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See you next season, board-boy

Mark Maynard

Aww. Thanks Kent, your season-ending Christmas letter was a sweet, poignant reflection on everything we have done this year in Planks vs. Boards. I hope you can find a candy-cane-bordered letterhead to print it on before you send it around to the in-laws. Do you have any cute pictures of nieces and nephews that you could throw in as well? I already have a special place for it in my “Letters from Kent scrapbook” right between your love-letter on the new snowboard boot models and the inspiring cry for Freedom aimed squarely between the eyes of the few “major” ski resorts that still don’t allow snowboards on their slopes. I’m sure your scathing rhetoric had boarders storming the gates of Taos and Mad River Glen demanding equal access for baggy-pantsers. Since Mad River Glen is a private resort, perhaps Martha Burk can apply for a permit and launch a protest at the bottom of their main chairlift.

I must agree that our readers have surely not learned a thing, seriously or otherwise. I doubt we have converted a single boarder to ride a pair of planks nor have any skiers opted to throw away their coveted side-cuts for the chance to ride a sheet of laminated plywood sideways down a blue groomer to experience the “Xtreme Lifestyle.” Most of the ex-boarders that I know who have opted to go back to skiing this season have done so purely for personal reasons and not because they were particularly inspired by any of my columns.

That said – I am willing to pick up next season right here where we are leaving off this season. While we are not winning any converts, perhaps we are polarizing those who have already picked their team and decided to ski or board for life. Maybe we have reached a young child or two in their formative years and helped them to pick a path that will become a lifetime of joy (skiing) or an eternal pang of regret (boarding).

I have learned things from Kent’s discourse this season. Never again will I stop in a flat spot while riding with boarder friends. That is unless I feel like exercising my right to get that little chuckle that always creeps up from deep inside every time I watch a boarder companion stop at the top of a long cat-track and suddenly get that priceless look of realization on his or her face that they are in for a long, skateboard style kick-and-slide push to get further down the mountain.

I don’t want to stop in the flat spots and miss out on any of those great “hidden runs” you snowboarders are so fond of – you know, those hidden hotspots that veer 30 feet to the side of a cat-track through rotten snow sloughed off the sides of the trail by grooming machines to catch “fresh tracks” down some no-outlet, you’re-gonna-have-to-hike-out gully lined with 5 scraggly firs for some “backcountry tree-skiing”.

So Kent, have a great off-season and think ahead to next year. I will be parked on a Tahoe beach somewhere, asleep in the sun and dreaming of carving long curving s-turns in a big batch of champagne powder somewhere steep, narrow and secluded while you work on your “ollies” at the local skatepark and dream of short, soft-booted walks across the parking lot for that apres drink.


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