By Preston G. Strout
Because I run a summer snowboard camp that chooses to remain 100% Snowboarding in this age of action sports homogony, a few people out there have accused me of being a snow bigot. In light of these heinous allegations, I’d like to set the record straight.
Just because you prefer a leisurely carve down the mountain, without being whipped past by a ski racer shot out of a spandex cannon doesn’t make you a ski-race-ist. And even if you think freeskiing’s a bit queer*, that doesn’t make you a sno-mophobe.
*(defined – adj. queer: odd or unconventional, as in behavior)
Sure, I realize that without skiing, snowboarding probably would not even exist. Skiing literally blazed the trails for snowboarding’s eventual birth and I give respect where respect is due. I also realize that it literally DOES NOT MATTER what you do… If it doesn’t harm other people — and you enjoy doing it: then by all means, do what makes you happy.
Now… before I go from being accused a snow-bigot to a ski-lover, allow me to strike a middle ground by poking fun at the goofiest sub culture of skiing: Free-skiing.
Here are 10 reasons I find freeskiing wacky:
1.) The fact that freeskiiers copy nearly every single thing that we (snowboarders) do. Ahem… 2 years later.
2.) Is it really necessary for the equipment to fly off when they fall? I’ve fallen thousands of times on my snowboard and never once have I wished that my snowboard flew off.
3.) Doing tricks while holding poles… Ya know, if I wanted to see someone spinning around holding onto poles: I’d go to a strip club.
4.) Skiers on rails look like rollerbladers with size 47 feet.
5.) Tanner Hall. Is that guy serious?
6.) Those grabs. It’d seriously look less awkward if they were all grabbing each other.
7.) Hitting jumps switch… it just looks ass backwards.
8.) Those giant sweatshirts. It’s like they have midget envy.
9.) Let’s face it, no matter which way you’re spinning — it looks a bit “unnatural.”
10.) Those skis may be faster down the mountain… but my god it takes them forever to walk down the lodge stairs in those boots.
My 30-year-old advice:
It’s my general feeling that we stand to learn the most, from those who stand differently than we do. As such, perhaps the sport of snowboarding could learn a bit from our pole-wielding brethren. It’s easy (and cowardly) to make fun of something that you don’t understand.Â With this in mind, today I plan to ski how the other half lives. Plus, a wise man once told me that you should “never talk crap about someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Because then you’re a mile a way, and you have their shoes.”
And so, behold: the new me. As you read this, I’m most likely swooshing down Mt. Hood’s Palmer Glacier, sweat flying, gates abashing and poles a-planting.
I plan to learn from our sister sport, with an open mind and a pointy helmet.
I plan to report back fully next week on my experience into this alpine world. Hopefully better equipped to share my elderly advice.