Recently I was back home in the wilds of Upstate New York to relax and basically clean out the parents homestead. Now while tossing out old banana board skateboards that were rusted to pieces and old Burton freestyle bindings I did come across a small piece of sentimental glory. My first pair of snowboard boots. Circa 1990 I took some Sorel knock offs and begin snowboarding. Needless to say my ankles quit liking that setup after about 10 runs at my local ski hill. A remedy was in order because two things were about to happen. First,the Burton Free 6 I had put on Consignment was about to come home and second – enough lake effect snow was coming to not have to pay for lift tickets. The end result I could spend 3 – 4 days hiking the local power line trails, slashing turns. Nothing major but to 17 year old me … it was just shy of epic. However, I didn’t have boots.
The funny thing is even though the high end of snowboards has evolved in 2009 – 2010 towards $1,000+ just for a deck the high end then and the middle of the road now are pretty much same price. The same way a skateboard hasn’t really increased in price since the 80’s neither has snowboard gear that will just simply get the job done. In 90 – 91 Burton boots were a few hundred and a board was near 400. I’m pretty sure that was without the bindings. Hence – why at the time I was buying a used deck. So, back to the story at hand, I get the deck. Snow is coming and sure enough no boots. So I ventured into the basement or garage and spied the old ski boots. I yanked the liners out and jammed them into the boot shells. Perfect fit. Actually, they were cold uncomfortable and I had enough heal lift that I could have been wearing some gold plated discos boots ala’ Jim Greco. But, with a little duct tape and cranking the binders down – sur enough they worked!
Now, we didn’t get that much snow overnight maybe 16 inches but I ventured out to take a few runs. I almost got trampled by a deer I spooked and eventually headed home after hiking 800 feet uphill became more work than fun. So imagine my shock and happiness 18 years later when I found the boots. I used them for three to four seasons after that first day and they worked fine. Eventually I grabbed a pair of airwalks and I’m pretty sure they did the same job my home made hack job did. So what’s the point?
How about this … 18 years later I still get excited thinking about when it may snow. I miss being able to cruise out my front door carefree of all the worries and go ride but am thrilled I now have a few kids who will be making turns in the next few years (if they want to). It is funny to look at how far snowboarding has come and the trends that are now recirculating in the industry. It’s exciting to see smaller companies pushing it and breaking onto the scene. Most importantly, the same way it’s exciting to hear about snow reports and people already riding – it’s good to see people young and old alike getting hyped on snowboarding all over again every season. Like the seasons – snowboarding will come back every year with all it’s good, it’s bad and it’s fun times. As for the boots? I pitched ’em in the trash. I mean the good old days were good but lets be honest – today is much, much better.