The Times They are A-Changin’

I’m back from my unintentional hiatus, everyone, and you can now begin to rejoice.

I’m half kidding. My sincere apologies for not covering a few competitions that occurred during the hiatus. I really have no good excuse for it, I’m just lazy – and have been working and shredding a lot, which yes, I know, is a bit of a juxtapostion. Since this is a snowboarding blog, I guess that is a kind of half decent excuse.

At this point, I feel no need to repost the results of stuff that happened ages ago, and that you probably know about anyway, so I’m just going to, you know, not. I am, however, going to address some themes I’ve noticed recently in the industry. Just because I wasn’t writing, doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention.

I do think a major element that inspired a bit of my hiatus is the fact that I’ve been a bit put off with competitive snowboarding. I noticed it a bit during the X Games, where my lack of enthusiasm dropped off from recent years. My apathetic attitude hit the tipping point during Air + Style LA. I literally could not give a shit about it. I’m a big fan of the riders that participated in it, but this version of Air + Style just felt like a big spectacle – something that everyone has been against since the introduction of snowboarding into the Olympics.

I’ve only been snowboarding for about four years, so I feel as though I don’t have much room to comment on the evolution of the sport, but recently, it’s felt a bit more corporate. I realized this when Burton posted a picture on their main Twitter account of Kylie Jenner wearing pants that had something to do with Burton. I can’t remember the complete detail of the post except me thinking: what the actual fuck? When did snowboarding decide to take a page from the E! News handbook by posting pictures of what a Kardashian – Jenner is wearing? Is this seriously what we’ve become? I scrolled through some of the responses to the tweet and they seemed unfavorable, which is good.

Perhaps I’m being too hypercritical of the industry, and obviously there are still loads of companies and riders out there trying their hardest to keep snowboarding true to its roots. These are, however, some reoccurring themes that I’ve heard said riders and companies be vocal about, but I’ve never actually picked up on them myself. And now that I am, I’m really not liking it. Anyone else feel this way? Sound off below.

Silje Norendal Defends Gold Medal; Mark McMorris Grabs Double Gold

I watched this slopestyle event go down in the middle of my 48 minute cardio sesh, and let me tell you, I’ve never been more hyped to be doing a cardio workout in my entire life. Before I address the podium results, I’d like to address Spencer O’Brien. Last night Chloe Kim made history by being the youngest ever to win X Games gold, and today Spencer O’Brien threw down a backside 900. Though she didn’t podium, I couldn’t be more stoked on the way the ladies represented this weekend. Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakingly said Spencer O’Brien was the first woman to land a 900 in competition. Janna Meyen Weatherby was actually the first woman to land a 900 in competition. The necessary changes have been made to what was previously written.

The podium results are as follows:

1. Silje Norendal
2. Jamie Anderson
3. Christy Prior

Next up were the men – and with another slopestyle contest comes another Mark McMorris win. The judging may have been slightly controversial, with Craig McMorris even commenting that he thought Stale’s run was better, but at the end of the day, Mark is still a damn good rider. He’s had a lot of success and has also managed to not be a huge dick about it so, for that, he is someone I’m grateful to have representing the sport. (Though according to people like YoBeat, that sentence is probably controversial too. *Rolls eyes.*) Winning today also means that Mark is one of the few riders to win double gold again, after winning Big Air ahead of Max Parrot and Yuki Kadono on Friday night.

The podium results are as follows:

1. Mark McMorris
2. Stale Sandbech
3. Sven Thorgren

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Image via xgames.espn.go.com

The unsung hero of slopestyle for the dudes was definitely LTC extraordinaire Sage Kotsenburg, who laid down the most stylish and creative runs of the competition. I’m not a judge, but I wish they would’ve given a little bit more credit where credit is due.

And with that wraps up another year of the X Games. From Craig McMorris commentating to Danny Davis’ repeat win to Chloe Kim’s gold medal run, this was definitely one of my favorite X Games to date. Don’t forget I’ve only been snowboarding for four years, and am a product of the Shaun White dominance era, so it’s nice to see a changing of the guard, if you will. I am quite happy with the direction the sport is heading. Until next year, Asssssspen.

Chloe Kim Wins X Games Gold

I was contemplating on just waiting until the X Games end to do a full recap because, let’s be real, a lot of shit is going down. Unfortunately (or maybe not so unfortunately) I’m too hyped up about the latest winner and frankly, she deserves her own post/recognition/glory for the rest of time.

Chloe Kim won gold in the SuperPipe tonight and officially became the youngest to ever win at just 14. That previous title was held by Shaun White. It is also worth mentioning that Chloe smashed her face in practice and still managed to throw down when the time came. Absolute legend. This is a great night for women’s snowboarding.

Kelly Clark grabbed silver and Torah Bright grabbed bronze. Congratulations ladies!

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Image via Jeff Brockmeyer

Danny Davis Wins X Games Gold

By now you probably know that America’s favorite dead head, Danny Davis, won gold in SuperPipe last night. Taku Hiraoka finished second and I-Pod finished third.

I would’ve written this up last night but I’m lazy and I have a few reasons (er…excuses) as to why I did not:

1. I had to be up at 6 a.m. because I’m an adult now. And because ESPN never airs everything at once, the finals didn’t wrap up until after 11:30 p.m.

2. I was too excited to form proper thoughts. WELL DONE DANNY I’M STILL SO STOKED FOR YOU!

3. I also became distracted by a mini rant by Greg Bretz that was clearly aimed at Shaun White – who finished 4th in the contest.

Anyway, whether you missed Danny’s run, or just want to watch it again, check it out here. In the words of the great Craig McMorris, “If you don’t like watching that, I don’t think we can be friends.”

