I am not really in touch with Generation Y. This would be today's "kids", from teenagers to say mid twenties. I am vaguely aware that they have an identity, and vaguely aware of some of their values and ideals. I am vaguely aware of their music, and the sports they like, and the entertainers they like, and stuff like that. But I am not really in touch.
So today I really came into contact with Generation Y. And it was cool.
I am off skiing at Mammoth. I have been skiing since I was a kid myself, maybe thirty-five years. "Back then" there was only skiing. There was no snowboards, no freestyle. Skiing competition consisted of racing, and there were two varieties, slalom and downhill. If you were a great skier it meant you had the longest skis you could find and you could make them turn in big moguls and you could ski down hills with a 50% grade without killing yourself.
But these days there is snowboarding and it is "the sport" of Gen Y. I was skiing with my kids (Megan, 8, was on skis, but Alexis and her friend Katherine, 12, were on snowboards). On most of the mountain, skiers and snowboarders are about 50/50, and share the hill. There is a trend that younger people tend to be on snowboards, but not all, there is a good mix. As you get to the top, there are more skiers; you have to be a pretty good snowboarder to ski the black diamond runs off the top at Mammoth. But that isn't the main reason; it turns out that turning in big moguls and skiing down hills with a 50% grade without killing yourself is no longer the goal. Now the goal is to "get air", and to go freestyle.
We were skiing around and we accidentally ended up on chair 4, aka "Roller Coaster", where Mammoth now has a "freestyle area". Here the demographic changed. Everyone was young, and everyone was on snowboards. It was a total Gen Y scene. Loud music was blaring from speakers all along the run. There were twenty foot jumps, and rails, and tubes, and a monster half-pipe. Kids were flying through the air, doing tricks, and wiping out. The most commonly spoken word was "dude", often with an exclamation point. (Dude!) Here the cool thing was getting air, as much as possible, and then doing as much as you can while in the air. Flips, twists, grabs, you name it.
So now I'm going to generalize, in the manner of a Martian observing Humans.
I really enjoyed myself. There is hope for the world. Generation Y rocks.
[ Later: Want to know how not really in touch I was? This post was originally titled Generation X Rocks! I was off by a whole generation. Sigh. Thanks to Dave Johnston for gently setting me straight. ]