Photos courtesy Burton Snowboards & HEAD Skis
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I guess snowboard graphics really do matter. Several weeks ago, I asked readers whether or not they take graphics into account when buying a new snowboard (see "Do Snowboard Graphics Matter?"). The results of my über-scientific poll indicated the majority (77%) of snowboarders think graphics do matter. Enter Burton Snowboards, a company whose industry leading market share and fondness for stirring up controversy has once again succeeded in tweaking the noses of ski area management nationwide.
WARNING: The link to the snowboard graphics in question below contains images of scantily clad women in suggestive poses. It's NSFW, unless you happen to work in the snowboard industry, in which case I suggest you gather your colleagues 'round before clicking.
Burton's 08/09 Love snowboards graphics feature scantily clad Playboy models in suggestive poses. Although there's no frontal nudity on display, the artwork leaves little to the imagination, which earlier this week led six ski areas to go all V.I. Lenin on the 1st Amendment. Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Heavenly, Keystone, Smugglers Notch, and Vail have all announced their employees will be prohibited from riding the Love during working hours. Protesters also congregated in front of Burton H.Q. in South Burlington, Vermont to demand the company pull the boards from the market, a request the company denied, saying it supports freedom of artistic expression.
The kicker to this whole brew-haha is that ski manufacturers Head and Rossignol are producing skis with similar graphics for the 08/09 season, but neither ski area management nor legions of uptight protesters have reacted as of yet.
So what do you think? Is this a double standard? An example of snowboarders once again being treated differently than skiers? I'm not arguing against the resort's ban on employees riding the Playboy boards - after all, they have a reputation to uphold. It's not in their best interests to anger their customers. All I'm arguing for here is equal treatment for everyone on snow. Ban the boards, fine. But ban the skis as well, guys. FIGHT THE POWER!