Good morning, campers! Welcome to D Lot! Yup, you're almost there, sir. Step right up and follow these flags to the Promised Land.
Or don't. I see you, Big Tex, sucking back that Bud. That's a fancy truck you've got there. I wonder if that 4-W-D works when you're grill down in a snow bank. Ha! We've got a banker!
I really teared up watching the sunrise this morning. I'm not sure if it was the blues and pinks on the horizon or the gale-force wind whipping sand and ice chunks across the access road, but I'd like to think it was a little bit of both. I'm romantic like that.
Six months ago, I was grabbing diplomas and shaking hands. TJ Burkenstock, from little ole Arkansas, headed to the Rockies to chase the powder dream. My friends are all jealous of my Instagram feed: "You're living, man!" "#lifegoals!" Wait till my next selfie. Who knew I'd look so good in a neon vest? Tommy showed me how to fit four beers in here!
Lots of people will be pushing the limit today. So will the lot people. We push it every day. While you're staring over the edge of that double blue, we'll be staring over the edge of parking lot hypothermia.
I started dancing an hour ago, but what looks like a cheeky jig from the comforts of climate control is actually keeping these boots just above freezing. Right where I want them. I have hand warmers on the top—and bottom—of my Kinkos. I'm wearing a ski helmet on flat ground. I haven't felt my face in hours. But hey, Tommy's been doing this for 35 years, and he says you get used to it. Maybe it's the beers?
Plus, if no one is out here organizing this shit, it's going to be madness! I mean, pure chaos. Herding cats. Park 'em close, park 'em tight. Me and Tommy running the flag team. Guy's like 65 with only a ski pass and some bunions to show for it. God bless ya, Tommy.
Hey bro, roll down your window every once in a while. We hand out high-fives like candy, and I have a spot with your name on it. Prefer the silent treatment? We have a spot for you, too, Mr. Nebraska. See that corner between the Hummer H2 and the snowplow? That one's for you, Ace. Welcome to the real mountains. Don't forget your big boy pants out there.
Hope we don't have any poor saps that lock their keys inside the minivan with four screaming kids trapped in ski boots begging for sugar. Metal coathanger, shoehorn, K2 Extreme, Slim Jim, you name it, I've done it. I don't just do lots, I do life. Man, if grandma could see me now.
I'm pretty sure this blizzard has lasted for two months and 13 days. I forget what being dry feels like. Tramping across the frozen tarmac tundra. It's like Russia out here. I know people are taking the turns of their lives up high. I wonder what it's like to be on ski patrol. Even earlier mornings. Explosives. Seems dangerous.
But maybe not as dangerous as Mr. California here! Whoa! Coming in hot! Gotta take it down a notch, Tesla Steve. I practically just saved little Jenny Snot Face there. Might just be making minimum wage but there's no price you can put on feeling like a hero. Look at those rows. Rows upon rows. Columns, really. Just like the Greeks. I am a parking lot God. Okay, Tommy, maybe one more year.
This story originally appeared in the November 2017 (46.3) issue of POWDER. To have award winning stories delivered right to your door, in print, subscribe here.