Writing – Photos – Travel – Crafts

Original Post on Yobeat

Sean Genovese_Classic japanese street portrait_Shinjuku,JP_Mertz 2012

Classic guy. Classic portrait. Photos: Alex Mertz

Snowboarding isn’t something that most people make a life out of. It’s not because the industry is too exclusive or any of that nonsense, it’s that even the most hardcore snowboarder will probably wake up some day with a job and kids and actual responsibilities, and not care quite as much. But luckily for everyone from the casual enthusiast to the hardcore kid sleeping in his car to make ends meet in a ski town, there are people like Sean Genovese. Sean is a lifer. Truly passionate about snowboarding, he’s set out to help keep the fun, excitement and interest in it for himself, and he’s willing to let you come along for the ride. As the founder of Dinosaurs Will Die, a long-time pro and former shop rat, Sean is the core of snowboarding.

Brooke: You run a core snowboard brand. What does that mean?

Geno: (Laughs) Ummm. Fuck, I don’t know. Core is a weird thing. I try to think of another core brand that I would consider core and then another that I would consider not core, but then when I do that I think that I am just judging and who am I to give a shit about that. Ok, a core brand or a core person is someone who literally does not have a care outside of what they are doing. They only try to appeal to them and their friends, which is the core. But it’s just the core to them, or their little bubble. So who’s to say that whatever brand over there that claims we do whatever, they are doing their thing, so it’s core in a different way. And that’s when you try to generalize snowboarders into one big lump sum and say “we are the middle, we are the center of it all.” You can’t really do that. As it grows, there is different segmenting so the core is growing but their are different types. There are people who ride over 100 days a year, you could be a bum and do that, or you could be really rich and do that. But do they pay attention to anything else? Are they doing it for themselves? True soul boarding? Is that the core? Maybe. Are they paying attention to contests, is that core? Is a video part core? It’s no different than filming figure skating, or filming parkour and putting it on the Internet, you know? Everyone takes it seriously and because we decided to take it seriously, now it’s cool. It’s like we all decided at some point that this was going to be cool.

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Snowboarding is fun. I mean, it kinda of goes without saying, but when you’ve been doing it for a long time, sometimes you can forget. The past few seasons I’ve admittedly been a bit snobby about things such as the conditions, which will happen when you live somewhere it gets really good (and also really bad). But this season, the magic is back. I’ve already ridden more times this year than last, and I actually have passes to multiple resorts. Well, I HAD passes, I should say.

The unintended consequence of my refound love for snowboarding is I’ve completely reverted back to my 16-year-old self. This means, I am “trying” and actually putting effort into “getting some” again. Apparently though, even when you’re almost 30 and attempt to use rational and logic to get out of it, you will still get your pass pulled for cutting a rope. As you can see from the photo above (taken on the fateful run), it was worth it, but I am currently on a two-week time out permanent suspension from Mt. Hood Meadows.

Technically, the bottom of Heather Canyon was open yesterday, which means the lift was running, the mitigating factor in if you can ride one of the best/steepest sections of the mountain. I happened to be following a few uber locals, and while we were all keenly aware of the potentially pass-losing consequences, ducking in a bit above the one open gate definitely yielded turns that were somewhat epic. If everyone else hadn’t been cutting in early as well, the ski patrol may not have set up a sting operation at the bottom, but you know, that’ll happen when no one wants to follow the rules. Jerks (the people cutting the ropes, not the ski patrol who were JUST DOING THEIR JOBS). As I popped out of the sticky cat track I heard the fateful “What do you think you’re doing,” and soon was freed of the excessive weight of one of my seasons passes.

Since they are were nice enough to give me a media pass, I decided I would attend the “skier education course” they want you to take before they give you your pass back. It also helped that one of the other idiots I was with got his taken as well, so my other option was sitting in the lodge and waiting. The course went something like this: watch a 30-minute scare video about ski safety ala the ones they show you about drunk driving in driver’s ed. Review the agreement we signed (but no one has ever read) when we got our passes, and finally a fun q and a where the other people tried to blame the mountain for it being “confusing” etc. We were then informed to get our passes back, we’d have to educate 5 other people  and get them to sign a piece of paper saying we did, and bring it back in two weeks. I asked if I could do my educating via twitter, but apparently that is not enough of a waste of time, so they said no.

I felt like I was back at Pico, sitting the office getting yelled at for ducking under the rope for the little river bed section that was next to the Golden Express, and I must say, I kinda liked it. I guess I’ll just have to make due with Bachelor for the next two days and then Ski Bowl until the 23rd for the rest of the season. Shucks.

Disclaimer: Heather Meadows has avalanches. You should not duck the rope and go in there, even though I survived and it made for a funny story.

It’s been an interesting couple of days in my internet world, thanks to an awesome hate thread from some people who clearly don’t get it, but don’t worry about me. I’m tough and I can take it. In fact, I’ve been getting hate mail for years. Ten years later, this one is still my favorite.

