Sorry about the lapse in posts over the last week. I’m in Colorado, visiting Kelly’s family and trying to snowboard a little bit. This is my first time back on the snow since slamming hard in the boardercross at Alyeska. The shoulder and ribs are holding up enough to allow me to ride but not enough to get busy.
Anyway, i thought I would share a picture from my first snowboard trip to Colorado. I have some others from the same trip that I will share later. The other shots carry other stories but lets explore this one for now. This Picture is of me at the 1993 USASA Nationals at Vail. I am on a Morrow race board with hard boots and plate bindings. Where to begin? Haha.
Let’s start with the race board. Most of the snowboarders out there probably don’t know what those are or can’t remember the last time they saw one. In 1993 the USASA events consisted of half pipe, slalom, and giant slalom. That’s right, two race events and one half pipe event. On top of that the Alaska region didn’t have as many competitors as other regions so riders had to qualify for an overall spot to nationals. That meant a rider’s points for half pipe and race events were totaled to determine who got the spot. I wanted to get that spot so I learned to ride a race board.
The problem with riding a race board was that it was 1993 and snowboarding was hitting its freestyle boon. It was jeans and flannels, chain wallets, nubbed boards ( sawing off the excess tip and tail to shorten the board), and it was jibbing. What is was not was hard boots and speed suits. Here in lies my personal struggle; being competitive, I wanted to win but i also wanted to keep it real and stick to my freestyle roots. The result is the outfit you see in the picture.
I wore blind jeans, Fishpaw mitts, a Plan B t-shirt that was a tall T before tall T’s existed, and my fresh Burton jacket. In my mind I was trying my best with a race board and hard boots while still keeping my street cred in the back pocket of my jeans next to my chain wallet. I remember how proud Bombeck and I felt as we patted each other on the back for not selling out like the seal skinned kooks in the speed suits. Naturally our fresh kits and street cred amounted to placings near the bottom of the results page. At the time we didn’t care much, we only cared about finding a rock to bonk or getting to the half pipe.
The next year I decided that if I was going to race then I better try to win so I found a speed suit and joined the ranks of the tighties. But for one year we kept it as real as we knew how to. Fast forward to present day USASA events and speed suits aren’t allowed any longer. I guess snowboarding imposed a speed suit prohibition in the name of all that is cool.
Just for your humor here is one more look at my kit that day.
This photo was taken some time during my senior year, 1993. The spot is a crosswalk bridge, near Gruening Jr. High. There are rails on both sides of the bridge and they wrap around the walkway from the bridge to the street level.
I didn’t pick this shot because it was particularly rad. I picked the photo because it symbolizes how much snowboarding and getting better as a snowboarder means to me and has always meant to me. It is also a great example of how constant work will lead to nothing less than leaps and bounds in ability.
At the very beginning of my senior year I was just starting to show some promise as a rider. Boarderline had put me on the team and I was rising through the local ranks (probably because of all the time on the trampoline, haha). In late October, just after my first day riding at Hatcher’s Pass, I bent down at my locker and when i stood up my knee tore. It was a freak occurrence but it happened none the less. Within a few days I was under the knife and carrying around a little less cartilage. It turned out that my knee cap had slid over and sliced the cartilage (meniscus). The surgery was minor and consisted of simply shaving off the slice and other loose cartilage inside the knee.
I was pretty scared by it all but having grown up in the era of Rock movies, I knew the power of a good comeback story. I might have even heard “Eye of the Tiger” playing as i went to physical therapy. The point is that I was determined to keep moving forward and improving.
So as the winter went on, the only logical way to improve is to never stop riding. My crew, Abe and Khris Bombeck, would ride anything and anytime we could. We rode alpenglow on the weekends and the Thursdays and Fridays we could find a ride but that wasn’t going to be nearly enough. That’s when we started combing the area for rails and began hitting the Gruening overpass.
The Gruening overpass held everything we could want. It held straight rails, curved rails, log formations, steep wooden rails, and even a couple jumps were made there. We would pull each other to everything. Sometimes there would only be two of us so we would prop up the full size vhs camera on a wooden post then run back and slingshot the other guy onto a rail. It was our “rail garden.” We learned a lot about riding rails there and we learned a lot more about how much the fire burned inside us to snowboard. Those days weren’t about sports drink contracts or x-games, they were about learning and progression. They were also about wearing as much of your skate clothes as possible when you snowboard. Haha.
For the vintage fans out there I’m riding a Morrow Spoon 160 ( yeah that was the shorter of the two models at the time), Plan B jeans, SMP flannel, and some Save-on gloves that look like they were made for Shaq.