Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

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The Google bots want keywords in the header so here goes: This is a story about the 2018 Slash and Berm Banked Slalom at Killington, Vermont. This two-day event was sponsored by Darkside Snowboards and Whiteflag Sales and benefited the High-Fives foundation. The weekend consisited of an individual race Saturday and an Industry Team event Sunday. As is to be expected from Yobeat, I wrote a story about our team’s journey, as well as a quick review of Torah Bright’s autobiography “It Takes Courage,” which you can read below. And since we snowboarded instead of watching the individual race, please enjoy this non-exclusive gallery from Killington sharp shooter Dave Young!
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Torah Bright had already won an Olympic gold medal in halfpipe and established herself as one of the the most progressive and stylish women in the snowboard world, when she decided to do the incomprehensible. She aimed to compete in all three disciplines of snowboarding in the Sochi Olympic games.

“Why?” Everyone asked. “Why on earth would you wanna risk a broken neck in snowboard cross and huck yourself of the sure-to-be-unsafe Russian slopestyle course?”

And that’s not even taking into account the grueling qualification process to earn slots in each of the three events for her motherland of Australia. But Torah’s answer was simple.

“Why not?”

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I purchased Torah’s autobiography, written not just about this incredible feat, but also about her childhood, family, religion, career and even her short-lived marriage to Jake Welch “It Takes Courage” in 2015. It’s been sitting idly on my bookshelf since. But with my sights set on the team event at the 5th Slash and Berm Banked Slalom in Killington, Vermont, March 3rd, 2018, I thought, ‘what better way to waste a cross country flight than actually reading it?’

As I sat in the JFK airport watching Winter Storm Riley bare down on the Eastern Seaboard and the departure of my flight to Burlington push further and further back, I lost myself in Torah’s cute Australian phrasing and the quick and easy reading that was her life story. I read each chapter (which she cheekily referred to as Runs) with a much better understanding of what it takes to be a top-level competitive snowboarder (of any gender.) And I smiled and pondered deeply as I read each of the inspirational quotes at the beginning of each “run.”

What I didn’t realize is that when I finally made it to Rutland (8 hours later than I was supposed to) and woke up on Sunday with sore muscles from the recreational shred day with friends I’d enjoyed the previous day at Killington, I would actually need to channel my inner Torah make it down the course that day. In fact, the first thing I did after wiping the sleep from my eyes was text my teammate Jason Bayne.
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Bayne had been instrumental in helping assemble team Yobeat, and had already recruited Ian Nugent from Darkside Ludlow. Our fourth recruit (teams could exist with three, but since the lowest score would be dropped, that’s just silly) was Colorado-bred eyecandy Patrick Whitehead. Patrick had landed on the East Coast right as I’d posted a plea for team members on Instagram and a few quick texts later had secured his slot. Really, they didn’t even need me, I told myself. And surely there would be someone else that would take over my pre-paid entrance fee to benefit the High-Fives foundation happily, and do a better job.

But nothing resonates with me like the word lame, so I thought about Torah’s book.

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” — Beverly Sills, Run Six

She’s right, damn it.

“The one thing you can give and keep is your word.” — Unknown, Run 15.

‘Fuck,’ I thought, as I pulled on my Airblaster ninja suit, and realized I didn’t have a choice.
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When I arrived at Darkside Killington to pick up my freshly-waxed snowboard, Patrick was in the shop scraping the wax off his board. He smiled and hugged me and thanked me for letting him represent Yobeat that day. I continued to the journey to the Bear Mountain parking lot. With no parking lot attendants in sight, I chose to begin a new row directly perpendicular with the lodge and was happily relieved as our first alternate and waterboy Jim O’Leary pulled in right next to me. The rest of the row filled in quickly and I realized I’d set a trend. This was my calling, to lead the team to victory. Yeah, I probably wouldn’t go the fastest that day, but if I didn’t show up, why would anyone else even want to try?

At registration, Bayne and “Nuuge” had already signed us up and left to go get beer. I carried a 12-pack of CL Smooths in my hand and cracked the top to hand one to Patrick as he put on his bib.

He accepted it and said, “Perfect, I’ll have this right after my runs.”

