Back in the Day

Hahh? So y'all want to hear about Colorado, and snowboarding in the good ol' days–what with your closin' century, and your Y2K babble, lookin' all shot-out with them hoops in your ears, and that metal in your lip? Newww millennium. Tattoooos. By your looks I'd say you're not worth a measly grain through my dwindlin' hourglass. But, I ain't got two nickels to rub together, so it's storytime damn it. And for any sucker out there who's compelled to start runnin' his mouth about, “Yeah but I was around when … ” well, shut it. I've got the floor, so you may as well throw a crusted yellow sock in it, son. It takes enthusiasm to be a great bore, and I've got a lot of it. You best start likin' it. Ehh, where was I? Oh yeah. Say, lend me a little pinch for my cheek 'n' gum, and I'll git to ramblin'. Thanks. Patoooie.

Folks say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” You people lost me there. It seems shreddin' changed a heap. Snowboarding used to be nothing more than a hayride. It'd come once a year, we'd go up, down, left, right, left some more, and we loved it. A leisure activity, like fishing. Just me and my windbag buddies talkin' nonsense regarding the finer feeble-minded points of livin'. Getting' paid for it, too, we were. Nowadays they say it's a sport–with athletes. Well y'all ain't that tough, gravity is still doing most of the work. Leanin' left, right, and then sittin' your slack self down on some cushy chairlift ain't all that. Yup, a snowboarder's cut came from a harder stone in my day. Diamonds.

For one, nobody stretched or did that yoga-chi crap. We figured stretching would only loosen up our ligaments. Best to leave 'em all tight–that way our joints might hold up a bit better. People didn't eat healthy, neither. We'd just run down the super-value menu, “Give me one of everything.” Later on, our ass would sort it out. Six glasses of water a day? We didn't have any. Alls we could get was beer, Slurpees, and coffee. No camels on our backs. Everyone rode around just as dehydrated as the next guy. Sand and cotton would spew from our mouths as we spoke. And we hardly did that, either, 'cause language was a relatively new concept. If we had half a head on our shoulders, we would've been crying about our third-degree burns. That's right–there was no sunscreen to lather up with. The blazin' sun would fry us until blisters appeared. Then we'd go home and pop them bubbles. We especially loved that.

Once our skin had leathered up, and we wanted to get back out there, it wasn't all cushy child's play like nowadays. We didn't have bouncy all-wheel-drive SUVs with boom-box systems and slick pods to drive up to the fancy resorts. We'd ride our bikes for 40-miles to a local slant in 50-pound boots with wafer-thin asbestos liners. We didn't have any gloves, either. If we were lucky we got a pair of oven mitts on loan from ma. When we finally got there, a buddy had to piss on our hands so we could break the frozen grip from our board and the handlebars. Our hands were all cramped up, covered in piss, and we loved it.

There wasn't any of this grade-A equipment you rippers have to choose from, either. Today, out on the hill you hear stuff like, “Oh look. He's riding a big board in the pipe. What's that, a 159?” Well I say shut it, you lily pansies. In my day we weighed 95 pounds and rode 165s, that weighed in at something like 165 pounds. On a windy day we'd blow away if it weren't for that low-grade anchor at our feet. They performed like anchors, too. With no tip or tail to speak of, we'd just furrow along. The boards' edges (if we could affo them) would peel right off. If the left one came partially off, we'd be turnin' that way for most of the day. Sorta like circlin' around with half an E-brake. Our P-tex 100 base was hard pressed to slide, what with all them T-nuts stickin' out the bottom of our boards. We couldn't move, but we had to have 'em. A seventeen-inch stance was too tight. It'd turn our balls blue.

So there we were. Not even budging the slightest bit in dysfunctional neon gear. Freeeezin'. I see you out there today, all warm and cozy, havin' the time of your life. Shits 'n' giggles. Well, back then the term “functional” was used in reference to your bowels or your willy. We didn't have Gore-Tex, prunes, or Viagra. We wore denim jeans. Big ones. You could cut three pairs of them Jnco's you're wearin' out of 'em. They look like slender boot-cuts compared to our old standards. Every bit of gear we had was cotton, and it absorbed any existing moisture in the vicinity. The back of your flannel would ice up into a trusty shield, but I'd be damned if it didn't protect your can when you sat down after every jump. We wouldn't land a goddamn thing, because our meager frames simply couldn't support the weight of all that gear and water. Oh yeah, none of our hardware came with self-locking nylon, either. You lucky sons a bitches. After a run or two, our bindings would begin to slowly fall apart. We had to use wickets, soggy twist ties, or bailing wire to hold our equipment together. Snowboarding was a real man's activity. For McGuyvers. Not for fainthearted pansies.