Original Publication Date: August 2000

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One of my favorite parts about this website, is the quality letters I receive from day to day. I get some good ones, but this might take the cake. I would explain farther, but I don’t think it’s even nessecary, so I put some of the highlights in bold. If your not sure what he’s talking about, read this first: X Games: Fear and Loathing in Mt. Snow

To whom it may concern, (Please forward to Brooke Geery and her editor)

I usually do not enjoy voicing displeasure at others’ journalism, but I figured that such a poor reporting job could be the exception to my rule. I know that it took place a long time ago, but I just recently read your article on the X-Games titled “Fear and Loathing in Mount Snow.” I was at first pissed off by the unoriginal name, but decided to read on for a possible journalistic interest, as I myself am a writer for an online extreme sports new source. “They didn’t come for the fame and glory, or because an X Games gold medal brings so much pride to your country and family, everyone who showed up was there because first place in every discipline received $10,000.” This is the first crock of absolute slander and ignorant journalism I encountered. Let it be known to the writer of this trash that many of the athletes are competing for the enjoyment and for the glory of knowing that they are the best there is, and the 10K purse is only a side order to the larger prize. The Author, Brooke Geery, is obviously lying about the quality of the parties, as they were only open to the athletes and not to the press. Do not question me on this because I personally was at the X-games with a press pass and was not allowed to attend the apres-ski parties.

Another source of displeasure, “The judges have the winners all picked out long before anyone drops in. If someone unexpected does well, they will receive fourth, as ESPN failed to create a profile on them to show before their run. If one of the pre-decided winners does poorly, the judges are forced to give them a high score anyway. Case in point, Peter Line. In Thursday’s slopestyle, he managed to pull off a bronze medal for a run that shouldn’t have even gotten him into the top ten.” This is an absolutely opinionistic paragraph with no physical evidence to back up the slander of ESPN and its appointed judges. It seems as if the author is making the BS up as she goes along. Please advise Ms. Geery to stop this practice or to remove this paragraph from the eyes of the online public, or I personally will inform ESPN of the slander imposed upon them and YoBeat magazine might have a lawsuit on its hands. “Tara Dakides, the undisputed best all around female snowboarder in the world took home the gold.” Once again we see opinionized journalism that is improper in the professional world. Tara Dakides is a very stock-trick snowboarder, as her perfected backflip is almost always her competition trick. The title of “undisputed best all around female snowboarder in the world” is completely invented by Ms. Geery, as the ISF does not rank Tara Dakides first in any female snowboarding genre.

Upon Ms. Geery’s analysis of the Sno-Cross event, “It managed to attract every ski-doo jacket-clad redneck family in Southern Vermont, which is quite a few. Although alcohol was ‘not allowed at the X Games,’ the Budweiser cans littering the slopes after that event greatly out numbered the inches of natural snow Mt. Snow has received, ever.” Not only is this an attempt at humor by outright lying about the amount of snow Mount Snow receives, it is also poor sentence construction and a mockery of the people of Southern Vermont. The author uses offensive stereotypes to describe the fans of snowmobile racing. Maybe we should ask the potential readers of YoBeat Magazine of southern Vermont what they think of this line.

If I have not convinced the readers of this email of the poor quality of Brooke Geery’s reporting, then please ask me to continue, because I only cited a few of the major problems I noticed in the article. As an accomplished journalist, I highly recommend, in the best interest of YoBeat magazine, that Ms. Brooke Geery be re-evaluated as a writer, and her position as a writer for the magazine be compromised. As well as that of her editor, if there is such a person at yobeat.com. If the receiver of this e-mail has decided to read on to this point in the criticism, consider yourself lucky, for if I do not receive a reply and a explanation or justification for the offensive terms used in the article, I will personally write an article for the web site I am employed by critiquing the quality of service provided by YoBeat Magazine. I will read all the articles available online, and I will make a fair judgment and critique, but I am not expecting to sway my readers in the favor of your service. Once again, please respond, for your own good.

The Red Guardian
Jay Loughnane

Okay, that was great, but there’s more. Upon my three to four sentence responses (I didn’t feel this was worth any more of my time than this), this guy actually wrote me two more letters, each one brimming with more comedy. In case you’re wondering, he’s not joking. Better yet, I did some research and figured out which “online extreme sports new source” he writes for. It’s a little gem called Teenvoice.com. Enough about that though, let’s get to the rest of those letters.

Ms. Geery,
I would like for you to be informed that it was not only I who read and was displeased with this one article, but also many of my journalism-interested friends, my snowboarding friends, as well as some of those who were with me at the X-Games. Realize that we are all 16 years of age, and therefore our opinion of your journalism is important. Judging from the age of the writers of “Letters to the Editor,” “Angry Interns,” and “Babble On,” my age is a target audience of the magazines you write for, as well as yobeat.com. If I am wrong about the age of your target audience, that it is not the 14-18 year old population, please inform me. But since I am believing that a large percentage of readers of the magazines you contribute to are my age, I ask you to understand that my opinion of your journalism should not be taken as an insult, but as a critique and an influence to improve. Think of it this way, If I didn’t like it when I read it, and a bunch of my friends I showed the article to didn’t like it either, you can guess that a whole lot of your readers aren’t going to jump for joy when reading Brooke Geery’s article “Fear and Loathing at Mount Snow.”

