Left for the airport at around 4am which in hindsight was a touch too early. Surprisingly there were three flights from various carriers all leaving at the same time for Salt Lake City. Since I couldn't request seats on my flight, I had to go to the gate to receive my assignment. Seat 44F, the last row on the plane, by a window. I usually prefer the aisle seat but having the window to lean on helped me get a few hours of shuteye until my bladder rudely interrupted my slumber. I hate disturbing the other passengers in my row so I usually end up holding it in until I can't stand it anymore.
My window seat allowed me to keep an eye on the luggage handlers. Surprisingly the New York handlers were pretty gentle with our bags, more so than the ones at SLC. Having a semi-heavy bag is great since it prevents them from throwing your bag around. I'm not going to have the luxury on spying on the handlers on my return flight since I requested aisle seats on both flights, having a connection (in Phoenix) also worries me since I've experienced misplaced bags on one too many occasions.
For the latter half of the flight I just looked out the window the entire time observing the midwest landscape and land use. Half an hour from touching down I saw a plane flying parallel to us which I thought odd. Interestingly enough the plane also landed at the exact same time on a parallel runway. Of all the flights I've taken, this was the first instance of a parallel flight and landing that I observed. I didn't even know they allowed this to occur...
After getting in at around 10:30am, we had some problems finding the shuttle for Fox Car Rental. We went with the most ghetto agency since they had the cheapest rates. But that also meant no kiosk at the airport. We had to go to the parking garage and find the orange sign they hung up on a column. Ended up with a PT Cruiser which is tiny but we didn't want to bump up to the next class since it would have doubled the rental rate. We did have to ask them for another PT Cruiser though after seeing the bald tires on the first car.
With plenty of daylight left we decided to drive around SLC before heading into the mountains. Our first stop was LeniTech, a boardshop in the northeast section of SLC owned by one of Jonyean's friends. We purchased some lift tickets there and I finally purchased a copy of DC Mountain Lab 1. My favorite snowboarding movie, figured I should support and grab a copy even though it's a few seasons old.
Our next stop was Canyon Sports for Solitude lift tickets since LeniTech didn't carry them. They also hooked us up with a card for a free entree at Red Rock so we headed over there to grab a late lunch. Over lunch we settled on hitting up BackCountry.com's warehouse and Walmart before heading to Park City.
BackCountry's warehouse was HUGE! And in the spirit of their web business, their retail shop was tiny. Instead of having products on the floor, they had a couple of Mac Minis located on a bar where you browsed their e-commerce store and either placed orders on the web or copied down item numbers on a slip of paper. You then walked to the other end of the shop where there was a window to the adjacent warehouse, there you hand over your slip to pick up your order. Check the photos, put up Sierra's website while I was there =D.
Walmart as expected was ridiculously CHEAP. A gallon of milk for $2? nutty. We bought enough food for the week for about five people and it only ended up costing us around $190. Sick. Anyway, Happy New Year's Eve! Here's to a more optimistic 2009...