Just A Bit Outside: Poking Holes in Outside Mag’s Death of Snowboarding Article

By on January 29, 2014 in Snowboarding with 0 Comments

Mark Peruzzi’s article on snowboarding falls a bit flat.

In reading Marc Peruzzi’s Outside Magazine article “Can Snowboarding Be Saved?” what’s plain is that the Mr. Peruzzi is out of touch. Snowboarding has always been about interpreting the mountain (and life) in a different way. Guided as much by contour and fall-line as personal style or music taste, snowboarding was born of individual expression. Hence this debate even being possible.  Skiing only became “cool” again after  biting snowboarding’s steeze. If not for snowboarding, ski halfpipe and slopestyle would not exist, nevermind be Olympic disciplines. We don’t patently deny all of Peruzzi’s points. Could the snowboarding industry do more to broaden its appeal beyond the 12-24 year-old aesthetic, probably. That said, we (yes we like to write the passive voice, despite what Mrs. So&So said in 10th Grade English) do have a few specific thoughts/rebuttals/rants to toss into the ether, and not simply because Mr. Peruzzi is a self-labeled hater, but because his argument is based on false premise and biased opinion. All-in-all, we really don’t care all that much about Mr. Peruzzi’s opinion; it’s just fun to poke a hole in the lining and watch some of the B.S. drain out. In that spirit here’s our take. 

First Timer (80s Strike Back)


Snowboarding may have had humble beginnings, but the journey to greatness started with a single Sorel boot pack.

Obviously Mr. Peruzzi just doesn’t get snowboarding. In fact he never really gave it a chance. He admits to dipping his toe in snowboarding’s frozen waters in the 80s, when the equipment was in its infancy. It’s no surprise, then, that as an experienced skier used to descending the mountain with skill and efficiency, he found the clunky, awkward experience of an early-generation snowboard a bit stifling. One has to imagine if Peruzzi had been born 5-10 years later and experienced his first ride on more proper equipment (twin-tip, progressive sidecut, modern construction, high-backs, quality boots, etc) that his initial reaction may have been different – dare we say, it may have “hooked” him. At the very least, he may have been more inclined to compare his beloved skiing with legitimate snowboarding vs. “standing up on a toboggan.”

The Perfect Turn (Get Your Carve On)


Carving, like Laird’s hyrdoboard had its proponents, but never really caught on.

Peruzzi’s next big brush with snowboarding includes helping “Olympic racers figure out their stance angles and tuning….” Without getting too deep into the minutiae of carve board culture, let’s just say that just because you have a board under your feet doesn’t make you a “snowboarder,” per se. And while we acknowledge that sounds rather arrogant, the mentality of carvers is far closer to that of skiers. Carvers just discovered that the return G-Force of one edge pushing back at you is more stimulating than two. Beyond that (especially in the 90s) it was still lycra, Spyder and turtle-necks. Point being, the attitudinal component from which snowboarding culture stems is utterly distinct from what Peruzzi calls a “small vibrant recreational community of carvers.”

As far as carve boards as a business, market dynamics rule. It’s now nearly impossible to buy carve boards because very few people were buying them before, so manufacturers stopped building them. We challenge an entrepreneur to bring carve boards back and see how many people line up to purchase them at the shop. The decline of carving is very much akin to windsurfing’s crash of the late 80s. Narrow segment, not enough economic wind.

Oh, and if anyone wants to argue that carve boards offer a more aggressive and efficient means to descend the mountain, when was the last time you saw a carve boarder win a boardercross race?

Live Life, Taste Death (Sternoman)


Snowboarding stereotypes exist for a reason, but let’s not get deranged about it.

Mr. Peruzzi recalls his ever-so-stereotypical experience with the conflicted ski bum flatmate, Sternoman. First he brands him an “undiscovered hominid.” Way to set your audience’s expectations about your pal. We already think this guy is mentally handicapped. Let’s guess? He likes to snowboard, too?? Mr. Peruzzi goes on to paint a picture of Sternoman as a goon who couldn’t pay his rent, before Sternoman proclaims (as if coming out of the closet) that he’s giving up skiing in favor of snowboarding, which was to be the sport of the future, “because you could catch more air, go faster, and ride powder more efficiently on a snowboard.” Mr. Peruzzi’s cynical reaction? “Instead of, in due turn, bludgeoning him, we took his rent money and gave him the bum’s rush.”

