Words & Captions: Our Interns Neev Zaiet & Tammy Wilson
Photos: Tammy Wilson
It’s a Thursday afternoon here in the Snowboarder Magazine office, and all the buzz is about the Frendly Gathering. Everyone is pretty hyped to go on this all expenses paid camping trip, and while they didn’t exactly invite us, “the interns,” to go along for the ride, they did say they expected to see us there, and that we were required to compete in the daily on-hill activities because bets had been placed on us. It's ironic that they are placing bets on us, since we are dead broke.
It was pertinent that we make a tab of how much we expected to spend on the trip. We each checked our bank accounts, looked under the couch cushions at home, searched old riding jackets and we were able to scrounge up a whopping $50.00 each. We knew we we’re going to have to get creative.
After going to the gas station, our expenses we’re looking a little something like this:
$50.00 on shitty booze
$20.00 on energy drinks
$10.00 on munchies or more like food for an entire weekend
$20.00 for gas
We obviously weren't getting far past San Clemente since we already spent our whole budget for the weekend. It had been a long week in the office- liquor was a little more important than gas. We got as far as Ridgecrest before we ran out of fuel.
We begged for cash at the local gas station for about 3 hours and finally made enough to fill the tank up and continue on with our journey. People must have felt bad for two semi- homeless looking stranded little girls. Whatever it was- it got us back on the road.
Before arriving at the campsite we had gotten the heads up from our friends in Mammoth that it was 45 dollars a car to get in. 45 dollars is a lot of money there was no way in hell we we’re going to spend that. Shit, we didn't even have 45 dollars. After some brainstorming, we devised a plan and decided we could just off-road the car through a few shrubs to get past the old fat man at the gate.
Once inside the campground we found a spot to park and pitched a tent (not like that you pervs.) People were milling around the campsite drinking beers,and playing music. Everyone was pretty drunk by the time we got there and since it was frigid outside we decided it was time to take a few shots, after that not only were we caught up, we were also warm.
With pros like Mikkel Bang and Luke Mitrani leading a drum circle by the roaring bonfire, and Jack Mitrani crowd surfing, the party really had begun. As we danced and partied our night away into the early hours of the morning it was hard to get over the overwhelming fact that we were partying and hanging out with some of our favorite pros.
We were rudely awakened in the early hours of the morning because Tyler Flanagan had to have someone pull his giant truck out of the mud. Honestly though, how can such a little dude drive that big of a truck?! Nevertheless, this awakening probably wasn't as bad as the girl who got punched in the face.
Once we were coherent and Tyler was on his way home, we realized that we couldn't remember anything. Our shoes we’re missing, our phones had no service and for some reason we were wearing glow sticks. There was no skirting the obvious. We were still drunk.
We wandered the campsite, and were finally able to gather our missing things. We "brushed our teeth" with some minty fresh gum and chased it with a beer to start the morning off.
The rest of the campsite stirred awake, and we took in our surroundings. People were passed out everywhere but their tents. One guy was asleep on the side of a hill in just his sleeping bag with an umbrella shielding him from the sun, another in a sleeping bag by the fire and some drunkards just straight up in the dirt.
Once we all shook the confusion, everyone got their shit together (including us,) since our car was almost out of gas, we snuck into the bed of E- Jack's truck along with Scotty Lago and the rest of the Frends crew. By this point, we felt like we were going to puke, but we pulled it together and decided to get sick on the hill instead.
This was definitely the right choice because the mountain was a nice change of scenery. We were finally able to get out of the dirt and onto some snow. Mammoth built us our own private park, which included a rhythm section directly off the lift, then a hidden tree jump followed by some skatestyle rails,and boxes, transfer jumps, the slalom course, and a mini half-pipe which was decked out with bonks and jibs.
There is nothing like taking the lift up with Olympic greats like Greg Bretz and Scotty Lago, riding down alongside Mason Aguirre and Mikkel Bang as they backflip every jump on the run, and sitting down to have a beer with Kevin Pearce at the end of an amazing run. But the fun didn't last long once our editors told us it was time to compete in the giant slalom race. They said that if we didn’t race, they were going to make us transcribe five hours worth of Steve Fisher interviews.
The course seemed easy enough, starting with rollers where you may or may not get pelted with a snowball, followed by a few flags you had to weave in and out of, then a jump that required you to land switch, by doing any kind of rotation in the air, and completing the rest of the race that way.
At that point it was on and we won even though one of us got pelted in the face with a snowball (thanks Jack Mitrani.) When the race was over we had a monkey trophy, and the beginnings of a black eye , to prove our win- even though we may have cheated. By "may," I mean we cheated.
Once our day of slalom racing, tandem snowboards and shredding old school Backhills was over, everyone made their way back to the campsite for Led Zepplica and more partying. After this, everything seemed to just blur together like one hazy acid trip.
Getting home was whole other story on its own that we are gonna leave to your imagination. Let's just say after all the debauchery we got into ,and sleeping in our tent and car for the past four days, our air mattresses at home felt like California kings.
For our original coverage of the event check out Laura Austin’s recap.