Posts

Snowboarding Without Irony

Being “cool” in the 21st century is a tricky thing. As “core” snowboarders, we grapple with it daily. Just read the comment sections on this site and you’ll see, snowboarding is a competitive fashion show masked as a “sport” and parading as a fun activity. But why? Why are we so concerned about the size of each other’s pants or the straightness of a boardslide?

In a recent article in the New York Times Princeton French professor Christy Wampole hits the nail on the head of what is actually the much bigger plight of an entire generation. Millennials, born in the 80s and 90s. are are growing up and coming to terms with the fact that they are becoming real life adults. Their coping mechanism: 100% irony. After reading every word of this nearly 2000 word article (too long for the next generation of kids raised on Myspace wall posts and facebook) I had an epiphany. Snowboarding’s growing pains are just like the crisis of ironic living, but rather than hating the “Hipsters,” those in snowboarding put their misplaced disgust on the “Joeys,” blaming them for crowding the hill and “ruining our sport,” a great irony in and of itself.

Wampole explains:

Throughout history, irony has served useful purposes, like providing a rhetorical outlet for unspoken societal tensions. But our contemporary ironic mode is somehow deeper; it has leaked from the realm of rhetoric into life itself. This ironic ethos can lead to a vacuity and vapidity of the individual and collective psyche…

In smaller words, Irony can be a plague, and it can drag you down with it. And there’s nothing more ironic than being a “cool” snowboarder.

Think about the “Joey” or “Chad” or “kook.” Go ride on a weekend and they are on every intermediate trail and mountain base lodge. They completely disregard fashion, new equipment, or what’s cool. They rock GoPros on every mount imaginable, jeans and starter jackets, giant mittens with T-shirts, and are out there for one reason: to have a damn good time. They ride for a few hours, parade in at noon for lunch like lemmings, take another run or two then retire to the bar. There’s a good chance they fall getting off the lift.

But those poorly outfitted, low-skilled weekend warriors are boarding irony-free. They are doing it 100% because it is a fun way to spend a day. Meanwhile, the most ironic of all boarders, the cool kids, are too busy worry about their pants being over their highbacks, they don’t wanna admit that they might just be kindred spirits. Or worse, someday that Joey might ride enough to become one of them.

So ask yourself, when did this happen for you? If you consider yourself a “core” snowboarder, think about what that means. You follow trends, you know what tricks are cool and which are super lame, and you probably have left a hate comment on the Internet. But you’ve also fallen getting off the lift (more recently than you like to admit), gotten a little too excited about ‘gramming your friends while they board, and dropped your glove mid-trail or off the lift. Are you really that much better than the “Joey?” Really?

Wampole explains it like this:

“Obviously, hipsters (male or female) produce a distinct irritation in me, one that until recently I could not explain. They provoke me, I realized, because they are, despite the distance from which I observe them, an amplified version of me.”

If you replace the word hipster with Joey, it becomes much more clear. We’re all just Joey’s, out there, having a good time. Two wise men once said, “If it’s not fun, why do it,” so as snowboarding’s ultimate ironic hipsters we say: At the end of the day, we were all Joey’s once, and realistically we all still are, so get out there, board and remember, no matter how tight or loose our pants get we’ll still never be as cool as skateboarding. Get over yourself and just have fun.

Read the inspiration for this rant here.

A Hump Day with Sammy Spiteri

actualsamart

Sammy E. Spiteri is a straight-edge 21 year old with 12 years of boardin’ experience under his belt. His favorite food of all time is The “All Day Addiction” dish at JAX in Truckee, and despite what he might say, he likes Miley Cyrus. Strange Brew filmer and Yobeat contributor, Danny Kern, caught up with Sammy the other day and this is what down.

Danny Kern: If I remember correctly your 21st birthday was the first time you got drunk. Explain.

Yes. This is true. I was (and still am) against drinking/drugs. On my 21st, I decided to try drinking because I knew I wanted to get drunk at least once just to see. Brady Lem cracked me my first beer, then another. It only took two, and I was wasted! I’ve never had much game, but with a little liquid courage I was making out with girls left and right. haha. I remember seeing Paul Heran’s face watching me interact, he was just astounded.

Were there any Sochi Olympians involved? And other girls too?!? How many?

HAHA yes there was a Sochi Olympian involved! I actually got rejected from a very classy Olympian. I don’t blame her though, she deserves a guy that is at least in the X-Games… haha. Any way, the night of my birthday I made out with 5 girls, thank goodness for Vitamin C, that’s a lot of spit swapping.

photo 2-4
An Olympian wouldn’t hit that?

