Words: Brooke Geery, Video Kris Marshall
Back in the 80s, when snowboarding was a just for a bunch of fringe weirdos, there was no core shop. There were mom and pop ski shops and when Jake Burton, Tom Sims, Chuck Barfoot and and the like approached them to sell snowboards, they were laughed out of the places.
But as the “snowboard industry” evolved and became an actual thing, a new breed of shops emerged. Some were in the back corner of a ski shop. Some were attached to places that sold hot tubs and patio furniture. For the most part they were dark, dingy and smelled like a cross between cigs and boot sweat. But they were ours. A place where you could be a dirtbag kid with no money and they’ll still let you wax your board. A place where you could watch the videos you couldn’t afford or get told your stance was fucking stupid and get yelled at until you fixed it. It may not have been a welcoming environment for all, but for the weirdos who liked it, it was home.
We’re now talking about the mid 90s. Terje was the undisputed best snowboarder in the world. The US Open at Stratton was the biggest party of the year, Transworld put on an event amazing event called the Team Challenge and the Vans Triple Crown was pretty much the coolest shit around. The X Games paid 10k for first place and Shaun White was not yet to the double digits, but still better than most people on the hill. It was a special time and we’re just now seeing those who grew up in it move on with their lives or step up and take control.
In 2018, snowboarding is just another way to blow money to the masses. It’s expensive, it’s cold, and it’s only really fun for a couple runs before you break your ass and it’s time for the après festivities. The archetypes are basically the same, but the delivery message has changed. The shop has been replaced by the snowboard park, and the snowboard park is quickly being replaced by “world class facilities” only available to those kids who come from means.
It’s easy to point fingers. Blame the internet! Blame social media! Blame Amazon and other online retailers! Blame the mega corps that run a lot of the big ski resorts! Blame whoever, as long as it means you don’t have to don’t have to blame yourself.
But in Alaska, things are different. The community is smaller, the mountains are bigger, and people actually care about each other, and not just the bottom line. People such as Jason Borgstede are willing to put their time, money, energy and reputation on the line, so that a new generation can experience the same feeling they did back in the day. Blue & Gold in Anchorage is in business, and with it, a great Alaskan tradition can continue. We’re talking about the shop video, and you can watch Evoke above. If you want to know more about the video, there’s a great interview with Kris Marshall, Dakota McKenzie, Jakob Blees, that Cody Liska did over on Crude Mag.
If you want to be part of it, go to Alaska. Or get out there and make your own video. Do something. Do anything. And maybe, just maybe, someone other than your immediate family will care. If not, well… there’s always next season.