“No big deal.” “A corporate sham.” “A dress rehearsal for Salt Lake City 2002.” “Snowboarding’s fifteen minutes of fame.” “The most important event in snowboarding history.”
Almost everyone I talked to had something to say in the weeks leading up to snowboarding’s Olympic debut in Nagano, most leaning toward the “no big deal” end of the dial. Not too surprising, really. As a breed, snowboarders tend to be individualists rather than joiners, more interested in freeriding with a few friends than getting all worked up about a televised hypefest halfway around the world.
Snowboard Life sent a team to Japan to cover it nonetheless. These were the Olympics, after all, and whether lame or great, we’d be there to witness the spectacle.
As it turns out, the sport of snowboarding-and one snowboarder in particular-took center stage at the Nagano Games. Ross Rebagliati’s well-publicized rise and fall and rise dominated conversations around the globe both during and after the Olympics. Some in our sport shook their heads as Ross’ drama unfurled, seeing it as the black eye snowboarding didn’t need in its big debut. Others cheered, celebrating snowboarding’s renegade spirit that even Juan Antonio Samaranch and his rigid IOC couldn’t suppress.
And our crack team was there to cover it, in true gonzo style-sneaking about, swapping press passes back and forth, and weaseling into the “Official IOC Vehicle” with each gold medalist (except one) for the victory ride from the mountain down to Nagano proper for the medal ceremony. The fruits of their labor-”Olympic Stories” by Brad Steward and “Ross Rebagliati And The Snowboard-Celebrity High Life” by Billy Miller-are definitely worth the effort, and I thank Brad, Billy, and photographer Mark Gallup for their resolve and ingenuity.
Whether snowboarding’s Olympic debut was a nonevent or the main event is still up for debate, probably always will be, but one thing is clear-snowboarding arrived on the Olympic scene with a bang, not a whimper.
On a subject a lot closer to home, Kevin Kinnear’s up to his old tricks again, launching yet another snowboarding publication for TransWorld Media. The man who started TransWorld SNOWboarding in 1987 and Snowboard Life in 1995 is now tackling TransWorld’s new Snowboard Resort Guide.
But Kevin’s influence will still be evident throughout Snowboard Life; the rudder he set is firmly on course, the engines wailing full steam ahead. His work should appear regularly throughout the magazine, and we’re hoping to pry into his vault of classic stories to run in the Flurry column from time to time.
You may notice some changes as you read this issue-we’ve spruced up a bit-but it’s the same Snowboard Life you’ve come to know. We’ve traveled the globe to collect the best freeriding stories you’ll find in any magazine, and we’re constantly striving to provide the highest level of instruction, product information, and technical insight. It’s strictly the real deal. Tis the season. Now, kindly turn the page and groove.Best Regards,
Ewan MorrisonManaging Editor