Originally posted on SnowboarderGuide.com
We all know people who were bullied, or affected by bullying, in school. Spoken Word poet Shane Koyczan and a team of animators have created beautiful, awesome, moving piece of art about bullying, titled “To This Day.” Check it out below the fold.
Skiing and Snowboarding isn’t without its own forms of bullying, and ski and snowboard culture can be pretty harsh to those who don’t belong. We roll in packs, we have our own slang, and advanced riders can be pretty intimidating to the new skier or rider. As an instructor, coach, and instructor trainer, I’ve seen and heard bullying in many forms on the mountain.
We all hear about the occasional “road-rage” incidents on the mountain, but what about the more pervasive cultural atmospheres at various resorts. Mention Breckenridge in a conversation with a group of average skiers and riders, and someone will mention the “bro, brah” park culture. Same goes for other resorts that make snowboarders feel unwelcome (or flat out banned), or resorts where ski racers are the ruling kings.
Ski and snowboard culture is full of cliques, and I think it’s easy to forget how that affects the guests.
While introducing students to the park, one of the most frequent complaints is regarding the more advanced riders who mob through the beginner parks. This is so easily fixed by putting the beginner park on the opposite side of a run from some more advanced features, or on another run entirely, or by fencing individual features in a beginner area, but few resorts go to the trouble. We also regularly hear complaints from beginners about the ski racers who fly by at speeds these new skiers and riders can’t even comprehend. I think we sometimes make our guests feel like outsiders rather than cultivating a welcoming environment.
Conversely, we can just as easily outcast our loyal lifetime shredders. Early season, we just want to go fast, get some miles on the equipment that has languished all summer, and most of all, play on the snow! The mountains are great at plastering runs with “Slow Zone,” signs and dotting the hills with red or yellow-jacketed employees waving their arms and threatening to pull passes. The Snowbasin incident last winter between a patroller and a couple of snowboarders is a great example: “You’re harassing us because we’re young. You never tell the ski team to slow down. I get yelled at all the time for going too fast. I’m never going that fast.” The video prompted an official apology from Snowbasin Resort, but this isn’t just one incident at one mountain with one patroller.
The issue of bullying is addressed with the Smart Style’s fourth line, “Respect gets respect.”
I’m of the opinion that this is actually the most important aspect of the Smart Style code. The first three address physical safety, and should be covered by common sense, but “Respect gets respect” goes in a different direction. It’s about creating a welcoming atmosphere in our parks. It’s about remembering that we all had to learn once, that falling off a rail 100 times was how we gained the skill to cab-270 on so smoothly. It’s a reminder that while it might be easier to yell at that gaper from Texas that just snaked you only to launch off the side of a rail’s on-ramp and yardsale into another jump’s landing, taking 5 minutes to welcome him to the park, introduce him to the culture, and explain park etiquette is what will leave a lasting impression on that guests trip.
I don’t mean to belittle the very serious issue of bullying in school by turning this eye towards our mountain cultures. The long-term trauma inflected in the daily tormenting experienced in formative years is far greater than that experienced on the mountain. Bullying is an endemic issue with untraceable “butterfly effect” wing-beats. It changes shapes and shows in different faces, but it comes from the the same base human reaction – we like those that are “like us,” and dislike those that don’t fit into our view of normal.
“Respect gets respect” addresses an issue that isn’t touched in the Skier Responsibility Code for the rest of the mountain (maybe it’s time to add number eight), and is one of the root issues of bullying everywhere. What if we made “Respect gets respect” a daily motto, not just something on a sign we ride by on the way to the park?
About “To This Day”:
Published on Feb 19, 2013
Shane Koyczan “To This Day” http://www.tothisdayproject.com Help this message have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting bullying. Please share generously.
Find Shane on Facebook – http://on.fb.me/Vwdi65 or on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/koyczan
I send out one new poem each month via email. You might like to join us. http://www.shanekoyczan.com
“My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life but standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways. Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. This piece is a starting point.” – Shane
Find anti-bullying resources at http://www.bullying.org
Dozens of collaborators from around the world helped to bring this piece to life. Learn more about them and the project at http://www.tothisdayproject.com
Buy “To This Day” on BandCamp http://bit.ly/VKGjgU or iTunes http://bit.ly/W47QK2
Diego De la Rocha
Hyun Min Bae
Waref Abu Quba
Deo Mareza and Clara
Teresa del Pozo
Eric Paoli Infanzón
Julio C. Kurokodile
Daniel Moreno Cordero
Alessandro & Manfredi
Giant Ant Studios
Jorge R. Canedo Estrada
for having the bravery to helm such a monumental project.
for their generosity of spirit and tireless support.
for creating such a beautiful piece of music and having the patience to explore this art form with me.
for keeping me organized and making me appear to look like I know what I’m doing.
Loretta Mozart AKA my Grandmother
for never saying “You can’t do that.” For always saying “OK… how can I help?”[/showhide]