Being engaged to Nick Visconti means I am entering a world I previously knew pretty much nothing about: the glamorous (and not-so-glamorous) world of professional snowboarding. As I’ve more recently learned to strap on a board myself and wield a shovel here and there, I have been privileged to observe a cultural niche that is simultaneously fascinating, foreign, fun as all hell, and at times rather vulgar.
Some of you may know my story with my now fiancé. I have known Nick for three years in a first platonic, then romantic entanglement. Prior to dating him, I wasn’t really interested in snowboarding. Nick pursued me and we went on dates for years, but I was too intimidated to actually move forward with this person who appeared to be so different from me. When Nick and I both relocated to Seattle last year independently from one another, I saw it as a nod from God that I could indeed give things a chance with this man who wore hoop earrings and described everything as either ‘epic’ or ‘bitchin’… even though he lived and breathed a world I was completely alien to. Well, fast-forward a yearish, and I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I simply can’t wait to marry my best friend.
If you know Nick, you know how much his life doesn’t actually revolve around snowboarding – there is so much more depth behind that mischievous smile and sparkling eyes than what he does to pay the bills. My college-educated fiancé enjoys music, world culture, and undoubtedly more than anything, people. He proposed to me before he ever taught me to snowboard (I don’t know about you, but to me that speaks volumes). All that being said, in a short amount of time I have indeed been exposed to the ins and outs of snowboarding, and I’ve learned it’s a hell of a lot more than Shaun White winning the Half Pipe.
This is the world of snowboarding from my perspective… the perspective of one more akin to a – dare I use this word? – hipster lifestyle of art, Instagram, coffee shops, and other activities that usually don’t involve jumping off cliffs.
A sport that is pretty new in and of itself, snowboarding evolved as a youth-fueled response to the more bourgeois skiing. Coasting down a mountain with both feet strapped to one board instead of two closely paralleled skateboard culture and the street art movement of the 90’s. Eventually snowboarding seeped off the slopes and evolved to urban environments, where mothers gritted their teeth and watched their kids attempt tricks on railings, stairs, sides of buildings – the gnarlier the better. One of the most well known urban riders in snowboarding happens to be the man I’m engaged to. Even novices like me can quickly pick up on how unique Nick’s riding style is, mirroring his own eccentric one-of-a-kind yet lovable personality. He truly is a joy to watch. Nick is an X Games medalist, has traveled all over the world many times over, and is the only snowboarder to have ever landed the Christ Air (google it).
A day in the life of Nick looks something like this: Wake up. Check the weather. Brew coffee. Answer emails and return phone calls. Eat fruit and maybe eggs for breaky. Talk about daily fiber intake. Check the weather again. Make some more phone calls. Meet up with a film crew. Drive around spot-checking, which simply means looking for places to film a trick. Find a spot. Check the snow conditions. Talk about the snow conditions. Mention how the Eskimos have almost 100 different words for ‘snow’ in their vernacular. Start shoveling the snow. Discuss camera angles and settings. Finally begin snowboarding. Shovel some more. After the trick is finally captured, discuss if it’s good enough. Probably film it a dozen more times. Check the weather. Eat a burrito slathered in Tapatio for lunch. Drive around spot-checking again. Find another spot. Discuss trick ideas. Shovel for a half hour, then decide the snow conditions are not ideal. Call it a day. Hit up the local skate park for an hour. Probably have more Mexican food for dinner with a margarita or five. Check the weather for the next day. End the evening in a hot tub.
‘Tranny’ doesn’t mean transvestite. Phrases like ‘dropping’ and ‘sending it’ are used in day-to-day vernacular. The word ‘stoked’ is, well, used to a fault. Ski resorts are their own world and have a culture completely unique to them: women in fur drinking with their ski boots still on. An après beverage is very much a part of snow culture. Snowboarders are in bars just as often as they are on mountaintops. Speaking of mountains, if Nick and I are on a road trip and pass Mt. Shasta or something, he can’t take his eyes off of it. He’ll know the exact elevation and talk about memories associated with that particular mountain and how much his heart lusts for nature. Meanwhile, I nervously eye the road from the passenger seat for fear that he will get too distracted while driving. Nick’s thirst for the outdoors is one of the things I love most about him.
While recently spending a week in Philadelphia to work on an art project, one of the girls on my team caught herself saying ‘rad’ a lot and told me, “I don’t normally say this but you’re starting to rub off on me!” I told her to blame my fiancé. Perhaps Nick is rubbing off on me more than I know. Now if you’ll excuse me, we have a full day of shredding ahead of us.