Beer Dregs, Stale Socks, Lifestyle

By Sheffield, Emily | The Evening Standard (London, England), February 28, 2001 | Go to article overview

Beer Dregs, Stale Socks, Lifestyle


Sheffield, Emily, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: EMILY SHEFFIELD

By day, they rule the slopes. By night, they boast about their injuries.

Snowboarding is the fastest-growing youth sport, with clothing alone worth [pound]20 million in Britain.

Emily Sheffield gets on board

THE most important rule when trying to ingratiate yourself with a bunch of .ber-cool snowboarders is avoid the question: "Did you go skiing today?"

Confusing skiing and snowboarding is like asking a garage DJ what house tunes he's played recently.

Boarders ride, they do not ski; they hate skiers. I offer this advice with hindsight, as this was my little icebreaker to a group of pros on my first night in Mayrhofen, in the Austrian Alps. It was met with silence. I just managed to keep them talking by offering to pay for dinner snowboarders might be cool but they're also usually skint.

Rule two: know your snowboarding gear. My offer during dinner to lend a pair of Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses for a photo-shoot the next day was met with more hostility (should have studied those snowboarding mags more closely).

Boarders don't wear sunglasses. Just goggles.

And plain wool hats - these are worn at all times, even in bed. Also forget jeans (except in the evening when they are baggy and slung low on the hips), one-piece ski suits, comedy hats, Puffa jackets or gaiters. Think baggy trousers and jackets by Blond, Convert or O'Neill, logoed sweatshirts and snowboards by K2, Burton and Ride. Plus a healthy measure of disdain for everyone else on the slope.

Knowing your half-pipe from your quarter-pipe will also help you through.

If all else fails and conversation grinds to a halt, ask about injuries.

Snowboarding involves a lot of macho posturing, even from the women. Take 17-year-old Gemma Holmes.

During dinner, she tells me she's from County Durham and started snowboarding at her local ski park when she was 10. "I used to be a skier," she says, looking in mock shame at the table.

"Then, seven years ago, a guy called Ian Taylor brought snowboarding to the North-East and I got hooked. …

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