The Pre-season suspense is bubbling within me this fall after back to back disappointing seasons. Within a month from now we could be strapped in, making turns for another winter of riding. In anticipation of the lifts spinning and snowpack building, the media outlets have been posting webisodes like a spring salmon run. The social channels seem clogged with talent and tricks from riders, some of which I’ve never heard of.
In one of my recent video watching feasts on Transworld.com, I stumbled upon an article by Joel Muzzy from 2013 that captures my current pre-season mindset. The article is a how-to write up on Backcountry Cabin Trips, man style. Cabin trip stories always catch my attention but it was the intro about being an Adult rider that especially rings true for me at the moment. Having just made the decision to buy a new sled, I feel more adult than I’d prefer too. This decision was equally as much a commitment to chasing turns in the mountains for many years to come as it was to buy a toy.
The Dude Stew: A Recipe for the Ultimate Man Camping Trip article starts with:
“By now you’ve explored and exploited your home mountain for everything it’s worth. You’ve road tripped to Jackson, Baker, or the ’Bird. Maybe even paid excess baggage fees for a flight to the Alps or Alaska. You’ll take powder over park any day. You can grow a legit beard. As soon as possible, you’re moving to the mountains. After that comes the sled. And regardless of what your folks want, career plans have taken a backseat to shred plans. Your bros and your dog understand this but if your chick isn’t down, whatever. You’ve got places to go and mountains to ride.”
“If any of this rings true for you, congratulations. You’ve reached a new stage in life: You’re a man. Welcome. You’ve earned it—and it’s more than just the right to wear all black outerwear and drink beers at lunch. Manhood means you’re finally ready for the holy grail of shred missions: the man trip. After spending puberty in the park and coming of age with your feet strapped in, the next logical step is to step it up. What you need now is untracked powder, a cabin in the woods, a crew of your homeys. If you’re ready for an escape from the crowds, the scene, and the played-out sameness of regular resort riding, it’s time for a man trip.”
In my case, Joel’s checklist is fairly accurate. As a grown man who still dorks out on snowboarding, it’s reassuring to come across an article that validates my situation. However, I no longer need the coaching and encouragement to remain an active member of the clan. I’ve developed confidence in my own path forward as a die-hard rider. Yes my Gortex jacket might be black but I ditched the black pants for bright colors so friends could find me. I did get into the mid day beer routine, that is until it started to conflict with progress. Career is really important to me (and needed to afford skiing and snowboarding). My sled came before the move to “the hills” and I was lucky enough to find a girl who love the mountains as much as I do.
So as much as stereotypes exist for a reason, I think the grown rider wants to be more unique and independent then they were in their youthful days of lapping the park. Could their strongest desire for assimilation come in the form of participation? Either way, I’m pretty dialed on the old checklist so I think I’m covered. Thanks for the confirmation Joel. Everyone needs a reminder that they aren’t crazy for increasingly dumping money, time and energy into sports, even as they age.
Read the full article here.