Their mission was simple: Ride 45 ski areas in 100 days by driving an RV and living on a top ramen budget. The crew consists of Vito Valentenetti from Montana, Katie Mendez from Arizona, and Jason Snusz from New York City. They’ve traveled the west everywhere from Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, and California. With the recent completion of their mission, we spoke with Vito about their journey.
So how did this trip come about?
Like most ideas, it occurred over a few beers at Katie’s house. One thing led to another and I had rented an RV and opened the floor up to whoever wanted to join. Katie and Jason made up the main crew but we did pick up a few stragglers along the way. By the time we sobered up we were actually doing this thing.
Living conditions must have been tough, with all of you crammed in an RV.
Actually it wasn’t so bad. Aside from the stragglers we picked up along the way, it was pretty spacious for the three of us. Hot showers made the most difference until we hit Colorado and had to shut off the water to winterize our ride.
After almost 100 days and 40 resorts, what was the best ski day you had?
This year has been a weird snow year and after almost two weeks rolling through the northwest skiing dirt, we finally hit our day. Coming into Lake Tahoe it had snowed about seven feet in four days and they even closed I-80 and required chains on all vehicles. Let’s just say that donning chains on an RV was straight comedy. After finally arriving we found two-for-one tickets at Northstar and hit freshies. We were riding fluffy trees all day, and with Katie being shorter than the rest, she was getting waist deep.
What was the cheapest ski town you visited?
I’m going to have to go with Tahoe again. We spent a few days there and with all the casinos it wasn’t too hard to find a deal. The best joint we found had dollar PBRs and munchies. Let’s just say I can’t remember the name of the place but we spent quite a bit of time there.
What was the best meal you had?
Katie found a box of grilled crickets at a gas station in California that she thought was pretty good. Not really my cup of tea but I guess they were bacon cheddar flavor. My favorite was a burger I had at I believe the Astro Lounge in Bend, Oregon.
Craziest story from the trip?
I’m not sure if you know about this but you can park your RV at any Walmart, it’s company policy. So about 3 a.m. we got a knock on the door from a cop asking if we had lost our three-year-old African American child who they found walking around the store. Since the kid was three I was sure it wasn’t mine.
After close to 100 days travelling, what was the best day of the trip?
We were all sitting stir crazy on Colorado’s Loveland Pass. After staring at each other in the RV we decided to check out one of these “full moon” parties. So we showed up and there were about 100 people backcountry skiing and watching fireworks while sitting by the bonfire. There was also some crazies hucking a kicker over a fire.
For more information on this journey go to www.100daysofwinter.com.