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Transnational Boarding Bodies: Travel, Tourism, and Lifestyle Sport Migration

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Abstract

Approaching the sport from a position of privilege, many snowboarders travel extensively – locally, nationally, internationally, and virtually—in pursuit of new terrain, fresh snow, and social interactions and cultural connections. According to the authors of Snowboarding the World, ‘Snowboarders are, by definition, travellers. Unless you’re lucky enough to live at the foot of a mountain, the typical snowboarding trip means planning an overseas journey’ (Barr et al., 2006, p. 3). A recent online survey of more than 2000 snowboard-ers from around the world showed approximately 43 percent of correspondents had snowboarded at least once in a foreign country (‘Poll results’, 2006). According to Transworld Snowboarding journalist Jennifer Sherowski (2004a), ‘when it comes to seeing the world, snowboarders are lucky’:

we don’t have to vacantly watch it pass by outside the tour-bus window or through the camcorder scope like most people. Nope, the emptiness of ‘tourism’ is not for us, because we belong to a planet-wide culture that makes journeying to the remotest places the equivalent of visiting a pack of friends for a day of slashing it. You shred a place, you live it, you know it – you don’t just buy the postcard at the airport. (p. 106, emphasis added)

Keywords

  • Related Travel
  • Sport Industry
  • Cultural Participant
  • Transnational Mobility
  • Corporeal Mobility

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Travelling is an integral part of snowboarding for me. Stepping off the beaten track and leaving familiarity behind can add an entirely different dimension to a snowboard trip. Experiencing new environments and different ways of living brings rewards all of its own. The most important thing that snowboarding has given me has been the opportunity to expand my horizons. It’s hard to forget the feeling of cranking a turn in bottomless powder, but when I’m too old to strap in anymore, the memories that I’ll hold tightest will be the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met along the way. (James McPhail, snowboard photographer, cited in Barr et al., 2006, p. 92)

As a snowboarder the ‘Big OE’ [overseas experience] is a bit different from your good old traditional ‘going to London and getting a job at a pub’ or ‘backpacking around Europe on the smell of any oily rag’. It’s more a pilgrimage, a mission of intent to ride as much as possible, to experience previously unknown depths of snow, and conquer the peaks and parks that you’ve seen so many times in DVDs and magazines. (Westcot, 2006, p. 63)

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© 2011 Holly Thorpe

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Thorpe, H. (2011). Transnational Boarding Bodies: Travel, Tourism, and Lifestyle Sport Migration. In: Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice. Global Culture and Sport Series. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230305571_8

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