It’s now the middle of January which means there’s only half a month left till the five ring circus known as the Winter Olympics descends on the civilized world. At the forefront of that will be snowboarding in the forms of halfpipe and slopestyle. Two things that have been a huge part of snowboarding long before the first time snowboarding made an appearance in the 1998 Olympics.
Looking back the Nagano games were the catalyst that thrust snowboarding onto the worlds stage gaining it more exposure to a broader audience than anything else at that time. The 2002 games in Salt Lake City further pushed it into the mainstream and every four years since the Olympic popularity has caused it to gain more exposure. Now everyone’s mother and grandmother knows who Shaun White is and that double corks are ‘impressive’.
It’s this exposure that has left some with a sour taste in their mouth as they are the ones that eat, sleep, and breath it. They’ve found a way of having a piece of plastic and wood sliding sideways on snow take over their life and their being. When NBC sports reporter Bob Costas was interviewed about the inclusion of snowboard slopestyle last week by Today Show host Matt Laurer he said, “The president of the IOC should be Johnny Knoxville, because basically this stuff is just Jackass stuff that they invented, and called Olympic sports.”
The one thing people forgot to take from this is that once again the mainstream media is having someone from outside the lifestyle and culture speaking about it. In 4 months ask Bob Costas if he cares about snowboarding and he won’t. Why? Because he doesn’t understand it nor does it fit into his mold of what a sport is. There’s a severe disconnect between mainstream ‘experts’ and the counter culture sports like snowboarding. This is something that has been present ever since snowboarding entered the global competition circus.
Yesterday at the Breckenridge Colorado stop of the Grand Prix tour, a FIS competition to gain points for Olympic entry there was even more controversy. Ironically an influx of snow caused a snowboard competition to be cancelled and the skier run FIS to once again mess up snowboard competitor to snowboard competition organizer relations. A common theme since 1998 when Terje Haakonsen said no to having skiers being in charge of snowboarders. Are you noticing a recurring theme yet? It’s the theme of those that don’t understand snowboarding are trying to define and make it fit their mold of what it should be, this will never be the case.
While people are hung up on the fact that the Grand Prix organizers messed up and could potentially screw a handful of riders out of Olympic glory, no one took into account the amazing powder that was to be had. Not to knock the Olympic try outs but in a season that has areas hurting for snow this should be a priority. Powder is priceless, contests will come and go. To quote one of our contributors, ‘Back in the day when contests weren’t “festivals” they would just be like bluebird on Tuesday see you then.’
While the Olympics are a part of snowboarding as long as snowboarding doesn’t conform to what the mainstream thinks it is we do the snowboard world will be fine. So relax, the Olympics will be over soon and we can go back to not giving a shit what Bob Costas and his hairpiece have to say.