YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY – by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

In an earlier column this season I commented on skiing vs. snowboarding.  I continue to have the opinion that there is plenty of terrain for everyone to have fun on, while visiting the various resorts in the region.  I have to give some credit to Mike for giving snowboarding a chance over the holidays, but it looks like he is going to continue to use two pieces of equipment while on the slopes.  Oh well maybe some old dogs just can’t learn new tricks.  Just kidding Mike, but I have to admit that I would’ve paid an admission to see you give it a try.

Enough of high-fiving and time to get to work.  You know that you have finally arrived when a major magazine finally decides that you are somebody.  Case in point, the multi-page spread in a recent issue of Sports Illustrated about snowboarding and the USA’s chances with the sport in the upcoming Winter Olympics.  I can’t remember when that magazine ever gave the sport more than two paragraphs in past issues.  Along the same lines, the only time that SI includes winter sports in its coverage is during an Olympic year, which I totally disagree with, but I am not the editor either and they know better then I do what sells advertising and issues. 

My point here is that after helping the winter sports industry to continue to grow over the last decade, snowboarding is becoming more main stream, to the chagrin of those hardcore “ski resorts are for skiers only” industry diehards. Maybe they will lossen up a little on the slopes in the coming seasons, one can only hope, can’t they?  Here’s hoping for a USA 1-2-3 sweep in the halfpipe, slalom or boardercross disciplines.  Better yet, here’s hoping that the athletes just have some fun, maybe just what Bode Miller seems to be having these days, but that’s another subject for another column.  Another industry badboy and probably one of the best athletes to come down the pike, Shawn Palmer at the age of 37 won’t have a chance to show the world why he is the best boardercrosser due to a heal injury sustained in practice.  It was going to be cool to see one of those old guys dust the youngsters.  Oh well, maybe in four years.

While we are on the subject of the Winter Olympics, when will we see the first headline, declaring a disappointing finish for an athlete that has dedicated most of their life just for the chance to compete with the best in the world.  It just burns me that there will be a group of reporters attending this year’s games that just don’t understand what the Olympics are all about.  I know the world of sponsorship and professionalism have infiltrated the games the last 20 or so years, but it is still just a game. For the majority of the athletes this is their only chance to be on this large of a world stage.  They have been sacrificing much of their lives to just train to reach the games, for the chance to be among the best in the world.  Then here comes a reporter that is probably overweight, doesn’t know a ski from a snowboard, and when the red, white and blue isn’t on the podium, they blast the athlete.  This type of reporter after scribing their article probably then heads to the nearest free buffet provided to the media.  I ask why not write about all of the training and dedication that went into getting to the Olympics in the first place.  You and I both know that won’t sell papers.  Wouldn’t it be fun just to start a website that tells the stories that no one ever hears about during the games.

We sign off this week’s rambling by thanking Mother Nature for this past weekend’s snowfall and to remind her not to forget about those needed cold snowmaking temperatures. Always remember though, whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be.  Think about it!  See you on the slopes!

Until Next time…

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