On to another, more personal point. Trying to intimidate me by listing your various positions and asking me which online magazine I am affiliated with was completely unsuccessful, and in fact made me laugh. I know that as a reader of many of the magazines you contribute to, my opinion matters and is not to be taken as a single case, but to be taken as the opinion of many of your readers, and adapted to. Also, Ms. Geery, using a comedic insult would work if you were trying to make your readers laugh in an article for YoBeat! However, using the attempted insult in your response only shows me your immaturity as well as your lack of respect for other people. Get off your high horse and realize that as a professional journalist you should learn to take criticisms with grace, instead of being offended by them and trying to retaliate with an insult. Ms. Geery, understand that I respect your position, but I will not be intimidated by your titles. Just because I am not as credited as you in the field of journalism doesn’t mean that I don’t know excellent or poor journalism when I see it. If your writing style has changed since the X-Games article, please send me a link to some of your new articles, for I would like to see how someone can progress in a short period of time, if your articles have improved. Please respond, and next time try to respect me as an informed journalist, as well as a consumer of some magazines you contribute to, as I respect you as a credited writer.

-The Red Guardian

All this because I told him it sounded like he was bitter because he couldn’t get into the parties. And there’s one more, this one when I asked him if he was serious.

From that last intelligent message I received from the Professional, Editor-in-Chief of a Highly Respected Snowboard Zine, I can see that it is not worth my time to try to comment on your magazine. The fact that in your two responsive emails you have not said one comment that justifies anything I asked for, I can see that you have no people skills, you care nothing for the opinions of your readers, and thus, you do not deserve the position of Editor-in-Chief, even if you are the founder. Thank you Ms. Geery for showing me the high caliber of personnel on the staff of Yo Beat! If you can’t tell, I am being sarcastic. Maybe you should stop going to your parties (that I wasn’t invited to, very funny) and take a class on proper management techniques. You have honestly disgusted me as to the quality of your character and that of your magazine, and I only ask that your well thought, intelligent comments be directed at people weak enough to take offense to them. Good luck in making money off of the uneducated idiots of society who think just like yourself. You can be sure that you have lost not just me, but also the readers of my online web service.

Thank you for wasting my time,
The Red Guardian

I don’t know if Yo Beat will be able to continue without the readers of Ecrush’s support, but I’m going to forge ahead. Now I was far too lazy to really lay into the kid in my responses (that’s why they’re not included here), but I had some help from my huge public. Here are some of the letters that have been flowing into this guy’s inbox.

Don’t Question The Great Oz!!!

I’m a snowboard geek, there is no sense in hiding it. I snowboard more than your average joe, I have been doing it for a long time, all of my friends are snowboarders, my roommate is a snowboarder, my employers are both part of the snowboard industry, in fact my employers for the past six years have been part of the snowboard industry. So I’ll be the first one to admit I’m kind of a geek when it comes to snowboarding. I’d like to think I know a lot about it. Now normally I wouldn’t respond to some weirdo’s remarks about a story on the internet, usually at best, my roommate and I would have a good laugh about it and perhaps I’d mention it to some friends but that would be about it. This time I felt different. This letter by “The Red Guardian” (by the way what kind of name is that? what’s he trying to be the Green Hornet or some sort of communist protector?) represents just about everything I hate about snowboarding today. I felt that this clown needed to be addressed and that a response from YoBeat other than that of Brooke’s was warranted.

First of all let me point out to the PINK GUARDIAN that other than writing a couple of stories for Brooke I have absolutely nothing to do with YoBeat. Hell, I’ve only met Brooke once and it was at the Waterville Quarter Pipe contest so you can bet neither of us remember what was said to one another “Mumble Mumble Mumble I gotta go get another beer nice to have met ya.” From what I’ve seen Brooke tells it like it is. She speaks what’s on her mind and most of the time it’s what most people are thinking but just lacking the balls to say. I can say for sure there have been a few things that Brooke has written that I haven’t agreed with, even a couple things that have pissed me off, but that’s what makes this site rad. Yo Beat is a snowboard website for snowboarders by snowboarders and is done for free. Yes Pinky it’s FREE. No one is bling blinging off of this site, Brooke isn’t sporting gold fronts and she sure as hell isn’t driving a Lex. But wait I digress you probably don’t understand any of this mumbo jumbo. Before I go any further maybe I should say this: I sincerely hope that your letter was a well crafted joke made for the enjoyment of YoBeat’s readers. If it was in fact a joke I apologize for the any of the off base remarks I directed at your name and congratulate you for pulling a fast one on all of us. I don’t really get off on that type of humor, usually I like to write about painted dancing bears drinking wicked elixirs while frolicking naked in the forest chasing little singing nymphs, or occasionally I’ll pen an entire sonnet regarding Drunken Viking orgies around huge redwood stocked Bonfires. But that’s just me and I’m getting off track here.

