Wednesday began the journey of 8 people from all corners of the East Coast to gather in Utah for the Fifth Annual 429 – a – palooza Ski/Superbowl Weekend. Tim and I started our trek from Miami. We took the day off from work and drove to South Beach to absorb the Superbowl Mayhem.
We tanned in front of the ESPN announcers and walked past Kid Rock to get our coffee. Miami overflowed with all things Saints and Colts. We chuckled at the irony as we boarded the plane in Miami to fly 2000 miles watch the Superbowl in Park City.
As we came up from the South, Chico and Mel escaped the 3 feet of snow in DC the same night. We all landed in SLC at about the same time and drove to Park City for Night One of 429-a-palooza. Having arrived after midnight, the party was decidedly tame. We popped in at the Hauschild Park City Villa to say hello to Jimmy and then headed to bed.
Next day we all gathered back at the Hauschild’s where we found Kevin Frazier in from Maryland and ready to ski. Chico, Mel and Frazier left for a sunny day on the slopes at the Canyons while Tim, Jimmy, Trish and I all went to our respective “offices”.
After a productive work and ski day we all piled into our brand new (17 miles on the odometer) rental Suburban to go back to Salt Lake. We picked up Jimmie and Keri from their house and parked at the Red Iguana, home to the finest mole north of El Paso. Here we met Rick, a friend of Mel’s who very generously allows us to stay in his Park City condo each year. Many tortilla chips and margaritas later our Designated Driver, Jimmie Hauschild drove us to the airport to gather the last of our straggling travelers, Mark and Casey Weiser.
Finally 429 was reunited again. We all went home to our respective beds with visions of Alta dancing in our heads. Friday morning started with the traditional Einstein’s Bagel pickup and a trip up Cottonwood Canyon to Alta Ski Resort. It was on the car ride that we were all first introduced to The Commander. Also known as Jeff, The Commander had become intrigued with Mark’s tales of the legendary 429-a-palooza one night at a party in Arlington. He promptly booked his airline ticket. As a Naval Commander/Flight Surgeon and all around great guy with a terrific sense of humor, he fit right in.
Though Friday was a work day for me, I got a taste of the mountain by setting up shop at Alta’s Goldminer’s Daughter while everyone else rode the lifts up. The snow was good and inspired Tim, Frazier, Chico and The Commander to ski Alta’s steep chutes. The Commander started his ski vacation right with an unexpected 10 foot air that he never saw coming. It was an impressive beginning.
We gathered again at the base for Happy Hour and then drove back to Park City to meet Trish for pizza and Margaritas at the Hauschilds. The hot tub filled up immediately and the tequila flowed. 3 hours later, a quiet night at the house had turned into a raucous dance party where shirtless guys hung from the mantle and danced on the tables. While the party raged, The Commander watched amazed, looking as if he may have had second thoughts about his decision to come to Utah.
It was late when we all fell asleep and Saturday morning came very early the next day. Tim and I woke up to knock on our bedroom door. Jimmy Shell had driven up from Salt Lake City for a day of skiing and wasn’t going to be deterred by our sluggishness. We rallied everyone together, revived ourselves with more bagels, hydrated with coffee and got back into the Suburban to head to the Canyons. By this time our group was 12 strong. We piled onto lifts and headed up the mountain. The snow was soft, with a few new inches on top.
It was the Terrain Park that got the most attention from our crowd. Jimmy Hauschild started the day with a spectacular yard sale crash off a roller. The mountain echoed from the sound of multiple helmets banging off the tabletop rail. It was my first day on skis all year after no strenuous exercise during my month in the Keys. After 3 runs I was back at the base of the hill, renting a snowboard. Much better.
We wrapped up the day early in order to head to the store to shop for dinner. Traditionally we always go out for a big dinner in Park City, but this year we decided to cook our feast at home. The menu began with Casey’s delicious bean dip, Tim and my bacon wrapped stuffed jalepinos, and Trish’s legendary cheese fondue. Next we grilled filet mignon, munched on Caesar salad, and devoured Mel’s twice baked mashed potatoes all washed down with Margaritas. Jose Cuervo once more made his appearance.
By the end of the night Dance Party 2 was in full force. Tim and The Commander got in a Pushup Contest. It wasn’t even close. Tim did 10 pushups, which the Commander topped with his own 10 pushups. The only difference between the two sets was that the Commander completed his 10 with Mel standing – yes standing – on his back. Sorry Tim…no contest.
The party finally died down when The Hangover came on the television. There couldn’t have been a more fitting movie for the day.
When Superbowl Sunday dawned, Tim and I collectively decided to take the day off from the slopes. Frazier, Casey, Weis, Chico, Mel and the Commander made their way up to Deer Valley, while Jimmie, Trish, Johan, Tim and I puttered around the house getting ready for the annual Superbowl Bash.
Jimmie Shell and Keri drove up from Salt Lake just in time to place some bets before the game. In addition to who would win (the Saints of course) we also had to put some money down on how many times the cameras would show Kim Kardashian in the crowd and how often the newscasters referenced Hurricane Katrina among other ridiculous wagers. Vegas will place odds on anything.
The crowd was definitely biased towards the Saints and everybody was in a very good mood when the 4th Quarter came to a close. Kim K hadn’t made it to the game so we lost that bet, but the important ones worked out. We then wrapped up the night with our slideshow of the weekend’s greatest moments. Tim whipped it together during the second half, picking through 10 hours of video and hundreds of photos, finding the very best. It’s a great way to end a fabulous weekend.
Tonight we are back on the Keys in our favorite campground on Long Key. Casey, Weiser, Chico, Mel, Frazier and The Commander survived the blizzard and multiple delays to make it safely back to DC. Another successful 429 – a – palooza has come and gone. Only 360 days until 6.0!