So in sum – nothing Peruzzi provided the reader offered any facts as to snowboarding’s health other than Peruzzi’s own obtuse prejudice against the cliche’d caricature of one man.

Steep & Deep (Jones & Splitboards)

The legend – be it on a ski brand board or his own brand board, Jeremy Jones transcends the bullshit.

Mr. Peruzzi discusses pro rider Jeremy Jones as a prime example of a how the snowboarding industry turned its back on an older, backcountry-oriented, demographic. He cites how Jones is among the Jones Boys that founded Teton Gravity Research, a company heavily rooted in skiing and based in Jackson Hole, a perennial powerhouse mountain town known to attract hardcore enthusiasts (I sense a whiff that Peruzzi thinks Jeremy Jones is a closet skier, but I digress).

Peruzzi continues by characterizing, in truth, Jeremy Jones’s love of backcountry and Alaskan first descents as a premise. Peruzzi then claims the industry wouldn’t support Jones’s vision to create better backcountry snowboards, which forced Jeremy to start his own brand – Jones Snowboards. Well that’s not quite accurate. In fact Jeremy Jones rode for Rossignol Snowboards for most of his career – a uber ski brand if there ever was one. To their credit Rossignol was one of the earliest ski brands to make snowboards. I actually learned to ride on a Rossignol in my friend’s backyard in when I was in 7th grade (in 1992…yes I’m a snowboarder in my 30s). Travis Rice also had pro model with them. At the end of the day, however, Rossi was run by skiers, not snowboarders, and when Quiksilver bought it in 2005 (bad move) and realized that Rossi had little-to-no brand equity among snowboarders (sales were shitty), they made a business decision (debt-to-income, anyone?) and shut it down. Hence Jones lost his sponsor and did the sensible thing thereafter… used his own equity as a 20-year veteran to launch Jones Snowboards. It wasn’t because other brands wouldn’t support him, it was because Jones was already his own brand.

Peruzzi goes on to name only one other company – Venture – within the snowboarding industry that produces and promotes products for backcountry/side-country enthusiasts. Well, despite his claims of going to SIA every year and observing snowboarders “puking,” he’s obviously not paying attention to the right trends. A quick Google search alone shows that the snowboarding industry is totally “on-board” with splitboards: Burton, Jones, K2, Arbor, Venture, Never Summer, Lib Tech, Gnu, and Rome are all in the game.

 The Welcome Mat (Stark Claims and Cliche Touche)


Speed is nice, but if it lacks style, does anyone really care?

Marc Peruzzi states: “Skiing has proven to be bigger, faster, more efficient, and ultimately more welcoming than snowboarding…”

Ok, bigger? By what measure? Participation – ok sure, you’ve also got 80+ years of skiing industry history competing with snowboarding’s 30 years. So we’ll give you that, but whoever said snowboarding wanted to be “bigger” than skiing, anyway? That’s like saying the surf industry expects more people on surfboards than bodysurfing at the beach. Probably never going happen. The snowboarding industry is all for growth, in as much as that growth is driven in an organic manner via participation by enthusiasts with love for the sport & lifestyle.

Speaking of lifestyle, or should I say, “way of life” (switching to active first-person voice) what the hell do your Irish grandparents have to do with it? My Irish grandparents didn’t have two nickels to rub together, nevermind taking their kids skiing. Beyond that, to say skiing is “a way of life” and provides sinew for families to stay together and then somehow infer that snowboarding doesn’t offer the same, just shows how naive you are. Please pull the ski pole out of your tightly clenched gluteus.

Speed? I’m not looking to put on a an egg-shaped helmet and set my balls on fire. Softball pitchers throw over 120mph, the best in baseball barely break 100mph, yet I’ll take hardball over a grapefruit any day.