I shook my head in disappointment. “Please, that’s your warm up beer and liquid courage,” I explained.

“I wish I could drink and snowboard,” he said. “But all I can really do when I drink is drink.”

“Oh Patrick, it’s a dosage thing. One is just right, two is too many.”

“You’re the best coach I’ve ever had, Brooke,” he laughed, as I cracked my own warm up beer and headed out to the lift line.

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At the base of the Skye Peak quad I encountered another unforeseen challenge. How to strap in with an open beer in one hand and an open 12-pack in the other? I gently placed one on either end of my first-generation DWD Bogart and figured it out. But as I stood back up, an angry skier lady scolded me.

“You know it’s illegal to bring your own alcohol on government property,” she said.

I had a flashback to the last Slash and Berm event I attended. When I’d done the exact same thing in the exact same line and was pretty sure the exact same lady scolded me in the exact same way.

“Oh sorry, I’m not from here,” I laughed, slamming the rest of the beer and tossing the can in the garbage. She didn’t need to know that I’d grown up here, right?

At the top of the course, energy levels were high. We still had time for a course inspection and I decided in the interest of training, I’d take my first run swaddling the opened 12 pack of beers. I wiggled through the gate and made it through the first two turns, down the staircase, up and over the step up and even managed to figure out there was an easy way around the gator pit. I didn’t go fast, came to a couple complete stops, and I skipped the icy halfpipe wall gate entirely, but me and my 10 silver bullets were in tact when I crossed the finish line. The Killington Parks crew had created a totally manageable course and I didn’t think I was going to die even once. Success!
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Worried about another encounter Debby Downer in the lift line, I decided to stash six of the beers at the finish line and put the other four in the Kangaroo pouch of my Saga jacket for safe keeping/additional training. I gave one to the finish line attendant to keep an eye on my stash for me and continued on my way.

When it actually came time to race, I discovered my team was a good one. After the first run, Patrick sat in 9th, Ian in 15th and Bayne was in 24th. I held it down with a solid 59th place time (not terrible, considering there were 115 competitors.) The Phat Italian had catered an incredible lunch of sub sandwiches and choosing between the “Phat Italian” and the “Phat Stallion” actually proved to be a much harder decision than forcing myself to compete that day.

Of course, we still had another run to complete and the rapidly firming man-made snow was starting to give way to the classic Eastern Blue Ice you knew was under there the whole time. We took our runs quickly and I’m sad to say, Team Yobeat suffered two rider crashes and a DSQ. Only Patrick was able to improve his time to earn 10th over all.

The winning team was basically unbeatable anyway. Nate Soucey was riding a boardercross board and like, trains for this shit. Ryan “The Crusher” Mrachek and Ryan Flynn are just that good. And their late addition Mike Garceau definitely felt he had something to prove. In second, unable to make it two in a row, was the Darkside Dream Team of Tim Major, Mike Fanning, Tucker Zink and Tucker Speer. They earned it through handwork and gumption. And in third, Team Surf the Earth — Steven Kelly, Connor Waldon, Tim Parker and John Charles — smiled graciously as Darkside Snowboards Manager Tucker Zink handed the representatives of Killington’s other long-standing snowboard shop each a free-tune card to the Darkside.

As for the Yobeat team, we took home a solid 6th, which put us on the first page of the results list and highly satisfied with our performance! Sure, my time was the one that got dropped and sure, they could have done it without me, but damn it, we did it as a team!

Below: Not photoshopped
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Holy shit, you’re still scrolling? Well here’s the Day Two Gallery shot by Dave Young!
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You may not think of Connecticut as an epicenter for snowboarding, but a mere 5 minutes off exit 30 of Interstate 84, Mt Southington is quickly establishing itself as a destination for those who fancy themselves part of the New England snowboard community.

“A little over 10 years ago the now-General Manager, Jay Dougherty, started the terrain park at the bump, Mount Southington,”Freestyle operations manager Kordian Stanecki said. “When Jay became the general manager he made a commitment to renew the mountain. A lot of money was invested into the infrastructure and face of the mountain.Today we have one of the most powerful snowmaking systems out there which really gave us a huge advantage this year with such a bad winter. The freestyle department has been so undervalued and underbudgeted in the past and we have really opened that up to provide the best freestyle experience and terrain in Connecticut. We also have one of the few mini pipes on the east coast! Each year we plan on going bigger and better including building new features this upcoming summer to add to the 17 new features built this season and 30 total features currently.”

