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Juicy Fruit Skies

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Back in the dizzay, there was a Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum commercial which depicted skiers doing tons of tricks, jumping and carving through brilliant white snow. As the jingle played its hook - "Juicy Fruit is gonna move ya!" - the skiers flipped and spun in the air beneath a brilliant, cloudless blue sky. Since those days, Ace, his brother Poopie Loopie and I have always referred to perfect skiing weather as "Juicy Fruit Skies".

This weekend a few buddies and I drove up to Kartalkaya ("Eagle's Nest") about 280 km east of Istanbul. Saturday I rose at 7:00 and hit the slopes shortly after the lifts opened. The visibility was poor, the mountain covered in a cloud which began to drop thick flakes in the late morning. This didn't matter to me, however, because there were no lift lines and, off-piste, we found plenty of untracked, pure powder. In the late afternoon when the wind made conditions intolerable we sat in a tiny lodge at the top of the slope, sipping mulled wine in order to fortify ourselves.

The next morning I awoke, bleary-eyed after the traditional evening of beer drinking, pool playing, beer drinking, eating, beer drinking, clubbing and beer drinking. I was about to roll over for another hour of sleep, when I noticed a peculiar light peeking behind the curtain.

I immediately bolted upright and drew aside the drapes.

Juicy. Fruit. Skies.

In less than ninety minutes we had packed up the car, checked out of the hotel, eaten a quick breakfast and found ourselves on top of the mountain. Under a gleaming blue sky, I surveyed an untouched expanse of powder. I dialed up my favourite ski tune on my iPod, waited for Eddie Van Halen's opening riffs, then, as "Diamond" David Lee Roth crooned "Panama, Panamaha!", I careened down the slope through several feet of beautiful, fluffy white goodness.

For some reason, the Turks prefer to stick to groomed runs, leaving the abundant off-piste slopes and bowls to greedy fellows like myself. It was an epic day. My buddy Brazilian Will went out despite suffering from a wrist that had either been badly sprained or broken the day before. On days like this, you just suck it up and play. (Once, back in high school, I fractured my thumb and kept quiet about it because I didn't want to miss a trip the following week to Mont Tremblant. Sometimes you need to sacrifice the body for the higher self.)

Days like yesterday are what make skiing and snowboarding the sports that capture such passion among their adherents. My buddy Mike D once turned down a job in Dallas because he couldn't imagine living far from a decent mountain. I have plenty of other friends (Ace, Captain Lou, Matt the Cat, BK, among others) who explicitly consider proximity to good skiing as a factor in their decisions regarding where to live. I wholeheartedly agree.

By the way, now that I've skied in Asia, Europe and North America, it's time to head down to a Chilean resort. Perhaps 2008? Anyone?

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About me

  • I'm Sunset Shazz
  • Living the dream in Istanbul, Turkey
  • I grew up in the hardscrabble streets of suburban Ottawa, Ontario, committing petty crime, insulting the elderly - basically the classic misspent youth. When I was 19, I moved to West Philly, where I put myself through the Wharton School by dealing crack and hustling. After stints in Paris and London, I eventually graduated and moved to San Francisco, where I put in eight years hard labor working for The Man. But now I pop bottles with models, deciding cracked crab or lobster - who says mobsters don't prosper?
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