We repeated the bacon, egg and grits breakfast.  Everyone was a bit slow getting started, so Tony, Sandy and I left before the van again.  We saw two girls walking with a gas can so we stopped to offer them a ride, and then realized that we didn’t have room in the car with all of our ski equipment.  We took the gas can to their car for them though, so that helped a little bit.  The next time they run out of gas, they might want to consider that they don’t need to buy 5 gallons of gas to carry the half a mile back to their car.  Half a gallon would have been plenty and wouldn’t have been nearly as heavy!   At SnowBasin, we had time for one run from the top to the base before meeting the group at the top lodge.  It gave us another opportunity to see that gorgeous view.

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John’s friend Graham from Atlanta joined us for the day, allowing John and Hilton to break from the group and crank it up a notch, doing some black slopes at breakneck speeds. 

The rest of the group, still moving a little slow, made our way back over to the Strawberry lift. Tony & Zaine decided they were done for the day, so they skied back to the base.  Tony dropped Zaine at the house so he could spend some time relaxing in the hot tub.  Tony ran to the liquor store to replenish the supplies and then met us back at the base lodge.  Sandy and I skied 1 more run off of Strawberry then went to the base to take a break.  We relaxed in the sun for awhile and then gradually a few groups went back out to ski.  Sandy and I headed up to join others, taking the gondola first and then skiing over to the Porcupine lift.  At the top of the hill above Porcupine, Sandy pointed out that the lift closed in 5 minutes.  We hurried down the hill just as the operator was about to clip the chain across the entrance.  He took pity on us and let us on.  We were the ONLY two people on the slopes!  It was wonderful!   So quiet and peaceful.  We found the others back at the lodge waiting for us.

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Tonight’s dinner was pork chops on the grill with macaroni and cheese.  We ate family style in the big dining room.  Another Texas Hold-Em tournament ended with John in first and Tony in second place, almost bringing us back to even for the trip.  After dinner, there was some dancing and some snowboarding lessons and somewhere in there, our carpoolers got talked into staying another day.  I played another game of SET (I’m addicted now).

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Wednesday’s breakfast was biscuits and sausage gravy with eggs.  We chose a 1:30PM flight so we would have time to enjoy it before heading to the airport.  The group was heading for Powder Mountain after we left.

It was another awesome trip!  We are so blessed to have the opporunity to travel with such good friends!  (The flight benefits aren't bad either...  Even if we did have to endure seats in the ...ahem... coach cabin on the way home.)

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BJ and Tony Morris