This is my fifth attempt to restart posting. I’ve been writing and sketching a lot of seeds, but also busy with too much end of year stuff. The real work starts when all this obligarbage is over with. Hopefully I can find a way to make my commitments meaningful. A life without commitments is a life without community.

I have been exercising my unprecedented right, responsibility, and privilege as an American to absorb 100% of the Impeachment broadcast on C-span 3, and it is almost debilitating.

I listen to it mostly.

Watching it is intense. There are a lot of really smart people trying to figure out how to stop democracy from deteriorating past the point where it can no longer be salvaged. If you see the terror in their eyes as they express their urgent call for action it drains a soul further.

Hence, I just listen mostly. I get more done too.

No matter how you feel concerning what the truth is about the subject of the Impeachment, clearly there has to be a conspiracy on one side or the other.

That is a fact.

It seems like a lot of wasted energy on the part of whoever started the trouble.

You know who you are…and you are ruining America.

Stop it.

There are better ways to use your energy.

Think how much the world could be improved with just the money to pay lawyers in all of this. The embodied energy of the Muller Report alone could have transformed a ghetto into a model garden city.

What the…America? So pathetic.

I am close to giving up hope for America. It is all driven by greed, and greed has become our chief aspiration in life. Our principle export too.

By my estimate about 40% of our country is selfish and cruel and 40% are not smart enough to know that they are selfish, but aren’t intentionally malicious. 10% are smart and positively horrible. 10% are smart and Human.

It takes the energy of 99 people to dilute the damage of one bad agent.

Anyhow. That is my Impeachment takeaway so far.

Last Winter I reluctantly embraced my daughters desire to abandon skiing. She left to join her seemingly destined tribe of snowboarders. The snowboarders have appeal and style. She already likes surf culture and the cryptic image of a memory of my history growing up in America.

A free America. A phantasmagoria of 1970’s and 80’s America that overlays the near post-apocalyptic paradigm of terror we now hurl into. My desire to be sentient lives on for idealistic dreamers like my daughter in the new millennium. Too many of her friends don’t understand their individuality, and parrot narcissistic talking points of the marketing lackeys.

How can it be all about you and not from you at the same time?

Our house is a small, real and retrospective island in this impossibly huge, fast information matrix.

I live on that island, so I am glad that she seems to “get” some of the sentiment my wife and I exude from our experience growing up in simpler times. Food focused and happy in simple comfort. Farmers at heart who only want to grow and build and learn and play.

Two humans who became who we are through dissimilar paths, but have compatible values and a similar view of the Cosmos.

Now that my daughter had a season of “hook” days last year, she understands my feelings about snow better, and knows through the energy in her soul how the hook of a near-perfect carved turn can’t be explained or forgotten.

Only experienced.

In deep, light powder it feels like you are skimming in loose but safe control over the tops of the clouds that hover below the windows of your flight leaving Portland. Pick a Portland, they both get a lot of clouds. The texture is light windblown sand. It is almost as if the wind that brought the ice crystals is trapped in the snow, waiting to push back on boards strapped to feet like it would in the sail of a boat. Swirling and sucking. ebbing and cutting. Dynamic frozen movement in vortices. In this case, powered by gravity and inertia.

In 1985 the youth of Burlington saw an explosion of skateboard awareness. The whole country did because of a movie called “Back To The Future”. It seemed that overnight our young teenage aspirations of BMX prowess were replaced by new language and borrowed style.

The real skateboarders had always been there, and so had the Punk Scene. Posers like me were abundant but enthusiastic, and helped support some local skate shops and record stores. I spent a lot of time and money trying to find reality in something that felt incomplete, and realistically, the scene didn’t want me. Logically, I simply wasn’t enough of an enthusiast to be pure, and I just wanted people to see that I wanted the best for them and love me for that.

So selfish.

Jake Burton Carpenter did not invent snowboarding. He was one of many hands that brought the vision to fruition, and then to the mainstream.

When his “Woody” started to appear at areas there wasn’t much concern at first that it would become the dominant source of growth for the ski industry. For Vermont kids who liked to skateboard it became a winter activity, and a lot of skiers were curious about the stylish new culture sharing the mountain. Some skiers were already trying monoskiing–a new trend in Europe. There were a few contraptions floating around every winter–there always had been. As long as people have had to travel on snow, there has been some way to make it more efficient, and hopefully fun too.

Snowboards have assumed various forms and several methods of attachment to humans. From physics and a rope to full release alpine racing bindings that snap onto hard shell boots. The first binding that worked pretty well was the rubber and nylon strap configuration on the Burton Woody. It worked with your choice of winter boot. A lot of early shredders wore Sorels or Bean’s Duck Boots and a pair of Army Surplus green wool infantry cargo pants. Stuff we already had because…Vermont.

Oddly enough, the most common setup for bindings is not too removed from what the early Woody riders had 35 years ago. No one still has to ski in woolies, but my daughters boots look a lot more comfortable than my A/T boots or even my wife’s new alpine boots. She rides in a “Sorel” kind of comfort. The Canadian Cadillac of winter boots. Escalade level foot fluffy.

