Today I spent the morning at my local ski, shred "mountain." The closest spot to me is Wachusett Mountain in Central Massachusetts. For many around here, they have fond memories of that school trip or heading there once or twice with mom or dad. For me, it's the closest fix when you need to scratch that shred itch.
My "home" hill is Greek Peak. It's small and pretty conservative. Even a few years ago, they still required all snowboarders to wear a leash (I'm pretty sure I saw a dude in wool pants on wooden skis too). But when I think of it, I always get a little misty eyed. It's where I learned to ski as a tyke, and where I cut my teeth as a shred grom.
We all have that spot. I know some of you are lucky, and your "local hill" is/was Vail or Tahoe or The Canyons. But in the real world, a couple hundred feet, 3 boxes, a down rail a ghetto kicker, and a 12" base is the best that we can hope for in a shred session. Plus or minus the starter jacket and jeans.
It's good for all of us. Look at pro shreds over the years. Dale Rehberg and many of the infamous Ride team (yes there was a bad boy team before Forum 2000 and Jackass) started at Tyrol Basin in Wisconsin. Keir Dillon came up the ranks in the pipe in the Poconos of PA. Bjorn and Erik Leines started in the foothills of Minnesota. And Mr. Snowboard Bro-Culture, Todd Richards used to work at the Wachusett shop (yup he's originally from MA).
What this all means is that none of us is too good for the local hill. Make sure you stop in at least once a season. You'll be surprised at the strength of the local talent, and you'll be reminded of your roots. Plus you may share the stoke and give a few groms a little awareness of what real snowboarding (minus the X-games Red Bull Dew Tour) is. Oh and don't forget to tip the ski check. Peace of mind is worth a buck or two.