Where to start? This year is weird; I don’t know what it is. I’ve felt like this before. I guess since this is probably the first of many rants to come I should give you my background in relation to snowboarding…
I love snowboarding. I don’t remember the exact year I started, but I was in middle school and I am 35 years old now. My first board was a 170cm Kemper Apex GS. It was a race board, but I got freestyle bindings drilled to it. I don’t remember why I started, but I always loved snowboarding deeply. Things were different then. Snowboarding was aggressive. I guess that’s hard to explain, but there were so few of us. I suppose if you were apart of the skateboarding scene in the early nineties you would understand. I mention this because I feel like it may help you understand why I am so sensitive on this topic. Generationally speaking, by the way that I count, I am a 3rd generation resort rider. Yeah I know, do the math and tell me I’m wrong. I understand who, what, where, and how snowboarding happened, but I am talking Michigan resort riding, so go fuck yourself. Anyways, I’ve had a love/hate relationship ever since I was a boy. Four wrist breaks, knee, face, rib, and asshole injuries…you name it, I’ve experienced it, but I still love it. Once upon a time I became my resort’s first official park manager. This was my first time being fully submerged. Most of you don’t know what that really means. Even guys who film street and ride every day don’t end up under the water, close, but not submerged. I did that job for four seasons and I loved it. Back then, things were a bit different; oddly enough I still have some of the same problems in relation to resort management, but the degree of “acceptable” when it came to the park was on another plane. I mean, we had maybe ten jibs…maybe. It was easy to stoke people out. I was doing a good job, going to events, riding everyday, and was completely up in it. Everything was going good. My love was strong and then one day I was hit by something I can only describe as disgust.
This is the part of the story that will make me sound like a complete asshole, enjoy…
I came to work one day and I just couldn’t stand the people, and by “people” I mean the snowboarders. I couldn’t stand the newer generation. I couldn’t stomach what was happening. I couldn’t physically stand being around these kids. I thought that the soul was gone from snowboarding. It wasn’t completely burned out at that point, but I saw it coming. Shortly after I left it completely disappeared. See, now there’s a new thing that is being sold to you, the remanufacturing of the soul of snowboarding. Oh, you’re not sure what I am talking about? Well, all that live free, outdoors, hippy, teach peace shit is it. It’s a bunch of companies trying to remanufacture soul. All the girls in floppy hats with nose rings who are sitting on the side of a mountain that were the same girls who not two years ago were running around in stilettos, a dress from the Buckle, and who were talking shit about skater, coffee shop boys. Now, with this remanufacturing that you’re being sold, all these chicks want are a beard and a latte… that’s it: fake soul.
So I leave, I stopped snowboarding for five years. I literally said, “fuck this” and walked off my resort and went home and put away my shit and didn’t come back. It sucked. I thought about it every year, but I had moved on. Then, like that damn bird that someone let go because they loved it, five years later I came right back. I truly loved it.
Part of my motivation to come back was to get my son snowboarding. A lot of people ask why I started my son off “so late”, well, it’s because I didn’t want to go back, but I did and I got him shredding. I told my wife I wasn’t going to get involved. I joked about just getting one of those ski masks and staying out of the mix and just free riding around the resort. I’d say after two hours of the first day back I was in the park trying to hit rails again. That shit was way longer than I had remembered and damn… the kids were good. I mean kids were doing the tricks pros were doing when I stopped. All of a sudden, BOOM! I’m riding as hard as I can physically tolerate, start doing MichiganBoarder and am managing the park at Bittersweet, again… fully submerged.
My motivation to have this emotional blog outlet started when I began to struggle with my park managing job. I mean, in my opinion, I have completely turned around my resort’s park, my efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated. The fucks I give…one, but I can get over it. I do it for the kids; hell I do it for myself. I spent my last season going anywhere but my home resort. Between doing MB and the park at Bittersweet I have had a lot of interaction with the younger generation of snowboarders. They’re mostly just self-entitled shitheads. I mean I can’t believe the behavior of these kids and what they choose to focus on. With the comp I judged last week I could go on and on about how spoiled and unappreciative these kids are. I mean straight up rude little brats, talented little brats, but brats nonetheless. It reminded me of exactly why I left. It’s so easy for these kids to bitch about how their trick didn’t get seen or how a feature was wrong, but none of them know the work it takes to put a park together or an event. They don’t even know that competitions are the shit part of snowboarding. What kind of asshole whines about their place in a local comp? I left as soon as I could. Was the event mine? No. Was the event theorized absolutely poorly? Yes, but someone was just trying to make an event for people to have fun and nothing but ungrateful bitching and shit talking ensued.
Just when I think I can’t take anymore I take another hit to my constantly moving mind. A prominent shred site puts out an article glorifying what I would consider dangerous drug use and going to SIA under said drug’s influence. Now my stance on drugs is pretty lenient, but the fact that this outlet is feeding this to so many younger kids was ridiculous. Yobeat is shit. I mean it is… they’re good at what they do, but really they’re part of the big chunky Charlie eating at snowboarding. Snowboarding is the cancer of snowboarding. Being involved with industry people makes it even worse. I get to see first hand how deep down in rabbit hole the disease is rooted. Snowboarding has been bought and sold and bought again. Even a majority of the real core groups are corrupt; they’re a machine sent from the city to infiltrate your soul. They’re disguised as like-minded individuals who are copasetic to the struggle. Like I said earlier on, the marketing imagery is environmentally focused. Ya know it portrays some carefree youth in some wooded wilderness setting or posturing on the side of a mountain, but in reality it’s just a corporate gimmick to reinvent an artificial soul. Think for yourself. I wish I could be specific without being tacky. Local example, there is a particular brand rep group around here that are just fucking bullshit assholes. I remember just a few years ago how they acted and dressed and despite their new militant colored duds, skinny pants, beards, and brim beanies they are still the same conceded, wank bros they were years ago. No beard, Lennon sunglasses, or freedom machine is going to change that. I mean these guys act like douche bags to kids and ya know…they are. So where does it end? How do you combat something that is so deep seeded? I mean hell; MichiganBoarder is part of the problem. Edits are part of the problem. I have become part of the problem. The fact that I take snowboarding so seriously is part of the problem. It almost has to die to be pure again.
Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of people and brands that are as true as they can be. There are people right here in Michigan fighting the good fight. Where do you start? Treat people the way you want to be treated, loose your ego, and snowboard because it is fun. Snowboard because you love it. Snowboard because it’s what you are. Be appreciative of the work that is being done out there by seriously underpaid people who are doing it because they feel like it’s their duty. Why do I do the park at Bittersweet only to have some brat talk shit about how he hates it? Why do I run a site that is a huge pain in the ass and is a general money pit that just really promotes other people? It is my duty and my contribution. It is my weapon to keep snowboarding in my state sacred. Big props are in order for the people out there fighting the good fight. Kids, support snowboarding; buy your stuff at brick and mortar stores and stop buying corporate shit. Stop sucking the big brand’s dick, stop making fun of kids not as good as you, and stop doing anything in relation to snowboarding unless it’s purely based on fun. Stop drinking the kool-aid, start doing your research, and for god sakes be yourself.
I don’t want to be negative. I am sorry, god man, no one wants to hear that shit, but I am submerged, drowning, and disappointed. I’ll do what I want. Take snowboarding back.