The Soul of Snowboarding

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As I write this, we’re just coming off a few days camping in “the lot” at Mt. Bachelor over New Year’s Eve. Our second winter lot camping trip of the season.

A series of storms was stacked up, the winds were gusting across the mountain, the snow was not expected to stop. So, we packed up our van and our four-year-old son and drove all of 30 miles to live at the mountain for a few days. We weren’t alone, plenty of our friends also thought this was a great idea. The experience of being with friends in the mountains embodies what snowboarding is to me at this moment beyond sliding sideways on a board. I could leave it at that, but there’s more.

Snowboarding is constantly changing. There was a time where I might’ve enthusiastically shared that linking turns on a rental board down an icy mogul face was everything. A time where I was so deep into snowboarding that I probably would’ve had some cringe-worthy, overly-impassioned view of it. Fast forward through a tour of snowboarding around the world courtesy of a decade at TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine with a heavy dose of the snowboard industry mixed in. Now I’ve found myself on the other side of that ride in Bend, Oregon … still snowboarding.

Through it all, I realize that the main storylines that have carried through are a feeling of freedom and community. That experience of freedom spans all snowboard experiences from first timers on the bunny hill, to the park lappers and powder hounds, to the weekend warriors, and the devout splitboarders. That euphoric feeling of breaking free from gravity, finding that balance point, and going fast. It’s also a freedom from distractions and multi-tasking, work, school, chores—when you’re snowboarding, you’re snowboarding.

With community, you can take it as broadly or narrowly as you like. There’s a sense of belonging to a group that comes with being a snowboarder, and very obviously, it’s so fun riding with your friends.

Thirty years on from my first turns on a board, we’re teaching our son how to ride. Which brings us back full circle to the bunny slope, where we’re surrounded by first timers eating shit all over the place with huge grins. And then there’s my kid, hitting the snacks on the ride back up and practicing his falling leaf all the way down. I’m realizing snowboarding is about family now, too. And I’m suddenly struck by the revelation of how true the saying is about snowboarding being a lifestyle.


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