Boston Harbor is, topographically, pretty distant from the mountains of the Northeast that jut out from cloaks of pine trees in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. It’s more salty air than snowy trail and actual bricks than brick-hard (at times). But with a slightly larger population than the entire state of Vermont, Boston is the central hub for the region, and the mainline spokes of 95, 93, 89, and 90 stretch out to the north and west–easy miles into the mountains.
Because of this, Boston is an interest locus of snow culture. There’s lots of people, lots of interest, lots of access, and because of that, lots of opportunity. For almost half a century, the Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo, known locally as BEWI, ushered in winter by bringing resorts, gear, and brands directly to Boston’s cobblestones. In 2019, SIA acquired the show and after the obvious pandemic delay, launched a new version of the historically beloved show last November, called Snowbound.
Snowbound took the best parts of BEWI, the brands, the gear, the resort booths, and off-hill apres, and added to that with the opportunity to learn and connect more than before via speakers, presentations, and panels.
This educational aspect of events has really proliferated in recent years and the success of what Snowbound called The Inspiration Stage adds more fuel to the fire of how much snowboarders (both rookie and veteran) are eager to increase their knowledge and involvement.
Full disclosure, I was one of two hosts on The Inspiration Stage, so I saw the event unfold firsthand as speakers like Kelly Clark, Pat McCarthy, Brian Paupaw and Omar Diaz of Hoods to Woods, Danny Hairston of SHRED Foundation, Constance Beverly of Share winter, and more and told audiences their stories. It was really, really cool. Snowbound attendees were excited to learn from the speakers, and most importantly, the speakers were folks with deep investment in snowboarding, and serious knowledge and experience to share. The legitimacy was key to welcoming people in with trusted information, something that is important to the proliferation of snowboarding culture in general and especially in a time when TikTok and social media trends have so much influence over what people see and digest.
The speakers really made the show for me, personally. And of course there were ski-focused presenters and also alpinists, like Conrad Anker and Philip Hendersen, whose experiences on peaks like Everest (!) painted expansive pictures of time in the mountains, challenging fear, and increasing access to the outdoors.
This sort of participatory, educational programming (that sounds really dry, bear with me) is popping up more and more places. The first-ever Meka Festival in Denver included multiple opportunities like this to learn from mental health and suicide prevention non-profit Somebody’s Thinking About You (STAY), Baldface founder Jeff Pensiero, and legendary snowboarder Jeremy Jones. All of these are driven by people with stakes in snowboarding and sharing their experiences with others enriches the culture for everyone.
So, this is a long intro to share a few of the speakers coming to Snowbound Expo this November 3-5th, but suffice to say that this part of the show will be a highlight again in 2023.
At Snowbound 2023, here’s a quick rundown of some of the people who will be speaking on stage to share their thoughts, their knowledge, and their love of snowboarding.
Jeremy Jones – Jeremy will present his talk, What Doesn’t Kill You, Doesn’t Kill You. After a 2017 avalanche left Jeremy with two broken legs, his road back to snowboarding is one of perseverance, resilience, and strength, all wrapped in continued learning.
Rob Roethler – Rob spent last season filmer for Burton’s new team video, Blooom. He’s an absolute destroyer in the streets, an all-around boarder, and great human. While Rob hails from Minnesota, New England is a similar environment with cold, fickle winters and the same sort of dedication is required to become obsessed with winter.
Danny Hairston – Danny is the founder of SHRED Foundation, a non-profit that “provides life and career opportunities to youth through skateboarding and snowboarding.” Last year at Snowbound, Danny was part of one of the most engaging discussions of the show, talking about diversity, equity, equality, and inclusion on the slopes. He returns in 2023!
Brenna Huckaby – Brenna is a three-time Paralympic gold medalist and five-time world champion. She lost her right leg to cancer at age 13 and was introduced to para snowboarding in 2013. She hasn’t looked back since. She is a leading voice in disability advocacy and works on a global scale to empower and educate others.
LJ Henriquez – LJ is a quickly-rising rider from New Jersey whose East Coast chops are already sending him plenty of places. He is a member of the Burton team and competed in pro-level events for the first time last winter, notably the street style event at Dew Tour.
Lindsey Jacobellis – At the 2022 Winter Games, Lindsey underlined a dominant, two-decade career in boardercross by winning two gold medals. Her career has been marked with 31 victories in races–a huge feat in itself, especially with how unpredictable snowboardcross can be as a discipline. She recently released a memoir that she will be signing at Snowbound, Unforgiving: Lessons From the Fall, that talks about challenges, determination, and getting where you wanted to be.
Shaun White – Officially retiring from competition after the 2022 Olympics, Shaun hung up his contest boots, but his record and career are no-doubt historic as one of the most accomplished and well-known snowboarders to ever strap in. He also is about to release a memoir.
More speakers are sure to be announced as we get closer to Snowbound 2023. Make your plans to get to Boston and grab a ticket to the show! Use code SNOWBOARDMAGAZINE until October 20, 2023 for a free ticket! Get tickets here.