Roger Marolt

I don’t hate snowboarders. I hate snowboarding. This is not because I think they go too fast or make loud noises as they scrape snow off the ski runs or even because a few snowboarders cuss and smoke cigarettes in lift lines.

For me, it’s simpler than that; I think snowboarding set the evolution of winter sports back about three decades, and now I don’t think I will live to see simple adventurers snatch skiing back from wine sippers.

I came to this conclusion through experience at the time snowboarding was gaining fast popularity and the experts predicted it was going to revolutionize the snow-sport industry. A friend of mine, who was an instructor, gave me a free invite to participate in a three-day clinic that was guaranteed to “blow my mind.”

In the first hour of the clinic, I was admittedly an uncoordinated mess and could barely figure out which end of the board went in front. By noon, I discovered that the front and back of the board were completely irrelevant. By the third day, I was a bona-fide expert and I knew with certainty that I had gotten all I was ever going to get out of the sport.

I outlasted the sport. Yes, I may be old, but snowboarding is dead. How do I know? You don’t see kids riding them anymore. Snowboards may have been the first snow-carving tool, but modern skis came along and do it much better with far more versatility. Ask any 7-year-old which is better and you will instantly appreciate the stubbornness of the last of the snowboarders you see riding out into their looming midlife crises.

OK, you see a few tourist kids now and then on them, but you can blame that on the parents who told them that it was the cool thing to do and who garnered this information from watching the X Games on TV and still think that three-day infomercial during a mid-winter lull in the real sports world is a harbinger of hip trends. The main reason kids show up at the venue anymore is for the concerts after the events.

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