And while those words may sound convincing, nothing proves it like an event, so on February 24, 2018, the crew at MTS Parks scrounged up $4000 in cold hard cash to help entice some of the best snowboarders in the region to brave a little rain and make the trip for the Under The Lights Interstate 84 rail jam. Cutting Edge, Vans and Nimbus League also provided support to make it like, a real thing.

The set up was described as “pretty cool” through the mega phone, but the riding was nothing short of amazing. While the antics of the Carinthia Parks crew have been slightly less-documented this season (RIP C Sessions) it doesn’t mean the riders are any less ripping. So it came as no surpise that the naturally slippery set up was manhandled confidently by those who call the other MTS (MT. Snow, that is) home. And choocing straight outta Killington, Savannah Shinske took home the W for the women. This is where a better, more serious snowboarding website might list the names of the tricks performed in the above video, but since we’ll definitely fuck that up, we think you should just click play and watch it instead.

Following the distribution of cold, hard cash money, the party moved into the Mountain Room for the official Connecticut premiere of Vans 16mm instant-classic movie Landline. Once the credits rolled, those who were wise enough to bring dry clothes (or didn’t have to work too hard in the morning) contined to celebrate until the calendar read February 25th.

Results

Men

  1. Shaun Murphy $1500
  2. Jeremy Ellenburg $1000
  3. Levi Gunzberg $500

Women

  1. Savannah Shinske $500

Best Trick

  1. Casey Willax (50-50 Front Flip disaster on the Flat-Down-Flat-Down) $500

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Before you scroll down – please enjoy this EXCLUSIVE interview with Al Maslowski, the official last place finisher in the splitboard race.
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The 2017 Dirksen Derby is nothing but good vibes. Whether you spent December 15-17th complaining about back pain in the lodge, ripping around Mt. Bachelor, teaching your kids to stand on a snowboard, or actually trying to get a faster time than your friends, the 10th edition of the mostly-annual competition may just have been the best yet.

Josh specifically designed the event to be fun for all. The course isn’t about survival, but rather pushing your own limits. If you make it down unscathed, you’re likely to think, “that was fun!” as opposed to other banked slaloms, where you’re just glad to be done. And due to the mellow pitch of Sunrise, the trail which played host to the 2017 event, literally anyone can make it down, but it takes real skill to win.

And at the elite level, there was potential for pain. The green course rode mellow and smooth all weekend, but the red course saw its share of spills and near misses, and had the respect of even the most skilled of boarders. Friday saw a solid dusting of snow on top of what was otherwise thin cover. Then Saturday was crisp and cold and things held up for all the riders who managed to pre-register for the lottery, and then actually show up on race day. And Sunday, a thin layer of clouds warmed things up and it was spring riding for all. The ruts were real, but the Backelor Parks crew and squad of volunteers were on it. No worries.

And most importantly – cash money was raised for long-ago-paralyzed but still smiling Tyler Ecklund via entry fees, the broken board auction and lots of other goodwill gestures from sponsors and friends.

If you really wanna know who went the fastest, well, you’ve probably already figured it out – but just in case, you can see full results on our Insta or Facebook. If you want to feel like you were there, keep scrolling for MOAR MEDIA.
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The action gallery! If you know who anyone is, please comment below..
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And the lifestyle gallery… Because steeze is all that matters.
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If you missed Chapter 1 read this first. 

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Aaron’s second time skateboarding, ever.
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November 11, 2017. 8 AM PST.

After our one-run debacle the day before, Aaron and I were on team “let’s go get breakfast, hit the skatepark again and then see some pretty shit instead of snowboard today.” We figured Fancy, Keith and Madison would create better snowboard content anyway, so we loaded up the Highlander once again and hit Mammoth Lakes just in time for The Goodlife Cafe to open. Our server – who I’d guess just switched from summer construction mode to waiting tables mode, worked with a quickness that ensured at least one of us got the wrong thing. (It was me – my Florentine Benedict came out covered covered in ham) but Aaron’s number 2 (a scramble with lots of stuff) was able to tide me over as we waited the 10 minutes for kitchen to whip me up a new one. When we left, the line was starting to stretch out the door and we patted ourselves on the back for the speed at which we were accomplishing things on a Saturday morning in a sleepy ski town experiencing its first Los Angeles influx of the season.

