13.8 Letters

Summer is quickly approaching, and do you know what that means?Our season has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean your letter won’t be printed in the next volume. For this last issue we’re rewarding Nicholas with new Billabong gear and Drop gloves as an extra incentive to get back on the mountain, and Stephanie is getting hooked up with an Airwalk outfit and Drop gloves for giving us a piece of her mind regarding Mt. Hood. Keep in mind, because it’s summer, we’re in the office, so continue to write and keep us company while we wait for winter to roll around again.

What Snowboarding Is All About

Snowboarding has always had a profound affect on my life. I actually love the sport so much that I work in a snowboard retail store and most of my friends are snowboarders. In general, I’ve found snowboarders to be laid-back and open-minded. For this reason, I’ve been able to interact with a variety of people who represent many different ideals and values from politics to social acceptance.

The last week of July ’99 proved how snowboarding has meant so much to me throughout my life. I happened to get a stomachache one Sunday evening and ended up in the hospital after severe vomiting spells and convulsions. It was a very scary experience since no doctor had any idea what was wrong with me. For fifteen hours I was nothing more than a corpse lying on a hospital bed. The pain was so great that I wanted to give up and die. They eventually performed exploratory surgery and discovered that I had one of the rarest disorders in the world, a Mekel’s diverticulum (it only occurs in two percent of the people worldwide). What this means is that my intestines were blocked and my waste was poisoning my own body.

After the surgery and a grueling recovery period, I weighed 105 pounds. In addition, I had no muscle mass due to being bedridden for a very long time. There were some times when I would dream. I dreamt I was healthy and hanging out with my friends, but, unfortunately, I was bed ridden and it would be a very long time before I could even think of walking out of the hospital, much less hanging out with my friends. My friend Jeremy (the only one I would let see me on account of how bad I looked), reminded me of a new season coming up. Jeremy definitely got my spirits soaring with visions of fresh powder turns and new tricks to land. I worked through the lowest moment in my life thanks to snowboarding, and without the dream of this season, I don’t know what I would’ve done.

So, the next time life is getting you down, go snowboarding. If you’re unable to go, then dream about it. Snowboarding gives the mind a certain clarity and perspective that, in some cases, can help you through the hardest moments in your life. I thank God that I had snowboarding to cling to within my darkest hours. Ride the mountains hard and cherish the freedom you find there, for there is nothing in this world that compares.

Nicholas Wernick

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

After reading this heart-wrenching letter and finishing off our entire stock of Kleenex, we would like to commend you for your courageous fight for life and kick-ass passion for snowboarding. Just the thought or dream of a fat turn in thigh-high powder always lifts our spirits. We’re glad to hear you’re on a safe road to recovery; our thoughts are with you. Because we know you’ll soon be carving in that powder rather than dreaming of it, it’s our delight to give you brand-spanking-new Billabong pants and a jacket, along with a pair of Drop gloves for your boarding pleasure.

Mt. Hood Misery

There seems to be this myth out there that Mt. Hood is some epic place to ride. A place where anyone can come and have an amazing time, and pros will always be hanging out. The truth is pele, Hood is flat. It’s boring if you don’t know any cool, secret places to hit up. The only thing epic about Hood is you can ride it all summer long. Hood has always been my home mountain for the last five years and I love the place to death. There’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather spend a day of riding with my friends.

This is my first season away from Hood since I moved away for school. Now, I get to ride some other hill, and although I’m always stoked to ride new places, I already miss Hood. The thing that pisses me off is when people go to Hood looking to be saved or something. Then, they bitch when the conditions are less than satisfactory and it rains when it should be snowing. Suck it up, people. This is Hood, and this is what we locals get to ride all season; meanwhile, you’re waiting for summer to roll around so you can get up here!

Stephanie Billinger

Eugene, Oregon

We’re envious of you, Stephanie. We have to drive two to three hours to get to our “less than satisfactory” snow, and there sure ain’t any boarding down here in the summertime. But at least we don’t expect much, and therefore can’t complain. Anyway, because you’ve given props to Hood for the summer, and this is not only our photo annual, but our summer-camp issue as well, you are the winner of new Airwalk gear and a pair of Drop gloves. And for anyone who’s interested in checking out Hood this summer, look at the snowboard camp information printed in Variables.

What It Takes To Become A Photographer

I’m a high school senior and I’m looking into a career as a photographer. To be specific, photography of extreme sports such as Rollerblading, skateboarding, and most of all, snowboarding. I love snowboarding and I love taking pictures, so it just seems natural that they go hand in hand.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, do you have certain photographers that work for TWS, or do outside people submit all of the photos in your mags? Also, can I make a career out of this interest? It would make a dream come true if I could.

Tom Billingsley

Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Here at TWS, we have both senior (staff) photographers and outside (freelance/contributing) photographers who send in their photos. However, there are only eight senior photographers on staff here, which is typical of any magazine; therefore, the industry is very competitive. We also have a director of photography and a photo editor who are considered staff photographers. To be a contributing photographer, all you have to do is send in your shots (most of the time in slide form) and hope we pick them. Take a look at the Wallpaper feature: this is where most contributing photos appear. Otherwise, it helps to know who we are planning interviews with in upcoming issues, and then you can photograph those people.

