Andrew Hardingham answers a simple question: Why do you snowboard?

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I don’t think it’s hard to be an original these days. All you have to do is be yourself. Not to sound bitter, but snowboarding has become very sheepish. Everyone seems to care a great deal about what he or she looks like and what’s cool. Most of them base their entire, generic styles around what the next person up the chain is doing. I have never been able to follow that and at the same time do what I wanted to.

I also don’t think I am capable of setting trends, so I have no choice but to be a freak in the corner. Over time, with some awesome organically filmed sections in Sandbox movies and my own personal brand of short films online, I think the industry has just accepted my style as “It is what it is, and he’s not going away!”

Sometimes I have ideas that make me laugh, so I go for them. Most don’t work out, but I still get a kick out of everything I do. The opportunities that have arisen are probably the industry’s recognition of my personality and how that shines through in my riding and films.

I’m not very marketable in the mainstream fields and that’s why most people will never hear of me, but there are a great deal of core/real companies that understand the underground side of the sport and how it’s what gives us all legitimacy.

I know this sounds backwards, but if you think Shaun White gives the sport legitimacy , then you are someone who doesn’t get it and never will. He might have legitimacy with some kid in Florida who wears a Mountain Dew hat and pays $40 for a Monster sticker to put on his car window. But without the true underground, legitimate scene, this sport would crumble.

The true personalities are the backbone of the sport , and I think some companies know that and help them out, so I try to be legitimate as much as I can. I like riders who choose their own path — the guys who use the tools they are given and apply them with thought. Jake Blauvelt and Travis Rice do it their own way. Sean Genovese: He rides really well, does it on a shoestring and puts everything into the sport rather than leeching off of it. Some personalities that have really paved the way are Peter Line, Travis Parker, Kevin Jones and even little Olympic losers like Dustin Craven.

Dustin Craven is not that good at “real” snowboarding, but he’s probably one of the best personalities in the sport and he can hold his own on a board, so that makes him awesome. His mouth can only be compared to a gun loaded with 60 percent blanks and 100 percent live ammunition. And I’m not trying to bite “Anchorman” there; I really mean it. Even the blanks are amazingly effective.

Right now I’ll try anything twice, but I’m starting to find that the lines I ride are a bit ridiculous sometimes. I always thought it didn’t matter if it was sketchy, because I was invincible. Now I’m fine tuning my lines more and being a bit more picky. I think when I’m 50 I’ll still be hungry for big cliffs, because age is just a frame of mind:
If you talk like you’re an old man, you are an old man.

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My secret is being alone. Snowboarding is extremely meditational. It forces me to analyze everything that I love about the sport. I also have to change the way I ride at times because, when there is no one to dig you out or carry your broken body out of the backcountry, the risk levels can drive you insane. It makes me think more and analyze every little detail.

I think that’s what has helped me overcome some of the more dangerous lines I’ve ridden over the years: attention to detail.

I spend most of my seasons exploring new places and terrain. The way the mountains have created all these wonderful and creative nooks and crannies that I can ride down and make explode to my exact specifications really does it for me.

Believe it or not, I find most of my lines in the summer, exploring in my van. Snowboarding puts you in places you would normally not be: back roads, alleys and canyons. These are the things that make me want to go a little bit farther, just to see what’s over the next peak or around the next bend. I love that! Also returning to a line in the summer and seeing what the line looks like raw always blows my mind.

I rarely get to share that with anyone, but that’s okay because it helps my world become better. I’m going to try to convey these ideas more in my future photos and films. But for now I can just enjoy it on my own, I guess.

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