Congratulations Pinky, you’ve reached paragraph number three or “the body” according to you English majors. The interesting thing about paragraph number three is that it is located directly beneath paragraph number two and maybe if I continue on with this pointless drivel it will be followed by paragraph number four. Personally I don’t think your little rant was a joke, I think you were serious. Now for a little while I’m going to turn geek and analyze some of the completely ridiculous and asinine remarks you made about Brooke’s story. Let’s start with the title “Fear and Loathing at the X-games” Sure the damn title has been used before and I’m sure you ass-ummed that Brooke was commenting on the whole drugs and snowboarding thing that you “journalists” love to write about. But wait could there actually have been something clever there? Could she have been commenting on how the east coast snowboard community was fearing and loathing the X-games, the influx of every “extreme” dude from Canada to Virginia, maybe the giant traffic jams, our favorite bars being closed by bumbling idiots from New York who only came to see Tony Hawk and Biker Sherlock? Perhaps this was an alright time to slip the widely used book title in. But hey what do we know we’re just snowboarders right? You wouldn’t give us the benefit of the doubt for actually crafting something of literary merit. To be honest, this was the only point in your entire worthless debauchery of the English language that I even considered for a moment because I too was a little bummed on the title until I thought about it for a while.

In your letter when you threatened to sue, it clued me in right away that something was in fact fishy with your story. You’re probably the type of person who if he fell skating a backyard pool would probably try to sue. You’re not who you claim to be, buddy, because anyone who actually snowboards knows threatening to sue is not something you go waving around aimlessly in our community. You’re not one of us. The next clue came when you burped out the fact that you were “an accomplished journalist.” I have never (that’s right I’m using the strong word never here), never met anyone who has said they were “accomplished” at something and then had that person turn out to be legit. It’s type of egotistical bragging that someone who really is what you claim to be would never do.

The third clue, and in all honesty this is the clue that made me fall out of my chair and damn near piss myself was where you said something like “DON’T EVEN TRY TO ARGUE ME ON THIS POINT. I WAS THERE, I HAD A MEDIA PASS.” This was in response to Brooke explaining the party scene at the games. Listen Jack Ass it’s not our fault if you’ve got no friends and sat in your hotel room watching “Spice” all night by yourself. I guess if we can’t argue with you than I’m sure all of the damage done to my liver was purely imagined, and Brooke must have been dreaming all of that stuff up, and the fireballs I saw being blown by several well known “athletes” didn’t happen either, or the Silo wasn’t shut down because half of the X Games tried to squeeze in there. Nope, none of this happened. Maybe you should stop and smell the roses and realize you may have been trying to cover something journalistically that you had no business covering. Snowboarding has no rules. That’s what the sport was founded on and that goes for journalistic jackasses that try to cover it as well. Brooke, like all of the other legitimate snowboard media, hung out and covered what their friends were doing. Oh yeah, their friends happen to be most of the podium riders from the games. This leads me to one more reason why perhaps that title really bothers you. Hunter S. Thompson was famous for not playing by the rules of journalism. He took the accepted system and turned it upside down. Snowboarding is much the same way, and to cover it properly you have to be willing to do just that. Perhaps you are just bitter because you played by the rules and came up flat. Don’t take it out on Brooke, her story of the games was probably one of the most honest and accurate depictions. More importantly to snowboarders, which again is what this site is aimed at my friend, her story echoed the opinions of most of us there.

All the other crap you raised is just that…crap. I mean really, Do you think these athletes who left some of the best snow on earth wanted to come to Mt. No Snow to prove to each other who was the best? Hell no they came for the paycheck. All that other stuff about Peter Line and Tara Dakides, well your comments just show your ignorance, and I guarantee (yes I am guaranteeing you, and yes I am well aware of the power and emphasis of certain words when used in a journalistic sense) that if you call either of these athletes and show them the story and what Brooke wrote they would agree with what she said.

In closing, it’s people like you that are poisoning our sport. Now that snowboarding is officially cool and making money you come to these events waving your credentials around like you expect us to start throwing palms in your path. On top of that you go ahead almost a year later questioning the skills and threatening to sue a young writer/rider who is doing what she loves and doing a damn fine job at it. (Again do I sense jealousy here). Brooke stepped up and for better or worse she’s doing what a lot of people only talk about. She covers a sport and a scene that a lot of people around here feel pretty strongly about. Watch what you go writing about because with every stroke of the key pad you made directed at her you were inserting your foot deeper and deeper into your mouth. A little piece of advice my friend, in this rapidly growing information age perhaps you should slow down and think a little before you hit the send key.

