So many kids these days are so worried about looking cool and making the sport the next hot thing to do, the next snowboarding or skateboarding or whatever, buying up the newest outerwear to look badass, picking up the image or riding style of their favourite X-games champ... and along the way, a lot of people have lost a feel for what skiing is supposed to be.
It's not about looking cool for the mainstream, or about being able to say "I'm a skier" and make that a legitimate way to impress people. It's not even about looking cool for ourselves, doing what the rest of the industry will think is awesome, because the more time passes, the more obvious it becomes that a lot of this industry is in it for the wrong reasons. It's not about "progressing the sport in the right direction" or "making skiing into this that or the other thing" or "moving towards this or that style". It's not about gaining legitimacy in the world of action sports. A lot of people seem to think that it is these things. No. It's about enjoying the sport for what it is. Skiing doesn't need to improve itself. Of course we all love to see new things, and to push new limits, but when you make that the focus of everything, you lose a lot of the point of taking part in the sport to begin with. Pro skiers have to look at it like a job, because that's what it is to them. But the rest of us shouldn't be taking it all so seriously. Of course this is going to work differently off the mountain; we'll all be concerned for the growth of the industry, the way new companies are going, what new gear is going to come out and all that... but once we're up on the snow, once you or anyone else is skiing, you need to leave all that behind and just ski.
And a lot of people seem to be having trouble doing that nowadays. They take their fashionista demeanor and their "you're gay you did a daffy" smug, superior "I ride with a crew of people who dress and think and ski exactly like me and we're all imitating someone else and we all think alike so you, the minority, must be wrong" attitudes to the hill.
And then we get people saying things like "Hucking backs and lincolns off cliffs is harming the sport." Of course it's not... it's that attitude, that "these tricks are old skool, and aren't cool anymore, so they shouldn't be in our videos, because it makes us look bad, and we want to be cool" way of looking at skiing that's hurting the sport. Almost anyone here will agree that they wish it wasn't the way it is in skiing right now. Well, then... stop making it the way it is. Wake up, realize that none of the things you're all so worried about, and appear to be getting increasingly worried about the worse the situation in the sport gets, really matters. All that matters is having a good time in the snow. Standing on a peak above a big sheet of fresh is the best feeling any one of us can ever experience. Skiing a new line clean and smooth, stomping some big trick you've never even tried before, just riding with people you know... it's not about showing off, looking good, or making the sport into something. It's about having fun and sharing in a mutual enjoyment of a sport that all of us love and none of us would be able to live without. Don't worry about making the sport worse. Don't worry about trying to make it better. Just enjoy it, and skiing will move in its own direction. Let everything else go, and go ski.
I don't do much of it, but when I do get the chance to shoot people skiing I really enjoy it on an amateur level. DSLR might be high-tech but it's still really easy to get an incredibly satisfying product out of it just by picking the right lens, putting it on autofocus and pushing a button. Hooray for idiot-proof technology...
Skiing is a hobby to me, but it's more than mere enjoyment. I think I need it to balance the more stressful aspects of my life.
Song to download: Pedro the Lion - Arizona
Some stuff to check out.
The Album Leaf - In a Safe Place,
The Album Leaf - Into the Blue Again,
Arcade Fire - Funeral,
Crystal Castles - Eponymous
Daft Punk - ALIVE,
Ghostface Killah - Fishscale,
Fer Isella - Doña Furia Gaucha
Girl Talk - Feed the Animals,
Godspeed You Black Emperor - F#A# Infinity,
Justice - Cross,
The National - Boxer,
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Of Montreal - Satanic Panic in the Attic,
Panda Bear - Person Pitch,
Portishead - Eponymous
Portishead - Third,
Ratatat - Classics,
Regina Spektor - 11:11
RJD2 - Deadringer,
RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke
Royksopp - The Understanding,
Sigur Ros - Hvarf Heim
Sigur Ros - Takk
The Go! Team - Proof of Youth
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away,
The Toxic Avenger - Eponymous,
Thievery Corporation - Mirror Conspiracy,
Think Differently Music - Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture,
Vampire Weekend - Eponymous
Wilco - Yankee, Hotel, Foxtrot,
Yahadinai - One Atonement.
Here's my current top 10 list, in no particular order (though Casablanca is my favourite). Youtube links!
Network - 1976
Casablanca - 1942
Reservoir Dogs - 1992
Memento - 2000
On the Waterfront - 1954
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead - 1990
Glengarry Glen Ross - 1992
Blade Runner - 1980
Unforgiven - 1992
The Seventh Seal - 1957
I was a literature major in undergrad so I have a basically endless list of favourites, but here are a few everyone should read just for enjoyment's sake... Hard Times by Charles Dickens. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde... okay that one was a play. But now that I'm off the wagon, here's another: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, by Tom Stoppard. The movie's listed up above.