the skier-snowboarder rivalry, and why it doesn’t exist anymore

Posted: March 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

This is something I was thinking about while I was coming down Lift 4 on Kirkwood’s backside today. I’m really tired after a long-ass day, so please be aware that the following post may not be rational, or coherent, or sane.

You have been warned.

For almost two decades– from the mid-80s to the early oughties– there was a massive, intense rivalry between skiers and snowboarders. It was huge and all-encompassing. Snowboarders saw skiers as elitist, overly-wealthy snobs. Skiers saw snowboarders as fat-headed snot-nosed punks. Both groups went out of their respective ways to harass, insult, mock, and just generally be dicks to the other group.

I came in on the tail edge of this era. Growing up as a skier in the late 90s/early oughties, I got shit from snowboarding teenage assholes for being small, and a skier. It didn’t really go to my head at all– really, I got worse crap from my schoolmates at Westlake Elementary (may their names be forever cursed)– but I don’t doubt that, had I been a snowboarder, I would have gotten the same steaming pile of insults from skiers.

But then, something changed in the mid-oughties. The skier-snowboarder rivalry completely disappeared. It vanished, gone off to the land of wind and ghosts where remaindered books and lost internet memes go.

What happened? Did skiers, realizing that the world had changed, decide to let bygones be bygones and coexist with the snowboarders who now dominated the ski resort scene? Did the former-teen snowboarders, once they reached their thirties, suddenly wake up to find two heaping scoops of maturity in their Raisin Bran?

I don’t think that’s the case. I think that the skiers and snowboarders both realized that, despite certain superficial differences of technique and equipment, their sports were basically the same. The object of skiing and snowboarding is the same: to slide down the hill until you run out of hill, then go back up the hill and repeat until you get sleepy. Yeah, sure, there are differences between the sports. Skis are a lot faster and more stable; snowboards can make sharper turns and are easier to jump with. But these differences don’t matter. We both like to have fun, and we go about having fun in much the same fashion. The number of planks we affix to our feet doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that we like to slide down snowy mountains, and the sliding is a lot more fun when we don’t act like assholes to each other.

Blech. That was horrible. I really need to stop making thinkings now…

Relax now. Blog later.

~ Ian


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