Review of Snowboarders
April 7, 2007
Kim and I thought snowboarding looked fun, so we decided to dedicate a season to it a few years ago. We had a pleasant season. In fact, I was on a snowboard the first time I went to Snowbird with Kim’s Dad, which was like spraying him in the face with battery acid. Took him a long time to get over that. That went well I think.
Neither Kim nor I have ever snowboarded again. Two of our three kids wanted to try snowboarding, but after a lesson or two, switched back to skiing. They still talk like they might want to try it again, but they never push for it. It’s not like Lego Star Wars on the GameCube or something.
I am not reviewing snowboards. I am not reviewing snowboard paraphernalia. I am not even reviewing particular snowboarders. After all, some of my best friends are snowboarders. Did I just give away the punchline? Well here it is, in case you missed it: I don’t like snowboarders. I suppose that this is final confirmation that I am as old as the hills I ride.
Lemme esplain. No, there is too much, lemmee sum up. I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but . . . whatever, that’s what we do here, right? We rant. Excelsior!
I don’t like the way snowboarders line up for the lift
They don’t line up so much as they crowd forward. Snowboarders are like Europeans the way they act like they’ve never seen a proper lift line before. They mill around in bunches, like they’re waiting for a game of hackey sack to break out. They press forward like they’re in line at a Who concert and suddenly hear the band warming up. And they come in packs. Have you ever seen a lone snowboarder? Doesn’t exist.
I don’t like the way snowboarders ride the lift
They sit there with their one foot in, and their one foot out, doin the hokey pokey, draggin that big fat sideways board across my skis, listening to their Black Eyed Peas or their Hobostank on their iPods. Hey! I can hear that!
I don’t like the way snowboarders DON’T ride the lift
In the backcountry, there are two ways to get to the top of the hill (if you don’t count helicopters, which I don’t—I’m not against helicopters, but we really shouldn’t count them in the usual repertoire of lifting. Unless you use the helicopter more than, say, 5 times a year. Anybody? No? Okay, let’s move on then.): You boot up, or you skin up. Skiers skin up till it gets too steep, then they boot. Snowboarders do the same. If they have a split board, they can skin a bit, but those big duck feet flail in the steep stuff, especially if it’s icy. And if they don’t have a split board, then they’re booting from the bottom. Icky. And that’s not even to mention that if they hike in the skin track they post-hole it. Like horses on a muddy mountain bike trail. Have you ever ridden a mountain bike trail after a horse has been on it in the mud? It’s like Verdun or Bastogne. Nothing but bomb craters.
I don’t like the way snowboarders get off the lift
They shuffle off the lift, still doin that hokey pokey, one foot in, one foot out. And do they head down the hill? Of course not. And why not? Because they travel in packs, remember? So they skootch a bit away from the lift, and sit down in some kind of drum circle until either they get critical mass and just sort of slide off the mountain, or they get so cold from sitting on the snow with their clothes half hanging off their asses that they need to move to warm up.
I don’t like the way snowboarders sit down every time the slope breaks over
They do this en masse (natch). I’m not sure what it is. Are they comparing belt lines? Doing shots? Telling jokes? Psyching each other up, slapping each other silly? What? Someone tell me.
I don’t like the way snowboarders push the snow off the hill
Quick example. I was hiking in some very high mountains (okay, I’ll tell you, it was Monte Rosa, in Italy), 5 of us on skis, one on a board. We had to sidestep down a particularly steep, and very rocky entrance to a sublime couloir. We failed to make the snowboarder go last, and instead of sidestepping down the face (cuz, well, you can’t, since both feet are locked onto one board), he sat on his butt and slid down, board first. Leaving no snow for the skiers following. Who then had to rope up, remove skis, and downclimb.
I don’t like the way snowboarders get stuck when the hill flattens out
Wait, I actually kind of enjoy this one. This happens in resort or the backcountry. Brighton, in Utah, is a good example. This place is snowboarder heaven. But also kind of flat in the middle. When these wandering packs of boarders hit the flats, some have enough speed to carry, but most don’t. So they either remove the board and hike down the trail, or crawl (my particular favorite), or just hop until they can get their speed back up. This should really be its own Olympic sport. Who would be against this?
I don’t like the way snowboarders move their arms
Like all hip hop and shit. Admittedly, I live in a pretty white state, but why do they all have to move and talk like they just got done watching Boyz N The Hood? Stop it. Remember the “white state” thing? Seriously.
I don’t like the way snowboarders can’t see
This is a little tricky. Snowboards ride sideways. Which means they have a blind spot different from a skier’s blind spot. A skier can’t see behind him or her while skiing. Which is pretty much in line with the rest of the human race. And most of the animal kingdom. And carnivorous plants. But a snowboarder rides sideways, so they can in fact see a bit behind them. Well, back, up the hill from them. Which is of limited usefulness, since they are actually traveling down the hill (where you or I might be), not up the hill. What they can’t actually see is to their left (or right, if they ride left foot back), an area of vision that actually affects whether they run into something, you know, such as you. Just as an example.
I Like Them, I Really Like Them
Now, don’t get the idea that I’m down on snowboarders. I’m not. Like I said, some of my best friends are snowboarders. Here are some things I like about snowboarders:
I like the way snowboarders dress
No question, snowboarders have way cooler clothes than skiers. It’s a shame that they don’t actually button or zip them up, or that many are made out of cotton or other water absorbing fibers. And that snowboarding occurs in Winter, in the mountains, where we keep most of our snow and cold weather. At least locally. Your mileage may vary.
Um. Well. That’s it, I guess.
So, here’s the deal. I give snowboarders a 1.5 out of 10. That’s not a bad score though. Considering how much I don’t like snowboarders.