I’ve been wanting to write about the fear of snowskating for a little while. But, I’ve been avoiding it because I wasn’t sure I could do it without making some people mad. Here is my best attempt. Take it or leave it…or tell me how I could do it better.
What is the reaction you usually get when someone sees you riding a snowskate? I get an interesting mix of super stokedness and negative snootiness. The ratio varies depending on the resort I’m skating at. At Heavenly, where there is a big snowskate scene, the super stokers outweigh the snooters (not a drug reference) about one hundred to one. But, the scales tip the other way when I’m talking to people from resorts that don’t allow snowskates or without a large snowskating presence. This post is going to explore this anomaly. Hopefully we’ll all learn something.
Based on the varying degrees of super stokedom depending on exposure to the sport, I have to suppose that the amount of negativity correlates directly with levels of ignorance regarding snowskating. I get the chance to talk with a lot of people about snowskating at my job. I’ve noticed that people who ride exclusively at Squaw, Alpine, and Mammoth (where snowskates aren’t allowed) have the most inaccurate and upsetting view of snowskating. When I show them a snowskate, they just think it’s a toy that can’t be ridden on big mountain terrain just because they don’t see us riding at their resort. This is why it is so important to push for universal resort access. To be cliché: seeing is believing and the more people that see us riding, the more legitimate our sport becomes.
I’ve observed that there seem to be more snowskater haters among snowboarders than skiers. My hypothesis for this phenomenon is that this is quite like the backlash to vegetarianism. Some meat eaters may perceive the fact that a person refuses to eat meat as a direct insult on their choice to eat meat. Although I am not a pushy vegetarian, when I get questions about my personal diet, I see my meat eating companion get defensive. Sometimes it is not their fault. Perhaps they have experience with a well-meaning (or not so well meaning) and very pushy vegetarian. If I’ve lost you, let me tie this back into snowskating. Do snowboarders perceive our sport as an insult to theirs? Are snowskaters insinuating that snowboarding is easy, boring, or just so five minutes ago? Or do snowboarders just view us that way? It is both! I’ve seen snowskaters respond to the negativity of snowboarders by saying things like “take off the training wheels” (meaning that bindings are like training wheels). Are we instigating the negativity too? In a playful manner, I even find myself teasing sometimes. But, in order to increase the stoke, we probably should just lay off the teasing and just showcase snowskating in the most positive way. Read what Justin has to say about this in his Snowskate Confession.
I’ve concluded that the next objection to snowskating stems from brainwashing. People have been brainwashed into thinking that they just cannot ride snow without bindings. Even when they see a snowskater in their brain they are still thinking, “I can’t do that.” Good snowboarders seem afraid to be a newbie again. They just want to go out to the mountain and be the cool guy who can stomp everything. Everyone likes to be a cool guy sometimes, but it is also fun to challenge yourself and progress at something new. A common response that I get when I tell people to try snowskating is, “Oh, no. I’ve never even skateboarded.” I hadn’t either! And, neither had you when you started snowboarding. Snowskating is its own thing that doesn’t have any prerequisites. It isn’t a clique that you have to be invited to join. Just hop on a skate and give it a try! You’ll crash, you’ll laugh, you’ll reignite your passion for board sports, and you’ll make some new friends!
Am I off base? Do you have other examples of snowskate fear? Are you experiencing the fear of snowskating and wanting to talk about it? Comment!
Thanks to Brian from Pluto Sports for encouraging me to write this blog!