Sunday, March 25, 2012

Real Talk Son!

I saw a cool clip on SBC today. It's definitely worth a watch. A snowboarding legend saying some real shit without being an asshole. I agree with a lot of things Scotty says here, but I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who think he's full of shit. Whatever the case maybe, if you give a shit about snowboarding, it's important to listen to other people's opinions about it. Especially people who have played such an impactful role in the culture as a whole.

Scotty Wittlake talks about energy drinks from BuoLoco on Vimeo.

I think much of what is said in this clip is pretty poignant and on point. I know in the grand scheme of things it's only snowboarding and whatever but I think as responsible human beings, we really need to step back and look at these kinds of things objectively. The prominence of energy drink logos and the overabundant availability of these beverages to children who should have nothing to do with them is worrying to say the least, straight up crazy to be honest. When I was a young skater, I use to emulate my idols equally as passionately as today's youth, walking down the street with the tongues hanging out of my shoes like Stevie Williams or a backwards Braves hat trying to look like the Boss. The difference was that these fashion choices I pursued, which were directly influenced by the skaters and snowboarders I looked up to so fervently never for a moment's time threatened my health. That's gone completely out of the window as of late however and kids idolizing the Coles or Shecklers and the Rencz or Cravens feel as though the most effective way to follow in their footsteps is to drink the very poisonous beverages that these dudes are sponsored by. My local hill banned energy drink sales from the cafeteria last season due to the amount of kids who were going bonkers, spending all their money on Monsters and getting picked up at the end of the night by their parents completely wired. What else does this sound like? Kids are without a doubt the most susceptible target audience out there for marketing strategies and by setting a precedent at an early age for a culture dependent on stimulating and addictive substances can honestly go nowhere from here but down hill. That's why it's tight that Wittlake took the time to speak his mind about this whole issue, someone has to. The young people most responsible for supporting the livelihood of these energy drink corporations are unfortunately not yet able to recognize the vicious cycle of which they have become a part of. However there are enough of us out there, with solid heads on our shoulders, riding with the Monster or Redbull snapback hat kids on a regular basis who should take it upon themselves to clue the little shredders in. I'm definitely not being preachy or advocate being preachy, I'm down for everyone to make their own decisions in life. I think it's important though, to come to the best decision, information is paramount. So let the kids know what is really going on with these drink companies; they're are targeting young kids with an insanely aggressive marketing campaign, to sell them a product that is insanely unhealthy and at the end of the day the people who motivate these kids to throw their money away on these drinks, probably don't even drink them themselves.

Monday, March 12, 2012

You Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone

The season is unfortunately beginning to wind down here in Toronto and all the hills in the area are closing up shop in the next couple of weeks. It seems like only days ago I was getting the pre season itches, counting down the days until I could strap in and spend another winter making memories. Unfortunately that dream winter never quite materialized and at this point I have resigned myself to the fact that it's never gonna happen, the season is almost all said and done. In retrospect however, although due to weather the frequency of my snowboarding this winter hasn't been what I had hoped for or what it's been in the past, this has been one of the most fun seasons I can remember.

In the past I've spent countless consecutive days on the hill snowboarding, never giving a passing thought as to whether the weather would permit me to head out again the next day. With that mindset, I took advantage of the long, snow filled days with the homeys, knowing there would be more to come tomorrow. That definitely wasn't the case this winter however, and every moment spent snowboarding was legitimately appreciated and stored away in the mental memory bank for future review. The snow was never ideal this season, but every day out was amazing and fun and probably more progressive as far as my riding is concerned then most previous year's day packed into one. I think this was because I didn't know when the next time I'd ride would be. I didn't know if I'd wake up to temperature's in the upper teens and resorts not even able to make snow and open there doors.

This year we took a different approach. Not sitting in the chalet, taking extended breaks and indulging in all the over priced delicacies the cafeteria has to offer. In seasons past, the beers and other words beginning with B often took precedence over the actual snowboarding, which is normally pretty fun in it's own skeezy and counterproductive way, but before you know it any chances of doing any actual snowboarding have all gone cattywompus. But this year we rode for hours and hours on end, stopping only for the occasional smoke or to slam down a piece of pizza or can of coke only to strap right back in and make our way back to the lift line.

There were the finals of a contest series at my local hill on Saturday and the park was closed to the everyone but the competitors for the day. Naturally I was bummed at first as Chicopee doesn't have a whole lot else to offer, but I ended up meeting up with my young nephew whose still not confident to gets lap in at the park. We spent the day just cruising around, being dumb asses and enjoying being out on the snow. I can honestly say it was one of the best days I had this season. So maybe this global warming tainted season has been a blessing in disguise. I mean it definitely sucked it in it's own right, but in an attempt to keep up the glass half full mindset , it's been a positive eye opener. It's really made me realize how pretty much everything else to do in the winter is boring as shit and that I'm super fortunate to be a snowboarder and have that aspect of my life to retreat to.Thank Fuck for that!

