See You at Northstar California!

Photo by Chris Bartkowski, Vail Resorts
Photo by Chris Bartkowski, Vail Resorts

It’s December! I’m super excited about this month every year because it means snow in the Sierras — and that means snowboarding — but for the 2016-17 season, it’s extra special. I’ve been designated an official ambassador for Northstar California, a Vail resort in North Lake Tahoe.

This means that you’ll see me at Northstar quite often this season. I’ll be getting to know the resort as well as nearby Truckee. Whether it’s tearing up the slopes, aprés ski, on-mountain dinners with a winery, off-mountain hot spots, festivals like the Burton Mountain Festival, or night time entertainment, I’ll be sure to get a taste of it all.

Along with a handful of other influencers, I’ll be blogging twice or so per month at a dedicated content blog on the Northstar site, which will launch sometime soon — so keep up to date with my social media channels to learn what that is. I’ll also be doing two instagram take-overs on the @northstar_california handle sometime this season, so you can bet I’ll be trying to catch all the best angles while I’m out there.

I am so excited! See you on the slopes!

*My partnership with Northstar California includes a season pass, stays and compensation. All opinions are still my own.

SBE Heads For the Hills: Hyde Lounge, Mammoth Lakes

Consider a ski resort town in the Sierras built on local pride – a bevy of locally-owned restaurants and bars intermixed with a couple imported chain restaurants and brand shops. A couple. Though not close by any sane standards – a minimum 5-hour road travel or 1-hour flight – Mammoth is to Southern California what Lake Tahoe is to Northern (that is, with a 1-resort monopoly). One thing is for certain, however, and that would be the recent strong push to make Mammoth Village a legitimate…well, village. Plagued by vacancies within its Intrawest-managed store fronts until recently, Mammoth Village and its dwellers can now rejoice at the recent opening of Starbucks, for example – joining the ranks of Ben & Jerry’s, Pita Pit, Ye Ole Dubliner, Lakanuki, Sushi Rei, Quicksilver and more. The Village would go where Hennessey’s (closed) could not.

Enter Sam Nazarian’s SBE – the conglomerate with the backing of Hollywood scenesters (Area, Hyde) and Los Angeles foodies (The Bazaar at SLS Hotel) alike. While Hyde in Hollywood may be on Sunset Strip, Hyde Lounge, Mammoth is across from the Village gondola and opened last Friday to much hurrah and hubbub – what with the entire space packed shoulder-to-shoulder with skiiers and snowboarders. So I heard. I waited to visit until its second day of operation with a 2nd round of aprés-ski; my 1st round would be spent at White Bark inside The Westin, which is also fitting to mention. The Westin is another Intrawest property that opened recently and it, along with the Ritz Carlton, indicate the resort area’s move towards increasingly upscale accommodations. Fewer such options are available at SoCal’s local mountains, which are increasingly known for their “youngster” scenes populated with “park rats” and more time on runs spent dodging others than actually riding. (Full disclosure: I learned to snowboard in college at these local resorts and am grateful that that was an option at that time. My love for snowboarding would have never developed to where it is now without the vicinity of Snow Summit and affordability of a college pass.)

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The B Movie: Signing, Giveaway & Premiere at Burton Store

It’s that time, again. Time to get excited for the temperatures to get (a tad) chillier and the snow rain to fall – just because we know the rain is snow where we go. Yeah. This is L.A., home of the Mountain High or Bear Mountain park punks and Mammoth Mountain weekend warriors. I’m one of the latter and so unlike those in Mammoth or many other actual resort towns, get to peep an event hosted by corporate heavyweight snowboard company Burton. It’s events like this that will work until the year I grow some ovaries, quit my job and head for the mountains to bus tables, work as a liftie and snowboard during all my free time. I’ll get back to you on that.

In the meantime, or rather – tonight – head to the Burton Flagship Store on Melrose for the Los Angeles premiere of The B Movie. It’s not B as in low-budget (Burton?! Low budget?!) but my best guess is for “Burton.” On hand will be the Burton Riding Team like Terje Haakonsen, Jeremy Jones, Jussi Oksanen and Hannah Teter (YAY), so bring your posters and snowboards for signage.

Live music, food and drinks will be provided. Transworld Snowboarding Mag will also be giving away a Burton Hero 152 (yeah – that’s a longboard for me) but it’s signed by a handful of the team and it comes with a complete outerwear kit of your choice, including boot, binding, pant, jacket, goggle, glove and hat/helmet!! So while you’re there, be sure to enter for your chance to win.

There’s also an after-party at the nearby Spanish Kitchen down La Cienega so if it fits your fancy, afterwards you can canoodle with team riders or fellow weekend warriors. 😉 See you tonight.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Autograph Signing: 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Movie Premiere: 8 PM

RSVP: [email protected]

Burton Snowboards Flagship Store
8175 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
More info: 323.370.1777

After Party (21+ only):
The Spanish Kitchen
826 North LaCienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Snowboarding Under the Moonlight

I can’t take any credit for having found out about it, but Katie’s brother Matt and his friends got a tip from a local about “the spot.” It was a place in Mammoth where you could get dropped off, view the entire town from the top of the slope while skiing down – and your drive can easily drive to a pickup spot at the bottom.

