With the the fall of the first snow in Colorado, most of my fellow Denverites are preparing for a long winter of mountain sports. They're waxing their skis and sharpening their edges and tightening their boots to ready themselves for what they assume will be an "epic season." I, on the other hand, am doing nothing. That's because this year, I will not be snowboarding.
Growing up in Miami, my idea of a winter sport was sailing, windsurfing, or carjacking German tourists. When I moved to Colorado 15 years ago, I had barely seen snow, let alone rode 40 m.p.h. on it. Still, I tried to fit in. Living in Boulder, my only role models were bobos that drove Subarus and shopped at REI. They told me that, to be a Coloradan, I had to pick a mountain sport to pursue. Because I didn't want to look like a cast member of Hot Dog...The Movie, I settled on snowboarding.
Working on the mountain as a janitor, I mastered my craft. Soon, I was doing ollies and grabs and switches and spins. I affected the snowboarder drawl (lots of "dudes" and "bros" and "right-ons"). I stopped showering and shaving and wearing deodorant. I became a nuisance to skiers. And in time, I was a full-fledged knuckle-dragger. As the years passed, I went snowboarding each time the winter winds would blow. Eventually though, snowboarding started to blow.
It's not the sport, per se. It's everything that comes along with it -- the traffic, the people, the cold, the altitude sickness, the sore muscles, the long underwear, the dripping mucous, the anal chafe, the bathroom inaccessibility, the long lines to get on the lifts, the high prices for sub-par food at the lodge, the unbearable crowds at the apres ski bar, etc. Essentially, snowboarding became more of a hassle than it's worth.
Still, for some reason, every year I continued to buy my season pass. I continued to sit in traffic for five hours to be cold for five hours to be tired as I sit in traffic again for five hours. I continued to stand in line with obnoxious kids and jeans-wearing Texans and those goddamn handicapped skiers and their goddamn handicapped ski chairs to go for a run where I fight with the same aforementioned assholes for space on the trails. I continued to subject my aging body to strains and sprains and bruises and pulls when I should have been at home like the rest of the sane people in my demographic. Well, that's over now since, as I said, this year, I will not be snowboarding.
It feels great to say that. In July, I won't get anxious that I haven't purchased my overpriced Colorado Pass in time to get the early bird "discount". In September, I won't be pissed that I didn't get to Sniagrab in time to get the good gear so I won't look like a tool four months later. In November, I won't dread the fact that I haven't had my first day on the mountain despite the fact that early season runs are wrought with bare trails, rocks, and jerks that think they have to take advantage of early season runs.
In January, I won't have to wait with the herds of lemmings to get to and from The Eisenhower Tunnel. If I don't want to deal with traffic, I won't have to spend the highest prices of the year to stay in shitty accommodations that only out-of-towners should stay in during high season. In March, I won't have to question whether I should wear winter gear or summer gear and sweat or freeze depending upon which choice I make. In April, I won't have to be sad that it's 6 months until I can snowboard again.
Hey, snowboarding has been good to me. It gave me a reason to go to Aspen to harass Hunter S. Thompson and to hit on foreign au pairs and nannys. Ah, but now Hunter's dead and I'm too old for the au pairs and nannys. It gave me a reason to go to Breckenridge to smoke weed with hippies and to watch third-tier jam bands jam. Ah, but now I no longer get high and I've lost any of my remaining tolerance for cacophonous noodling. It gave me a reason to get out of Denver to get away from the tedium of home. Ah, but now snowboarding has become even more tedious than being at home.
Snowboarding has also not been good to me. It's been the cause of broken ribs, busted discs, and squished balls. It's been the cause of wind burn, athlete's foot, and mildewy body odor. It's forced me to schedule my life around I-70's traffic trends. It's gotten me close to frost bite. It's given me the worst gas of my life (open mouth snowboarding and high altitude are not a good gastric combination). It's ruined hangovers by forcing me to get out of bed to partake in an activity that should never be partaken in hungover. And, It's kept me from doing important shit like gambling online, surfing porn, and stealing groceries.
Snowboarding is sort of like Guitar Hero. It's pretty cool at first, but after a while, it becomes lame and boring. Look, there's a reason Blacks and Asians and Mexicans don't partake in mountain sports. They're smart. I'm no white man. So, this year, I'm going to act like it. Gladly, I won't see you on the mountain!