By Guest Contributor Asia al-Massari
The first time I strapped into a snowboard, I was twelve years old. I remember being the only girl in my younger brother’s group of friends, and we all took turns hitting a little jump we had built using the lid of a trash can. The first time I ever went to a resort, I noticed something else. I was the only Arab there. This is something I became used to, being the only brown girl on the mountain. I remember going into the demo center, cash in hand, ready to pick out my very first board. A board that would be all mine, ridden only by me. No more rentals, no more borrowing boards from guy friends that were much too big. All mine. I bought a Burton “Clash” board and the rest was history.
To say I’ve been a loyal Burton customer ever since is a huge understatement. If it had that little bent arrow logo on it, it had to be mine. I felt a loyalty to the brand. They were the only company at the time that made women-specific bindings, that made clothes that fit my awkward body. I liked the message the company propped itself up on. Burton prided itself on being about bringing snowboarders together, creating a community, being inclusive. Being Arab-American, I was having an extremely rough time with being included in post-9/11 American Society. I was an outsider now. And Burton was about creating a community of outsiders. I could finally belong again. I could finally go back to “normal”, back to what I remembered, back to being human.