A Year Round Snowboard Haven
20 Aug, 2007
I wrote this article back in 2004 after having knee surgery and having to find online forums to keep my sanity from missing snowboarding. It was published in the PSIA-NW Snowsport Instructor Spring 2004 issue.
Snowboarding has been a huge part of my life. I’ve spent winters devoted to improving my riding and helping others improve. This season ended after I damaged my ACL and I made the decision to get surgery and focus on being ready for next season. Unable to teach on the mountain and be around the community of riders who have been a major part of my life, I searched for some way to stay involved in snowboarding when I couldn’t be on the snow.
What I found were online snowboard communities. These communities range from Seattle and the northwest area, to the instructors on AASI to the entire world. There are sites that include both skiers and snowboarders and sites only directed to one of those groups. Here’s a list of the best:
-aasi.org (our own instructors page for snowboarders and skiers in United States)
-snowboardseattle.com (Puget Sound snowboarding and skiing community).
-nwsnow.com (Washington state for snowboarders and skiers).
-snowboard.com (snowboarders all over the world)
-freeskiing.com (skiers all over the world)
-biglines.com (skiing and snowboarding for North America)
All of these sites are incredible for knowledge dealing with skiing or snowboarding. Each site gives members profile pages, forums, carpool links, and weather information. Since I’m a snowboarder, I’m only on the sites that allow snowboarders or are directly for snowboarders only.
Of all of the sites listed, snowboard.com is by far the largest collective group of snowboarders around the world. It is composed of instructors, snowboard bums, hardcore backcountry peeps, beginners, pro-snowboarders, videographers, photographers, board designers, euro carvers, snow bunnies, posers, freestylers, skiers who are now boarders and of course the moderators who look over all of it. All of these different types of snowboarders make up half million registered users.
You might be asking why instructors would use this site when we have our own forums on AASI. So here are a few reasons that I’ve come up with:
1. We teach because we love teaching. Whether we’re on the snow or off the snow, we love to help give advice to riding better and improving our sport.
2. Snowboarding is constantly developing! Everything is constantly changing, the vocabulary of tricks, the changing slang, the technical language, the overall sport of snowboarding develops new ideas and styles each day. This is information that is no longer in manuals, only on the Internet where it can be updated and worked on daily.
3. We love the snow, but unfortunately the snow is not always there year round, sometimes we just have to go somewhere where there is snow year round even if it’s in our minds.
4. Building clientele is a huge part of our teaching career, it’s great to have lessons where you know the people and you look forward to that lesson. After being online for a week, posting on the forums about riding suggestions, I was asked if I was willing to give private lessons. My occupation was listed as snowboard instructor along with a picture and general information. It was easy to draw in people who just needed some critiquing but didn’t want to get the formal lessons without knowing their instructors. Most of these people, I had already established a connection with before we had even hit the snow.
5. As instructors, there are many of us who speak in technical terms. We’ve all seen it. We speak from our manuals and from exam technical talks but what about being able to give simple, descriptive instructions. There are times when we need to know our technical terms, but not when we teach kids classes, or are teaching fun interactive clinics. It’s been years since I’ve had lawyers, engineers, and Microsoft employees in my snowboard lessons. When you are online, you can’t speak the instructor talk, you have to be as simple and descriptive as possible when you give advice. Few people online are going to understand the terms that we have memorized from our snowboard manuals. Giving advice to strangers online is very tough, because you can’t see what they are doing wrong, so the advice you give must cover enough information on correct techniques and ideas for improvement.
6. To meet other snowboarders, to get rides up to the mtn, to challenge yourself with riders who just ride.
Now that you know how online communities can benefit you, if you are interested go check them out. Here’s the lowdown on the snowboard.com community…
Each member creates a profile page where other members can get to know you and post comments. This is where you list your general information such as name, occupation, age, birthday, where you live, and photos of yourself. You also post your riding information such as which mtn you ride, how many years have you rode, your riding style, stance and ability. At the end of your profile you can include quotes, random thoughts, or even the companies you support. Your profile tells you who has viewed your page; left comments and even lets you instant messenger other riders.
Once you have set up your profile, you are free to roam the forums. These are the categories of the forums: Ages (14-16, 17-19, 20-29, 30+, general), equipment/reviews (bindings, boots, clothing, misc., music, snowboards, videos), locations (Washington, Oregon, Idaho), and riding (general, tricks).
Here are some of the topics of recent posts:
-Snowboard Slang Steez
-Forum for the injured-insane in the membrane
-Good board companies
-Your first shred video
-Helmets: with or without?
-Where do hot chicks ride?
-Rules of the park
-Do orthopedic surgeons snowboard?
-Chair lift etiquette
-Snowboarding’s worst trends
-Building a rail?
-How to get huge air and remain stable?
-Corked and Inverted Spins
-Best bindings you’ve ever had
-Best starter tricks
-Wire vs. Lace boot systems
-Best music for riding
-Are there any…hardbooters here?
-Born in the 70’s
-What’s your riding warm up?
Online forums are where snowboarding is developing, ideas for the sport are created and where our passion we have for the sport shows how long the sport will last. snowboard.com made there website to “create a community where passionate snowboarders could meet other snowboarders and thereby enhance their snowboard lifestyle and the sport of snowboarding.”
These sites are places where the snow never melts, where we are never injured and where we are always welcome in the community. In the words of Jake Burton, our passion to ride has created unlikely friendships, unforgettable days, countless stories, and a culture devoted to standing sideways and having fun. Now we can enjoy our sport when we are unable to ride, when we can’t get to the mtn, and when we miss the snow.