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39. I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski

Updated: Jan 19

Image by Heike Georg

I used to like going on snowboarding holidays with my (then) wife and a group of friends... 

Some of those friends were people that we met while riding the white waves of pow-wow.  I would usually be the only boarder amongst a big group of skiers.


Now boarders like to do things differently than skiers.


And although these differences might be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, over the years they began to piss me off.


And it's quite a fitting theme for Dudeism because in the same way boarders and skiers can ride the same pistes yet like different things, you can have two Lebowskis, but they are entirely different.

Just Cruising, Man

Don't get me wrong, I like having an occasional blast.  I would normally ride with soft boots but I had a hard boot carving board too, and that could give many speed-freak skiers a run for their money.


But, you know... I'd spend all my working week having to make appointments, or rush to be in meetings at specific times, and then my home life could also be a little like this, and I didn't want to spend two weeks in the alps speeding down one run to the next, then the next, and then the next.


But that's what my ski chums loved to do.  And you know what skiers hate about snowboarders?  That they sit on their arse on the slope and take up space.  And you know what, I'd rather be sat on my arse chilling out, taking a spliff, and taking in the view with my buddies than racing like fuck everywhere.

Red-eyed Loner at the Gates of Oblivion

I realise now that what I liked about snowboarding was really quite Dudeist.  And I probably hadn't heard of Dudeism at the time.  Getting off the chair lift, taking a moment to breathe in the beautiful fresh mountain breeze, watching a dusting of snow brush passed the forest canopy, and listening to silence between all the fun.


When riding a slope, I liked to seek out natural hits to do little jumps or carve off like a surfer hitting a wave.  It made riding the pistes and backcountry super-interesting.  I felt more at one with the slopes.  I got to know their character and sense what the slope liked - was it a mellow cruiser or a gnarly old bastard that liked to take casualties?


Unfortunately, my skiing comrades couldn't give a flying fuck about any of those things and just wanted to cane it down the piste as fast as their waxed planks could carry them.  Sure that's fun.  But not every hour, of every day, and not really taking it all in.  One holiday blurred into the next, and then the next.


And you know what I began enjoying the most?  Having a break from boarding for a day and walking the forest paths up the mountains.  But my ski friends thought that I was crazy. You pay to ski so why walk?  But I would think, get away from the crowds and see some of the beauty that is specific to whichever town we were staying in.  So, off again on my own.


When I look back over the last 25 years of riding, its the off-days that I remember the most.  Heading up along icy crags without a soul around.  Taking a flask of tea and snacks and sitting on a stump admiring how the sunlight sparkles in the snow flurries.  The rush of alpine rivers and the silence caught between trees.  Like I was doing something that ancient masters had done.  Staring into empty snow and seeing oblivion.


Lines in the Powder

I loved to carve.  Being on the edge of the board with my arm on the slope as I grind out a loving arc is an immense feeling. Doing it in the corduroy is much harder than in the pow wow but feels amazing.  And this also meant that many of the slopes that I enjoyed weren't the ones that the skiers liked.


And sometimes, my ex-wife wouldn't come with me.  So, I would spend a day on my own cruising some of the runs I loved, going off-piste and practising jumps and riding powder.


And I was beginning to enjoy my times alone more than I was with them.


On the days that I cruised with my snowboarding fellows it was a completely different feeling.  Awesome actually.


I'm a Lebowski, you're a Lebowski.  I'm a Dudeist, you're a Dudeist.  Perhaps, it doesn't make us the same, but maybe we can enjoy what we all like about Dudeism and appreciate what we prefer about it on our own.  And sometimes, perhaps we need to try something we don't normally like, just so we can share the experience with our buddies.


All the best to ya.


Rev. Thomo


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