What is it like living in Nick Visconti’s footsteps?

Well I’m not living in his footsteps. I’m guiding my own life path with the knowledge he shared with me. I was lucky enough to spend a few seasons with Visconti. It started out as me being an annoying little fan who would stalk him on the internet, trying to buy his old snowboards. Over time, Visconti realized that I had potential. He started hitting me up to go film with him in the streets. In the beginning I was totally star struck. I was this freakin’ acne’d out snowboard nerd that was going out boarding with his favorite snowboarder, it was a dream! At the time he was filming for Think Thank’s “Ransack Rebellion,” were he had ender part. It was overwhelming for me to see the amount of work it took to film a video part. It was nothing like the glamorous professional life I had it out to be. Nick worked his ass off every day. He would push himself to his breaking point every day to get a shot. Thinking back, Nick went above and beyond the expectation of a typical 30-trick video part. That season, he walked away with over 60 hammer shots. Visconti really showed me what it took to be a professional at a young age.

photo 3-2
impressive.

It seemed like it was around this time that bHappy started disappearing. What happened with that?
Well, in the beginning, we started bHappy simply to make snowboard videos. The bHappy days were amazing. All of our best friends (Durell Willilams, Ben Strause, Paul Heran, Bryce Hymans, Colt Morgan, Max Tokunaga, Cole Atencio, Joel Vandruff myself, and many more in the later bHappy years) would just board and make dorky web videos. We got made fun of a lot in the beginning by local Tahoe pros, but kept making videos because we were having a ball! Years down the road, sadly, we all just kind of grew out of it. As fun as it was, most of us were moving on to bigger snowboard endeavors. Paul (main bHappy filmer) got hired by TWsnow to film for Visconti’s “reCreation” video part, Bryce focused on school, Joel became a graphic designer for Young and Reckless, I filmed for KTC, etc. Although bHappy died, Under-Dawgs was born.

So who started Underdawgs?

Colt Morgan started Underdawgs. At first he was sneaky about it. He would be on his computer making “Underdawgs” logos but not showing anyone. Eventually he told me his plans that he wanted to make a video with all of our friends that didn’t have a project to film for. This enticed me because it was right after KTC cut me from the “Roll Call” roster. His first video was D.A.E. and it turned out amazing in my opinion.

What’s your favorite way of getting your thrill on? Besides snowboarding?

Oh man, tons of stuff! The obvious answer is Skateboarding. Mountain biking is also huge for me. I used to race bikes and a lot of my family still race. It’s awesome to have something in common with my family. Family time is something that I will give up anything to have. I also freakin’ love roller coasters.

How much do you like roller coasters?

Haha… When I was really little, before I became obsessed with snowboarding, I was obsessed with roller coasters. I had tons of books about them, was always researching them, etc. I don’t now what it was. When I got into snowboarding, I was like, “I’m too cool for roller coasters now…” haha. Now, my fascination for coasters is coming back. I think it’s because they are something that my friends / family could enjoy together, regardless of snowboarding and skateboarding.

photo 1-4
Too cool for roller coasters, not too cool for that drop.

You said you were “too cool” for roller coasters. What is with people in snowboarding with “too cool” egos?

Yeah it sucks when people think they are above their peers. At one point, I definitely caught myself acting this way, and I regret every minute of it. For a while there, I was having a lot of success with my snowboarding very quickly. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I wasn’t being a good friend, role model, or family member. In reality, no one is cool. We are all dorks in one way or another, and putting on a cool guy front is just a way of pushing back insecurities. Being a selfish person will only bring you down in the end.

I hear you’ve been logging some hours behind the lens when you’re not strapped in. Do you like it? What made you start filming?

Heck yeah I like it! I bought a camera at the end of last season simply because I wanted to learn something new. Living with Paul Heran for 3 years, we were always editing together and every once in a while he’d teach me a thing or two about cameras. Honestly, I just want to have as many skills as I possibly can for my future. It’s been awesome having a creative hobby that doesn’t require a physical beating.

How much do you love Paul?
Haha. Paul is family to me, a brother. I love him like I love my family.

Favorite song of 2013?
I’m sorry, guilty pleasure. Miley’s 23. Have some good memories to that one.

Sponsors?
Arbor Snowboards, iNi Outerwear, Boreal, JAX