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.

– dug


7 Responses to “Review of Snowboarders”

  1. mark Says:

    May I just say that I am:

    1. glad to see randomreviewer revived, at least kind of.

    2. completely in agreement of your assessment.

    My sister was going to buy her son skis. He said he wanted to snowboard instead. She said, “fine, you buy the stuff and pay for lift tickets.” I love my sister.

  2. KanyonKris Says:

    I think you pegged boarders. Seems like an inferior way to ride snow. The only advantage I see is no crossed tips and carving in fresh snow (powder) looks fun on a board. But they plain suck when it’s icy – looks no fun at all.

    At Brighton yesterday I was nearly run over a few times thanks to the boarder blind spot. I’m not happy about having to ski defensively to compensate. Maybe I should react with a hockey check instead.

  3. BurkeInTheOzarks Says:

    While I agree with everything you said, I still LOVE snowboarding! The exhilaration of carving through virgin snow with your hands pole-free, catching air on transitions or playing dodge-the-trees is worth all the pain of getting on/off chairlifts or stuck in the flats.

  4. erol Says:

    ur all pussies. we get hotter chicks, have more fun, listen to better music, and most importantly dont give a bucket o’ shit what skiers think. i could rebut with an equal number of doooosh bag skier mishaps over the years, the most recent of which was a Deer Valley ski intructor enjoying a fresh day of pow at Snowbasin (a resort that allows snowboarding). remember o’ omnipotent ones, its d-bags we hate whether on skis or boards, right?

    this rant sort of reminds me of the early days of mt. biking in late 80’s, the early days of snowboarding and skier conflicts that i thought were over, and maybe the track bike (fixie for amateurs) phenom that is rising. remember that some of what excites a snowboarder, fixie feend, or wheelie riding motorcyclist, is the sheer irreverance and exctiement of it all. Go watch the M.A.S.H. video of Sanfrancisco treacksters and tell me there isnt a place for all of us. If we all obeyed what conventional thought and mores told us what was acceptable, we wouldnt have the theory of relativity, antibiotics, and sex toys. if you don’t get it, you won’t. get over it and quit hatin’! one love!

  5. dug Says:

    hi erol! i love you man.


    “ur all pussies”

    “get over it and quit hatin’! one love!”

    i’m trying to reconcile these two “statements.”

    help me out here.

  6. erol Says:

    oh dug, and by the way you didnt tell the whole truth and nothing but. one of your sons rides nothing but a snowboard, and another of your sons boards often with my daughters (in reference to the comment i made about getting hotter chicks) and tells one of them he may only board next year. is it time to divorce your children? haha.

    just trying to represent the single plankers here bro. oh, and by the way, that deer valley intructor (in a killer forest green powder suit on a blue bird day) that nearly took us both out, whacked me with his ski pole smack on the front of my shin on purpose as if it were my fault. if he wasnt 60 or more i might have asked him to ski down to me and try it once more.

    i really was thinking earlier this year how nice it is that we all coexist really well compared to those day in the early nineties. that was a time when all you had to do to induce the fury of a skier, like a pedophile in prison, was show up and strap in.

    if we really are that bad to be around, go to deer valley, alta, or some d-bag place in the icy northeast (the only three retards left to discriminate) and have the whole place to urself.

    one love!

  7. erol Says:

    just messin with ya dug, if i ski’d as well as you and rick i wouldnt board either.

    and it aint hoobastank bro, its lil wayne and t-pain mixed in with some social d and pennywise.

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