Middlebury, Vt.

Life in the middle of Vermont.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Switchfoot: Life as a Skier AND Snowboarder

For Vermont Ski and Ride
www.vtskiandride.com/

So let’s take the name of this publication literally.

Ski and ride.

A nice enough idea. But hardly a reality for most people who spend large parts of their winters at what used to be called ski areas and are now, thanks to the shredheads among us, known as “mountain resorts.”

Except at one particular Vermont ski area, where I’d ride it if I could.

Even a couple decades after Jake Burton Carpenter and others began to experiment, it’s either ski or ride. Skiers and snowboarder coexist on chairlifts and we share the slopes. We make nice.

But let’s face it. For the most part -- except when Mom and Dad are on skis and the kids are on boards -- we skiers and boarders go our separate ways.

Skiers wonder why you’d want to face sideways and strap both feet to an ungodly-wide piece of fiberglass that doesn’t even have release bindings. They try not to resent how boarders scrape the powder clean in their ignorant incompetence. They dream of the tight skier-made lines through the bumps that you can only find at Mad River Glen, the East’s last holdout against the boarding hordes.

And do you know how a snowboarder says hello?

“Whoa, dude! Sorry!”

On the other side of the divide, boarders just shake their heads at how skiers have no clue of what it’s like to sweep up the walls of a pipe, launch a 180, or carve powder as if you were riding a 15-minute wave. They try not to resent how skiers flash by their blind side and occasionally plow into their boards.

Why choose just one?

For a small band of us, though, it makes all the sense to ski and ride. We’ve discovered that both skiing and snowboarding have a place not only on the mountain, but in our personal experience.

After many years as a skier, I took up snowboarding in the late 1980s. I’d spent a lot of time surfing on the California coast, and boarding seemed like a natural extension -- minus the cold water, the long waits between waves, and the cutthroat competition for surf. (They say there are no friends on powder days, but powder days positively convivial compared to what happens on a big-wave day of surfing.)

Snowboarding was for me more than just a natural extension of surfing. By the late Eighties, skiing had reached something of a dead end, or at least a pause. Especially when it came to equipment. I was ready for a change from the sport that had sustained me since I was 4 years old.

At that time, the best thing ski manufacturers could come up with was sloppy rear-entry boots that still hurt as bad as any other.

Snowboardng was an exciting departure. The gear was radically different, the clothing was outrageous, the attitude was edgy. For a few of us skiers crazy enough to try something new rather than stick with the sport we loved, snowboarding offered a whole new way to experience the mountains we loved. Even if many of remained terrified of t the halfpipe

Whenever a skier asks me if it is hard to learn to board, I tell them the first two days are brutal. Then you suddenly get it.

On Day 2 of learning how to board, my instructor told me we were “just going to bro-out.” I proceeded to spend most of the afternoon falling on my face. This did not contribute to my feelings of brotherly love.

But after those first two days of lessons, I understood why I was out there on the broad beast.

The turns came easily. I was mastering a truly new skill, which I hadn’t done since I learned how to live with my girlfriend.

Even the easy green runs were fun again -- not something to schuss through on the way to the next bump run, but a genuine adventure. Resorts that had been limited to bump runs and a couple cruisers, on skis, suddenly seemed huge and again full of possibilities. Every run was in engaging (and yes, sometimes embarrassing) challenge.
In time even the steeper stuff came into play. I’m still not one to try big moguls on my board, but there’s a real pleasure in negotiating a black-diamond run that’s been groomed for intermediate snowboarders who don’t have a death wish.

Especially if there’s 12 inches of fresh on top of the groomed.

There’s little else on earth that compares to snowboarding in powder. Even powder skis just don’t float the way a board does. You feel invincible, in a total groove, sure that riding the steep and deep is absolutely the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

In time, though, I drifted back to skiing.

I couldn’t keep up with my speed-freak buddies who were on skis. The tougher bump runs were just out of the question on a snowboard. I grew tired of pushing my one-legged way across flats, as skiers went whizzing by.


You Say You Want a Revolution

With enough time on a snowboard, I could have overcome those shortcomings. But sometimes it still feels weird to be turned sideways.