This was all typed out in one foul and furious stream of consciousness so forgive me if there are any mistakes regarding punctuation, spelling, or there happens to be any “poor sentence structure.” I feel as though I can speak for Brooke as well as the entire YoBeat readership that in no way did we mean anything negative towards the X games. They have been an extremely positive and driving force in both the sports of skateboarding and snowboarding. The X-games are great. Christ, part of my rent check from my roommate came from the X-games so I love them. Yay X-games! So go ahead send this to them, I’m sure you’re gonna anyway. What I will say to the X-games directly however is that if The Pink Guardian’s letter is true than the X games should seriously take a long hard look at who they give press credentials to and figure out a way to weed bozos like that out.

So Pinky if you liked Brooke’s article as much as you say you did I’m sure you’ll love this one almost as much. I hope I brightened your day a little and maybe if I didn’t make myself clear enough this “final thought” will do it for you. We don’t need anymore bumbling idiots roaming around our sport, we have enough already so keep you’re freaking A.P. Stylus manual, all of your precious credentials, and threats of lawsuits out of our sport. You should stick to covering rollerblading, skysurfing, and passive aggressive boccie for whatever website it is you work for. And oh, while I’m on the topic of your web site be sure to pass this along to your editor. I can see by your skills that there may be some job openings there. It’s been a real pleasure chatting with you. You really have no idea what it means to me to speak with a writer of your caliber.

Puzzled by your ignorance,
CAVAN

P.S. I can’t believe I just wasted a half hour of my time talking about a snowboard contest that happened almost a year ago. Do you know you just made me miss the Christina Agiulera making the video? I’m really turning into a geek.

P.P.S. NOTE: I found out after the fact that I was responding to a 16 year old pimple popping computer geek who works for Teenvoice.com. Now this colossal waste of my time not only makes me feel even more like a geek but also all dirty and violated as well. I mean I thought I had hit the big time. I thought I was corresponding with a real honest to goodness journalistic titan, but now I am crushed. I can only sit here and think about what might have been and hope that someday If I’m lucky maybe I can talk to a real extreme journalist.

Mr. Loughnane,
I’d just like to inform you, before you have YoBeat Magazine sued for slander, libel and all that other good stuff, that Brooke’s editor will not reprimand her at all for ridiculous online stunts. Brooke Geery is the editor of YoBeat. Why didn’t you check the staff listing before you pleaded with Brooke herself to stop Brooke from writing with such reckless abandon and disrespect for good journalism? A good journalist knows the facts before he or she reports them in some manner. Brooke sometimes makes fun of the facts with her journalism, but she knows what she’s talking about. In an industry that is profoundly style based, you should know, being an “extreme sports” journalist and all, that people have their own styles and they are to be respected. If Brooke’s style revolves around being somewhat sarcastic then so be it. A lot of people find it hilarious on occasion, myself included. if you don’t like her style than don’t read her articles anymore, dude. Don’t say you’re going to march over to Bellingham, Washington and take YoBeat down for good. I’m not sure you’re aware of the money and sponsor support that is behind Brooke’s little outfit. The ramifications of your actions may just lead to your demise as a “extreme” journalist.

Best regards,
Kevin R. Susienka
“Extreme Sports” Enthusiast
and YoBeat subscription holder since 1998

I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of the extreme journalist. I have often wondered why Ms. Geery hasn’t been fired or reprimanded by those who run YoBeat. Often times I find that her stories are poorly researched, rarely spell checked and never refer to the ISF rankings. In effect she brings the rest of us trying to make a buck off of these “rad shredders” down. Hell I didn’t spend half a year in college to join a career with illiterate, half witted snowboarders as my peers. They throw around their opinions like it was a hacky sack at a reggae festival and for what? They don’t use traditional motivations like money or fame. Writers like Geery do their task under the guise of “keeping it real.” This makes them rather unpredictable and makes it hard to keep them in line and buy them off. It is this free thought from within the sport of snowboarding that is the biggest obstacle that opportunists like myself have in manipulating the sport for mainstream consumption. I wish writers like Ms. Geery would follow the stereotypes that they would start living the stereotypes and start smoking more weed and producing less words. This might not help snowboarding much but it would certainly help the rest of us who are trying to make a buck off of the sport.

-Rip Hymen
“Trying to keep it real” profitible.

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I guess technically Sunday was the first day of my season, but I don’t really want to count strapping in twice and falling dramatically both times as a day. So that means today was my official first day of the season. Ridiculously late at the fault of the snow, not me, but at least the gondola I was on didn’t fall down.

Meadows opened up Sunday, but I spent yesterday dealing with trying to get my studs put on. Newsflash: the day after the storm is not the best time to try and get this done. Every soccer mom and moron in a Kia felt the need to do the same so that they’d safely be able to make it to the mall for the next day or two the roads are bad. Four hours later, the place I went decided they didn’t want to put on just two studded tires after all (something about it being unsafe) so I left in a huff and went to the sketchy place first thing this morning.

