Not Bad, Just Different (guest column)

Editor’s note: The following is a guest article from David Hayes, and is reprinted with permission of the author. It was first published on SeniorSkier.com.

If you’re willing to try the terrain park (and some of you do), we salute you — and on occasion, may join you for a feature that’s low to the ground. 

Readers of this interesting, professional and most discriminating of online magazines may have recently seen an article written in support of older snowboarders (boarders) by a person who is alleged to be named David Hayes. (See “Confessions Of A Senior Snowboarder.”)

That article was universally panned and elements of ski culture have made horrific threats of various natures against the author, the editors, the author’s children, the entire world of snowboarders and have in fact extended their distain all the way to the maker of the paper it was printed on. In point of fact, the person or persons that made allegations about the parentage of the makers of Hammermill paper should be reminded that this is an ELECTRONIC form, not cellulous paper.

Back to the article, be assured that the sanctity of ski culture is not at risk, there is room for both cultures on the mountains, except for Deer Valley and Alta evidently. The Boarders of 10 to 15 years ago have grown up (mostly) and there is a return of civility to the slopes as the maturing of boarders has provided a platform of simple manners, tossing aside the past attitudes expressed in rebellious teens now older and in some cases with children of their own.

Boarders do often seem to wear the image of the rebel and adopt the swagger that only the young can carry off. But, truth be known, the more mature Boarders also carry that “devil-may-care”’ attitude with them but it is not from disdain but it is taken from the very fact that boarding is harder and takes a little more of an effort to do well. Notwithstanding the park work and a double McTwist (see Shaun White video) most of us boarders spend most of our boarding on slopes and then sneaking off in the trees and such for deep powder. This kind of thing (check video) is definitely not for us guys.

You will find those adventurous younger types in the snow parks showing how quickly they can either ruin their boards or end up in the emergency room, often both at one time. Those boarders are the ones we all worry about meeting up in the lift or the slope, these are the ones that our mothers warned us about!

The rest of us look for powder and adventure on slopes and in areas off the slopes as to board in deep powder is like looking under the Christmas tree on Christmas.

Boarders are not bad people, just different! Elegance and grace often found in the skiing community is not where the Boarders interest is found, we boarders (use word Dudes here) swoop and carve and generally look to enjoy the sensations that can only be found on a board. I invite you to try it!

“I tried it one time and it was too hard’ is often heard. “I only get a few days of vacation and I don’t have the time to learn to board” is another. But, is it not true that what is maybe different and maybe a bit harder to learn is also a greater reward when you get it? That first connected heel and toe turn. The joy of being able to actually stop without looking like you have to go to the bathroom, right now! (pizza pie stop). The freedom to swagger to the slope without carrying two boards, two poles!

I say find a good instructor, find out if you are a front faller or a back faller (see author’s previous article no doubt consigned to the electronic trash can equivalent.) But try it, try to get in the groove of boarding, there are rewards to be found beyond using Dude in a sentence.

Now the season is over and I still find myself stretching my quads and calves in a crouch, waiting for the day, the perfect snow day that is out there just a few months away. Get ready mountains!

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