Survivor challenge: attend four parties in one night. Test journalistic skills – and alcoholic endurance.
Why all the snowboard companies decided to have their parties on the same night, I don’t know. But after barely escaping the SIA Show slightly sober—which had plenty of parties, bands, and free beer flowing right after show hours ended—I headed over to Less Than Jake at the House of Blues in the Venetian. This party was sponsored by Morrow, Planet Earth, and Version eyewear.
It was the early show, an all ages show, and a good punk rock/pop/ska fest. Flashing my V.I.P. made scoring free drink tickets was easy. Punk-pop band New Found Glory was closing its set, and the sound system was thumping. Morrow’s Greg Hughes and Rebecca Herath were making sure everyone had drinks, and the crowd was into the early action. I bumped into Earth founder Chris Miller’s older brother, and he was happy to tell embarrassing stories of his younger sibling. In the dark lounge it was hard to figure out who was who, but a good mix of retailers and industry types were mixing it up. After about five songs from Less Than Jake, it was time to move on.
Conveniently, the three other parties were all at the Hard Rock. I headed first to the Sin City Hell Party sponsored by Santa Cruz, Cold As Ice, and Poorboy wax and accessories. To save the price of stamps, Santa Cruz sent out a million e-mails to the media about the party, but never actually coughed up a real ticket. I headed to the door, figuring I’d pay for one and expense it – hey, this was work, after all. Luckily, Scott Valianos from Poorboy was lounging by the door and hooked me up with a ticket —score! I didn’t realize he was going to make me walk all the way across the Hard Rock hotel to his car to get it from him, but it turned out to be a great bonding experience.
The party got jammed fast. It was a totally rougher looking crew than the poppy Less Than Jake crew. The Santa Cruz staff is hardened from its skate roots, and the mix of tattoos and piercings was more evident. I was just wondering what the people who were sitting down to dinner were thinking when the crowd rolled in and the bands started playing. It was a rad show, though, and the throng was into it. But the night was wasting, and there were two parties to go. Time to move again.
Destination three: The Etnies, 32, and Clive party at the Joint in the Hard Rock. Despite the long line outside and amping bouncers, the Joint was relatively empty. The rap show was great and the dance floor was spacious, so it was time to get the groove on. Uniform of the evening for girls was tight leather pants or shorts skirts and knee-high boots—oh yeah! Moved by the rhythm, I hooked up with a group of rug-cutters, and the evening slipped by quickly. At one point, the crowd outside tried to bum-rush the doors and a mass of people poured through the front doors. It looked like mayhem was about to ensue, but miraculously the bouncers stopped the frenzy and pushed the crowd back out the door. A totally surreal experience—or so I thought until I headed to the next party.
Leave it to Travis Wood and Sims to take over Baby’s for another wild experience. The party was also sponsored by DC, AG, Smith, Hurley, and TransWorld Snowboarding. The underground night club was trippy enough, with caverns like a bunker dropping several floors down, but after a 20-minute wait to get in (even with ticket in hand), the crowd I was hanging with vanished after we went down three sets of stairs. The place was packed, and it was after 1:00 p.m. at this point. It was hard finding anyone who even resembled a snowboarder at the party, mixed in with the vampire-club goers. After a couple of Red Bull and Vodkas and getting lost in the dungeon, I knew it was time to split.
Survivor challenge passed, immunity gained. Now I was ready for the long cab ride home to camp Hilton.
….Despite the wild night, everyone knows the REAL party is tonight at the TransWorld Rider’s Poll Awards at the Hard Rock—so get there early if you want to get in! But don’t worry, I’ll be working the door.