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Snowboarding's Old School Vs. The New School: A Comparative Essay

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Much like any other sport, snowboarding has a rich history; full of enthusiastic spectators, athletes and annual events. What separates snowboarding from most traditional sports in commonplace society today however, is the rapid progression and extensive variations that the sport has undergone, since its recent founding in 1980 by the unofficial godfather of "shredding", Jake Burton. While this is all very well and interesting, what this humble shredder would like to direct its most esteemed reader to is the radical changes a sport so infantile has experienced in the last twenty-five years, an infinitesimal time compared to traditional sports that have been played for generations with no hint of variation except for the occasion logo or uniform. Snowboarding has undergone a vast array of changes; from its corporate and public support, to its participants, even to its fashion trends. It's been a long time coming, but for all you young shredsters out there seeking to brush up on some hill history, or those of you who don't associate yourselves with the sport for fear of a broken hip, here's the run down on the divergences the sport has undertake. Without further a due; snowboarding, a closer look at the old school versus the new school.

Joe and Jane Shredpants, we need to talk. If you're in the scene, then you know a large part of snowboarding is image; for those of you who aren't, now you do. Who's reppin' the gnarliest threads, who's just oozing steeze on the lift line? Well listen hear Ð''cause it wasn't always so. Snowboarding on the whole has gone down the collective, you get the idea. Remember when it use to be tough? When the sight of a group of snowboarders walking into the lodge would send mothers into protective dives for their children? Now, ten years later, we got the same moms handing kids juice boxes at the top of the pipe and giving them tips on how to do "Mac-Twists." While it is true that this is an inevitable sign of warmth, where are the holdouts? There are millions of people riding motorcycles safely and sanely, but there are still Hell's Angels. The point is, when snowboarding first came around it was a few kids trying something new- and it was scoffed at worse then the red headed step-child your parents kept in the basement. Few resorts let Jake and his crew ride on the mountain and the skiers had their preconceived notions stuck so far up their butts not even the ski poles could dig Ð''em out. Now-a-days every fetus and their grandmother are out tearin' it up on the hill.

On the flip side of snowboard imagery we have something that will prevalently (and embarrassingly) remain similar for years to come. It'll always be fun to make fun of the skier with the mullet in the one piece neon snowsuit. Only kidding- sort of; snowboarding is notorious for foolish getups that are the "it" thing one minute and more decrepit then your Aunt Mauve the next. The old school is best represented by Def Lepord hair, acid washed jeans and windbreakers that could render a person blind with their glaring neon colors. Next came your buddy with the gigantic pants and gold chains who had a close up of Mr. T safety pinned on the back of his vest. Five years from now we'll no doubt be mercilessly ridiculing our present tendencies. For instance, every rider's need to tie a bandana around their face to simultaneously achieve wind blockage and the look of a yeti battling John Wayne will be a thing of the past, undoubtedly replaced with an equally stupid trend. Every sport has its tradition though, and for shredders it's maintaining mountain steeze- it's what keeps riders together (and looking hotter than Flava Flav's crack pipe!). For the outsider this seems like a strange concept; consider it however, a bonding experience. We stand all stand board to board in the lift line with our fellow riders looking like idiots together, but really, really cool idiots. It's something that'll never change. So what's the best way to remain SUPER fresh? Go with whatever trends are hot, and as soon as you get a whiff of change, jump on the next thing like you were already there.

Another great change to have swept the snowboard scene is the change that came when corporate America came around, enter the dollar sign. Now, has the sport changed because of the changing demographic? Maybe snowboarding is no longer marketed to a bunch of rough and tumble kids, and now the sales pitches are pointed at parents- the ones who buy the product. Making everything a little tamer



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