It matters because I am old and my feet hurt from 25 years of physical labor. My day is limited by this fact. 6 hours in boots, maximum. The shear comfort and simplicity of a snowboard set up is tempting, but the thought of how much falling I would have to do to learn how to snowboard again is prohibitive. Falling gets more serious every year, and my feet will probably always hurt–wrecked from a career in construction. Any new injuries may never heal.

In high school I more or less went skiing most of the weeks in Winter. Even my junior year in England we would go to a “dry slope” area near the school. I think it was an old landfill that they covered with a surface resembling chain-link fence if it was made from heavy duty pipe cleaners and laid flat on the hill. A rope tow got you to the top of the slope.

Snowboarding hadn’t grabbed me completely in it’s infancy, and never would. At that time the great American indemnity hawk was circling over this new activity in the mountains. Insurance companies didn’t have any statistics for reference yet. Skiers were resistant to sharing their space with other people who move so differently down the mountain. I was one of those skiers. I saw how the character of the trails was formed very differently once snowboarders arrived in larger numbers. I didn’t like it. A lot of people didn’t like it.

The new sport brought a flood of novices who didn’t know to stay off hard terrain or really anything about mountain safety. In the early days there weren’t “schools” for snowboard instruction as there were for skiing. Protocols were still primitive. There were scores of “city kids” who were not used to being outside all day, on a mountain, in Winter. Rural kids knew better about that. A few of those rural surf enthusiasts had their own skateboard ramps on the family acreage too, and a lot of time to practice. They were used to being outside in every season. A little hill and a snowboard could fill a boring afternoon on a farm. One can walk in Sorels. Ski boots are hard travel on a practice slope.

One such rural kid we knew started snowboarding with our hoard at Bolton Valley Ski area. I think it was winter 1986. He hung with the downtown skateboard kids all summer in Burlington, and then we would start to see him up at the mountain once the ski season started. In just one season he got very, very good and soon became one of the first sponsored snowboarders at Burton.

Long before it was an Olympic sport, he had a practice slope with jumps at his house and then one day, several years later he had his own Burton snowboard and was touring the world, making movies. Snowboarding was really a thing. We all cheered him on. One of our own had made it big as a professional slacker.

The American dream for a lot of Vermont teenagers. A few make it work.

He was riding a wave that made him a mint while travelling the world and spending his days having the most fun possible. Snowboarding changed winter forever.

Forever–as long as there is snow to slide on.

Something that snowboarding brought to mountain culture–that might be overlooked by an outsider–is hardcore art and style.

Rastafarian fused punk rock and roll.

The board itself quickly became a canvas and the sport itself is 90% logos, It is a meaning-fluffy visual feast in any light condition these days, and a lot more fun than it was 30 years ago. I love to see people get paid for a simple that hurts no-one.

Think of the brand “SUPREME”. Just as a “brand” it sells millions. Kids eat it up. Parents buy it for them to no end.

It doesn’t even have to be anything.

Genius. Everything my daughter owns is covered with it.

As the competitive portion of the sport grew, so did the presence of valuable graphic real estate in the form of the base of the board. A clear flash of your brand or logo with every flipping trick in a snowboarders catalog, and now, viewed as an Olympic spectacle.

From 1990 until 2007 I was still skiing when I could, but not paying close attention to innovation and changes in the ski industry and it’s various facets. In my adult life the improvements have made it more fun for seasoned, old skeletons like me, and made it easier to learn for people who are new to the sport. The ticket prices have gone up–a lot, but the lifts are fast now so at most areas you can get a lot more skiing in for your money.

Equipment has never been better. With “shape” skis I am not bothered by malformed moguls–the product of snowboards. I do cling to my defense of for their almost indefensible purity of a skiers mountain. I defend it for a couple of selfish reasons. They feel unfair as reasons–like discrimination, but that would be a dramatic comparison for the fact that I am discussing an elitist activity where rich people use loads of energy and space to do something needless, and then fight about the terms of their decadence. It is ridiculous.

It is a land use issue. Comparably, ATV’s and mountain bikes are not nicely compatible, and as such they build and maintain their own trail networks. Skiing and snowboarding are closer in compatibility, but a pure skiers mountain is simply more fun for skiing if that is the only point to your day.

I’d rather not exclude people in most of my lift-serviced skiing. The back country is for that…and I would rather have less ski areas than more ski areas. More wilderness, not less. We don’t need to cut up new mountains to diffuse feuds.

When my daughter decided to snowboard “full time” last year I started to pay attention to snowboarding. It can’t be ignored. I now live with a snowboarder. She is picking up where I left the sport. This year she will move forward with confidence.

It was exciting to be there at the start of it, to live long enough to see it peak, and get chased up the mountain by global warming. For now I hope we get a few more good years before it is all done for Humanity.

I wonder how long a lift pole would stand on a post-apocalyptic mountain. Maybe a future alien paleontologist will find them buried deep in a petrified ancient forest floor.

Sitting in a perfect line. Cylinders of standing rust bolted to stone.

