So, I heard that you want to trade in your skis for a snowboard this year.
I get it. You want to try it out. It looks cool, right? Maybe it'll be fun? Well, maybe, but there are a few things I'd like you to consider before you make that leap.
You're not just trading two long skinny things for one short fat thing. It's not that simple. You're joining a subculture. Snowboarding used to cultivate that absurd "bad-boy" image in the '80s, the rough-and-tumble kids who reject the upper-middle-class conservatism of skiers, all the while pretending they don't take their parents' money to spend on gear. That shameful, blatant disingenuousness has mercifully faded a bit, but it's been replaced by something much more mainstream — and much more ominous.
Snowboarding has been nibbling at the edges of skiing for years, meeting little but idle grumbling along the way. (The Romans didn't take the Germanic hoards seriously either, not until it was too late.) In the '50s, there were no snowboarders. Now there are more than five million, and there isn't a year that passes where I don't hear a friend or acquaintance say something like, "You know, maybe I'll try snowboarding this year."
This must be stopped.
Why does the conversion only go one way? Why aren't there snowboarders who are sitting around drinking Mountain Dew (or whatever) and saying to each other, "Maybe I'll give skiing a go," or, "Hey brah, skiing could be, like, totally awesome." Because we don't want them, that's why. And we don't want them to have you. So before you jump off that cliff, please consider this brief list, some reasons not to trade in your skis for a snowboard.
THE LINGO Why is it that when otherwise normal men and women strap a board to their feet, they feel compelled to start talking like a mid-'90s surfer? Has the culture not evolved past "gnarly"? Gnarly is a word that goes really well with a Body Glove T-shirt, and since Y2K is acceptable in exclusively arboreal contexts. If you want to say things are "rad," or talk about how you "shredded" the mountain, go with God, but I would ask, humbly, one thing. Before you start saying these things in public, please do the following:
1) Buy a tape recorder.
2) Record yourself saying the words "Let's jib that gnarly half-pipe!"
3) Play them back.
4) Weep softly into your own hands at what you've become.
If you can pull it off, you'd be the first one to not sound stupid since people were wearing slap bracelets. You're not Patrick Swayze in Point Break. I know. I wanted to be like him, too. But at least I've gotten past it.
THE FLATS Enjoy them. When you're trying to get from the lift to your run, what are you going to do? I know what I'll do. I'll be the one using my poles, along with the privilege of bipedal motion, to propel myself forward.
Ooh. Newton's First Law stings like a bitch, doesn't it?
Skiers can get around just fine. We don't even need poles. Surfers can paddle. Skateboarders can push. Snowboarders are the only ones with no recourse. You just sit there helplessly, limping around like Igor, languidly dragging your torqued and awkward legs.