Next stop was the skatepark – on our previous trip the wind was whipping and my phone was dead, so I was excited to take some photos of other people rather than skating myself. Aaron and I wagered the over/under on how many people would be at the skatepark. He said less than two, I said more, and the loser had to buy lunch. I hesitated at the last minute and didn’t take the bet – but I should have! The park was poppin’ with a multi-generational vibe. Skate dads and their daughters who were ridiculously good, out-of-breath rippers from the beach of Orange county, and of course some scooter kids who were probably trying impressive tricks, if you’re into that sort of thing.
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I was logging clips of kids who ripped, while Aaron was talking to Kyle, who’s daughter very well could be the next big thing in skateboarding, about getting back into skateboarding as an old guy. The hype was real and Aaron asked me to go grab my deck so he could try to skate the park.

“Letting” someone I love skateboard is a real mental struggle for me. I’ve experienced the pain of learning (read: broken bones, bruises, scrapes, not being able to walk for a month, much less snowboard) and it’s hard to want that for another person. But Aaron is a grown-ass man, and even though I knew my loose trucks and skinny little girl board would not be the right set-up for him to cruise this park, I said, “fine, go get that shit yourself.”
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The park was poppin’
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Aaron’s goals for skateboarding were far less ambitious than mine, and after circling the sidewalk around the park a couple times, he was stoked. We bid a fond farewell to all our new skatepark friends and pointed the car North to Yosemite.
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We saw scenery!
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We drove for about an hour North of Mammoth, passing high desert on the right and majestic-ass mountain ranges on the left before hitting the pull off in the “gateway town” of Lee Vining. It’s about 18 miles up to the gate of Yosemite, which seems like a scenic drive until you actually get into Yosemite and see what good scenery really looks like. And since it’s the off season – but snow hadn’t started to fall yet – the pass was open and fee station was closed. Basically, the perfect recipe for enjoying this natural wonder with minimal other humans and no additional expenses.
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Doing the actual loop, or hiking to Half Dome, or any other those things you should really do when visiting Yosemite would take six hours of driving alone. Considering it was about 1 pm by the time we made it there, and we had plans to reconvene with our crew for the ultimate snowboard party in Reno at 6, that wasn’t happening. But we did manage to freak out some Asian tourists by attempting to skateboard on some big flat rocks, and shoot pseudo-senior portraits alongside a bible-study group, as well as bond with a couple old hippies over how fucking amazing this place really was. It was there we decided to turn back – Aaron’s altitude-enhanced cold and bad back didn’t need to log any more cartime at 10,000 feet, so we agreed we’d seen enough.

Back on 395, we got up to cruising speed, and agreed to make it out of the mountains before stopping at some epic side of the road restaurant to refil our bellies. The town of Walker came into view, with a roadside BBQ place on the left side and a roach-motel that said “Bikers Welcome” – complete with lots of moto-themed decorations – on the other. It was clear we’d found our human-filling station. And just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any more perfect – we were legitimately-surprised by Kieth opening the door for us. The crew had not only beat us there – but they’d already researched the menu and the scene for us. It was LITERALLY the last day Mountain View BBQ would be open for the season – and although they were out of mac and cheese, you could get a variety of slow-cooked meats on top of any type of potatoes you wanted. Aaron opted for with a BBQ Beef sandwich with fries, while I went with the Texas Spud – a massive baked potato drowned in BBQ pork, cheese, sour cream and chives. They were both amazing and thankfully Aaron was there to clean both our plates.
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[av_heading tag=’h3′ padding=’10’ heading=’PART 5 – RENO NIGHTLIFE’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=” admin_preview_bg=” av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=”][/av_heading]

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Four hours later we arrived in Reno. Hungry, tired, cranky and ready to kill each other once again. Our plan was to attend the snowboard-social-event of the season and enjoy some drinks and good company before retiring to our pre-honeymoon suite at a TBD hotel. However, before we could go out in public – Aaron wanted to stop back by the Outlet mall and get a clean shirt or two. As I don’t particularly care for shopping when I need something, and HATE IT when I don’t, I opted to sit in the car and work on my Insta story while he got what he needed. I did a quick parking lot change (less socially acceptable than at a ski area lot, but whatever, it was dark) and then got to work trying to choose the best of the content-overload I’d shot that day to make a quick story so that I could tease the premiere party and it would make sense in the timeline.