And you know what? It's a wonder they even named this damned pastime “snowboarding.” Because back then there was barely any snow. That's right. We had dead-grass, wet leaves, and squirrels. There wasn't any of this highfalutin' snowmaking equipment. If a bare patch developed, they'd just go out and flood the area with water. Overnight it would freeze up, hard as steel. If we fell and hit our head on it, blood'd start spurtin' out the side of your noggin and we'd call it a good day. In this age, y'all would just call it a day. Looks pretty powdery to me, powder puff. Which brings me to this–what's with all these helmets? You kids must be gettin' real doughy. Yup, we's hard as nails in my day. Life's tough in Browntown, Colorado. You best start tellin' yourself you love it.

Folks also say, “Slower is faster.” That doesn't apply to this “sport.” It won't get you nowhere but below the lip. It's bewildering. I see some new jack do a backside air five feet out of the pipe, and suddenly everyone's all worked up like he's reinvented the wheel. In my day, we did shitty moves. They were rad, and wicked gnarly. I must say, them upside-down things nowadays are something else, though. You kids must've been dropped on yer heads repeatedly. What the devil are you thinking? If you ask me, you ain't.

It's said, if you don't learn from your mistakes, you're bound to repeat them. This holds true every time someone jumps a cliff in Colorado. Will, you ever learn? No, you won't. Because once you make that mistake, you're done. This place is flat, and Mother Nature's only been whittling it down. You're hard pressed to find a good landing these days. In my day, it didn't matter, though. We weren't expected to land. There weren't no motion pictures or sequence photos. We'd be on a photo shoot, and the photographer would tell us to pack some snow on our board before huckin' ourselves around. It'd give 'em a nice little snowy poof in his picture. It was corny, and he loved it.

It seems like it's all been done, too. You've got to look real hard to find a new line these days. From the chair, or lookin' out yer purty tinted windows–someone's been there and stomped that. Every little niche of this state's been explored. With the growin' numbers, the place's only gotten smaller. If you do find a new landing and you build yourself a precious booter–you gotta tear it down just so no one else can enjoy it. Buncha selfish bastards, I tell ya. Seems silly, what with shovelin' all day, an' movin' cubic tons of white stuff. All that work and your guinea pig only exceeds the lip by a foot or two. Even with the 50-mile-an-hour tow-in. Ha!

So you're out there zoomin' around, burnin' gas, with the shit-eatin' grins under your helmet. In my day (if we were lucky), we might have called ourselves snowmobile co-owners. On the first Tuesday after the full-moon, our turn would come around to get out there and get the sled stuck, and it'd turn out the thing had been rolled and totaled the day before. The only thing we'd gits out of the deal was a piece of the windshield to put up on our wall. Our last hope was all them local neglected high-country hounds. We'd tie some twine to 'em and they wouldn't pull us anywhere. They'd just bark, look over their shoulder at ya and pass wind. Best to let 'em go back inside and continue crappin' around the apartment.

Can't see why we'd want to spend our days in there. We could barely move with all them turds and roommates. A bunch of transient fools. We'd pick an exit, pull off the highway, and dump our belongings. Then it's off to the bar. “Can I crash here for a spell?” Shut it, pard' face. Go get your jobby-job with the ski pass and the low pay. Here, you'll be needin' this dime to call your mommy. Ehh? It's thirty-five cents? Damn phone company. Oh well. It's been said life's tough in the mountains. It'll only be a matter of time before you're pining' away, “This place sucks, I'm movin' to Tahoe.” The Colorado Rockies ain't big enough for some. They'll be back at some point, though. A roll through town for a chuckle and a chew. I must say we'd all be in Canada if it weren't for all the pips 'n' parks.

