Snowboarding came late to me in life. A move to Portland, OR in my early 30s brought access to Mt Hood (a beautiful one and a half hour drive out East along US26) and a desire to throw myself into something new, that was intrinsically part of my new home.
Mt Hood is omnipresent in PDX, on a clear day you can see it calling you, daring you to leave your city boy worries behind and come over, create some vibes and let nature do it’s thing. It will always be the source of all of my favourite memories from my time in PDX. Spring, Summer, Autumn & most of all Winter.
I spent November 2016 to April 2017 hitting the mountain every weekend, at least once per weekend, making that drive out West. The 5am alarm that pierced my soul at first. 6am roll call packing up the Jeep and the carful section of the Spotify Playlist. The stop at Joe’s Donuts for ‘breakfast’ followed the Wacky Races-esque scramble past Government Camp of Jeeps, Subarus and Pick Ups picking up pace in order to make the main lot and not get stuck in Sunrise (the loser lot, although really there’s no losers when you’re spending a day at the mountain) – battling with the rigid grip of my boots for the first month or so learning to Snowboard.
I was hooked from my first turn (about 3/4s in on my first, humbling day) but it was a Powder Day (my first) on Mt Bachelor on New Year’s Day 2017 that really sealed the deal. THIS IS THE THING, this is what it is…the experience. A fairly mellow Blue Run (I didn’t dare attempt a Black until this season), an empty piste and my wife Laura and I just grinning at shouting at each other with pure joy as we put in endless laps. For most snowboarders it probably wouldn’t even register, but for me only 5-6 weeks into my snowboarding adventure it will always be something I remember – the moment it progressed in my mind from learning to feeling. From something I was going to try to something I’ll be doing and chasing for the as long as I can physically do it.
And for me that’s the thing about Snowboarding. It’s more about you and your ‘Experience’ (big E) than your experience (little, unimportant e). For all the brand led superhuman ads and sections that get put out on YouTube (which I love to watch and dream one day I’ll be able to mimic, I won’t) they still remain largely unattainable snowboarding goals for most. But EVERYONE can learn how to fall down a mountain on a board, and they can learn the pure pleasure of that. Most importantly, they should.
That said, I still love #content and it definitely inspires me to be a better rider and keep pushing. One Pro Snowboarder that I think encapsulates that connection (the big E experience of riding mountains) is Arthur Longo, specifically the two SHE (Side Hits Euphoria) spots that he’s put out. Beautiful flowy, riding that shows how good ripping up your local piste can be. I know I’ll never be as good as Arthur, but I can hum the Fuzz track to myself when I’m daydreaming and I can try smash up side hits next time I’m on a board.