[Sage Kotsenburg, shortly before appearing on cereal boxes and The Conan Show. Sochi 2014. Photo: Nick Atkins.]
Once every four years, snowboarding gets to bathe in the fountain of mainstream attention as the Olympics pulls the sport’s highest-ranked park and pipe riders through the glory hole and gives them all a good old fashioned servicing.
However, for many, self-described ‘core’ snowboarders, it can be a perplexing time. Regardless of where you sit on the spectrum – from the grizzled hater of anything that impinges on the purity of well-heeled kids sliding sideways on a modified sledge, to those with an unhealthy interest in all facets of snowboarding – for dedicated riders there’s always something a little uncomfortable, a little cringe, that comes from being presented to the mainstream once every four years. The uniforms, Article 40, guy in the sky photos, articles like this.
It’s as if that fountain of global attention is located in Trafalgar Square and has a bunch of kooks taking iPad selfies around it, with a few empty cans of Red Stripe and the odd dead pigeon floating upon its murky waters.
But fear not, core snowboarders! We have thought short and soft and assembled some guaranteed ways that you, too, can enjoy the five-ringed circus without compromising your stringent belief system! Of course, the simplest solution is just don’t watch it: Go out and snowboard. Make an edit – even if it’s wank. Put in some hashtags about Terje. Or even, due to the fact it’s all going on in the middle of the night in Europe, sleep the shit through all of it.
Hahahaha, who are we kidding?! Of course you’ll watch it – at least the highlights – You just won’t tell anyone. Like you do with your secret love of Austrian afterski ooompah music…
With that in mind, here’s how to enjoy yourself…
No, not the world’s most maligned grab. Depending on your geographical territory, you’ll have a broadcast commentary team that are, at best, overexcited and getting some of the trick names wrong, or at worst, utterly useless with a barely-concealed contempt for snowboarding. It can be enough to have the savvy snowboarder wanting to gouge their ears out with a spoon. Hit mute or try that red button thing so you only hear the on-site noise.
However, especially in territories who’ve gone with employing MC Hermann Kockinmowff, there’s still fun to be had with the sound on! Open your alcoholic beverage of choice and drink each and every time the commentator gets a trick wrong or sounds utterly bemused by what they’re witnessing. Neck the whole damn thing whenever you hear the black words ‘frontside Indy’! And if anyone pulls off that rainbow to flat-down, drink everything in the house and pass out safe in the knowledge that you’ve just witnessed a bona-fide miracle.
In fact, take the whole thing further and recruit your close compadres who are on the same ‘not-watching-but-watching’ tip. Set up Snowboard Commentator Bingo for each broadcast, with words such as ‘Amplitude’, ‘Uniform’, ‘Extreme’, ‘YOLO’, ‘1800’, ‘quad cork’ and the like in the mixer. Loser gets the beers in. End result – everyone wins!