I know you think skiing is more “efficient,” but you should really curb your enthusiasm.

More efficient? Sorry jack. You ever watch a skier walk through a parking lot? Stiff boots, awkward poles, crossed skis in tow? Definitely not more efficient. Same goes for on-hill: one piece of equipment vs. four; a simple shift in body weight vs. a mechanized, multi-point series of motions to perfect a stem-christy (and you beat up snowboarding for its vernacular – what the hell is a stem-christy?).

Why not throw in distance? You mean the distance two-planks can achieve vs. one? You know what, you can have that, too. I’ll take Travis Rice’s stylish 117-foot backside rodeo over the hip at Superpark, circa 2001, over some Euro doing a flying V in a speed suit, God knows how many hundred meters before eventually succumbing to a rag-doll crash worthy of Sportscenter.

As for “welcoming” – it’s not rocket science that parents more often put their kids on skis. It’s because it’s easier to teach a toddler to stand on skis than on a snowboard. The initial balance physics are just more intuitive for their little jello bodies. We all know snowboarding is admittedly a bit awkward at first. But so is riding a bike, or surfing, or playing guitar, or doing just about anything that requires a bit of coordination, practice and patience.

That said, while skiing’s early days maybe a bit less “painful” the learning curve for snowboarding is markedly steeper. After 5 days on-hill anyone with any shred of athletic ability will be able to negotiate far more of the mountain on a snowboard vs skis (despite more frequent impact wrist injuries in snowboarding, which are about on par with the number of twisty knee injuries in skiing). Again – it’s physics. If you grasp a 6-foot long pole with one hand in the middle and try to rotate it, think of the control you have. Now grab the same pole with two hands spread equidistant apart. You’re a ninja.

Style Save Us (Bringing Sexy Back)

Danny Davis's switch method in Mammoth Grand Prix and X Games stole the show and reminds us what we do this for.

Danny Davis’s switch method in Mammoth Grand Prix and X Games stole the show and reminds us what we do this for.

That brings up my final point – style. Like was eluded to in the intro, style is a defining factor in snowboarding. Just look at Danny Davis’s switch method in the halfpipe. No skier is going to touch that now matter how high they go or the number of rotations thrown in – period. Two planks and two antennae sticking out just looks boney, sorry.

Style as in art, can’t be quantified, explained or categorized. It’s as unique as your fingerprint. And while kids will be kids and conform to whatever they think is “cool” (this happens in all walks of life), the essence of the snowboarding culture is about having a bit of style above and beyond the fun. And while they’re maybe less snowboarders buying lift tickets five years from now, the style they preserve and propagate will never die, and neither will snowboarding.

Glass House (Don’t Throw Stones)


Mark – worry about your style, worry about your writing, but please don’t worry about snowboarding anymore. Photo: Facebook

BTW – Mr. Peruzzi – you could learn a thing or two about style.






Last Call (Shut Up Already)


First chair, last call…can’t we just argue about all this nonsense at the bar?

Ultimately, when it comes to skiing vs. snowboarding, nobody really gives a shit about what’s cooler or better or trending or the like. The only question that remains is do you want to be a ninja or do you want to toss a javelin? Both require skill, but only one requires you wear the proverbial “short-shorts.”

As for Outside Magazine – shame on you for allowing Peruzzi’s article to ride to the top of the bully pulpit and endorse it as if it were fact. To Mary Walsh’s point (Online Editor at Snowboarder Magazine), you’re doing your readers and the entire snowsports industry a disservice for promoting such a one-sided point of view.

Congrats, though, on driving traffic to you website. Can you FOLLOW us?

Best wishes,



Disclaimer – Ed started skiing at 3 years old and did so until he was 13. Then Ed got on a snowboard, fell in love and never looked back. 22 years later, he’s still a season pass-holder and loves snowboarding more than ever. He’s totally cool with skiing and skiers, but just has a distaste for douchebags and a-holes. 








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