“Daddy" said my 6 year old daughter recently “How will I know when I am a snowboarder?"
“Ah" I said. “A very perceptive question for one so young, you clearly are very intelligent and will achieve level 6 in your next literacy exam, if you work hard and eat all your broccoli. Rest assured that your snowboarderness will emerge, like a crepuscular mist gathering in the valley, slowly, imperceptibly, and then suddenly it will be there, all around you."
“Oh." She said. “If I eat all 3 carrots can I leave 2 green beans?"
I then realised that children need clarity on such matters, so I wrote down all the ways that my little Sukie Snowdrop would know that she had crossed the great divide from being able to snowboard, to being a snowboarder. Here is what I came up with:
You will no longer want to do turns. You will just go straight very fast, then do a big brake (preferably spraying people who do fewer days on snow per annum than you).
You will speak too loud in the lift queue. You will feel compelled to drop hints to everyone around you that you are not on holiday and can do big spins.
You will love/hate Shaun White. Irrespective of what he does or says, you will find him godlike/distasteful. Whether he is landing triple flips, going to random prom nights, doing boot grabs or spreading the gospel of snowboarding to middle class people in China, as a proper snowboarder you will love/hate him with all your heart.
You will find yourself disliking any snowboard clothing with a waterproof rating greater than that of a tea-towel.
You will wear a woolly hat indoors. In summer. When it is hot.
You will wear a balaclava and a fishing hat together. In spring. When it is hot. When you are not fishing.
You will wear one. You will wish the cool guys would too.
Feel strongly about helmet use in snowboarding? You should read this.
You will hate any big brands that people with less days on snow per-annum than you ride, and will mistrust any company that sells more than 20 snowboards a year.
You will be quite happy to carry your board scraping along the floor.
You will be unable to apply any stickers to anything in a perpendicular or right-angled manner
You will video everything you do, be it brushing your teeth in a speeding car, pouring milk into your cereal or doing a no-grab backside 180 off a blue jump.
You will still speak English, but with an accent which adopts a foreign pentameter. Think Chris Waddle during his spell at Marseille, or Steve McClaren whilst manager of FC Twente. Or Joey Barton.
You will perfect doublethink and thus be able to be both an eco-warrier and still fly around the world in jets/helicopters; and also hate Red Bull yet be paid by Red Bull.
You will look at the world differently, seeing kickers, drops, wedges and transitions where normal people see just something a bit slopey.
You will have learned to overcome and ultimately enjoy the sugary endorphin-readiness of nerves that tickle mischievously through your body before you hit a big jump.
You will always travel with duct tape.
You will have friends all over the world who will quite happily let you sleep on their couch and take a dump in their loo.
You will have paid excess baggage charges at least 5 times.
You will spend a lot of time smiling.