This might not be news to you, but when I heard it the other day, I almost lost my mind. A friend of mine coaches at Windell's. He says people actually sign up for the academy, plunk down tens of thousands of dollars per term in 'tuition,' have lofty expectations of shred stardom and have yet to strap into a board. Wow! Just let that sink in for a second. That would be like signing up for a college journalism program without knowing how to write.
So much for wanting to go out and have some fun in the snow. From the first time these kids touch it, they're on a career path. Parents, I think you skipped the 'lift ticket and lesson' step. Maybe splurge on a private lesson. Snowboarding is officially on baseball's level. Big time. Academies pumping out single-minded stars. Is this what's been going on back east with all the 'mountain schools'? Are we in for a generation of snow-bots?
Kids are stoked. They get an amazing opportunity at a world-class facility. Parents are either madly in debt or have too much money to care. At that age, they're probably also stoked to send the kids away for a bit. The Academy is stoked. Did I mention tens of thousands of tuition dollars? Seems like a 'win' all the way around.
But what about the sport? That's one less kid who got hooked on riding down a hill at a local golf course. One less kid who patted down three-foot jumps to flat by hand and hucked herself 'til she couldn't see straight. One less kid who just wanted to get outside and hang out with his friends in the wintertime. All for one more kid who can do one more cork.
Here's hoping it doesn't kill the experience for them. Snowboarding isn't math. Maybe they learn to have a good time.