Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day at the Bird

I headed up to Snowbird today with my friend Jen. Jen and I go way back. I met her the same day I met my college boyfriend, Mike. It was the fall of 1998. I decided to join the University of Utah's environmental club, Terra Firma. Jen floated into the meeting wearing a little sun dress. I kinda wrote her off as one of those "out there" hippy chicks. Then Mike walked in, and that was the end of me noticing anything about Jen. Over the course of several tree plantings and loosely-environmentally-related trips to the desert, I began to realize that Jen wasn't a hippy chick at all, but more of a ski bum. I eventually moved into the house on D Street where she lived - a crazy post-college flop house that housed as many as 10 people at the time and was often referred to as the "commune" or the "Terra Firma House." Jen was always coaxing her childhood friends from Syracuse, N.Y., to come out to Utah and visit her, and two of them decided to stay. One of those friends, who she introduced me to, was my long-time-now-ex-boyfriend Geoff. Yeah, there's a lot of history there. Jen and I go way back.

Jen's still a ski bum and currently works at Snowbird. She was nice enough to accompany me around the mountain today, even though my skill level wouldn't even fill her little toe. It was a beautiful spring day. The temperature rose to 64 degrees, according to thermometers around the resort, and the snow, which started out great, began to turn into a thick sludge that seemed to trickle down the mountain as you rode, like molten lava. I felt pretty downtrodden most of the day, which I attributed to a combination of altitude (up to 11,000 feet), caffeine withdrawal and heavy UV ray exposure (that seemed to penetrate my thick applications of SPF 60). It was still a blast, and when we were fried to a crisp with snow-reflected-high-elevation sunlight, we just headed over to Alta and lounged in the pool for 90 minutes.


We also hooked up with a friend of mine, Eric. I refer to Eric as "a high school friend." He was actually my first serious boyfriend, through half of my senior year in high school and first semester in college. We met when I was a grocery bagger and Albertsons and he was the manager of Video Shark, next door. I was 17 and he was 21, which I thought was so, so cool. Nearly every day he would come pick me up from school in his Saab. He was the person who really taught me how to snowboard. Then, one day (a date for some reason we both remembered - March 26, 1997), we went spring snowboarding on a hot day in a lot of slush. He launched a jump in the trees and landed badly on a patch of ice, and broke his wrist. He wouldn't even let me drive him to the emergency room (I was 17, with a fairly poor driving record already, and his car was a Saab.) He drove himself there with a broken wrist, and wore a purple cast for the rest of the spring. It's really fun to go back 13 years later and laugh about things like that. It's even more fun to introduce him to a good friend who goes way back, but not that far back.

It;s been so fun to come back here and reconnect all the pieces, just to see how much things haven't really changed.

16 comments:

  1. I love your photos, I love reading about your adventures. When I get back to the states I must purchase your book! Maybe it will encourage me to become a better cyclist!

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  2. Those mountains look intense! I'd be terrified. I get scared on Michigan slopes sometimes! MY skiing skills wouldn't fill YOUR little toe!

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  3. Wow! That looks heavy!!!! How epic. I'm so glad I found your blog!

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  4. Jill, the more I read your posts about Utah, I wonder if your "Psyche" wouldn't be happier there?

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  5. thanks for my 15 minutes of fame jill :) had a fun day with ya!

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  6. How I wish I can go to this great place.

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  7. I've never been skiing.

    What, exactly, is a "ski bum"?

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  8. Uni-tom12:50 AM

    Great post! I miss the Bird! I used to live in one of those flophouses you reference, although for me the main one was 82 O Street. There were others throughout the Aves. I was also a Syracuse boy, hitched out to Utah at 18 to visit some friends for a month, which somehow turned into 16 more years there. It's nice to read about some SLC adventures.

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  9. As usual - your descriptions and pics are great. I was in that area a month ago and remember then thinking, great place to live.

    Andy

    http://stumpedj.blogspot.com/

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  10. Hello, sorry for contacting you in this fashion

    but I started a new sports directory you might

    be interested in…at thesportszone.org

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  11. I Love the Ski Stop Jersey in all your cycling pictures...Alaska, Yukon, Utah...Jason will be so proud...

    Keith

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  12. Hey! I started following your blog a while ago but I didnt realize you went to the U! Thats where im going now. Looks like a great day of skiing!

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  13. Sounds like a great adventure! Love Utah!

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  14. Anonymous4:01 AM

    nauseating

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  15. ahh, another anonymous jealous person.

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