The goal was pick up my pass and make a few turns. Meadows is nice enough to have given me a media pass the past few years, but I am always skeptical of how long it will last. It doesn’t help that they always spell my name (differently) wrong, but I managed to score for one more year.

Today turned out to be the perfect day to ride anyway. Bluebird and “very cold,” which in Oregon means low 20s. Since it hasn’t gotten above freezing since the storm, the snow was soft and perfect and there were still a few slashes to be found. Jen and I traversed and got extreme one run and took a few mellow cruisers. Caught some air, grabbed my board, and got compliments on my goggles from the “kids.” Successful first day I’d say.

SNOWBOARDER

SNOWBOARDER

OR

GYPSY

GYPSY

Being a pro snowboarder has always meant living a nomadic lifestyle, not unlike that of a Gypsy. Traveling around the globe to follow the snow, and occasionally causing mischief, well, I’m surprised someone hasn’t brought it up before. And now with the fashion trends that seem to be sweeping the snowboard world, it’s getting almost as hard to tell snowboarders from gypsies as it is to tell hipsters from the homeless.

We figured it was probably time to give you some tips on how to tell if the individual you are dealing is simply a “brohemian” who will just steal your weed, or a gypsy who will take you for everything you are worth. Here are five simple steps to be sure.

1) Check their scarf. A real gypsy either wove it themselves from the hair of small children or found in a gutter. If you are dealing with a snowboarder, there is probably an extreme logo on there somewhere.
2) Luggage is always key. A snowboarder probably has nice, matching bags from their sponsor. A gypsy usually travels with garbage bags or cardboard boxes. Be sure to check the contents, because what you think could be a gypsy, might actually be a snowboarder who just received a box of new gear or a really cool snowboarder without a luggage sponsor.
3) Ask them to predict the future. A real gypsy will likely try to get you to pay them. A snowboarder will simply tell you about how sweet the party will be tonight.
4) Go to their house. If it’s a snowboarder you’ll soon be at a sweet condo somewhere in the mountains. A gypsy lives in a clan, in caravans.
5) Look at their bank account. A gypsy probably won’t have one. The snowboarder on the other hand, probably receives regular deposits from mom and dad.

Be sure you’ve already read Part 1, so you are not totally lost.

As our giant conversion van pulled onto Canadian soil, I started to get a little bit excited. My first trip as a real photographer—I hoped I wouldn’t blow it. We picked up Kalle Ohlson at the airport and then headed to our first hotel. At the desk, Josh asked how much it was, and then said, “We’ll take three rooms. I’ll split the first with Nova.” I was confused, but bit my tongue. The older Justin spoke up and said we’d probably only need two because they were on a budget, and then asked me to pay for a third of my room for the next two nights. Interesting, because “lodging was paid for,” but I was already there. $77.92 after the Canadian exchange rate.

The town we were in was called Trois-Rivières. It smelled like a paper mill and was blanketed in about six feet of snow. The next day we would meet Max Baillargeon, who was nice enough to take us to a few spots. Of course, I didn’t learn Max’s full name until after the trip, since Josh never bothered to learn how to pronounce it.

The first spot we hit was called “The Perfect Rail.” After three hours of digging, we uncovered a low down-rail that looked like it could easily have been in any snowboard park. I figured it was a warm-up rail, and/or some seriously tech stuff could go down, which made sense for the first spot on the trip. As I tried to figure out a way to make it look decent in photos, including attempting to dig myself a hole at the bottom of the rail so I could shoot up at it with a fisheye, Josh just shook his head at me and said, “Brooke, I’ve never seen a photographer shoot from there.” Yeah, photographers never shoot from the bottom of rails… But I hoped he was just concerned for my safety, and tried to ignore it.

AS YOU CAN SEE, THE PHOTOGRAPHIC POSIBILITIES WERE ENDLESS

AS YOU CAN SEE, THE PHOTOGRAPHIC POSSIBILITIES WERE ENDLESS

I TRIED TO GET ARTSY. IT DIDN'T REALLY HELP

I TRIED TO GET ARTSY. IT DIDN'T REALLY HELP

I ASKED THE DUDES TO WALK UP THE OTHERSIDE SO THEY WEREN'T IN THE SHOT. THEY SAID NO, NOT THAT IT MATTERED.

I ASKED THE DUDES TO WALK UP THE OTHERSIDE SO THEY WEREN'T IN THE SHOT. THEY SAID NO, NOT THAT IT MATTERED.


A few hours later, it had already become very clear that the only one in this crew that could really hit rails was Nova. Unfortunately, he also fell super-hard on his shoulder, and didn’t think he’d be able to ride for the next few days. After a while attempting to make turds look like diamonds, I went to sit in the car. Josh, who’d already landed some hideous spinny trick, was already there. I finally asked what, exactly, they were filming for. I mean, it certainly wasn’t Mack Dawg. I’ll admit, my phrasing probably wasn’t the most gentle, but Josh’s response was basically, “Why do you think we have a 16mm and an HD filmer here?”