What really brought me back to skiing was the shaped ski.

Like a snowboard, the shaped ski provides a tremendous bounce when it’s set at the right angle at the right time. They’ve got a liveliness and an ability to truly carve turns that was missing the old straight skis. You can bank into the slope with them in a way that had only been possible on a snowboard.

Besides, as I get older I find that physical mastery of a sport is something I prize dearly. I started snowbarding too late to ever have that sense of true mastery on a board. I’ll always be faking it , though the fun will be real. Half-pipes will always be foreign territory to me.

Yet I love being kidded about being “tool old to be a snowboarder.”

And on some days, only a board will do. When the snow is fresh and dry, or when I’m just cruising alone, a snowboard is still the perfect way to savor the mountain.


Gregory Dennis lives in Middlebury. When he’s not skiing, he’s riding a Nitro board with Burton bindings or waiting for it to snow. Email him at GregoryDennis@verizon.net.

- 30 -

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ups sorry delete plz [url=http://duhum.com].[/url]

1:18 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

ninest123 16.01
true religion jeans, air max pas cher, longchamp, timberland, nike air max, converse pas cher, nike blazer, michael kors uk, vans pas cher, north face, sac guess, sac burberry, nike air force, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren, hollister, north face, true religion outlet, coach outlet store online, michael kors outlet, louboutin, lululemon outlet online, ralph lauren, abercrombie and fitch, true religion outlet, michael kors, true religion jeans, nike huaraches, air max, nike free, longchamp, oakley pas cher, michael kors pas cher, hollister, new balance pas cher, sac hermes, air jordan, nike roshe run pas cher, mulberry, hogan outlet, ray ban pas cher, replica handbags, nike tn, nike roshe, vanessa bruno, nike free pas cher, nike trainers, air max, sac longchamp pas cher, coach purses, polo lacoste

1:10 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

tory burch outlet, jordan shoes, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet, uggs outlet, ugg boots clearance, burberry outlet, tiffany and co, nike shoes, michael kors outlet online sale, louis vuitton, cheap uggs, prada outlet, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton handbags, michael kors outlet, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, nike free, ugg outlet, louboutin outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses cheap, cheap oakley sunglasses, air max, tiffany and co, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin shoes, longchamp handbags, burberry outlet, longchamp handbags, prada handbags, louis vuitton outlet stores, air max, uggs, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet, louboutin, rolex watches, gucci outlet, christian louboutin

1:14 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

soccer shoes, bottega veneta, instyler, iphone 6s plus cases, converse, nfl jerseys, soccer jerseys, iphone 6s cases, mcm handbags, p90x, jimmy choo outlet, baseball bats, ghd, north face jackets, iphone 6 plus cases, iphone 6 cases, ipad cases, hollister clothing store, air max, babyliss pro, chi flat iron, iphone cases, beats by dre, valentino shoes, timberland boots, mac cosmetics, vans shoes, celine handbags, insanity workout, asics running shoes, ferragamo shoes, wedding dresses, north face outlet, abercrombie and fitch, oakley, ralph lauren, air max, mont blanc, lululemon outlet, reebok outlet, abercrombie, s6 case, gucci, herve leger, ray ban, birkin bag, new balance shoes, iphone 5s cases, vans, nike roshe run, louboutin, giuseppe zanotti

1:17 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

hollister, ugg, canada goose, moncler, pandora jewelry, rolex watches, montre homme, moncler, sac lancel, thomas sabo, moncler, swarovski crystal, sac louis vuitton, ugg, louis vuitton, links of london, barbour, moncler, juicy couture outlet, moncler outlet, canada goose, ugg pas cher, converse shoes, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, doke gabbana, swarovski, coach outlet store online, pandora charms, canada goose, moncler, canada goose, juicy couture, pandora charms, supra shoes, moncler, canada goose uk, canada goose, ugg, marc jacobs, moncler, ugg boots, canada goose outlet, sac louis vuitton, canada goose jackets, barbour, wedding dresses, karen millen, toms shoes, louis vuitton uk
ninest123 16.01

1:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home