Night boarding in Mammoth? Awesome. Especially since they had staked out the stash the night before, I was eager to reap the rewards of their labor. And this is what we got:

Photo credit to Kenyan

It was a truly beautiful view. I had never seen the town of Mammoth from this perspective – at night nor under the stars full moonlight.

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So I’ve Been Snowboarding. A Lot.

It may be somewhat ironic that I spend so much time snowboarding (15 riding days thus far) but have yet to blog about it more than a couple times this season. This season would be the one, though. I have a season pass to Mammoth – so it’s agiven that I do most of my riding there – but it’s my first time taking trips more than once elsewhere. There was Utah, and there was Whistler Blackcomb.


I’ve become conditioned to feel that adrenaline pumping at the mere sight of fluffy white from the sky.

I can’t help it.

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Winter Baby

I was born in January. I was told that when my mother was having contractions in the dead of winter, it was during a heavy snowfall and my father had to shovel the driveway before he could drive her to the hospital. I thrive in the winter.


I am the impostor “winter baby” who picked Southern California to settle down in. Because there is no such thing as “winter” here. The seasons here are “dry” and “drier,” with the most drastic temperature changes occurring between dawn and dusk in the exact same day – what with no humidity in this desert to keep warmth around.

Save for the fact that maybe I just got comfortable with this city after my stint in higher education, I love the fact that I can drive to the snow and then leave it. But I do. At least two weekends per winter month. When I leave Mammoth, I leave the worst forms of snow behind so that they do not exist in my day-to-day life – the slush, the ice and all the road salt they require. Mild temperatures, which means that people wear flip-flops all year round (or Uggs at all) – two of my top fashion pet peeves – are of consequence. Pretending to commiserate with other Angelenos who complain about temps “dipping” into the 60s are another. And that’s okay.

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Holiday Blessings

I’ve been meaning to check in and tell you what a blessed holiday I’ve been having. It’s a recap.

Currently, I’m in the middle of a week and a half-long vacation. It began with boarding in Mammoth for a couple days. We crammed 18 people into a small condo, which was walking distance to Canyon Lodge. The second night we were there, we played Rock Band II (without the drums) and were so loud we didn’t even hear the noise complaint because we couldn’t hear the neighbors knocking on our front door. They were gracious enough to give us a grace night by waiting til morning to warn us to not do “that” again or they’d simply call the cops if they heard noise after 10pm the next night.

That night, we watched bad cable movies and Futurama DVDs.

It was on Sunday during a lunch break in our usual riding session as we were standing in line for the grill when I found my right pocket unzipped and my new Blackberry gone. Gone. Next came panic mode.

The realization that you have to replace something that has, on one hand, become so pertinent to your day-to-day life and, on the other hand, also costs hundreds of dollars, is a hard one to absorb. It makes you pause, reflect and maybe even ask yourself why you didn’t have that crap phone within which to insert your SIM card for days on the mountain. It would be completely stupid to take with you a phone model that has only existed for about one month, unlocked versions of which eBay for $500.

But that’s exactly what I did. And the phone was gone.
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If You Kill Someone

I’d been up there enough times. I don’t really expect people to know this, per se, and well – all reckless behavior should be reprimanded at all times no matter committed by whom.

Apparently, my carelessness was as readily apparent as was slick the OneBallJay wax on the bottom of my snowboard (and actually, my board was really pretty dry). We were at the top of the gondola. I dared rest my snowboard on its flat probably a whole 30 feet away from the edge of Climax – just inside the frame taken above.

Thankfully, Ski Patrol helped bring to light the error of my ways. I call this, Enlightenment.

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Snowboarding Lessons Learned

I’m currently in the middle of my second stint of going to Mammoth three weekends in a row. This winter, I’ve stayed in Los Angeles only for certain occasions – Christmas, my birthday and Lunar New Year.

Yeah, it’s gotten pretty bad this year.

Admittedly, there would be no way to do this if not for my grandfathered MVP season pass, which costs just $550 each year. My friends and I have watched in awe as the price of a regular day pass rose from $48 during our college years to a whopping $79 now. Every year, after dozens of riding days or so, we enjoy the perks of essentially riding for free. Then again, not standing in the lift ticket purchase line saves bundles of time especially on holiday weekends. Getting a season pass now (with blackout dates and whatnot) starts at $1200.

It would be hard to explain exactly what a huge part of my life snowboarding is. The people I’ve met (teh internets has facilitated for sure), the people I wish I hadn’t met, friends wondering if they’re ever going to see me this month, altitude and dry air-induced bloody noses, too much laundry, goggle tans and the people who look at me for having one, dry skin, arthroscopy in my left shoulder, speeding tickets and fractured pelvises.

Yeah – I’ll get to that in a minute.

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It’s The Little Things

Today, I’m leaving for Mammoth for the first trip of the season. It’s not coincidental that the first storm to descend upon the resort started yesterday. 

Snow Forecast


And yet, I’m not packed. I haven’t even started. My jacket and pants are still hanging in my closet, my helmet’s still up on my shelf and my gloves are still stashed in my underwear miscellaneous drawer. When I get home, I’ll hastily pile everything into my duffle, which will be bulging in the middle and saggy on the sides–totally proving my ineptness at space conservation and efficiency.

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