Silence is Insanity / Audio Test
by Adam Riser
Last season I was stuck in line after the gondola broke down. People were getting anxious, and the lifties decided to keep them entertained by starting the (expletive) Hokey Pokey, of all things. The people in line were less than amused, and the dance was short-lived. I ended up with that stupid song stuck in my head for the remainder of the day. Every time I did a front lip on a rail it was was accompanied with "ya put your left foot in." It finally became so bad that I left early and blasted my car radio in the parking lot to avoid permanent insanity. I vowed to never again go to the resort without my own music.
Good tunes prevent Hokey Pokey Syndrome and help you drown out that jerk talking on his phone while he rides the lift. Cranking your favorite song can also deliver the extra boost you need to throw that seven or finally stick the rainbow rail. Snowboarders now have tons of options when it comes to bringing tunes to the slopes. We tested a smattering of options to save you the potentially expensive process of figuring out what works best.
Tape Player: Despite the tape player's old school image, it's actually a very good method to bring tunes to the slopes. The main advantage is that tape players don't skip when you ride bumpy terrain. Plus, they're relatively cheap, so you won't be jaded when you take a digger on a rail and crush the poor thing to pieces. However, skipping a song takes forever, and busting out a Walkman on the tram almost always causes people to laugh at you. Those really dedicated to the anti-technology age should search out a portable 8-track player. Find some REO Speedwagon 8-tracks at a thrift store, and you're set to rebel against the digital age.
CD Player: CD's have an obvious technological advantage over tapes, but their drawbacks make them an inferior choice when you snowboard. The main problem is that CD's skip. Unless you ride smooth groomers all day, leave the CD player hooked to the tape adapter in your beater car.
Boom Box: It takes real guts to hit the hill with a boom box over your shoulder. Make sure you have either a bright neon one-piece suit or an all-leather outfit with a spiked collar and bracelets. The choice is yours, but you must listen to music that matches your outfit. It helps your theme if can bust brake dance moves on the groomers while you make your run. Good luck not getting beat up.
AM/FM Headphones: No skipping CD's, no expensive über-electronics, just pure radio bliss. However, you are likely to be ridiculed worse than a kid picked last for kickball. If you show up in a skin-tight one-piece suit, rear-entry boots, and goggles at least 20-years old, people may take pity and leave you alone. Do they even play music on the radio anymore?
MP3 Player: If you happen to be one of the seven people on this planet who doesn't own an iPod or other MP3 player, get on the internet and figure it out. They are the answer. Period.
How to get music from your iPod to your ears.
Audio Helmets: The Giro Bad Lieutenant, the Red Hi-Fi Audex, and the Smith Platform are just a few examples of the multitude of audio helmets on the market today. These brain buckets protect your dome while providing DJ-quality sound. Many audio helmets have in-line volume adjustment, and some even connect to your cell phone. Now you can talk to your friends on every lift ride without gathering nasty glares—people won't see a phone, so they'll just think you've gone insane and are talking to yourself. You can upgrade most relatively new helmets with audio ear-pads, so you don't have to buy a whole new brain bucket to listen to your favorite music.
Audio Beanies: Ingenious headphone beanies combine two seemingly incompatible products with a fluidity not seen since the invention of the radio flashlight. Headphone beanies like the Burton Basic Headphone Beanie provide studio-quality sound without all the hassles of wearing giant headphones over your beanie. Most audio beanies have in-line volume adjustment that eliminates the need to dig out your MP3 player when you want to turn up the sounds.
Earbuds: In-the-ear headphones known as earbuds offer the most versatile choice for on-mountain use. Models such as the Skullcandy Smokin' Bud Headphones have a low-profile design which allows them to be worn under your beanie or helmet. They also stash easily in your pocket if you would rather listen to the sounds of nature (and a chair lift, groomers, and people on two-way radios).
Headphones: Large DJ-style headphones like the Skullcandy Ti Stereo Headphones deliver top-notch sound quality and work well with a beanie. Their in-line volume adjustment lets you turn up the tunes without unzipping your jacket. The bulkiness of large headphones eliminates the stash-in-a-pocket option, so you must be dedicated enough to wear them all day. The debate rages as to whether you should wear your goggles strap over or under your headphones. Watch other riders for local custom.
A little test for the non-believers.
Still not convinced that audio accessories are worth the effort? Well, how about a little test. Sing along. You all know the words... "You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out, you put your right foot in, and you shake it all about." Ha! Good luck getting that out of your head without some help.