Monday, October 22, 2007

Junkboarding - An Eastern Way of Life

It didn’t take long for the Low Snow Antics video we posted of Dickie Hall to draw a video response from some friends and fellow Vermonters. The tip came from Karhu skier Dave Bouchard, and partners-in-crime Vince Franke and Justin Woods sent along the video and the words.

(Video courtesy of Vince Franke/Peregrine Productions. Junkboarders Dave Bouchard, Justin Woods, Adam Sherman and Jim Clapp.)

The Junkboard Manifesto
By Justin Woods

Junkboards are not just simple tools, though it's true they are a means to an end. Junkboarding is a way of life, a philosophy, and a coping mechanism for Eastern snow (or lack thereof).

While many of our ski brothers and sisters are moping around their houses in November, still doing silly things like mountain-biking and “pre-season training,” Eastern Junkboarders are already out on the flanks of the grassiest of the Appalachian slopes. (Don’t bother to ask us where the best grass is – we won’t give up our secret one-inch stashes.) When the season “opens” with first turns on the death ribbon at Sugarbush or Killington, us Junkboarders have already been earning our dirty turns for weeks.

The Junkboarder philosophy goes hand-in-hand with Yankee ingenuity and self-sufficiency. We make our own boards. We use tablesaws and bandsaws to rip asunder two halves of a snowboard (preferably a free one, found at the junkyard). We flip the halves so that the inside edge is the “ski” or turning edge. Some of us even shape and tune the outside edge, though many of us consider our boards disposable and dispense with the formality of outside edges. Grass, over time, will smooth them out. Last but not least, we T-nut our three-pins or sometimes gnarlier bindings to the board, and voila: Junkboards.

Nothing floats on a dusting to three inches of snow like a Junkboard. They’re light, flexible and easy for touring, though most of the time, Junkboarders are booting up the toll-roads of our favorite hills. Junkboards eat grass. They hover. They make one inch feel like ten. And when you break one in half trying to skip across the backside of the inevitably open waterbar, you look for your next pair to mount.

Junkboarders believe that the best training for skiing is skiing, and that’s what we do: we JFS (Just Frickin’ Ski) that stuff. We don’t hit the gym for some fancy-shmancy “ski-machine” or worry about “dry-land training,” and we’re never deterred by a dusting of snow. When the inevitable January Thaw hits – the slopes revealing their brown, ugly faces – we do not despair; no, sir. We hit the gear closet and break out the Junkboards.

Thanks to Junkboards, our seasons are extended by at least a month. We hike to snowline, and we ski. There is no seasonal affective disorder for the Junkboarder; there is only the sweet anticipation of an inch of snow on grass. There is no wallowing in self-pity or second-guessing for the true J-board enthusiast; there is only the self-assured knowledge that determination, two halves of the otherwise worthless snowboard, and an inch of snow can bring.

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Eric J. Henderson said...

way to go..keeping real.

stro said...

Where I come from we call it skhiking. Skhiking at Whitegrass is just another way to earn crud puppy points.

partime said...

Stro, you have enough crud puppy points to be a full fledge crud dog, just keep the jointly owned tor models out of the crud, dog...