Let me tell you, we got 'em all: over-vert, under-vert, under-over-vert, over-pitched, under-pitched, and triple-kinked double fall-lined. We got diggers diggin' ditches, son. Them pipes are poppin' up all over the damn place. It's the darndest thing, Dragon's spittin' snow. Every mountain's got one, and a few know how to use 'em. Come every spring we got twelve-foot right-hand walls, and six-foot lefts from county to county. Global warming. You young punks don't even have to hike these days, either. Lazin' about, floatin' on yer magic carpets. Bunch of chain-smokers. In my day we was lucky if we had air to wheeze on. Slick Rick was in jail, Warren Miller was on the local cable station 24 hours a day, and we hated it.

Now, you may be sayin' to yourself, “This geezer's gone sour. He's just a bitter old bag of bones. He's lost it.” Well, I'll tell ya, you too gots this to look forward to. It happens to all folks. You're gonna wake up one morning and discover you've blown your knee out in your sleep. You'll hobble into the bathroom, look in the mirror, and your teeth will look like you been sucklin' on frozen gravel. The jawsmith will remove 'em, and you'll get some fakers to keep on the nightstand alongside your jarred cartilage. You'll get bills, your body will seize up, and your hair will fall out. You won't be able to return anything and everything to Wal-Mart. Nope, you won't be livin' the dream forever. Live it while you can.

these days. From the chair, or lookin' out yer purty tinted windows–someone's been there and stomped that. Every little niche of this state's been explored. With the growin' numbers, the place's only gotten smaller. If you do find a new landing and you build yourself a precious booter–you gotta tear it down just so no one else can enjoy it. Buncha selfish bastards, I tell ya. Seems silly, what with shovelin' all day, an' movin' cubic tons of white stuff. All that work and your guinea pig only exceeds the lip by a foot or two. Even with the 50-mile-an-hour tow-in. Ha!

So you're out there zoomin' around, burnin' gas, with the shit-eatin' grins under your helmet. In my day (if we were lucky), we might have called ourselves snowmobile co-owners. On the first Tuesday after the full-moon, our turn would come around to get out there and get the sled stuck, and it'd turn out the thing had been rolled and totaled the day before. The only thing we'd gits out of the deal was a piece of the windshield to put up on our wall. Our last hope was all them local neglected high-country hounds. We'd tie some twine to 'em and they wouldn't pull us anywhere. They'd just bark, look over their shoulder at ya and pass wind. Best to let 'em go back inside and continue crappin' around the apartment.

Can't see why we'd want to spend our days in there. We could barely move with all them turds and roommates. A bunch of transient fools. We'd pick an exit, pull off the highway, and dump our belongings. Then it's off to the bar. “Can I crash here for a spell?” Shut it, pard' face. Go get your jobby-job with the ski pass and the low pay. Here, you'll be needin' this dime to call your mommy. Ehh? It's thirty-five cents? Damn phone company. Oh well. It's been said life's tough in the mountains. It'll only be a matter of time before you're pining' away, “This place sucks, I'm movin' to Tahoe.” The Colorado Rockies ain't big enough for some. They'll be back at some point, though. A roll through town for a chuckle and a chew. I must say we'd all be in Canada if it weren't for all the pips 'n' parks.

Let me tell you, we got 'em all: over-vert, under-vert, under-over-vert, over-pitched, under-pitched, and triple-kinked double fall-lined. We got diggers diggin' ditches, son. Them pipes are poppin' up all over the damn place. It's the darndest thing, Dragon's spittin' snow. Every mountain's got one, and a few know how to use 'em. Come every spring we got twelve-foot right-hand walls, and six-foot lefts from county to county. Global warming. You young punks don't even have to hike these days, either. Lazin' about, floatin' on yer magic carpets. Bunch of chain-smokers. In my day we was lucky if we had air to wheeze on. Slick Rick was in jail, Warren Miller was on the local cable station 24 hours a day, and we hated it.

Now, you may be sayin' to yourself, “This geezer's gone sour. He's just a bitter old bag of bones. He's lost it.” Well, I'll tell ya, you too gots this to look forward to. It happens to all folks. You're gonna wake up one morning and discover you've blown your knee out in your sleep. You'll hobble into the bathroom, look in the mirror, and your teeth will look like you been sucklin' on frozen gravel. The jawsmith will remove 'em, and you'll get some fakers to keep on the nightstand alongside your jarred cartilage. You'll get bills, your body will seize up, and your hair will fall out. You won't be able to return anything and everything to Wal-Mart. Nope, you won't be livin' the dream forever. Live it while you can.