Aaron won this stop – he told the Banana Republic cashier about our plans to we the next morning and the whirlwind of a trip we’d be on and it seems she may have “forgotten” to charge him for the most expensive item he bought (a $15 sweater!)

When he got back in the car, fresh as a daisy, I was still swearing profusely at Instagram, my iPhone and the Ghost of Steve Jobs for making the simple act of sharing photos with the people not as easy as I wanted it to be. Aaron quietly navigated us to PigNic Pub and Patio for the party. Before we even made it inside, we found Tim Humphreys, Nial Romanek, Johnny Brady, and Dakota Whitaker out front enjoying a legal spliff, which was just the medicinal bump I needed to enter a room full of people I know and greatly enjoy.
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The welcoming crew – Johnny Brady and Nial Romanek.
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After some quick catch up, I told Aaron I was going to venture inside to try and secure a beer. A risky- proposition because through the doors I found nearly all my Reno snow-homeys. Christine Savage was in the bar queue and I soon had two Modelo Especial’s in my hand, but delivering them back out front well, that was gonna be the hard part.

Tim and Hannah Eddy were hanging out in the corner with their new book “Split the Difference” for sale. Gray Thompson was making the rounds, handing out hugs and spreading the vibe for “Board the World.” The Boreal cat-crew (Lane Knaack and Joey Leppien) were posted up at the bar, and Smokin’ Jay was shouting loudly at me about that one amazing time we’d shared at a Hookah bar in Germany. A shit ton of shit was being raffled off to benefit nature and Project Snow. The stars of Too Hard (aka Powanoia aka our Mammoth crew) had secured the best seat in the house for watching the videos playing on a screen. And a bunch of people I didn’t know filled in all the gaps. The only notable people missing were Kai Ujeski and Danyale Patterson, who assured me hours earlier they were “just about to leave their house.”  

The party felt like the best house party ever. All my friends, jammed into a cool space with chill patio zones in the front and back. The drinks were affordable ($3 cans of Modelo were the go-to) and the bartenders were on it. I ordered two whiskey gingers, expecting shitty whiskey and a splash of ginger ale, and instead got craft cocktails with shitty whiskey and actual ginger beer. Those two drinks were enough to milk while the organizers wrestled with technology in order to get Too Hard to play on the big screen. The video was sick, duh, but it really wowed Aaron, who now got the fact that not only was our Mammoth crew fun to talk shit with, they actually fucking kill it on snowboards too.
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All this excitement, weed and booze had made us sleepy and maybe hungry again, and we decided to dip out before getting to see Tim Humphrey’s movie “Uncaged,” or waiting for Dangy and Kai to arrive. After all, it was nearly 8 pm and we had a wedding to plan and execute before our scheduled appointment with the Boreal marketing team at 10 am the next morning.

As anyone who knows her could have guessed, Dangy texted “Where u at” right as we crawled into bed at the Nugget Hotel Casino.
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November 12, 2017, 6:00 AM PST

We woke up at 6 am in our totally adequate room in the less-nice wing of the Nugget. I’d told our wedding party, including Maid-of-honor Madison, Wedding Planner Fancy, photographer Joey Leppien and Second-angle photographer/best man Kieth to meet us at the Chapel of the Belles (Reno’s oldest chapel and also the home of the original drive-thru chapel) at 9 am sharp, where we’d be dressed and ready.

