Last season, January 2009, I was commisioned to write a review for the WorldSnowboardGuide. But this wasn’t an ordinary review; the task was to cover the entire Portes Du Soleil – that’s 12 individual resorts! Given the scale of the undertaking, I took a while to think about it before accepting. In the end, now that it’s finished, I’d say it was a mixed blessing. Here’s why…
The good stuff.
I like writing about snowboarding and I like reviewing stuff. That’s what this blog is all about. So, writing for the WSG is a good match. And writing for someone else kinda ups the anti a little. It’s important to get it right. An attractive part of writing resort reviews is that (you hope) people can really benefit from them; picking a resort can be a big decision, so choosing one that’s right for an individual or group is key. So writing for the wsg is both fun and rewarding.
And writing for the wsg feels good! I’m not sure if that’s vain? Actually, it probably is. It’s not a huge publication for sure, but it’s a book, something tangible that you can carry around. People buy it. Ever since snowboarding I’ve had a couple of copies that I regularly consult for resort information. Contributing to it feels good.
And other people can relate to it. For example, I got to meet the head of the park team at Avoriaz. He took us for a couple of runs through the Stash, explaining all kinds of things as we went. Avoriaz is a resort that I have a lot of respect for; meeting Jean was definitely a bonus. When I left a copy of the book in the Avoriaz office he seemed really pleased. So yeah, being associated with something like the wsg in this way, provides opportunities and generally feels good.
The mixed blessing part.
It was a lot to do. I only had two weeks to cover stuff, but the crucial point here is that it was my only snowboardng trip of last season. I prepared – doing a bunch of work before I went, and a large portion of the work was done when I got home – a fairly sizable write-up. But there was still a lot to do while I was there.
And it was this compromise that was the biggest hit. It was all snowboarding, and that’s fun for sure. But a lot of what I did was planned out. I didn’t have enough time to naturally explore all the areas and just “get a feel” for them. Instead, I went in search of specific ideas and facts. It was like visiting, rather than just snowboarding.
A bit like a job.
I’d be quite happy, more than happy, if something like this was my job. But in this case, it wasn’t my job. It was a holiday from my real job. It was just a little too much.
Would I do it again?
I think yes, but under different circumstances. If it’s a short trip, one resort, not twelve, would be a better for me. That would help with the balance between work and play. I’d feel more comfortable with my ability to do a review justice without compromising my own snowboarding.
At the end of the day, this isn’t my job. I don’t really get paid for it. There are some perks, but not enough to swap a snowboarding holiday for a holiday plus work. I don’t get enough time in the mountains to make that trade. I need time to just snowboard; no reviews.
So there it is. I certainly don’t regret doing it. There were a lot of great things about this challenge, and this type of review was/is definitely something I want to dip my toes into. I’ve enjoyed it and learned from it – with one of the lessons being that these circumstances weren’t ideal.