HOME MOUNTAINS: Wintergreen Resort, VA; Stratton, VT; Squaw Valley, CA; Park City, UT; Mt. Hood, OR; Cerro Catedral, Argentina
My definition of “Home Mountain” has been in constant flux over the years as I have moved from state to state and coast to coast. I have probably given a different answer every time I am asked in order to represent fairly, usually depending on my mood and how rebellious I am feeling. If I am on the east coast, I will probably answer somewhere west and vice versa. I guess you could argue that this approach has potential ramifications; including split personality disorder… or perhaps that I don’t really have a home mountain and therefore don’t have any true roots. I, however, disagree. Usually, I just give a one-word answer for convenience purposes. Let’s get real, if I were to go on a rant at every competition about how I have more than one home mountain, I would either get a death stare or be completely ignored. Not to mention, no one really cares how different mountains have shaped my experience when they are trying to register hundreds of athletes. So, I have learned to compromise by offering up a different mountain every time. At first, I was distraught about which mountain to choose. But as I continued to move around and call different mountains home, I started to understand it really didn’t matter. It wasn’t about which mountain was home, it was about the fact that there was a home. The amazing thing about the snowboarding world is the “home” that is created at any mountain. No matter how the mountain fosters that “home,” we are able to find a niche where we can build family-like relationships with people who share a common passion and bond. There is an unspoken understand and appreciation that keeps us coming back for more, because we have found a place that is safe – a place where we can express love freely and share that with the people around us. Whether the mountain is 2 miles down the road, or thousands of miles away in Argentina, we are able to find this bond and experience that keeps us constantly coming back for more. So much so, that even when we are far away we can still call that place home, and still know that when we go back, although it might not be the same, we can still find the comfort and passion that brought us there in the first place. This is why I love any mountain that I was lucky enough to call home; they have all instilled a sense of self and place, and inspired me to pursue passion, and given me the comfort that no matter where I go, I can always carry a piece of home with me.