This weekend while you were more than likely too concerned with anything not snow related there was a death inside snowboarding. No, it wasn’t some high profile athlete dying with their boots on doing what they love. Nor was it someone behind the scenes that helped shape snowboarding into what it is today. It was a death you weren’t expecting and probably are a bit shocked that it happened. Yes, I’m talking about the death of your favorite brand.
What, who, when, how, and where are all questions you’re now asking yourself. The truth is it was just a brand like many others, but it was your favorite. You shared memories, they made products you loved, and their marketing just resonated with you on a level that no other company could. It was a very close and intimate relationship. They were YOUR favorite after all!
You read about this on your favorite site and then all the other associated press releases and you just couldn’t believe it. You denied it. It was natural to question all the news agencies reporting on it, after all what do they know? They aren’t as directly involved with your favorite brand as you are. Where is their emotional attachment?
You feel alone and betrayed by your favorite brands passing. How could this happen? You just watched their latest webisode on Transworld Snowboarding! It was good, like really good. It made you want to snowboard and it touched you at your core. It must be other people’s fault for not buying their products. After all you bought that new head to toe hard goods set up. It must be the global economies fault or a factory half way across the world charging too much. You look for a reason that they are no more, but everywhere you look there is no definitive answer.
Sitting there starring deeply into your screen pondering how you will ever go forward, the thought of them being gone is too much to fathom and you feel deeply saddened for your loss. How could they, after you’ve been through so much together, leave you like this without any warning. What will you do now? Who will make that boot that fits your foot so well. Or what about that board you’ve bought the newest model of for the last ten years. And the team, what about the team? They were your close friends that got you through the down times of off season and injury! What’s next for you, where will you get the gear you love and see the riders that have inspired you?
One day after this news you come to terms with your favorite brands death. You can remember the good times, you on occasion bust out one of their products while snowboarding and it still does what it did when they were thriving. The team has moved on to other companies or silently retired to other endeavors, but what they did still inspires you. You have come full circle and understand that while they are gone they left you with memories that will last your lifetime and for that you are truthfully grateful.
You have now successfully gone through the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief. It is something we see every time a brand of significance leaves snowboarding. Nike has caused it to an extent and there are people still coping with Forum’s demise years later. We as snowboarders become emotionally invested in the brands that give us pleasure.
The truth is no brand is too big to fail inside of snowboarding. At any given moment a brand could make a misstep that causes their demise. Some will be silent and others will be catastrophic implosions. But you know what will remain? That one thing you care more about than the brand itself? Snowboarding. It isn’t going anywhere, you can still do it even if not on your favorite brands product. So the next time you hear of a brand disappearing from snowboarding remember the good times it gave you because of snowboarding and say to yourself, “I’m just going to go ride and it will be alright.” Because a bad day on a snowboard is still better than a lot of other things.