I Was A Snowboarder: A Playlist
In the late 1990s, to the exclusion of everything else, I was a snowboarder. When I thought of myself in the context of the social hierarchy of the high school I attended, I thought of myself as an exception, and as a snowboarder. My high school was 20 minutes from the base of Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, and during the 1998-99 winter, which was a record winter for snowfall across the west coast, I scanned my season pass and rode the chairlifts over 60 times, sometimes on weekends, sometimes after school (the mountain had lights, ‘night skiing’ aka ‘night sesh’) and sometimes when I should have been at school. I constantly said, ‘bro,’ and ‘stoked,’ and ‘sweet,’ and sometimes ‘sick.’ I called frontside rodeo flips ‘frodeos’ and backside rodeo flips ‘brodeos.’ My best friend and I sought the approval of the snowboard crew in the year above us, who were known as the BANC Crew (an acronym for Big Airs, No Cares), and looked down upon the crew in the year below us, who were called CMB, for ‘Cypress Mountain Boys,’ which we considered a slight to us – the only true shredders at Cypress Mountain, which we called ‘Cype.’ To this day, when I look out the window of a car on the highway, I see the landscape flying by as a series of potential jumps (‘kickers’) and transitions (‘trannies’). —— Snowboarding is now regarded as a trend; something that appeared, endured a wave of popularity, and has since peaked. This makes perfect sense. The snowboarders no longer have time to snowboard. They no longer need something like snowboarding, as a kind of mask and insulation from the shame and indignity of high school; and they also don’t need a leisure activity with clearly defined, painfully earned, but largely pointless goals (learning new tricks, performing the tricks with ‘good style,’ which we called ‘steez’ — now we would rather play tennis). The following playlist is made up of my favorite songs from snowboard videos of the era. While snowboarding may well be a trend on the wane, these songs and the videos they were presented in point towards a raw energy and vitality that once upon a time had me stoked the fuck out. Here’s the Spotify playlist.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.