I’ll just assume the forest becomes petrified somehow. It is more fun that way.

Last winter I started to notice the strong visual element of snowboard culture. I was taking a graphic design class at and my mind was tuned up to notice the cartoon that is snowboard fashion in psychedelic orgasma-vision.

The colors man…

…and the language too.

I have long been dialed in on skateboard vernacular, and have truly enjoyed watching it creep deeper into how the pop-world world speaks English.

Skippity-brap bridges cultures bro.

Skick was a sub-language among some skateboard and snowboard geeks in Northern Vermont in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Think Pig-Latin without the pesky rules and strict conjugation. I am not sure if anyone ever penned the “Skictionary” but it was mentioned conceptually several times. The term “skick” is a contraction of “Skateboard-hick”. It would be interesting to know how much of that culture found the mainstream. There were a lot of creative, well-financed people that came through this crop of Vermont teenagers. Almost everyone I know has done more than nothing with their lives since high school. Maybe one of those kids designs the new fashion I see…

On the mountain, in a dark storm you can see the new colors–even in the flattest of light they are bright. In sunshine there are patterns-impossible on every wearable surface. Helmets are garnished with logos and art blots. It is all so busy and clean at once.

There was always fashion on the mountain, but now the identity is relatable for many more layers of culture and lifestyle. It has become fashion forward. Trends showing up in the general garb for all of winter. Snowboard runway influence.

Camouflage was commandeered for irony and fused with MC Escher on some epic powder day with mushrooms as a bonding agent. Now the mountain is full of fractals in colors that did not used to exist on any manufactured surface.

We live in the greatest times yet if only we could get past the greed part.

When Jake Burton Carpenter started his company there were a lot of well established ski and surf and skate companies working hard to make sense of the new sport.

In the nest of a creative small city on the “West Coast of New England” (credit unknown for this term–thank you to whoever coined it), Burton Snowboards developed as a contender in a global market. A unique Vermont company dedicated to one emergent idea that would become a world wide industry. Mr. Burton lived long enough to see his idea become a well run organization with strong local to global communal ties, and an environmental call to action.

He was a human, working for the health of humanity.

Sonny in Mt. Bachelor summit crater

Let’s get back on the lift.

After my November 12th post I had resolved to take a few days off of writing and focus on a few other things. As much as this is a hobby, it does take up real time, and there is only so much of that. One area where I was able to make up time in these last few weeks was in fulfilling my civic duty by listening to the entirety of the Impeachment Inquiry hearings while working on the real work of life. I was blessed to have tasks that are rote for me and only take a small amount of mental focus even if they take 110% of what I have to give physically these days. Impeachment plastering.

I wanted to write in those weeks, but most of the topics I had notes for were related to dark ideas, and for this blog I am trying to keep things thoughtful, but spun positive. Socially aware, but apolitical. I have some compelling notes to explore as topics, but right now I only have time for positive ideas and production. The end of the year is almost here–for real.

How fast?

In those waning and now waxing weeks I had my last mountain bike ride for the season in Moore Park–a late November Saturday that could have been a cold day in June if it weren’t for only eight hours of precious daylight. A week later I skied for the first time this Autumn. That was last Sunday and I already broke my first ski for the season.

In the last few weeks the world lost a Vermont legend to cancer. The man has died, but if I know snowboarding, the mountains will forever be ablaze with his spirit. Blaze it up bro…skippity dippity doppity doo.

Rest in peace Jake Burton Carpenter. Some things he worked for could be seen in my daughter last year when she dropped into the summit crater of Mt. Bachelor at the end of our season. In real time, I watched her new passion for snowboarding eclipsing the fashion part now that her skills allowed for more interesting experiences on the mountain.

She is one of many millions of kids who have embraced the sport since I skied away from it in it’s infancy. I never got to be any good at snowboarding. I guess I wasn’t meant to travel sideways. I can’t surf either. My skateboarding was good, but I went back to bicycles. Forward facing travel, and a person can get into some beautiful landscapes too.

With luck our new family snow season begins in a couple of weeks. Mt. Bachelor opened the day after Thanksgiving, but a couple more storms would be helpful for morale.

I’ve probably lost Sonora as a ski buddy forever now. Maybe she will still drag me up the hike for a drop into the largest half-pipe in Oregon–the summit cone crater of Mt. Bachelor. More likely she will have friends on the mountain and they will pack around in hoards of logos, flipping and shredding like we only dreamed about in 1986.

This is her 1986, and her equipment has matured. My Burton Woody days might have been longer if a Woody was the board she is riding. Equipment matters, and so does spirit.

It is good. I hope we gave her the skills not to die on the mountain. I doubt she will follow in the footsteps of Jeff Brushie, the snowboarder I knew that rode for Burton. Maybe she will contribute to culture with her art. This weekend she just picked up another gig painting a pair of Vans shoes for a kid at school.

Custom sidewalk surfing shoes by Sonny. I think Jake would see potential in her. Maybe not a global vision yet, but a creative soul looking for fluid beauty on a canvas without stasis.