However, when I started googling what we’d actually need to do to make this a legal thing I learned two things: 1) We needed to go to the county clerk’s office (which opened at 8 am due to it being Sunday and Veteran’s day weekend) to get our marriage certificate and 2) Chapel of the Belles didn’t open until 10am that day.
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With nearly two hours to figure out somewhere else to tie the knot, we decided to get ready and go grab breakfast somewhere by the county clerk’s office. Aaron was driving and I was assigned to pick the place, so when I saw the yelp ad for Peg’s Glorified Eggs, my previous Reno breakfast experience a couple years back – returned to me. This place had the best Huevos Rancheros I’d ever had. They came on a huge skillet with mac salad, fruit salsa, beans and rice. Aaron got the Loco Moco – a hawaiian classic of similar girth to my Mexican staple.  It turns out Guy Fieri can be right, and even though the little spray-painted head that marked this as a restaurant featured on “Diners Drive Ins and dives” had long been painted over, I’ll give him some props for finding this spot.  The service was quick – the staff was friendly, and as an extra bonus, the address was 420 – a perfect wedding day for a casual cannabis enthusiast such as myself! Not only did we get full in a hurry, we also noticed that Aaron’s Stinky Socks x Third Eye co perfectly matched my Pendleton wedding dress. We signed the check at exactly 7:55am and  headed to the government HQ and acquire our official wedding license.

It’s kind of scary how easy it was to sign up for our legal lives together. The woman helping us was a pro – she didn’t flinch when started laughing hilarious at rule #2 on the sheet (You can’t marry anyone who is closer relation than a second cousin) and made sure we triple checked the spelling and address info on this legal document. Aaron put down his card for the total bill of $60 and by 8:15 we were ready to coordinate the rest of the wedding.
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Instead of Chapel of the Belles, we’d found Chapel of the Arches. It was tucked between a long-ago-closed pawn shop, and a full dumpster parked in the valet parking section of the casino next door. At 9 am on a brisk and sunny Sunday morning, only the most motivated panhandlers had secured their spots, and most of career-bums were still sleeping in the nearby park.

Our wedding party had sent it the night before – and woken up in Kings Beach and Truckee only a few minutes before 9 – but they still managed to arrive by 9:10, just the time that Aaron and I had decided on which room in the chapel we’d prefer to say our ‘I Dos.’ Madison brought a date named Andre ($4 and ready to pop!) as well as some concealer for my zits. Fancy and Madison wore cute black dresses that amazingly enough, managed to coordinate perfectly with my dress. Joey looked so dashing in his Carhartt button down that I didn’t even hesitate to hand him my Canon 60D to shoot our photos and Kieth was really ready. Not only was he looking good, but down to give the other Kieth Rutherford (an actual wedding photographer) a serious run for his money.

Before our guests were permitted to join us, our officiator (we’ll call him Reverend Reno) took us aside to ask us if we’d like a prayer.

“No!” we exclaimed in unison, and with that, things got under way. I didn’t want to walk down the aisle (ain’t no one got time for that) so Aaron I stood at the podium facing each other as the wedding party was seated and the ceremony began.
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“We’re gathered here today … Blah blah blah blah blah … You can smile, you know,” Reverend Reno said as I chewed on my lips. My mind raced about the gravity of the words I was about to say, but at his urging, I let it all go and cracked a smile.

Aaron stood across from me grinning the whole time and grabbed my hands as Rev Reno occasionally said things that required responses. Amidst the blur of traditional bullshit, he asked if we had any family in the room. I glanced back at my friends and we all nodded in unison.

“Snowboard family!”

Aaron smiled and reach out to pat my stomach. “Also, she’s three months.”

The awkward pause was real for about 5 seconds before I rubbed my stomach and exclaimed, “It’s a burrito! Geez! Did you see the size of those huevos this morning!”

In the name of not being sarcastic assholes, we opted for the pre-written vows and said our I Dos. As the words “you may kiss the bride” were looming near, Aaron leaned over and gave me a kiss.

“Hey!” Reverend Reno said, “Not yet!”

“Don’t tell me what to do!” Aaron interjected. “She’s my wife and I’ll kiss her whenever I want.”
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We busted open the doors to the Chapel of the Arches, to pop back into the reality of Reno. A few more bums had woken up and were excited to take pictures with me, the new bride. The sun was so damn bright I wished I was wearing shades. We resisted the urge to jaywalk in front of a cop (I’m a married woman, now!) and went to the park one block away. A huge metal art piece reading “Believe” was the perfect setting for some photos and our official cake ceremony. Aaron and I stood side-by-side and I impatiently waited to open the second cookie while my media team got into place. We cracked the cookie and Aaron read the fortune aloud.

