Sorry Dude

By Mike Ryan

              I’m going skiing this weekend with the Wife and Kid. Well, two of us are skiing. Unfortunately, the Kid, my baby girl, has passed over to the Dark Side. Yeah, that’s right, she’s a snowboarder. It’s taken a while to accept, much less admit in public. I figure I might as well fess up now, since someone may see us together on the slopes. You won’t see us together on the lifts though, because I don’t allow snowboarders to ride with me. In the past it was because I didn’t really like them, but now it’s because I really don’t like them.

                  We made her learn how to ski first, thinking this would postpone the day when all her brains are sucked out of her ears by the Walkman headphones the boarders use. For three years we were a happy family, merrily schussing down the slopes together, enjoying the quiet solitude and friendly atmosphere provided by the mountain resorts. Now though, we have to listen to the constant, irritating crunching sound of boarders flattening out the snow on every run. For the un-initiated, it’s similar to the sound of your neighbor scrapping the ice off his windshield at 6:00 am on a quiet snowy morning: so much for quiet solitude.

                       I have found the most common words used by snow boarders, when addressing skiers are, “Sorry, Dude,” right after they’ve smashed into me, or someone in my party. We figured teaching her to ski first would mean there will be at least one less boarder on the slopes, out of control and wiping people out at every turn. Not only is she a responsible boarder (is that an oxymoron?), but also, she has not completely immersed herself in the snow-boarder culture. By that, I mean she still has somewhat of a vocabulary.

            I usually do a lot of my skiing alone and on weekdays. In the days when I did share a chairlift with boarders; I grew to understand what skiing would be like in a foreign country. Try as I may; conversation was futile. I swear, on one 10 minute ride with two boarders of dubious character, all I heard the whole time was, “Dude, Yo dude, That’s whack Dude,” and of course, “Yo Dude that’s whack.” What made it worse was they were talking to me. I just simply skied off; which I can do, and they can’t.


           They talk about being free of bindings and boots, yet they have to drop on their butt at the top of every lift to re-strap their boards on. Though the temptation to spear a few of them is strong, for the sake of my child, I resist. It gets frustrating with the kid, because I can pop off the lift, and be halfway down the mountain, before she’s ready to start. For fun, there’s always the flatter parts of the mountain. Nothing cracks me up more than watching snow-boarders walking across a flat section as I come flying by, sharing my motto with them, “Two boards rule, DUDE”

Then there’s the music. I’m a musician, and usually a very open minded one at that, but come on. This puke-punk-metal-thrash-hip-hop-rap-crap is for the birds. By the tone of their music, these are some very angry young people. Why? They are able to spring for $60 lift tickets at their age; yet they are angry? Maybe that explains their taste in clothing. I can find better looking stuff at Goodwill. The kid wants me to try snowboarding, but I told her I refuse to dress like a Rescue Mission dropout. She wears these big old baggy, dreary looking boarding outfits, which make her look like an indigent old man. Actually I appreciate that part, because at least it keeps all the ‘Dudes,’ from knowing what’s under there.

I know what some of you are saying. In the immortal words of that great philosopher Rodney King, ‘Why can’t we all just get along?” Well, as you may or may not know, Rodney King was a drunk and I don’t think he’s ever skied, so I’ll just continue with my intolerant ways.  All you snowboarders can save the emails for someone who cares, and if you see me at the lift and are not allowed on my chair, your welcome to say, “that’s whack Bra (I believe Bra means brother to you and me),” and I’ll probably respond, “Sorry, Dude.”

© Mike Ryan 2003

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