Monday, November 22, 2010


It seems like mountain people (and people in general) have always had an "us vs. them" attitude.  Hikers vs. Mountain Bikers.  Power boat enthusiasts vs. paddlers.  Snowmobilers vs. Environmentalists.  Natives vs. Transplants. Locals vs. Tourists.  Hooray for our side, "Screw You" to their side.

At ski areas, the famous feud (blindly repeated by the media and 2-day-per-year perpetual intermediates) is between Skiers and Snowboarders.  I used to think that it was a young vs. old thing, and that once younger snowboarders grew up, older skiers would change their attitude from "get off my lawn" to "sick backside rodeo, bro" (okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration).  But, for some reason, snowboarders seem to want to keep the feud going.  And some skiers are falling into the trap.  Here's a cool video by Mike Douglas about the history of freeskiing:

Like I said, cool video, but why the animosity towards snowboarders?  "I think I'm gonna puke"?

And then I got to thinking that I don't really ride with that many snowboarders.  Maybe it has to do with the mountain I ski (Gore has a lot of flats, and for that reason, Snowboarders and Skiers generally populate entirely different sections).  Or maybe I just am locked inside a tight little bubble of people that I ski with, and that is hindering my ability to branch out.

I think it's more likely the latter.  In fact, I don't ride with many groups of people that are very dissimilar to myself.  Mostly, I hang out with other instructors, tree-skiing badasses, and park kids (who also ski all mountain).  I rarely ski with Patrollers, and I never ski with intermediates and below (unless I'm teaching a lesson or with my parents).  I bet it's like that for most people.  Tele skiers ski with tele skiers.  Race parents ski with other race parents.  Boarders ride with other boarders.

And I guess there's nothing I really want to do to change that.  People ride with the people they are most comfortable riding with, and far be it for me to complain about that.  I definitely roll with a certain crew, but I'm up for skiing with anyone (so if you see me on the mountain, give a shout).  If you don't want to ski with me, then that's cool too.  I'm generally a "live and let live" kind of person.  I think everyone would be a lot better off if we just stayed out of other people's business.  So, when a snowboarder says "skiing wouldn't be cool if snowboarding wasn't around", just let it go, Mike Douglas.  And if someone lights a cigarette on your chairlift, maybe you can survive the 8 minutes (or ask him nicely to put it out) instead of banning cigarettes from the entire mountain, Pico Mountain.  And if someone is going too fast in a slow zone, maybe you can give a stern warning or a clipped ticket, instead of fining them $1,000 and throwing them in Jail for 6 months, Park City.

Ski areas are supposed to be fun.  People pay a lot of money to relax, get outside, and enjoy a nice winter day away from their other obligations.  So this season, try to be cordial to everyone at the mountain, regardless of what group you fall into.

And if you don't like that, Screw You.

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