I feel as though it is often the case, and I am among the biggest offenders for this, that we as a culture abuse snowboarding as a commodity, failing to recognize that all that really matters at the end of the day is what happens on the board, and that everything else we talk about and consume on a daily base as far as snowboarding is concerned, can actually be left to the wayside. Don't get me wrong, I write about snowboarding because I love it so much and it's something that consistently frequents my thoughts. The beauty of this shit winter has been though, that it's reminded me that all these videos I watch, magazines I read, time spent buying gear, laughs had in the chalet bar; are all irrelevant. All that is important is me and my snowboard.

That Was Wicked! Says a Native Lady to a Camera

Nick Visconti was slated to have his own web series on TWS Snow next after the season's conclusion entitled ReCreation. However, as he was quoted as saying on the TWS site " This season I have been working on an exclusive TransWorld SNOWboarding web-series and video project with intent to fuse web, video and print media. However, due to some unexpected events and the limited snow season, this project has been reinvented and we decided to release now in season."

I caught a lot of heat at the beginning on the season when I put Nick's Think Thanks parts as one of the parts that gets my stoked for an oncoming season. I'm into the dude though, I won't deny it. I know there are tons of people out there who would love to disagree and revel in their hatred for this guy. I think he's a rad snowboarder. In a culture where "what is cool" is held at such high regard, I'm backing anyone who is out there doing their own thing, differently, originally and with a creative and stylish approach. I'd say Nick Visconti is just that and I was super hyped to see he had released a new 4 minute video part.

This part has seriously heavy rail destruction in it, Visconti undeniably has skills on the board. I kind of think of his trick and spot selection in the same vein as someone like Scotty Stevens, and I enjoy that kind of weird, strap in strap out riding (shuv its a certain point) approach. I'm not gonna name off every tight trick he did in the part, they're all pretty craze. There is some super weird shit and some straight up tricks done on some sketchy rails, a pretty nice variety. Watch the part, then re watch it. Then probably watch it again. 

Part of the reason I began skateboarding and subsequently snowboarding was that everyone who I met who skated seemed like they were a bit more in tune with the world then everyone else, like they knew something that people who didn't skate didn't know. I see snowboarding populated with less like this more and more as the years go on, but Nick still reminds me of my older sisters punk friends who would come over with their skateboards and talk about all this cool musical, philosophical and political stuff and the intro to this part on helps to strengthen that perception I have of him. In the fast paced, highly competitive society we currently find ourselves living in, it's always refreshing to see someone whose able to make fun of themselves, take things lightly and still get ahead in the world.

I think maybe sometimes the importance of creativity, which is paramount to keeping the vitality of this culture alive and preventing it from becoming another run of the mill, fandom filled, competitive sport, is lost in the mix these days. Whether the tricks he's doing and the gear he's repping is something you like or not, I still think it's important to recognize people like Nick (among numerous others) who are constantly out there, pushing the boundaries of the creative mind and keeping snowboarding fresh in the wake of what seems to be pinnacle in snowboarding' mainstream popularity.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Hairy Snowboarder

I've been wanting to post about LNP's TWS Pro Spotlight since I got it in the mail a month ago, but school work and the rigors of having fun with my friends on the hill have prevailed until now.  I was, am and probably always will be a fan of Laurent Nicolas Paquin's snowboarding. Dude's amazing. His skill level is fucking nuts, but what has always seperated LNP was his sheer creativity and originality regarding the tricks he does, which is in a whole other league. There's quite a lot of lifestyle footage and coverage of him floating around out there and I've never really known what to make of the dude as just that, a dude. This interview however was the last small push it took for me to go from fan of his snowboarding to full blown fan of the dude himself. His passion for snowboarding is so undeniable and apparent from the way he talks about it and how he expresses his relationship with it to the level of success he has garnered for himself within the industry. LNP snowboards because it makes him happy, and it always hypes me up to see pros out there doing it for just that reason. I think it is pretty safe to say that the motivation to get himself to where he is at today stems from the right reasons (or at least what I think are the right reasons) and he has continued to embody this pure love of snowboarding throughout his career.

Recently someone turned me onto the Living Louie Vito web series and I have to be honest I can't say I was too stoked. He seems like a nice guy and he definitely rips on the board but I'm personally not really down to associate snowboarding with coaches, training and workout schedules. As a snowboarder the show is obviously entertaining as it's always pretty funny to get an in depth look into this choreographed side of things. After watching the web series, I re read LNP's spotlight and the dude just seemed even that much more legit.

His answers are pretty enlightening and let the reader really know where his priorities lie, not only in snowboarding but in life as well. When asked why he didn't take part in the Real Snow contest this year LNP put it bluntly " I was really looking forward to filming with the Videograss crew cause they're all my friends. For this year I just wanted to do another good part with Videograss, that's not on the internet, has all my shots and that kids will be stoked to see."

LNP is a snowboarder's snowboarder and a good reminder that no matter how many Livin Louie Vito reality series episodes there are out there, there are pro's still shredding with the homies whether the limelight is on them or not.