I HAPPENED TO SHOOT A SEQUENCE OF MY HOPES AND DREAMS BEING CRUSHED

I HAPPENED TO SHOOT A SEQUENCE OF MY HOPES AND DREAMS BEING CRUSHED

After The Perfect Rail, we went to check out a double kink. More digging. (I should note that it never occurred to me to bring a shovel, so I couldn’t really help—and I got a lot of dirty looks for it.) Josh got mad at me for asking if I should try and build a kicker at the top of the rail, saying, “OBVIOUSLY.” I’ll spare the gory details, but the only ones who ended up hitting this thing were Max and the injured Nova. No real tricks went down, and Josh and Kalle claimed they wanted to come back tomorrow.

THE MOST ACTION THE STUPID DOUBLE KINK SAW

THE MOST ACTION THE STUPID DOUBLE KINK SAW

INJURED NOVA STEPPED UP AND THE LIGHT GOT GOOD. LUCKILY THERE WAS A SOFT LANDING PAD INCASE SOMETHING WENT WRONG.

INJURED NOVA STEPPED UP AND THE LIGHT GOT GOOD. LUCKILY THERE WAS A SOFT LANDING PAD INCASE SOMETHING WENT WRONG.

Tomorrow came, and we went back. The rail was too frozen, or something, so no one hit it. No one hit the triple kink we went to next, and the last rail was too buried. We decided to just head to Québec City, where plenty of spots were fabled to exist. We drove around the historic city for hours. We saw a few spots (most of which had been hit in various videos over the year) and marked them in the GPS. The snowboards never came out, though. Eventually it started to get dark, and it was time to give up pretending we were going to snowboard. I suggested we book a hotel room; maybe even a suite, so we could all split it. I was shut down by Josh, who said, “We’re staying at the Ozone. It’s where everyone stays.”

THE TRIPLE KINK WAS A NO-GO

THE TRIPLE KINK WAS A NO-GO

Of course, finding the Ozone was the first challenge. We had a GPS, but Tom-Tom didn’t seem to know where the Ozone was (Not a good sign, right?). So, being the only one with a Canada plan on my phone, I called information and got the address. Unfortunately, the free text message with the info didn’t come through, so I had to try and remember the exact address. After the boys were sufficiently pissed that I failed them by trying to help, we finally arrived.

QUEBEC IS A COOL CITY

QUEBEC IS A COOL CITY

WELL ACTUALLY COLD. FREEZING COLD

WELL ACTUALLY COLD. FREEZING COLD

BUT THERE WAS PLENTY OF STUFF TO LOOK AT

BUT THERE WAS PLENTY OF STUFF TO LOOK AT

I TOOK THESE PICTURES WHILE WE WERE DRIVING AROUND ALL DAY.

I TOOK THESE PICTURES WHILE WE WERE DRIVING AROUND ALL DAY.

Sure enough, two other film crews were also staying at the hotel: Runway and TransWorld. I must say I was excited about the prospect of seeing other people I knew on this trip, because at this point I was trying to plan my escape. I never really intended to end up this deep in Canada, and the plan had always been that one of the crew would drive me back to Burlington in time to catch my flight. But now we were five hours away, and Josh suggested there were probably buses. But, I thought, maybe having other riders around might make the trip a bit more bearable.

I dragged my bag through the biting cold to the warm lobby of the hotel. There, it had already been decided that I would room with Justin and Nova (it turned out he snored, so Josh didn’t want to share a room with him, but he pretended he was trying to split his time evenly…or something.) At this point I was over it, so as they told us we had to pay in advance, I told the guys I would probably only be there one night, even though they would be there for three. They looked at me, then at the girl behind the counter, and just said, “Yeah, can we split it in three?” So, another $100 worth of “free” lodging, most of it for days I wouldn’t even be there.

That night I went to hang out with Leanne Pelosi and Raewyn Reid. They showed me their pictures from that day—the day we’d driven around and done nothing because the weather wasn’t perfect. They had tons of pictures using the amazing scenery—tail blocks in front of horse-drawn buggies, etc. Nothing super epic, but man, it looked like they were having fun. After a little venting, I headed back up to the room, where I was happy to find no one was around. I did my best to sleep in the loud, drafty hotel, and tried to figure out how I was going to get home tomorrow…

TO BE CONTINUED.

Check back for Part 3, the conclusion of the trip, and my snowboard photography career, next Monday.

Bamboo

I don’t know about you, but I am not buying into this whole “green craze” in snowboarding. Sure, we can make fun of wakeboarding because their activity is potentially more offensive to the environment than snowboarding, but when it all comes down to it, snowboarding is just not a “green” activity.

We human beings need to feel better about ourselves though, and the snowboard industry seems to be wholeheartedly jumping on the bandwagon of “eco-friendly” products. And what word says “eco-friendly” like bamboo! Let’s be realistic though, riding a snowboard or wearing socks made of bamboo isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be.