“A man who hurries cannot walk with dignity…”

“…IN BED!” I added giggling harder than my inner 15-year-old would have at not only the joke, but the fact that I’d rushed the shit out of this entire wedding and it couldn’t have gone better if I’d spent three years planning it.
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For our final wedding mission, we headed a quarter-mile up the street to the official Arch of Reno to pop the bottle of Andre and get some more pictures of the whole wedding party. Along the way we passed a couple of young, attractive panhandlers (who clearly didn’t know about hand jobs) and asked for change, saying they were just trying to get a beer.  

I dismissed their requests quickly by gesturing at my outfit, “I don’t have any pockets! I just got married!” They smiled, and said, “true!” as we scampered off.  Once we made it to the Arch, we piled out into the median without even slowing traffic – it’s almost like the city of Reno plans on people taking pictures there – and got some more epic shots.
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Making beggars happy!
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I was buzzing around trying to figure out how to get one of the entire wedding party when a man who looked to be in his late 60s-80s offered to take a photo of all of us. Street smarts told me handing my IPhone to someone on the streets of Reno may be a bad idea, but I was sure my new hubby could take him down, so I walked over to hand him my phone.

I set up the exact shot I wanted, showed him how to press the button and went back to join the crew.

The old man fumbled with the phone – turning it off twice before saying, “Maybe I’m not the right man for this job.”

I ran back over and set him up again – this time showing him exactly where to hold his hands and how to press the top button vs trying to see the one on the screen. “Just hold it down!” I said. “I believe in you.”
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November 12, 2017. 10 AM PST

With a successful 45-minute wedding and photoshoot, we were amped and ready to get the honeymoon going! We’d loosely planned a reception at Boreal, and Aaron successfully avoided hitting two deer on the 30-minute drive up I-80 before we’d even pulled into the parking, nabbing the perfect marketing-office-adjacent spot.

Aaron headed off to find a restroom while I dropped in to chat with the Boreal Marketing team. Tucker hooked us up with passes, intro’d us to Sam and Brianna, and connected us with official Boreal photographer Jake, who agreed to shoot a couple more wedding photos for us with some snow cats at props. Though the idea of taking a couple laps did sound easy and fun, changing out of my wedding shoes and into snowboard boots pre-12-hour drive did not. So we passed on snowboarding, gave the Boreal crew a sixpack of Authentic Portland PBR, and opted to get back on the road.
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With one quick pit stop to change and pee at a scenic rest area, we pulled into the In and Out in  Auburn for our first lunch together as a married couple at noon. Aaron’s sister used to live in Auburn and he wanted to get a couple photos of me in the gold panner, as well as maybe enjoy each other’s company in Old Town. He knew my photo ADHD would be satiated and he was right!
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More importantly, I decided it was time to make it official and make my new husband buy me up some jewelry. Our first stop was one of those random oddities shops that sells crap your weird aunt buys you when she goes on vacation. This seemed like a plausible option for buying a wedding ring, so I walked up to the girl at the counter and asked if they sold any cheap rings. Surrounded by knicknacks and gag candy, she just shook her head, “No, but you might try the Silver Store – it’s right across the street.”

Now Silver sounded a little bourgeois for me – I was thinking plastic – but I figured hey, you only get married once, so fuck it! Aaron escorted me across the street to find exactly the sort of shop I was looking for, with a sales lady keen and ready to help us. I quickly explained the situation.

“We just got married and I need a ring. I don’t wear jewelry, and I don’t want anything fancy. Basically just looking to spend the least amount of money possible to have an everlasting symbol of our love.”

She sort of laughed, rolled her eyes and said, “OK, well, do you know your ring size?”

I told her 7ish and she walked me straight to the other side of the jewelry case, where the options for simple silver bands were plentiful. She then pulled out the thinnest silver ring I’ve ever seen. “This one is $12,” she said.

Now, I’m not fancy, but even I knew a ring like that wouldn’t pass along the ‘I’m taken, asshole’ message I was going for. I looked at Aaron and asked, “What’s my budget here?”

