“Excerpt from a text convo lamenting how boring ski porn has gotten” A story for aging bros who came of age in mountain towns during the early 2000s

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As told by every sad bro ever since the trailer for Fade to Winter dropped Wednesday.

By Andrew Pridgen

“Sup bro?” texted James. He was sitting in traffic and pretending not to text which made it look even more like he was texting.

Pause.

(An ellipsis denoting Mike texting back made James smile.)

“Sup,” Mike texted.

James and Mike have been bros for a decade, maybe longer—they can’t remember. They met in a Sierra ski town. James came from Vermont where he went to a private college and didn’t learn shit. Mike came from the Midwest where he went to a public college and didn’t learn shit but still has a cool football team to root for.

They were both busboys at the same lakefront restaurant that serves frozen crab cake appetizers in small quantities with mayo and Paprika they call aioli and a dead lemon wedge from the bar bucket for $17.39. They worked there for a summer and a winter till Mike got called home to help his mom take care of his sick dad. But then he came back the next winter and James hired him on at the rental shop he was running. That’s when they became super tight.

“Have you seen the new Matchstick trlr?!” James wrote, self-satisfied he’d just created an abbreviation for trailer.

Mike had just finished work. He now lived in the Midwest again and put his liberal arts degree to use as a financial advisor which gave him plenty of time to read Deadspin all day.

“Naw—did it cum out today?” Mike was a little disturbed that come came out ‘cum’ on autocorrect. He was glad he was not texting his wife.

“#hellstothefuckyeah,” James texted back hoping Mike would understand his hashtag was only half serious.

Pause.

Mike didn’t acknowledge the hashtag: “I dunno man. I haven’t like [sic] Matchstick since Shane died.”

Then he did a cat crying a single-tear emoji ? because he knew that moment would hit them both pretty hard.

Pause.

“Truth,” James texted back.

Then he sent the cat crying DOUBLE tears emoji ?. James could feel their connection from 2,500 miles apart.

Pause.

James got home and told his wife the unimportant things about his day. She said something about hers, but he was distracted. He kept checking his phone. After dinner he went for a walk, purportedly to the store.

On his walk he texted Mike again.

“…You need to watch that shit. It’s in 4k whatever that means. It’s called Faded Winter.”

Pause.

Mike saw the text and googled the trailer.

Then the ellipses.

“I think it’s Fade to Winter. Faded Winter is what we did. <– See what I did there,” Mike wrote.

Snap, James whispered aloud. He wished more than anything that instead of fake walking to the store right now that it was the middle of November—that time of year when it’s cold enough to be snowing but it’s not and everything is quiet and nobody is around.

He wished he and Mike were walking down to the bar at the end of their street where there would be no chicks. And they’d get so fucked up on Jägerbombs and yell at each other and yell at all the other assholes about how there were no chicks. And then, eventually, in a blur, they’d go to someone’s house and try to play guitar and try to listen to scratched CDs and try to make nachos out of paper towels and American cheese and eventually pass out on someone’s college futon that somehow made the trip across country.

Pause.

The next morning on the way to work on the train, Mike watched the trailer:

He got sad.

He got sad about how he didn’t recognize most of the bros in the trailer. He used to be able to identify the skier by how he skied. He even skied (or at least rode the Funi) with a few of them. These guys, he had no idea about. Also the production quality was so fucking rich, he felt like crying. He felt angry—as if he had maybe already died in the mountains and this was his actual afterlife in purgatory. As if the very train he was on was running on some tracks that would abruptly end at a cliff’s edge and discard him into a ditch. And yet, he would get up the next morning and do it all over again, like Groundhog Day. He closed his eyes and stroked the bridge of his nose, a move that soothed him ever since he could remember.

Mike watched the trailer again, three more times, at work. The feeling of loss subsided after his fourth viewing and third cup of coffee. He picked up his phone and wrote James.

“I dunno man. Things have changed,” he wrote. He started writing more but decided to leave it at that.

James knew exactly what his friend was talking about. “Shane and CR and guys like that man—I don’t know if it’s because they’re not around anymore but I feel like they were kind of goofballs. They made it fun. These guys, even the kids—they’re too serious. Remember when ski porn was fun?”

Mike got up and took his phone into the bathroom. There was so much he wanted to say to James. About how maybe things have changed. Maybe movies like Ski Movie one and three (not so much two) and Yearbook and The Hitlist and Seven Sunny Days were the height of the genre—kind of like Post-impressionism in the ’20s or Taco Bell in the early ’90s.

“I hear you,” Mike wrote. “Even the snippet at 2:17 where the kids are watching that jibber seems kind of staged. I know the little skits and dissolve cutaways were kind of cheesy, but it was great man.”

James wrote back right away: “We lived it BRO!!!”

James instantly regretted the all-caps bro and the three exclamation points, but if anyone would “get” the sincerity in his text’s intensity, it would be Mike.

Even so, Mike did feel James was coming on pretty strong. It was only a ski movie after all and he had some clients to meet up with this afternoon about their portfolio or some shit.

On the train home, Mike felt bad he’d left James hanging and wrote back: “So, are you going to see it?”

Pause.

James held out from writing right away because his feelings were hurt a little from the lack of immediate response from Mike earlier in the day.

Finally this after two IPAs: “I dunno man. Remember when we drank fucking 8 Pibbr tall boys each and then just took over Plumpjack for the premieres. It was like the pool scene in Caddyshack. And Shane was fucking there. It was like watching the Super Bowl with Brady.”

Truth, Mike said to himself as he switched his phone off and went to brush his teeth.

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