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A few snowboarding archetypes. Illustration: Kieron Black

It's common knowledge that snowboarding has become a very all-encompassing term, there are many different breeds and varieties all stemming from one simple concept: sliding sideways on snow.

Just like with popular music, snowboarders tend to migrate toward certain archetypes, just like the mods and rockers of the 60s and the east coast/west coast phenomenon of the 90s, though thankfully different 'breeds' of riders rarely come to blows. At least physically, fashion wise it can be an all-out assault on the senses.

But who exactly are these 'tribes,' and where can you find them? As always, Whitelines investigates...

[part title="SoCal Hippies"]

The Frends crew, get a job!

Resplendent with flowing locks and earthy toned outfits, you're more likely to find these guys getting mellow in the 'peace' pipe than training in the park for the next X Games. They still seem to do quite well in comps these days though, despite facial expressions more glazed than a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

Perhaps it's all the focus on just having a good toime, man, or maybe the lack of a real job that makes them just so darn good at shredding. Or more likely it's the fact that only the really, really good ones can actually make it out of bed in time for last lifts.


Look to the pros:

Danny Davis, Jamie Anderson, Curtis Woodman

Do say:

Tahoe bro! Snowboarding's all about keeping away from the corporations.

Don't say:

Snowboarding IS corporate, bro. Y'all lost in the 60s.

Get the look:

Grab a straw hat to chuck on top of that braided/feathered/unwashed hairdo of yours, one that goes with your khaki pants and plaid shirt. And don't forget to bring your guitar and campfire building kit to every park session.

[part title="East Coast Hipsters"]

So what if the snow ruins your chances of skating over the winter? You can always dig out that old hunk o' junk with bindings you still keep in the garage for such occasions. And if your summer skate spots don't quite work out with a snowboard you can always make your way over to a nearby 'resort.' Make sure you never tell anyone you actually had to pay for a lift ticket though, instead drop strong hints that it was through a 'hook up' you have in the office.

This tribe is perfect for those with a love of instagram and a hatred of big jumps, and if you can't even be bothered to tailpress (sorry I mean 5-0) that donkey dick in the park you can just ride underneath it and tell everyone it's part of the new-skool-nu-wave progression movement.

Dinosuars Will Die's next pro.

Look to the pros:

Brandon Hammid, Forest Bailey, Desiree Melancon

Do say:

Have you heard of this new band? Oh yeah, probably not...

Don't say:

Do you mean Mumford & Sons?

Get the look:

Facial hair; either an ironic Kip-from-Napolean-Dynamite mustache or a full on unkepmt grizzle. Throw on a ripped barbour jacket over a skateboard branded tee and some impractically skinny jeans and you're good to go.

[part title="Euro Gangsters"]


You've seen them in every snow park in the Alps, hell in France they're actually employed to be there; we're talking about the Euro thugs. Not yet realising that paying in excess of 500EUR for a season pass to ride rails on a 800EUR set up isn't exactly the epitome of street, somehow the uber-baggy fashions haven't yet died in Euroland.

Don't be too intimidated though, under the menacing bandannas it's more than likely that you'll find acne and a snotty nose than gang tats or street brawl scars; most of them are aged 12 after all.


Look to the pros:

Nico Droz, Halldor Helgason circa 2009, MFM (not exactly a Euro but is more than gangster enough for this list)

Do say:

Suce ma bit, salope.

Don't say:

Can you please put that out? There are children here!

Get the look:

Five words: Extra extra extra extra large, for everything. It helps if you can get as many full sized prints of dead rappers on your tee (over your jacket, of course) as possible, plus the obligatory cannabis leaf on your oversized beanie.

[part title="Dome Terrorists"]

Will Smith getting all street in the domes

Less of place, more of an international community for those not lucky enough to live near real snow/mountains, UK and Dutch snowdomes have produced an interesting breed of rider. Balaclava-ed or dreaded up to the max, they exist solely to bring mischief and chaos to the parks, whether they be of the ski resort or city centre variety.

Again, they may look scary, but anyone who gaps kinked rails directly to the flat part obviously can't have knees any older than an eighteen year old's; the IRA-style face mask is simply an easy way to cover up pimples.


Look to the pros:

Will Smith, Simon Houlind, Denis Leontyev

Do say:

Bitch I'm thuggin'.

Don't say:

The LA river fucked your liver? I though you were from Hemel Hempsted?

Get the look:

Think back to Belfast circa 1992 for inspiration, the more of your face you have covered the better, it does get down to minus 5 in those snowdomes after all! Pair that with a tight black pants and either a black or grey hoodie and you're good to go!

[part title="Alaskan Guides"]

Jeremy Jones keeps it fresh, even in all that Alaskan air

Like a cross between Inspector Gadget and a mountain goat, these guys are all about letting the tech do the talking. No ones going to argue with your backcountry knowledge if you have a hunting knife, two ice axes, 50 yards of rope and enough supplies for three days hanging off your off-piste/batman utility belt are they?

Even if they've never been further than twenty metres off piste, you already know the type; the ones who complain about 'park rats' and won't leave the house for less than 50cm of fresh, despite the fact that the weight of their gear causes them to immediately sink to the bottom of the snow pack. At least they can tell you what kind of snow crystals have formed down there though...

xavier de le rue steep 2

Look to the pros:

Xavier de le Rue, Jeremy Jones, Sascha Hamm

Do say:

Nice crampons!

Don't say:

Did you bring a piste map?

Get the look:

As well as packing more metal accessories on your waist than Method Man has around his neck, you'll want to make sure you have all the latest in North Face survival wear. Essentially you're aiming for snowboard jacket equivalent of one of those sleeping bags with arms and legs, plus the biggest back pack possible to fit in all those extra bits of kit.