In these extremely competitive times, snowboarders-mainly of the male gender-have to find something to set them apart from the next guy throwing a frontside 1080. What is this special something? Is it working harder to get a 1440 around? Or maybe hitting the dreaded “Black Bear Layer Of Death Gap”? Perhaps it’s jumping out of a helicopter at 200 feet and beating out Mike Basich’s 120-foot heli free fall last year in Alaska. All of those things will probably do the trick-but it seems like the most popular way of getting the job done is to throw on a pair of size-zero women’s jeans and start smoking cigarettes. It’s great-like the musical Grease, but with a little less singing and a lot more snowboarding.
I’ve run into an awful lot of fashion-conscious males in snowboarding lately. Riders used to spend hours working on a never-been-done-before trick, now they spend hours flipping through GQ for the latest clothing trends-but in most cases you wouldn’t know it, because a common goal with all these trends is to look like you haven’t showered in months. And once everyone has finished dressing themselves for six hours, it’s time to spend six more dressing their snowboards. Ah, the sticker obsession. Gone are the days of simply putting stickers on your board-there’s a whole new “sticker technique,” and admittedly, I’m feeling the pressure from “sticker critics” to perform. I mean, don’t we have anything better to talk about besides who’s the best at stickering up their board?
But anyway, back to my point. Is all this recent fashion “to-do” the riders’ choice? Or has industry pressure and an ultra-high competition level caused this image-conscious craze in snowboarding? Do guys really want to put on jeans that are four-sizes too small for them? Is it really true that in order to be noticed as a pro snowboarder you have to look a certain way? What do you readers think?
Now don’t get me wrong-this fashion-conscious phenomenon is perfectly fine as far as I’m concerned. Girls, including myself, have been doing the “working hard to look good” thing since the beginning of time, and I find nothing wrong with it. And I don’t mean to offend anyone by saying all this. Times are tough, and it’s crucially important to seize every opportunity in order to make the most of your career. I mean, I was featured dressed up in body paint on the cover of FHM-trust me, I know!
All I’m saying is that’s it’s pretty funny to take a look at our sport right now and realize how ridiculous everyone looks. And it’ll be even more funny when we’re all wearing clown suits on our way down the mountain in a few years because the runways of Paris and Milan told us to.
Your style is so killer. I’m always trying to do my own thing in the park and freeriding, but the only people who can keep up with me are the local boys! They’re chill, and we always have a blast, but they dis on my style. Any suggestions?
Style is what draws people to certain riders. Style can come naturally, or it can be learned, or a little bit of both. So my suggestion to you is that if you want to work on your style, you should try to learn from a rider whom you think has good style (of course, this is all a matter of opinion). Pick up a snowboard video or watch a competition and try to pinpoint why you like a certain rider’s style. Once you’ve figured that out-like they look really relaxed in the air, or they spin really compactly-then go out and try and mimic this riding style. Also, keep in mind that the more you get to ride, the more confidence you’ll have in yourself, and then I think that your style naturally progresses into something that usually looks good.
I was really excited when I saw your question-and-answer page in my copy of TransWorld. Sometimes it’s tough to be a sixteen-year-old girl rider. When I read that you’d gone through some of the same things I am right now with competting and having to be the only girl riding in the park, it gave me a huge boost of confidence and hope. If you had one piece of advice to give to girls like me, what would it be?
I’m really glad that something I said was able to boost your confidence within snowboarding. Professional snowboarders are just like everyone else-I have, and pretty much every other girl pro rider has, been through most of the things that you have or will go through, guaranteed. So it’s nice to be able to share these experiences.
Anyway, the one piece of advice I think is truly important is to go for your goals with everything you’ve got. If you really want it, then do everything you can to get it. Have confidence in yourself, because when you do, it’s amazing the things you can accomplish.
I’ve been trying forever to learn frontside fives, but my friend said inverts are easier than spins ’cause all you have to do is huck. Is that true? I’ve been thinking about trying to learn McTwists instead. What do you think?
Inverts versus spins? To be honest, some people are naturally better at inverts and some are better at flat spins. But don’t attempt an invert because they’re easier to huck. Huck is a word used for people who don’t know what they’re doing, so they go for it anyway and pray it works out. The best way to learn tricks is to work your way up to them. If you’re solid on your frontside threes, then keep working on your frontside fives. It’s about commitment, and once you get over that, you’ll be stomping those tricks no problem.
However, if you’re good at flipping, like if you have a trampoline or do tricks off the diving board and flipping feels comfortable, then maybe a McTwist is the trick for you. But before you attempt this invert, you have to be able to visualize it in your head-this is what sets you apart from a “hucker.” Once you feel confident about how the trick needs to be thrown, the only thing left to do is to try it.