Picture me rolling on my Never Summer SL, Vans Mantra Boots half laced and a Foursquare shell. Flask full of Jack to calm the nerves, I got these hand-me-down goggles just so my eyes don’t burn.
Buttermilk presses. Nose boinking off a skier’s head in front of me while he tries to regain his balance from that Beiber flip he just pulled. Telling tales to the young bloods about missing my window as a pro to pursue my rap career. Hi-fiving a group of MILFs dressed in all white cruising overhead on the lift while I tweak a super juiced McNasty Air – which is so monsty, one hunts me down later just to tell me I’m way better than her boyfriend whose been snowboarding his whole life. He might even be pro. Whatevs. And my hair’s better, too. Tell me something I don’t know! That’s why I don’t wear a beanie, babe.
I let her buy me a drink afterwards. Because I’m an even more accomplished drinker and it’s the least I could do.
That’s what I imagined as my first time snowboarding. But, I slowly woke up from that wet dream.
I soon realized my ego was bigger than the Special Blend pants I was wearing at the time. And the scene became more ominous and apparent the very moment I pointed that directional camber Lincoln Log towards the finish line – looking more like the sled scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
We’ve all seen that buster. Some Joey Pickle’s about to gnarfle his garflock all over the hill. Shred ready with his flannel shirt, Levi’s jeans with no stretch, rental boots that are a size too big because that’s all they had left, and a pair of Oakley Half Jackets that makes him look like JP from Grandma’s Boy.
When people call BuySnow.com, without fail they ask, “Where are you guys located?”
I know they are waiting for something magical. Something sexy. A place where you and your little chipmunk have been talking about going since you finally updated your Facebook status. Instead, you’re hit with a vision of the movie Deliverance when I proceed to drop the realness – Atlanta, GA.
But does it make me less of a snowboarder because I’m from the South?
Driving 5 hours to the nearest disappointment on my only day off. Ending up with 4 screws and a rod in my ankle the first season I started spitting hot fire on the ant hill. Breaking my back a few years later tossing a Mgerk layback grab (a trick I made up. No big).
Does that stop me? Hell, no. Actually, I might just want it more.
Growing up with a bunch of surf turkeys and skate trash, a board was always on my feet. If I can smash a lip on head high sets, muster up a steezy kickflip or a crooked grind, what’s so hard about snowboarding?
Yeah, I’m miles away from the nearest ice trap, but in the words of a Brooklyn philosopher know as Biggie Smalls:
“Sky is the limit and you know that you can have what you want, be what you want, have what you want, be what you want”
All I know is when I first saw people swimming through powder, tail tapping pillows, dropping from Earth’s ceiling, and jibbing everything that got in the way, I told myself, that’s cool as shit. I’m doing that.
Yeah, yeah, I get it. If you’re a purist I need to talk like you. Dress like you. Be like you. Possibly have long hair like you. Maybe even smell like you. Work at a Starbucks just to scrape enough chump change to get by. But, as long as I have that season pass, I’m a snowboarder! Keep telling everyone how rad you are, dork.
Well, I’m not you…and I hate Starbucks.
Do you think people hated on John Cardiel when he started snowboarding? Do you know how far the nearest mountain is from San Jose, where he’s from? Do you know who John Cardiel is?
OK, obviously, I know my capabilities. You won’t see me hit huge gaps, throw delicious backside lipslides down stair sets, or see me blaze through an avalanche because I’m about calculated risk.
But, I bleed more passion for snowboarding than the powder puffs want to give me credit for. I’ve earned the zippers on my body. I’m half Wolverine, half Zoolander.
The truth is, as much as I wanted throw in the towel, I never let snowboarding beat me. Not once. Just like I didn’t let the purists beat me.
I’m more educated on the latest and greatest. We can chop it up about product knowledge or even Godfathers like Craig Kelly or Terje Hakonsen. Sharpen that Crayola bro beans.
Fast forward to now. I hold it down with my Burton Nug, Thirty-Two boots, and my relentless desire to stick what I can with mad swag juice. Most of all, I’m having fun. That’s what all of the snowboarding jocks forgot about. I’m not here to be the best or get sponsored, I’m just here to be a part of something that makes life worth it. And it is.
Even if I still can’t hang on the other side of the cafeteria with all of the cool kids because I‘m in the ATL surrounded by a concrete jungle, gold teeth, and candy paint time machines sittin’ on 20’s, that’s fine.
But, I suggest wearing a helmet the next time you’re on the mountain, cousin, because that nose boink finally came together.