Sure, bamboo has plenty of benefits for clothing. It’s highly renewable and grows back without replanting. It requires no pesticides, and will grow like a weed just about anywhere. And of course once processed, it’s silky and wonderful and naturally anti-microbial and moisture wicking. So why wouldn’t every one want to use it?

There in lies the problem: everyone does want to use it. From snowboard first layer companies to high fashion, you are hard-pressed to find a line without at least one piece of bamboo in it. Sure it’s easily renewable, but where is all this bamboo growing? Well, the high demand for bamboo in everything from clothing to flooring is causing many Chinese farmers to turn natural forests into bamboo fields. And even though it’s not necessary, many cultivators are starting to use fertilizers that are hardly “organic” to make the fast growing plant grow even faster.

So the solution is to just buy American, right? Well, in addition to defeating one of the other major-eco benefits of bamboo (it’s cheap and low-impact because it grows near the factories) there really is no such thing. China is the only place with the technology and machinery to effectively grow and mill bamboo. China’s eco-policy? Well, that air in Beijing didn’t get so thick from solar and wind power.

A little more research and it turns out to process bamboo into that lustrous and wonderful sheen we enjoy so much in our socks, some pretty gnarly chemicals are used. Carbon disulfide (shown to affect the normal functions of the brain, liver, and heart) and sodium hydroxide (which causes swelling or spasms of the upper airway leading to obstruction and loss of measurable pulse; inflammation of the lungs and accumulation of fluid in the lungs) help turn the fiber into something we can use. I guess the point is to be good for the environment, so who cares about the Chinese factory workers, right?

Oh yeah, and what about the pandas? What will they eat if we use all the bamboo for t-shirts and snowboards? Think of the pandas! But I digress…

The solution? Don’t feel too good about yourself just because you are wearing a bamboo t-shirt. You are not helping anything. If you really want to make a difference, try eating Sun Chips or buying your gas from BP. Go green!
bamboo jacket
BAMBOO JACKETS!
bamboo boards
BAMBOO BOARDS!
bamboo socks
BAMBOO SOCKS!
bamboo line
A WHOLE BAMBOO LINE!

Snowboarding

Skateboarding

Random

I’ve taken to saying “I am going to blog this shit out of this” no matter what I am doing, because for some reason I now have like 15 blogs on different subjects going. There’s this one, of course, and then Alliancewakeskate.com, Futuresnowboarding.com and Yobeat (which let’s be honest, probably isn’t getting updated anytime soon.)

All this blogging makes me tired, although I do enjoy that I get to tell everyone my thoughts and sometimes I get paid for it. I just posted my first snowboard-related story in a few weeks on Future. Actually, yesterday I took Jared riding for the first time this season. The snow was sticky and we didn’t make it off the advanced bunny slope, but it was sort of fun. We had fun taking pictures of each other “getting some” and here’s the one I got of him.

jared.jpg

Mostly my time has been spent on Alliancewakeskate.com. It’s worth it though, all 30 people who wakeskate seem really psyched on the site. I kid, I kid. There are at least 50 people who wakeskate.

There have been several things I meant to blog the shit out of recently, but haven’t, such as the wierd Last Thursday artshow I went to. I heard it described as “a field of psuedo hipsters in a sea of bad art” but Lovejoy’s art was pretty cool. Here’s a picture of that so you can feel like you were there.

hipsters.jpg

And I also went to check out the new Atmosphere store, which I would expand upon but there’s a Future Blog in the works. I will give them the exclusive!

Losing it

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The first few days back from a trip are always weird. Maybe it’s the jet lag (but seriously, it was only three hours of time difference) or the fact that I almost have to get re-accustomed to sleeping in the insane comfort that is my own bed. Maybe I just get out of the habit of getting up, going into the office, and working. Whatever it is, it taking longer than usual this time.

When I am out of town for awhile I forget about what I have to do. I always have several projects going at once, and since I am usually traveling for one at a time that one takes precidance and the rest are nearly forgotten.  This morning I got an email asking about text for one of the forgotten projects. Crap! It’s never good to admit you aren’t working on something so the drill is: Make up excuse. Give a date you’ll have it done. Do it. Everyone is happy. But silly me, I said I’d have it done by the end of the week. Oh yeah, Top Chef was on last night (yes I track time by TV Shows), it’s Thursday. The end of the week is TOMORROW!

I’m also working on several other things– I need a t-shirt slogan for the new Alliance Wakeskate site (it’s not going well.) I have to track down old, illusive pro snowboarders to get quotes for a story.  I am supposed to be writing a profile, of course the subject isn’t returning my emails anymore. I am planning a magazine trip, and I have two photographers who think they are going. I have to break the bad news to one of them.

Mostly though, I have to get my head straight. I don’t know if it’s going to help, but I have been browsing the world wide web. I came across this. It’s good. Also my cats rule. Here is a picture.

kitties.jpg