Every now and again the mail sucks-kids, I apologize for the reality check. The letter below is harsh and I wasn’t going to run it-but I have a responsibility. Take from it what you can, and let this serve as a reminder. Life is filled with consequences-it’s a world of action and reaction. Try to live and learn … literally.
My oldest son Zach, age seventeen, died in a snowboard accident last year. Snowboarding was his passion, and he loved your magazine. It’s hard to deal with the fact he didn’t tell me about the road gap he was planning. Yes, I would have insisted he wear a helmet, but I hope he knew I would have supported him in working up to, and eventually accomplishing, this goal. Apparently, he built the kicker too steep and wasn’t able to clear the ice-packed gravel road. Zach landed on his back, and suffered a fractured skull. As a friend wrote in a journal at his funeral, “I guess we won’t be making the road gap, Zach. The pros make it look so easy.”As I write this, I’m looking at a picture of a road gap Zach framed and put on his wall. I can’t tell whether the boarder has a helmet on or not-but I’m sure a helmet would have saved Zach’s life.Our hope is that helmets will become as fashionable in snowsports as they are on bicycle riders. Please show more photos of pros wearing helmets-younger riders will also start wearing them.The Zach Hansen Memorial Helmet Fund has provided free loaner helmets at Birch Hill Snowpark, Skiland, and Moose Mountain. The helmets were constantly checked out, and none were lost or stolen.To the readers and great young riders: Get yourself a helmet-don’t take a chance on a tragic ending to a beautiful winter day.
Tom and Diane Hansen
Dear TransWorld, I’m lying in bed reading my back issues- looking at all the photos and captions and knowing that soon I’ll dust off my coreshot Joyride and hit the slopes. They’ll be jumps I build in my backyard, but gone are the days when my buddies and I would spend countless hours on them. My friends will be few and far between this season-most have found girlfriends. They’ve sold their boards to buy rings or necklaces for girls’ birthdays. Gone are the days when life was about having fun and snowboarding-regardless of what life throws at you.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Sounds like you’re the last one in line to hit puberty, Robert. I’ll let you in on a little secret-cubic zirconia.-CodyIce Infraction
I’ve been subscribing to your mag for about a year now. I like all the pictures and interviews, but reading the Mail is the best. TWS usually entertains me all winter when I’m not at the mountain. Our park consists of three kickers ranging from two to four feet high, and a halfpipe. If you try to build your own jumps you get kicked out for a day. Same with going inverted-unless you have a license. Last year a dumb skier pushed my board down the hill through some trees and a chunk of the nose came off.
Farmington, New York
Son, do you know why I pulled you over? About a mile back I saw you throw a rodeo off the cat track. Step away from the snowboard-your invert license, lift ticket, and registration, please.-Cody
Dear TransWorld, I recently had my first encounter with two pro snowboarders. I had always thought that pros lived an elite lifestyle of free gear, transportation, and lift access. Living in cars and eating ramen, or training in the dead of winter were things I expected of amateurs. My friend offered me a ride to Mt. Hood, and when we arrived it was in the 30s with twenty-mile-an-hour gusts, and snowing on and off. We boarded for a while and decided to go home-due to the hockey-rink conditions and lack of park access. On our way back to the car two guys in a red Grand Prix pulled up and asked if they could have our tickets. The guy sitting shotgun immediately pulled out a leatherman tool and snipped our tickets. I can eaasily recognize pros, and was so surprised when I saw these familiar faces. Why were Scotty Wittlake and Blaise Rosenthal clipping tickets in shitty conditions? The answer? Dedication and a love for the sport. I then remembered the true meaning of the word amateur-one who does something for pleasure, not to get paid.
I hate to burst your bubble, junior-but they took your tickets and submitted them to sponsors for reimbursement. Professional: engaged in by persons receiving financial return.-Cody
Eyes Wide Shut
Dear TransWorld SNOWboarding, I would like to take advantage of your feedback section and give props. I believe Nixon watches and M3 Snowboards are really rider-oriented companies and promote the sport in a great way. I believe other companies should follow suit and temporarily forget about profit and create a forum for riders to show their best stuff. Keep up the great work at Nixon, M3, Volcom, and Burton.
Fair Oaks, Pennsylvania
Props out, partner. Businesses exist to make money-that’s the bottom line, Joey.-Cody
Dear TransWorld, you guys have a rad magazine! When I get a new issue I hibernate in my room for hours reading it. I was really stoked when I opened the January issue and it had an interview with Shannon Dunn. Wow! She’s such a great snowboarder and a wonderful role model for us teen girls! Not only does she mention God-but she doesn’t cuss in it either. She’s truly a strong woman, and I give her mad props!
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Early to finish, late to start-Robert Keith’s a sharp dressed man thanks to outerwear provided by Planet Earth. Angelic Erika Hansen receives a new set of outerwear compliments of Roxy.
Mail (which may be edited for clarity and space, or passed on to The Angry Interns(tm)) should be sent in marked: Letters to the Editor, TransWorld SNOWboarding: 353 Airport Road, Oceanside, CA 92054; by FAX: (760) 722-0653; by electronic mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.