To me, snowboarding has always been about spending incredible moments in the great mountain outdoors. It’s also about constantly honing my skills to ride faster, draw ever more beautiful lines in fresh snow, and push my limits on the snow.
One of the most appealing aspects of being a snowboarder, though, is the sense of belonging to a community. From the moment I took on snowboarding and started learning on the slopes, I’ve had incredible support from other snowboarders and even made a few friends for life.
The snowboarding community is an important and integral part of my life. In this article, I delve deeper into the culture and community of snowboarding, exploring the ways in which riders come together to share their love of the sport and support each other.
See also: The snowboarding culture: from rebels to global tribe
Why Community Matters in Snowboarding
While community plays a role in many sports, it’s particularly important in snowboarding, Similar to the surfing and skateboarding communities, snowboarders often consider themselves as a tribe.
The community provides snowboarders with a way to connect with peers and more experienced riders, ask technical questions, make friends, and solve problems.
For example, newer snowboarders often turn to (online or real-world) snowboard groups for help choosing or tuning their snowboard gear.
They can also get first-hand information about the current snow conditions or a specific snowboarding location.
While snowboarding has grown to become a mainstream activity, snowboarders still tend to feel like an exclusive, tight-knit group, distinct from other groups including skiers.
Snowboarders, like surfers and skaters, feel part of a special, elite group with a special sense of freedom, creativity, and great physical abilities that sets them apart from the rest of the world.
Benefits Of The Snowboarding Community
Besides the great feeling of belonging to a friendly and supportive group, getting involved in a snowboarding community whether online or physically has many benefits, such as:
- Finding other snowboarders to go riding with. This allows for cost sharing and planning fun trips to the mountain among friends, as opposed to going it alone.
- Trading equipment: snowboards, bindings, boots, snowboarding pants and jackets, goggles etc are expensive. Communities often allow snowboarders to get good deals on second hand gear, and quickly resell their older stuff to less advanced riders who aren’t yet ready to invest in new gear.
- Exchanging riding technique and tips: the community answers common questions such as how to overcome fear of speed, how to do toeside turns, or when should you ride on edge vs flat.
- Discussing cultural events related to snowboarding e.g. snowboard films, music, snowboard/skateboard brands and fashion, etc.
See also: How to meet people to snowboard with
Snowboarding Clubs and Groups
So where do you find and join the snowboarding community? The easiest and most obvious place is the internet. Online forums like SnowboardingProfiles.com and SnowboardingForum.com are great places for snowboarders to connect, share information, and discuss snowboarding.
There are also many snowboarding groups on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Examples of large Facebook groups include Snowboarding! (over 70k members) and Snowboarders (close to 60K). Snowboard_World on Instagram has around 500k followers at the time of this writing.
There is also a very active offline snowboarding community all over the world. Many cities and regions have local snowboard clubs which allow riders to get together, negotiate group discounts e.g. for resort passes, and organize cool events. You can find many clubs listed in the USSA Club Lookup directory.
There are also special interest snowboard groups catering to specific interests or demographics, such as women’s groups, beginner groups, or freeride groups.
Many resorts also offer snowboard schools and camps, which besides learning the sport, can be a great way to meet other riders.
There are several national and international snowboard organizations that promote the sport and provide resources and support for riders. An example is the World Snowboard Federation, a network of national snowboard associations worldwide with the common goal to develop the sport, and World Snowboarding which organizes elite, regional and national events.
Social Media And Snowboarding Community
Facebook and Instagram groups play a significant role on the snowboarding community by providing a platform for riders to connect with each other worldwide and stay up to date on the latest developments in the sport.
Snowboarding brands often have a strong presence on social media, providing information about new products and events. Riders frequently interact with them and provide feedback on products.
Many riders also use Instagram and YouTube to showcase their skills and attract sponsorship.
Historically, snowboard.com (1995) was was one of the first online resources dedicated to snowboarding. It provided news, events, and gear reviews, and hosted a message board for riders to connect with each other. The site played a role in the growth and development of the community.
Snowboarding Events and Competitions
Snowboarding events are a key part of the snowboarding community as they provide opportunities for riders to demo their skills, compete in a friendly atmosphere, and socialize.
Snowboarding events and competitions range from local grassroots events to international competitions such as the Winter X Games and the Burton US Open. Events include many disciplines such as slopestyle, halfpipe, and big air. They attract top riders from around the world.
Besides professional competitions, there are also many grassroots snowboarding events such as local rail jams and banked slaloms. These are organized by local snowboarding clubs and groups and offer a casual atmosphere for riders of all ages and abilities.
The Power of The Community in Snowboarding
The snowboarding community often has a positive impact on society. For example, snowboarders have long been involved in environmental campaigns such as advocating for the protection of public lands and promoting eco-friendly gear.
Likewise, snowboarders are frequently involved in charitable causes, using the power of the community to raise awareness and funds. Riders often participate in fundraising events and campaigns to support causes like cancer research and disaster relief.
Snowboarding brands like Burton, Nitro, Capita, and others, promote diversity in their marketing, featuring riders of different ages, genders, and ethnicities. Some provide resources and support for marginalized groups, such as women and LGBTQ+ riders.
The community is a strong advocate for the inclusion of snowboarding in the Olympics, which in turns has a positive impact on the sport and its image with a broader public.
Future of the Snowboarding Community
A few notable trends are shaping the snowboarding community of tomorrow. One is the rise of female riders, with women playing an increasing part in the sport and getting involved in events and competitions.
Another trend is the increasing number of older riders. Snowboarding is not just a youth sport, many older riders are taking up snowboarding or continuing to ride as they age – I’m 54 and not about to quit riding!
Urban snowboarding is also slowly changing the snowboarding community. Urban riding involves riding on snow-covered city streets and sidewalks, using stairs, handrails, and urban obstacles as part of the ride. This makes for a more urban (vs pure outdoor) community closer in vibe to the skateboarding community.
Finally, the snowboarding community continues to expand to a wider range of places throughout the world – whereas historically it was mostly a thing in the U.S and Europe in the past.
Snowboarding is more than just a sport; it is a way of life that is centered around a love of the outdoors, a passion for adventure, and a strong sense of community.
Snowboarders come from all walks of life, they come together to share their love of the sport and support each other. The community is a vital and vibrant part of the sport, and an essential element of the snowboarding lifestyle.
Snowboarding also has its own unique style and culture, with its own music, art, fashion, and lingo. Snowboarders incorporate this culture into their daily lives.