The movie Surfer, dude tells the story of Matthew McConaughey’s existential crisis that ensues after a long period without waves. With less than 6″ of accumulated snow on Mount Hood in the last month, I decided I needed to take action before I went completely bat shit insane. My solution was a 13 hour train ride to the resort that boasts the most snow in America: Whitefish, Montana.
What follows are the pros and cons of using the train as my transportation method to go snowboarding.
Unlike a Plane, They Don’t charge you for your Snowboard
You are allowed two bags normally but your snowboard counts as one so pack lightly. Depending on the amount of room on the train, you can just walk on with it and stash it on the storage shelf. If not you can check it for free. If you do check it, you might want to put it in some sort of bag.
It’s the Same amount of time as Driving, but you don’t have to drive
Besides the fact that you are 100% less likely to do in an fiery inferno that can happen more commonly in cars…you can look out the window and drink beer care-free. The majority of the ride takes place at night, departing Portland and 4:45 pm and arriving in Whitefish at 7:23 am. Still though, what you do get to see is worth it.
There is a Lounge
Through the Star-Wars style push doors there is a separate room for people who want to be loud. If you want to play a drinking game with your friends,this is the place for you! There is no worry of distracting grumpy passengers when you are in the lounge, so let the good times roll!
And a Bar…Kind of
They sell booze on the train from a concession window, so it’s kind of like a bar? The lounge is right up stairs and you are allowed to drink anywhere on the train, so the party is mobile, ya dig? Drinking your own booze on the train is “not allowed” but as long as you aren’t drinking foreign liquids during a stop, I doubt you would get caught. If it truly worried you, buy one beer that they do sell and refill it with your own stash after you’ve finished. Classic trick.
The train through Washington…smoking weed is OK there.
As we approach Wasco, Washington, the conductor of the train says over the loud speaker This is the Wasco Washington stop, also called the ‘smoke it if you’ve got it spot’ because after this we are going into Idaho where certain things are illegal so…ya, smoke it if you’ve got it! Holy shit, I thought to myself. The captain of this effing ship is encouraging me to smoke weed right now.
WAY MORE SPACE than a plane
And it’s the conductors job to be your designated driver.
I told myself over and over that it would be a part of the experience to dine on the train food but I felt true self loathing as I forked down that $7 dollar gas-station microwaved version of a Mcrib.
Passengers Come and Go.
At first you think you have the whole train to yourself, but before you know it you’ve got johnny mowhawk necking his girlfriend across the isle from you after your stop in Vancouver Washington. (we totally became friends) Later on when I dozed off I awoke to find a large sweating Indian Man had occupying the seat to my left, talking to his girlfriend through his bluetooth.
All In all? I had a hoot! Didn’t sleep for shit though.