Hello fellow Canadians! Have you ever heard of the university/college weekend getaway called Snow Jam?
Even if you haven’t, the name alone is pretty self-explanatory.
After going to Snow Jam a few weeks ago, I learned that it is exactly what you would picture when envisioning a group of young, Canadian snowboarders and skiers who’ve come together to do what they do best: embrace the thrills that the Canadian outdoors have to offer.
In short, Snow Jam is an event targeted at Canadian university and college students that consists of a weekend of skiing, snowboarding, drinking, hot-tubbing, and overall debauchery at Mont-Tremblant, QB.
Despite the frivolity of the weekend, it proved to be full of national spirit as young, intelligent, athletic, and outgoing Canadians made the most of our harsh winters that many citizens dread.
The more I thought about it, the more it became so obvious to me that many Canadian’s are not even aware of the natural beauty and amazing journeys that their homeland holds. Right under our noses are opportunities to make the most of our lives, within our own country. People always speak of travelling overseas to see the world, meanwhile there are thrills right outside their door.
Growing up in the small town of Aurora, ON, we did our best to embrace the brisk, Canadian winters within our own community. From tobogganing, to outdoor hockey, to snowball fights, the bitter winter weather brought people together outdoors more often than not.
One of my favourite winter pastimes is snowboarding. Although the closest thing to a mountain near my hometown is Blue Mountain, which is barely a bump in the road compared to the mountains of Aspen or Zermatt, it was still a place where amazing memories were made.
Learning how to ski or snowboard on a local “hill” like Blue Mountain or Horseshoe Valley can be extraordinarily different than executing these sports on an actual mountain. Pros make it seem like a walk in the park, flying down the steep, rough terrain of a mountain. Not only does the athletic aspect of mountain life seem an easy thrill, snowboarders are often portrayed as leading a very “chill” lifestyle of boarding, drinking, and smoking.
Going to Mont-Tremblant amongst thousands of other students was an amazing experience. Every moment of the trip seemed to be picture perfect. Not surprisingly, smartphones were used the entire time capturing the amazing “Kodak moments” of fresh snow at the top of the mountain, Beaver Tail treats, sunsets over the gondolas, and drinks with friends. Especially with the winter Olympics coming up, a strong sense of Canadian pride was in the air all weekend as young Canadians were having the times of their lives on Canadian soil.
Although it was obvious people were enjoying themselves, sometimes the need to broadcast our experiences immediately online can take away from the experience itself.
The ease at which we take photos with our smartphones and immediately share them with the world can detach us from actually living in the moment. It has become the norm to document one’s travels via Facebook albums or Instagram posts. Rather than enjoying every moment as it is actually happening, we must relive the instance later online in the company of other Internet/smartphone users.
As my first ironic Instagram art post, I present to you #snowjam. Search this hashtag on Instagram and I promise there will be millions of nearly identical posts of peoples experiences at Snow Jam. In these four 12×12” acrylic paintings, I’ve depicted very typical representations of an individuals experience at a trip like Snow Jam. Enjoy!