Launch 15.5

Snowboarding is not so cool that riders should act as the educated do among the ignorant, the rich among the poor. It’s not that tough that people need to represent it like hoods on a corner, disrespecting anyone on the mountain outside their little crew. Once united, we seem today divided, excluding and ignoring those not hip on what’s the new hype this season. It almost pains some snowboarders to acknowledge others on the chair next to them; they stare forward, through their goggles, up the hill, consciously silent. They clown style, equipment, and ability.

There was a time when so few people were riding, you either knew the person, or extended yourself to recognize them in support of what you both shared. This message isn’t to be a blubbering golden remembrance of the past, but a personal challenge addressing the current state of snowboarding’s anonymous community. This winter, I dare you to talk with a stranger in the lift line, carry a set of hardware to offer in a bind, stuff an old beanie in a cargo pocket to give to someone who doesn’t know better, suggest a tip to improve the skills of the struggling, or let some dirt clip your ticket in the parking lot. It’ll all come back around in the end, and slowly we can restore something lost.-Andy Blumberg