I love snowboarding, but being a darker-skinned Latino, I didn’t feel like I had a community out there on the mountain. It’s not only an expensive hobby—the board, boots, gloves, waterproof clothes, helmet, googles, lift ticket, and transportation—but you also need close friends or family to introduce you to the sport.
That’s why I volunteer at The Service Board, an organization that focuses on mentoring and social justice through snowboarding. We take teens who might not even think to try it, give them all the gear they’ll need, and start building a community to keep them going.
Snowboarding teaches you about your own strength, and everyone deserves a chance to try it. How to struggle and how to ask for help, especially when there are obstacles that you just don’t know how to overcome.
I’ve seen beauty on mountains since I was a kid. Unfortunately, the seasons are becoming more erratic with less snowfall. This change is destroying nature, affecting animals, and altering the planet. There’s a lot we need to do, and snowboarding has taught me that we won’t get anywhere if we don’t do it together.—Sebastian Apud, born in Argentina, raised in Washington, DC