Congratulations Danny!

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Image via X Games

Stale Sandbech Wins Air + Style

Air + Style always terrifies me. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching it (even though thanks to Shaun White and ESPN I COULDN’T WATCH IT), I always find myself thinking Wow, how does no one shit themselves just from looking at that drop in?

This year, Stale Sandbech took home the top honors in Innsbruck, followed by Peetu Piiroinen, Yuki Kadono and Sebastien Toutant rounding out the top 4.

ESPN was, however, gracious enough to put up a little 1:05 minute video for those of us who didn’t tune in. Check that out below:

Next up: The X Games. That’s right people, Thursday January 22nd the Winter X Games is poppin’ off in a little town called Asssspen. Bonus points go to whoever can tell me what movie that is from. I’m more excited than usual for the contest this year, and that is 100 percent due to the fact that Mr. Craig McMorris will be doing commentary. Hashtag holy kittens. Hashtag send it.

Before I wrap this up, I want to switch gears to a more somber note. A few days ago, Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington announced she is retiring at the age of 25. Unfortunately Kaitlyn experienced a fall in Austria that led her to discover she has a medical condition that will prevent her from doing competitive snowboarding. Alyssa Roenigk wrote an article about the entire situation, and you can read that here. A truly sad story, and I’m wishing Kaitlyn all the best.

Sexual Harassment Does Not Belong in the Snowboarding Industry

A few days ago, Yobeat posted a video of French snowboarder Arthur Longo slapping girls on the ass as he rode by. When I first saw it on Instagram, I was angry and had no idea what to do about the issue. It wasn’t until I remembered that I suffered through years of journalism school to speak out against things that are, well, wrong. With a little motivation from a former Yobeat fan (i.e. the letter she wrote to them, which you can read in full here) I decided that it was time to write this post.

Like many male and female riders I know, the mountain is a safe haven. It is essentially our happy place, where job stress and bad break-ups can ultimately be relieved by a good pow day. We go, we ride, we (probably) drink and then we repeat. What Arthur Longo said by posting this video is simple: the mountain is your happy place, if you’re a male.

As a female, society teaches us that catcalling and unwanted affection is flattering. It means you’re hot and it means males want to bone you.  Parts of our body are just objects, and males should feel free to touch them if they please. Well I have a bit of a newsflash for the entire planet: we don’t want it and it’s not flattering. It’s actually terrifying, especially when you are alone. The last thing any female needs to start having to put up with is this shit in a place where they ultimately feel safe. A place where they go to escape from that kind of stuff. As that letter so boldly states “Female riders don’t go the slopes to be sexually harassed. In fact, I’d say that most of them go there so they can forget about shit like that. To forget about their bad day, their shitty boss, the asshole creep on the street who told them to “smile, baby”. You should be teaching males to have respect for their female counterparts on the slopes, NOT that we are somehow there for their entertainment. Not that they can feel free to touch the private areas of our bodies without permission.”

I don’t know Arthur Longo personally, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he didn’t put this video out there to cause harm. The problem is it did. The problem is that I read comments on the video that said things like “I’m going to start doing this” or people simply just laughing at the actions in the video. The problem is videos like this could start turning a place that females love into another place they have to fear.

Before I start getting inevitably labeled as an “angry feminist” I’d like to say that, while I do identify myself as a feminist, this is not an “angry feminist” rant. These are the words of a human being who doesn’t believe her body, or anyone’s body should be treated as an object – something that is there at anyone’s disposal just so they can get a few likes on an Instagram video. It’s 2015 and it’s time to start teaching some respect. As Emma Watson said, “Men, this is your issue too.” Let’s make the change and keep sexual harassment out of snowboarding.

Dew Tour Recap

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Credit: http://www.actionrecon.com

It is, once again, that lovely time of year known as the Dew Tour. I know people get weird about competitive snowboarding, but I happen to like the Dew Tour. It’s the first major competition of the season and everyone typically seems in good spirits. Unless you’re Mark McMorris and you get completely screwed by the judges. Or, as Todd Richards put it so eloquently on Twitter “a rod up the pooper.” More on that later, though.

The results of the Dew Tour are as follows:

Men’s Superpipe
1. Taylor Gold
2. Yiwei Zhang
3. Scotty James

Women’s Superpipe
1. Kelly Clark
2. Chloe Kim
3. Arielle Gold

Men’s Slopestyle
1. Chas Guldemond
2. Sebastien Toutant
3. Tyler Nicholson

Women’s Slopestyle
1. Jamie Anderson
2. Enni Rukajarvi
3. Christy Prior

A few things worth noting:

Greg Bretz finished 6th in superpipe after taking a nasty fall on his second run. Think tailbone meets ice. Danny Davis finished 7th, after having a nearly flawless run up until a little bit of fall (more like a half fall) on his last hit. Regardless of what he finished, it is my personal belief that the world is a better place when Danny Davis is snowboarding.

Mark McMorris finished 5th in slopestyle after receiving what was a more than questionable score on his first run. He fell in his second run and was not able to improve. Please do yourself a favor and search “Mark McMorris” on Twitter for some colorful reactions. It’s a lovely mix of fan girl and pure anger. Sven Thorgren threw down some deep tricks, and had, in my opinion, one of the most fun runs of the day to watch. Sage Kotsenburg, god bless him, did not qualify for the finals. He also did not seem overly upset about it. I feel like no one really understands the “shit happens” motto more than Sage.

Next week the Grand Prix is kickin’ off at Copper Mountain. So far broadcasting times have not been announced yet. Be sure to keep an eye out for them.