Letters 14.3

The mailman hasn’t been stoking us out too much lately–in fact, our mailboxes have been quite empty. What’s on your wicked little minds? Make shit up for all we care! We need a good laugh, an inspiration, or reason to go running down the street to meet the fine postal carrier. The worst that could possibly happen is your letter might be satisfyingly devoured by those evil Angry Interns¿. But you could also win incredible free gear. This month, Rossignol is hooking up Stephanie from Fresno with a board, boots, and bindings. And Ian is going to be super stoked on a new board from Atlantis, Technine bindings, and Thirty-two boots. We hope to hear from you soon!

Resort Oxymorons

As soon as the weather turns cool and the rain begins to fall, the anticipation of opening day increases. With freshly waxed snowboards and backpacks of equipment sitting by the door for easy access, all we can do is wait, and wait … and wait. While magazines and videos are a small fix, the addiction can’t be satisfied by just watching someone else do it; you need to snowboard yourself, feeling the powder under you instead of just looking at it on a two-dimensional magazine page or television screen. This period of waiting anxiously for the snow to fall is why we begin to rely on the snow phone.

The problem? The snow phone isn’t reliable. While it’s designed to give snowboarders a twice-daily updated report on the weather and snow conditions, it seems to have an overly optimistic view. After a storm bringing only rain, a happy voice informs you there’s excellent coverage and mostly “machine-groomed packed powder.” Upon arrival at the resort, you find the rain has washed away a portion of the trails, confining you to green runs. Situations like this one leave you unprepared, so to avoid further confusion I have attempted to clarify the mysterious scale used on snow phones so you can be ready for the conditions you’re about to face.

Slanted Phrase #1: “Machine-Groomed Packed Powder”–Isn’t packed powder an oxymoron anyway? All this phrase means is it snowed a few days ago and the snow has been squished down, becoming hard, by riders and machines. Take away the word “powder” and it becomes true.

Slanted Phrase #2: “Excellent Spring Conditions”–This generally means it hasn’t snowed in a while, and tree sap and dirt cover the runs–and soon your board. Take away the word “excellent,” put there to attract those who are picky about what they ride. The words “spring conditions” should suffice.

Slanted Phase #3: “Five Feet Of Powder”–Resorts have a way of rounding up: when four and a half feet of snow fall, it is considered five feet; when four and one one-thousandth of an inch feet fall, it is still considered five feet. Then you have to take into account that with time the snow will settle, dividing the amount almost in half.

Slanted Phrase #4: “Hard-Packed, Softening In The Afternoon”–This is the nice way of saying ice that will melt in the sun, become sticky, grab your board, and slow you down.

Slanted Phrase #5: “Excellent Coverage”–The term has no relevant meaning. You could be gliding through powder all over the mountain, or dodging dirt spots all over the run; both of these situations are classified as “excellent coverage.”

The conclusion I came to from these observations? None. Even the best snow phone in the world can’t tell you what to expect as you get off the lift and strap on your board. The words “five feet of powder” don’t capture the fun you’ll have cutting through trees with your friends, or the crystalline beauty of the snow falling silently around you. The words “hard-packed” can’t express the exhilaration you’ll feel as you flat blistering speeds while racing a stranger, or the good pain of ice-burn and bruises at the end of a halfpipe session. While you can’t predict or define what a day on the slopes will be like, you can certainly enjoy it–in all conditions.

Stephanie Reddig

Fresno, California

All righty then. You are quite a creative writer, Steph, and entertained us so much that we would like to reward you with a new setup from Rossignol. Keep walkin’ the walk and talkin’ the talk.

Back To The Basics

What I’ve recently come to notice is that more and more people are getting much better at snowboarding. Throughout the past years many riders have asked for advice on harder tricks, and that disturbs me. As a “new” rider (two years) I’m not catching up with these little kids who are pulling 360s their second week out–very disturbing. Maybe it’s because they live out west and can ride deep powder and awesome terrain every day, while here in Ohio I have to make the best of snow/ice three months out of the year. Maybe they’re just more fearless than I am, or they like being out of control. I’m sorry, groms, but control is good!

But this letter isn’t about me or my lack of courage. It’s about your Moves column. In the seventh issue of last year, you featured a collection of 180s. When I saw this I screamed to the heavens, thankful that people were still doing 180s. It was the first trick I ever learned and is still my favorite. So, thank you TWS for producing such an inspiring idea. By inspiring I mean I hope the little groms are “inspired” to start doing more 180s instead of fives and making me look like a dork.

Ian Coyle

Broadview Heights, Ohio

Okay, 180 plus 180 equals 360. Push it all the way around, Ian! Use your new Atlantis board to spin like Kevin Young, your new Technine bindings to keep you locked in and rotating like Ali Goulet, and your new Thirty-two boots to push you up, over, and around like Kevin Sansalone.

Fast, Wet, And Hard

I was riding at Killington earlier this season. It was getting dark and I was on my last run of the day. It was raining lightly and I was nearly blinded by all the thick fog that billowed around me. These were classic early season conditions–fast, wet, and hard.

I wanted to make my last run a good one, because I don’t get to Killington all that often. So when I saw a big kicker poking up through the fog I said to myself, “What the hell?” I crouched down and went all out. It was already too late when I realized I wasn’t going off a kicker at all, but a small cliff! The fresh snow had covered up the caution tape and made a bank where it used to be.

