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Talking Points

8 LIFE LESSONS SNOWBOARDING TEACHES YOU

Werni Stock sends a frontside 360 into the evening light. Photo: Carlos Blanchard

Eight things that snowboarding teaches you.

When you think about it, snowboarding is a pretty straightforward activity really. You strap onto a plank of wood, and slide down snow on it.

In reality though, we all know that it’s much more than that. It’s a way of getting out into the mountains, sharing good times with our friends and one of the best ways to long-arm life like an Aussie at a beer festival.

Snowboarders are some of the most down to earth, positive and downright fun people we’ve ever met, and it got us thinking that there is a lot we can learn from snowboarding that can be applied to more everyday pursuits.

Have a look at the shots and words over the next few pages and see if you agree.

Doing stuff with friends is way better than cruising solo

Kevin Bäckström emerges from an aerial whiteroom kicked up by homies Tor Lundström and DBK. Photo: Xabier Azcarate

Cast your mind back to the single best day of snowboarding you ever had. Got it? Now we’d be willing to bet our left nut that for 95% of you, that particular day riding was spent cruising with homies.

it’s the unwavering, sworn-in truth that sharing slashes and trick stomps with your buddies is way better than doing it solo.

While it may be as clichéd as saying that snowboarding is fun (probably because it is you know…), it’s also the unwavering, sworn-in truth that sharing slashes and trick stomps with your buddies is way better than doing it solo. We think that snowboarding kicks ass for that very fact.

Take risks, go big

Bode Merrill sure as hell knows that it’s all about going big! Photo: Andy Wright

The guy that spends his whole life being too afraid to take that extra step is the guy that dies wishing he had.

Remember the time you stood preparing to drop into the biggest kicker of your life? The sweaty palms and shaky legs may have felt shitty at the time, but we bet that 9.5 times out of 10, the feeling of making it over the table top on your feet and still conscious was worth every single bead of perspiration.

snowboarding is all about managing the risks while simultaneously pushing the boundaries

We suppose that snowboarding is all about managing the risks while simultaneously pushing the boundaries, and it’s a mentality that a lot of people would do well to live by in more everyday pursuits.

Screwing up is a big part of learning

If you ain’t screwing up from time to time you ain’t trying hard enough.

When you’re going big and taking more risks than a mildly inebriated poker player, it’s inevitable that it doesn’t always go the way you planned.

snowboarding is the perfect example of an activity where mistakes are crucial to your progression

Remember the first time you hopped 90 degrees into boardslide on a down rail, and subsequently not being able to sit down properly for two days afterwards? Chances are, you learned from that slam and have since figured out how to avoid pummelling your tailbone to a pulp on cold, hard steel.

The point we’re trying to make is that snowboarding is the perfect example of an activity where mistakes are crucial to your progression. Without them, you wouldn’t learn a damn thing.

Respect your elders

Two of the forefathers of modern day snowboarding. Jake Burton and Tom Sims.

If it weren’t for snowboarding’s forefathers, the Tom Sims, Craig Kelly, Terry Kidwells and Bryan Iguchi’s of this world, as well as the big brother figures that got many of us into snowboarding, we would have zero reference points for what kicks ass, and what is whacker than a loud-mouthed scooter kid who’s popped one too many gummy bears.

These leaders – OG riders who have shaped snowboarding for us into what it is today, command our respect

On top of that, we’d have nobody to pass down the really useful stuff – the not stepping out on cornices, scoping your line before you drop in, or making sure landings are clear in the park.

These leaders, OG riders who have shaped snowboarding for us into what it is today, command our respect.

It may be hard to admit it at times, but old people rule!

The world can be viewed in more ways than one

Toni Kerkelä figured that this bridge wasn’t just for vehicles to pass over… Photo: Ville Lahtinen

Growing up as snowboarders we quickly learn to not take the world for face value.

While the uninitiated may see the mountains as relatively unidirectional snow sliding highways, we view them like sprawling metropolises, with points of interest at every corner and almost limitless side streets to explore.

This ability to ‘look outside the piste’ (so to speak), and to view your environment as an opportunity for boundless creativity, is a characteristic unique to humans who interact closely with the world. How many times have you imagined new street spots in snowless cities?

Growing up as snowboarders we quickly learn to not take the world for face value.

This ability to view Earth as a playground littered with toys (or workplace scattered with tools), will be retained and drawn upon throughout our lives, and snowboarding is definitely to thank for it.

Nature kicks ass

No two ways about it: nature kicks ass. Victor de le Rue hikes. Photo: Matt Georges

As snowboarders, we’re fortunate to be regularly immersed in some of the most visually inspiring locations on the planet – places that a lot of our non snow-sliding compatriots will never get to experience.

Without the mountains, and the clouds above puking snow, we’d have a pretty tough time going snowboarding

Without the mountains, and the clouds above puking snow, we’d have a pretty tough time going snowboarding. But while nature kicks ass in a figure-of-speech kind of way, it also obviously has the ability to kick ass far more literally.

As riders, we are better positioned than most to know that the mountains can be as destructive and ruthless as they are beautiful, and we should work to spread that knowledge and respect, rather than being ignorant to it.

We are all creative in one way or another

Creativity in snowboarding (and everything in life for that matter) comes in many different forms. Scott Stevens by E-Stone and Nicolas Müller by Oli Gagnon

Some people you come across on your journey through this funny little thing we call life will be quick to tell you that they have less creativity than a rock-dwelling lichen.

snowboarding is pure rocket fuel for the mad scientist that inhabits our brains

As a snowboarder, it’s pretty hard not to have at least a smidgen of the stuff, and without blowing our own trumpets too hard, it’s safe to say that most of us have a bit more going on in the visual/spatial parts of our cerebral cortex’s (read: brains) than the overarching masses.

From mapping out a killer slopestyle run, to finding a new way to hit an established street feature, to getting wild with carves and switch-ups on random bumps on the piste, snowboarding is pure rocket fuel for the mad scientist that inhabits our brains.

Focus on your passions

Snowboarding is nothing without passion and Tom Klocker knows it. Photo: Flo Jäger

As Steve Jobs famously put it: “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you want to become”.

snowboarding teaches us to let go once in a while and to focus on the things that make us hyped to be alive.

Snowboarding is a sport that was born from passion – for the love of sliding sideways. It is not there for wealthy businessmen to exploit or for other purely monetary gains. It may not be the answer to world poverty and we could certainly survive without it, but it does allow passionate people to get out there and have a blast with their friends.

As the very least, snowboarding teaches us that there is more to life than working 9 to 5, paying the bills and repeating. It teaches us to let go once in a while and to focus on the things that make us hyped to be alive.

From the whole Onboard crew, get out there this winter and send it!

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