Skiing and snowboarding are, at their core, about sliding down snowy slopes.
They’ve developed their cultures and subcultures, but they usually balance atop the activity more unsteadily than the skier or rider does on the slope.
A high-end heli-skier and a low-end ski bum have little in common in their lifestyles, other than the two planks. Each competitive discipline comes with its own set of clothing, cliques and cultures.
Likewise, the backcountry splitboarder only passes the resort bar-star at 5:30 a.m. when the former is heading to the hills and the latter is stumbling home.
In a sense, the ski and snowboard lifestyle is a blank slate, ready to be rewritten by anyone with a new lifestyle concept.
Beyond Boarding hopes to link snowboarding with activism.
Organization founders Tomo Campos, Jon Muirhead and Jasper Rosen will be presenting two videos and giving talks at an event at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre this Saturday, March 15.
Their videos showcase their travels through South America, then closer to home in northern British Columbia, where they linked up with First Nations communities to explore the issues of climate change and industrial development in rural communities.
I spoke with the boys just after their show in Nelson. They were packed into their bio-diesel van for another night of camping, getting ready to head towards Revelstoke.
Campos said the presentation does explore issues like climate change, but at its core it’s about activism, and getting snowboarders involved.
“We want to bridge a gap between snowboarding and activism, rather than just spreading awareness in the snowboarding community,” Campos said. “Especially in our movies and a lot of our talks is saying that we can know all we want about all the issues, it’s about actually doing something that’s going to change things.”
Their journey and films have been getting some attention in snowboard media outlets.
Beyond Boarding is working with several local organizations, including the North Columbia Environmental Society, to generate interest for their showing in Revelstoke.
Campos hopes to the presentation can be a catalyst that will unite like-minded snowboarders into more conscious activism on issues facing.
“It’s a different way of seeing things. These movies teach us so much about different issues that are facing Canadians right now, but they also show ways you can get involved,” he said.
Campos said their Nelson show last week was a rewarding experience.
“It was so cross-generational; we had people from high school and elders there,” he said.
But what about in Revelstoke, with its defined red-necky streak. Many snowboarders here for the winter work in the oil patch. What’s in the presentation for them?
Event co-organizer Desiree Wallace said while Beyond Boarding does take an oppositional stance to tar sand development, they’re not about dividing people.
“Part of the movie is focusing on people who actually work in the industry, recognizing we can’t demonize them and we can’t exclude them from this movement because many of them aren’t going them for the good times or they think it’s the right thing to do,” she said. “They’re going there for quick cash. Our government and our society needs to do a better job of creating jobs that can sustain people.”
The event at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, Mar. 15 at 7 p.m. is $10, $8 for NCES members and $5 for students.