The ground disappeared from beneath me and I fell about twenty feet onto a dried-up streambed. I ended up snapping the tail off my brand-new Burton Balance 157.5, along with breaking my wrist, chipping my knee, and bruising my ribs. Even though I won’t be snowboarding for a while, I’ve still got your magazine to read.

Steven Browne

Shoreham, Vermont

This is a good lesson for all you readers out there: you should always know what you’re launching off and landing on before you go for it. It sounds like you were pretty lucky not to have hurt yourself more, Steven. Happy recovery!

Big Bills, No Skills

I have four sisters and we’ve all pretty much followed the same childhood path: skating lessons, dancing lessons, soccer, baseball, piano lessons, you name it. Anyway, four of us are pretty close in age and competitive with everything we do, especially when it comes to snowboarding. My closest sister in age (twenty months older) started going all weird during preseason. She downloaded snowboard pics from the ’Net, bookmarked sights, bought a bunch of mags and posters, and she went out and bought a 1,000-dollar boarding outfit. All she could talk about was how cool she was because of her image as a “rider” and how good her outfit would look. I just rolled my eyes and dismissed her as being weak.

So now, as we carve down the mountain and she bails on each kicker, tabletop, and spine that comes her way, then comes up with some lame-ass reason why she fell, I’m reminded there are two types of boarders: Those who seek to purchase their image, and those who wake up at 6:00 a.m. each morning, screw the makeup, and head for the hills with one purpose in mind–to create their own image with fresh tracks in fresh powder.

Anonymous

Yeah, our nearest mountains are actually pretty close to L.A., so we get a lot of those glamour girls, too. We’ve never understood why anyone would get up in the morning to curl their hair or put makeup on to go snowboarding, either. But then again, they’re probably not really out there to board. This is a gigantic generalization, though, and some girly girls may rip–we just have yet to see it with our own eyes. We suggest you stick with the natural look and focus more on the experience of riding.

A Long Shot

This is for those who live to ride, and ride for the pure passion of the sport. I know I’m asking a lot, but would any pros or sponsors be willing to support something for us riders who ride alone? Like trying to hook up a session with a local pro, or just sponsor a day of rippin’ on the white waves! This would be for fun, of course, and to get some great, much-appreciated tips. It’s just a thought. If any riders or sponsors are interested, that would obviously be the shit. I know I’m not the only one with such a crazy-ass idea, but goddamn, would that be what I need right about now.

Mark “Schnoo” Schnoor

Aurora, Colorado

Mark, we suggest you write a letter similar to this one and send it to specific companies either in your area, that have riders in your area, or that sponsor riders you really admire and would like to spend a day with most. You must go straight to the source–the companies have the control to put things like this together. Good luck to you and your “crazy-ass idea”–it’s not bad!

Letters (which may be edited for clarity and space, or passed on to those ornery Angry Interns¿) should be sent in marked: Letter To The Editor, TransWorld SNOWboarding. By snail-trail mail: 353 Airport Road, Oceanside, CA 92054. By FAX: (760) 722-0653. By electronic mail: snowletters@twsnet.com. Or, for those of you who are beyond the rest of us and have access to the World Wide Web, you can post cyber-letters on transworldsnowboarding.com. boarding outfit. All she could talk about was how cool she was because of her image as a “rider” and how good her outfit would look. I just rolled my eyes and dismissed her as being weak.

So now, as we carve down the mountain and she bails on each kicker, tabletop, and spine that comes her way, then comes up with some lame-ass reason why she fell, I’m reminded there are two types of boarders: Those who seek to purchase their image, and those who wake up at 6:00 a.m. each morning, screw the makeup, and head for the hills with one purpose in mind–to create their own image with fresh tracks in fresh powder.

Anonymous

Yeah, our nearest mountains are actually pretty close to L.A., so we get a lot of those glamour girls, too. We’ve never understood why anyone would get up in the morning to curl their hair or put makeup on to go snowboarding, either. But then again, they’re probably not really out there to board. This is a gigantic generalization, though, and some girly girls may rip–we just have yet to see it with our own eyes. We suggest you stick with the natural look and focus more on the experience of riding.

A Long Shot

This is for those who live to ride, and ride for the pure passion of the sport. I know I’m asking a lot, but would any pros or sponsors be willing to support something for us riders who ride alone? Like trying to hook up a session with a local pro, or just sponsor a day of rippin’ on the white waves! This would be for fun, of course, and to get some great, much-appreciated tips. It’s just a thought. If any riders or sponsors are interested, that would obviously be the shit. I know I’m not the only one with such a crazy-ass idea, but goddamn, would that be what I need right about now.

Mark “Schnoo” Schnoor

Aurora, Colorado

Mark, we suggest you write a letter similar to this one and send it to specific companies either in your area, that have riders in your area, or that sponsor riders you really admire and would like to spend a day with most. You must go straight to the source–the companies have the control to put things like this together. Good luck to you and your “crazy-ass idea”–it’s not bad!

Letters (which may be edited for clarity and space, or passed on to those ornery Angry Interns¿) should be sent in marked: Letter To The Editor, TransWorld SNOWboarding. By snail-trail mail: 353 Airport Road, Oceanside, CA 92054. By FAX: (760) 722-0653. By electronic mail: snowletters@twsnet.com. Or, for those of you who are beyond the rest of us and have access to the World Wide Web, you can post cyber-letters on transworldsnowboarding.com.