In order to make a career of photography, Shem Roose, our photo editor, suggests you shoot some of the most talented riders around. The most critical elements of a photo are sharpness, composition, and action. You also have to be willing to invest a decent amount of money into the equipment, you obviously need to know the basics of how a camera works, and you should take a black and white photography course–it is very helpful. Good luck to you, Tom. Maybe we’ll be seeing your photos in here one day.

P.S. In last April’s photo annual there was an article Jon Foster wrote in the Variables column titled, “Everything You Wanted To Know About Snowboarding Photography.” Check it out.

Props To All Instructors

Not all of us were born with the skills of Terje; that’s why we go to summer camp. This year was my first camp (and definitely not my last) at Folgefonna, Norway. I got serious sunburns on my face, the best bruises, and the sorest muscles–it was awesome! Most of the days were spent on the slopes trying to impress fellow campers, photographers, and instructors. Did I mention instructors? They did their best to make me a better snowboarder, even though they knew I sucked. I’d make the same mistake over and over again, but my instructor would stand by me, smiling and sounding enthusiastic the entire time. I guess this is a big thank you to all you snowboard instructors out there who actually spent your summer teaching losers like myself!

Randy Svartveit

Norway

The devotion and dedication instructors have for aspiring boarders like yourself deserve the utmost respect from all of us. Learning from the best will put you at the top, and it won’t surprise us to see your name in here with Terje someday soon.

Czech This Out

What up, TransWorld! I’m writing to give Tom Deli of Chicago, Illinois, mad props. Why? ’Cause he wrote a letter printed in the November ’99 issue about how he moved to the U.S. from the Czech Republic, and how he’s starting to get his gear together. It really pulled on the heartstrings, because it just so happens that I, too, am from the Czech Republic. I may have been here a bit longer–fifteen years, actually–but I still know how it is to struggle and have to start over. My dad left Czech as a manager of a badass restaurant, and came here to be dubbed a lowly dishwasher. He’s now back to his badass stature working at a phat city club in Boston, but it took him years to get there. So, Tom, fight the good fight, ride strong, and keep it real. Czech brothers, unite!

Dave Vesely

Oneonta, New York

The big move from the Czech Republic to the U.S. is a feat most of us would call insane. Leaving your roots halfway across the Earth is a bold and courageous move; it inspires all of us who desire a change of pace in life. The brotherly love you share with fellow Czech-mate Tom gives us all phatty grins.

Letters (which may be edited for clarity and space) should be sent in marked: Letter To The Editor, TransWorld SNOWboarding. By snail-trail mail: 353 Airport Rd., Oceanside, CA 92054. By FAX: (760) 722-0653. By electronic mail: snowletters@twsnet.com. Those of you who have too much time on your hands and have access to the World Wide Web can post cyber-letters on transworldsnowboarding.com.

bruises, and the sorest muscles–it was awesome! Most of the days were spent on the slopes trying to impress fellow campers, photographers, and instructors. Did I mention instructors? They did their best to make me a better snowboarder, even though they knew I sucked. I’d make the same mistake over and over again, but my instructor would stand by me, smiling and sounding enthusiastic the entire time. I guess this is a big thank you to all you snowboard instructors out there who actually spent your summer teaching losers like myself!

Randy Svartveit

Norway

The devotion and dedication instructors have for aspiring boarders like yourself deserve the utmost respect from all of us. Learning from the best will put you at the top, and it won’t surprise us to see your name in here with Terje someday soon.

Czech This Out

What up, TransWorld! I’m writing to give Tom Deli of Chicago, Illinois, mad props. Why? ’Cause he wrote a letter printed in the November ’99 issue about how he moved to the U.S. from the Czech Republic, and how he’s starting to get his gear together. It really pulled on the heartstrings, because it just so happens that I, too, am from the Czech Republic. I may have been here a bit longer–fifteen years, actually–but I still know how it is to struggle and have to start over. My dad left Czech as a manager of a badass restaurant, and came here to be dubbed a lowly dishwasher. He’s now back to his badass stature working at a phat city club in Boston, but it took him years to get there. So, Tom, fight the good fight, ride strong, and keep it real. Czech brothers, unite!

Dave Vesely

Oneonta, New York

The big move from the Czech Republic to the U.S. is a feat most of us would call insane. Leaving your roots halfway across the Earth is a bold and courageous move; it inspires all of us who desire a change of pace in life. The brotherly love you share with fellow Czech-mate Tom gives us all phatty grins.

Letters (which may be edited for clarity and space) should be sent in marked: Letter To The Editor, TransWorld SNOWboarding. By snail-trail mail: 353 Airport Rd., Oceanside, CA 92054. By FAX: (760) 722-0653. By electronic mail: snowletters@twsnet.com. Those of you who have too much time on your hands and have access to the World Wide Web can post cyber-letters on transworldsnowboarding.com.