After years of MC’ing at elite events across the globe, Henry Jackson is now one of UK snowboarding’s most recognizable faces – and voices.
Let me begin with a disclosure: for the most part, I have the utmost respect for a great many skiers. They are out there day in day out, pushing the boundaries of what can be done on snow – from the backcountry descents of Sage Oxxxagahsjnndndbe (really can’t attempt to spell his name) to the buttery style of Joss Wells and Paddy Graham. I enjoy spending time with these guys and girls and they are truly great shredders – in fact, Joss is a better snowboarder than most of us out there too).
I do, however, have a MASSIVE problem with the skiing industry and its attitude. No, it isn’t the gimpy little poles the freestylers hold which serve no purpose whatsoever, or the annoying clakety-clack of their boots as the walk down the street. Neither is it the skittle-coloured layer upon layer of XXXXXXL hoodies that they tend to wear. It’s not even the fact that they have grabs called “mute” or “japan,” or that virtually none of them have acknowledged the fact that not grabbing the tip of your ski is the equivalent of a tindy.
It’s this: the introduction of sidecuts to skis – a concept that came from us – revolutionised (and maybe even saved) the ski industry, and it was us that fought to allow fun parks and pipes on the hill. Without us, skiers would still be stuck doing whatever it is they do off moguls… But even today, there are still some resorts that only allow skiing. Just think about that. Plus, on a daily basis I hear “shiβe snowboarder” or “you guys are so dangerous…”
Until the collective ski industry turns round and thanks us, hat in hand, then I will continue to give skiers shit.
Tim Warwood documented UK snowboarding for years as one half of Lockdown Projects. He also commentated for the BBC on the snowboarding (and skiing!) at the Sochi Olympics.
My first season was in Vail, a very well-to-do resort in Colorado, and some of the old skiers there really hated us. They even scoffed when we rode over the back of their skis – the cheek! I had every reason to despise them.
While there I met a kid called Chris Czerniack. He wore snowboard clothing; he watched snowboard videos with us; he listened to the Beastie Boys – but he was skier! Not just any skier, though – he charged. He used the mountain the way a snowboarder would, and we would spend most of our days chasing him around as he launched cliffs and pillow lines, or bashed his way through the east Vail trees. If you couldn’t keep up, you’d get left behind. He smashed my skiing prejudice straight out the park. He made me want to ski.
I can see where the other side of the argument is coming from, but if you take a long look at snowboarding, we’re a strange bunch. We ride on a piece of wood that forces our knees to bend outwards like a cowboy whilst twisting our bodies sideways to see where we are going – all the time pretending that we are actually Kelly Slater. WE ARE ALL WEIRDOS!
We are all just sliding down snowy mountains for fun, enjoying the outdoors, views and exercise. Anyone who says skiing is rubbish clearly has issues – and has obviously never seen the best video on the internet: Candide Thovex’s One Of Those Days 2. He rips!!
So there you go. Skiing is good. Although having said that, everything I have mentioned pertains to freestyle skiing only. Normal recreational skiing that over 40’s do….now that is wack! And don’t get me started on snowblades…