“Well, are we getting ice cream, after?” he asked with a totally straight face, and set my budget at $23.

The lady tried again, this time with a ring that was $21,  but I dunno, it just wasn’t what I was looking for. My hand gravitated towards a slightly thicker band with a bit of embellishment on each side. “How much is this one?” I asked.

The lady pulled it out and did the mental math. She hesitated slightly before breaking the news. “$31.” She looked at Aaron who was still showing little emotion and said, “She picked it – I’m not even trying to upsell you, but if that’s what’s gonna make her happy…”
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I looked at Aaron with a smile and said, “If I can get this one, I’ll cover ice cream.” He finally broke his facade and said, “Ok dear, whatever you want.”

Our next stop with the ice cream place, but it turned out Aaron didn’t even want ice cream after all, so we got back on the long road home. We drove back up 1-5, going much faster and with a lot fewer curves on the drive down. We stopped a couple times – once for Wendy’s frostys in the central valley, where I was able to sweet talk the kid behind the counter into letting us get half vanilla/half chocolate frosties. Another time at the Olive Pit, a cheesy roadside attraction that is basically just a fancy gas station selling all the olive and olive-bi-products you could possibly imagine. I got a bag of almonds and a magnet that looked like a Cali licence plate which read “Olive You.” And at dusk we consummated our relationship in a trainyard somewhere near Lake Shasta. Our final California experience was a stop at All Star Liquor, where we scored $260 worth of top shelf booze for $160 and left patting ourselves on the back on a honeymoon well done.

As we crossed back into Oregon, the first rain drops we’d seen since we left Oregon three days earlier spattered the windshield. We discussed what should be our first dinner as a man and wife. Ok, it was an easy decision and as we pulled into the Taco Bell in Ashland, we were both in agreement we just wanted to be home.

We walked into the restaurant to find no one. No one at the counter. No one eating food. It was a stark contrast from All Star liquors, where 5 dudes in santa hats had nearly tackled us trying to explain all their promos, but it felt good to be back in Oregon. About five minutes later, a nerdy dude came out carrying a cash drawer and apologized for the delay… he turned out to be more of a Taco Bell concierge than cashier, and we dropped some insider knowledge on upcoming menu items which may or may not include Pop Rocks while we waited for our delicious “Mexican” food.

When my Mexican pizza and Aaron’s Nachos Bell Grande were delivered, the thrill was gone. We ate in silence both wishing Portland was 5 hours closer. And as we got back in the car around 7 PM, arguing over who would take the next driving shift, because neither of us wanted to, it was pretty clear the honeymoon was over. But what a 14-hour honeymoon it was! We pulled back into our driveway at 11PM, in plenty of time for Aaron to wake up and go to work at 8 the next morning.
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OFFICIAL BUDGET

Arch of Reno Wedding Chapel: $145
State of Nevada Marriage Licence: $60

GAS: $222.33

Wedding breakfast: $31.58
Wedding lunch at in and out: $10.65
Rehearsal Dinner at nugget $39.54

Honeymoon dinner at Taco Bell: $9.20
Happy hour burgers $33.48
In and Out meal #1: $10.65
Lunch at Robertos: $50.11
Gas Station chicken: $16.25
Breakfast at Goodlife cafe: $37.45
King wah Klamath Falls Chinese food: $29.75

Lift Tickets: COMPED
Three Nights at Mammoth Mountain INN: COMPED
One Night at the Nugget: $108
Illegal Dog Charge: $300

Wedding dress: $80 on sale at Pendleton outlet in Manchester, VT
Aaron’s tux: $25.96 (including one free shirt)
Helmet $65.55
Gloves $65.50
Olive Pit Honeymoon Souvenirs: $21.04
Two pairs of Converse Shoes $73.03
Wedding Ring: $32.18

TOTAL: $1476.25
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Somewhere around Lake Shasta.
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I’m definitely not planning to do it again – but if I did, I wouldn’t change a damn thing! Thanks again to Mammoth Mountain, the Rutherfords, Joey Leppien, Boreal and of course my maid of honor Madison Blackley for the best damn wedding/honeymoon/opening weekend road trip I’ll ever experience.
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