Feet First: Requiem for the Crotch Grab

The crotch grab has always been iconic, but these days, it might be the most important grab on the mountain.

Sure, the mute grab will always look better (some would argue mute is the only good-looking grab on skis) and the chicken salad is a lot harder to do, but the crotch grab is integral because of what it represents.

The crotch grab is all about rebellion, it’s about looking around at the way things are and deciding to do it differently, and better, and on your own. Hated by mothers around the world, the crotch grab is a visual representation of that youthful “I won’t do what you tell me to do” attitude that can spark ideas, ignite change, and help us all get to a better place. And we need that in the snowsports industry, especially these days.

Words: Feet Banks

article continues below

 

Don’t worry if you make the grab, or even make the landing. What’s important is that you made it to the mountains. Photo: Kevin T. McHugh

It’s been almost 30 years since snowboarding brought its punk-rock ethos to the mountains and flipped everything on its ass, for the better. Those goddamn kids with their baggypants kinda saved the ski industry, didn’t they? (While also bringing a whole lot more women into sausage-party ski towns.)

It’s also been close to two decades since skiing – struggling to stay relevant – essentially gave itself a giant crotch grab in the mirror. The beautiful sport of freeskiing (aka: jib-flipping pow-schmearing) was a direct rebellion to the painfully European restrictions of the Federation International du Ski (FIS). Rallying against FIS unified the two-plankers, changed ski shapes and helped everyone to go bigger, go backwards, and be free.

Hated by mothers around the world, the crotch grab is a visual representation of that youthful “I won’t do what you tell me to do” attitude that can spark ideas, ignite change, and help us all get to a better place.

But time is a merciless mistress and yesterday’s revolutionaries are today’s boardroom shills. The freeskiers are back to arguing with FIS, snowboarding (and even skateboarding!!!) is in the Olympics, and everyone’s ultimate concern seems to be progression and perfection, nailing the shot, and getting the likes. Check me out, I’m ripping!

Which is okay, I guess, but let’s not forget what we’re actually doing up here in the mountains—reprioritizing the limited time we have to focus our energy sliding around on shiny boards, wishing the sun would stay up just another hour longer. Like children do.

So embrace your inner rebel this winter. The only law that really matters is the law of gravity (and some laws of physics, and the other one about how the only crotch you are allowed to grab is your own). How about we get back to having fun in the mountains and not worrying about how it looks, who thinks it’s good, or what the consequences will be. Man or woman, one plank or two… we’re just children grown old, out playing in the snow. Don’t let anyone else tell you when it’s time to come in.

 

Comments