Listening to your favorite music while skiing or snowboarding has been around ever since music became portable. Those of us who are old enough remember the bulky tape players, awkward headphones, batteries dying and all the other challenges that came along with transporting your tunes to slopes are relieved that modern technology has solved nearly all those challenges and music is now integrated into our day on the hill. Some even older can probably tell stories about stashing transistor radios in jacket pockets! Luckily for us, technology has evolved to make taking music with you simple and relatively hassle-free. Whether it’s in-helmet speakers, earbuds that now actually fit and stay in place, newer technology like bone-conducting audio, or even a device that turns your helmet into the speaker itself, the ability to tune in and get your turn on is better than ever. (Note: Some have taken to loading their portable speakers on their backpacks and blasting tunes out loud….don’t be that guy!)
While technology may have advanced light-years ahead from the famous yellow Walkmans of the ’80s, the question of “What is the best music to ride to?” will rage on for eternity. Rap, Metal, Hip Hop, Trance, Rock, Country, Techo, Classic Rock, Reggae, Punk, doesn’t matter the genre everyone has their favorite and everyone has their opinions on what is best. Music is (or should) be a part of your everyday life and for most of us that crosses over to the slopes. There are also the types that enjoy the sounds of the mountains and whoosh of the air as they fly down the hill making their own music, there’s something to be said for the peacefulness of making your own music on the hill.
So, as the age-old discussion of what music to ride to lingers on and on (and there is no right answer), and we’re impatiently waiting for snow I’m going to suggest my favorite genre and a few artists to test out this year. I’m sure everyone has their opinion and will be sure to leave them in the comments 🙂
For me, the magic of being on the hill and carving turns should be matched by the soundtrack playing through your speakers, my choice for on the hill music lies almost exclusively in the Post Rock genre. Wikipedia describes Post Rock as “Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords, or riffs. Post-rock artists are often instrumental, typically combining rock guitars and drums with electronic instruments” Think 8-10 minute long explorations into ‘sound meets feelings’ that help translate the world around you. Well known artists that are in or cross into this genre include; Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, This Will Destroy You, Sigur Ros..and other lesser-known ones such as Oh Hiroshima, or Caspian. The great thing is that a song can mean one thing one day, and another the next time you listen to it. While the mostly-lack-of lyrics can be challenging to some, the way the Portland-based band This Patch of Sky puts it, “We play without words to communicate without language.”
No matter what you listen to, or even if you just listen to the sounds of nature, what we hear in our ears is part of the sensory experience and translates into how we “feel” the mountain. Snow is coming so start fine-tuning those playlists and figure out if you are going to be riding to this year. What’s on your playlist?