Friday, 12 February 2010

Did I forget it was winter, amidst the ball sport madness?

I don't talk much about snowboarding in my writing, despite it being in my top four favourite sports since I took it up 10 years ago. That first drop, on my third ever run at Mt Seymour near Vancouver, was only three or four feet but that was the point where it was cemented in my sporting passions.

And if money was no object when choosing a dream house, it would be extremely tough choice between a snow-capped mountain lodge and an out-of-the-way beachside farmhouse.

With the Winter Olympics kicking off this weekend, it's a also a brilliant time for newspaper readers in those cities/towns/states where board, sled and ski sports are pretty much non-existent in the sports pages. In the UK, jaded football writers have taken to talking up our skeleton and boardercross prospects while journos at the free Sport magazine (whose website sadly carries only an e-edition) after forced to dumb down their usually insightful interviews for a largely clueless public.

Even though only cable channel Eurosport will carry the coverage and no doubt do it poorly, I'll still no doubt grab a few hours at a pub to get more visual inspiration for an upcoming trip to French Alps.

But often when it comes to watching snowboarding videos, I glaze over after a few minutes due to the inevitable spin-to-win halfpipe footage. Sure, I've never seriously ridden park or pipe but there's nothing I find as interesting on the pipe as the buzz I get watching big mountain riding, Warren Miller film style.

Which is why this brilliant clip caught my immediate attention: some tricky rail grinds and obligatory dance music (whatever happened to good surf/snow punk rock??) sure but the open off-piste riding is where it stands out. And when it comes to talented freaks like Shaun White or this video star Tadej Valentan-Elektro, I'd watch them hill riding any day over a double cork on a pipe wall. Enjoy.

Tadej Valentan-Elektro.2009 from Nejc Hudolin on Vimeo.

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