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.

62 replies
  1. boyd
    boyd says:

    i liked your version, brooke. but christy wampole, the author of the original article needs to realize that irony isn’t defining our generation, and it doesn’t even define a hipster, as she implies. that lady sucks.

  2. IC-Hooligan
    IC-Hooligan says:

    Holy shit that was not what i expected to read. This article actually reminded me why i started snowboarding

  3. simon
    simon says:

    hmm. really liked your article but i agree with boyd, we’re not only defined by irony. and that quote at the end grrrrrrrrrr. maybe do it, because it’s fucking IMPORTANT?! because, in the end, THAT is what our generation is sorely lacking: a purpose.

  4. mont
    mont says:

    …i put my pants over my highbacks cause my bindings fit better that way.

    that bit on weekend warriors was real shit though.

  5. =
    = says:

    I understand you’re talking about clothing style but that and actual style are what define snowboarding. I don’t wanna watch some kooky dude flail his arms around in a all over lazer print jacket and snowpants. I’d like to watch a smooth style in whatever is trendy I guess. Anyway, most of the snowboarders today are style obsessed because it’s more enjoyable to watch. Yeah, we’re just trying to emulate skateboarders but I think snowboarding without style isn’t snowboarding at all.

  6. irony
    irony says:

    great article but I find it ironic that yobeat posted it.

    When I started riding I definitely was a joey. I looked up to the kids that had style and I wanted to be like them so that one day I could be the kid that people look up to. Thats why I started following the trends. Looking back I wish that I had just said fuck it and kept doing what I was doing…instead of watching t9 videos and trying to be magoon.

  7. chris
    chris says:

    we are all joeys, if someone asks you “are you good” what does that really mean? compared to the weekend warrior we can say we are good but compared to the mountain hero, what are we? sll of us are joeys compared to someone and will always be

  8. HashTag
    HashTag says:

    “no matter how tight or loose our pants get we’ll still never be as cool as skateboarding” #truestwordseverspoke

  9. Fashion
    Fashion says:

    What if I like dressing trendy, with my whatever articles of clothing.
    Great article but this just brings more fire into the topic of whats “fashionable” in the world of snowboarding.
    Brooke could have approached this with a different perspective rather than smashing on “joeys” or the incorrect usage of “Hipsters,” she could have just said you know? Fuck it, just go have fun cause the guys standing with the go-pro antennae and the guy with this years Airblaster pants obviously don’t give a flying fuck. They’re just glad they have some snow to shred on.

  10. Third Man
    Third Man says:

    Fuck pulling my pants over my highbacks, they wont even make it past my boots this season. True Joey style.

  11. Blake
    Blake says:

    Reminds me of torstein’s quote in his new movie “I’ve just set out to have fun…. and so far I’m doing pretty good!”

  12. BOB
    BOB says:

    A Joey? a Chad? a Kook? What in the wide world of sports are you talking about?

    PS. Pants are supposed to go over the highback.

  13. Peter Don
    Peter Don says:

    if everyone just shut the fuck up about snowboarding it would be so much better haha. but this article is word, hits it right on the head.

    has anyone seen my son stan?

Comments are closed.