Skiers vs. riders — peace in our time?
Whether they lean toward rivalry or reconciliation, passions run high in the slopeside culture clash between skiers and snowboarders.
Friction between the two camps made headlines this month when, reports say, an Aspen skier pushed a snowboarder off an Aspen lift — though authorities later said the initially assumed animosity between skiers and riders had nothing to do with what happened.
Luckily the snowboarder was unharmed due to powdery snow 25 feet below, but the incident stirred talk among skiers and snowboarders about perceived resentments.
Look only as far as Sunlight Mountain Resort, and you can find differing opinions as to whether the skier/snowboarder feud still exists or rather that it’s an antiquated struggle long forgotten in the march of mountain progress.
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Alex Vosicky, a snowboarder from Glenwood Springs, said the animosity between skiers and snowboarders is still very real.
“Snowboarders are easily the cooler of the two, so there’s a jealousy factor amongst skiers,” he said.
Infighting between the two classes of mountain lovers is probably destined to be eternal; they’ll take their differences to the grave, he said.
In fact, the snowboarder being pushed from a lift in Aspen was not an attack on one snowboarder but all of them, said Vosicky. It’s a transgression not easily forgotten, he said.
The tribal lines are often even drawn off the slopes and in social media, as Vosicky said he will promptly “unfriend” someone who he learns is a skier.
Annie Dawson, a snowboarder from Silt, also enjoys making turns at Sunlight. But she wasn’t born a snowboarder.
Dawson got her start on skis, and then she made the switch after realizing she just had more fun on a board.
Her transition however, has created tension among family members, who she said have been openly hostile toward her snowboarding.
Dawson also speculated that the skier/snowboarder divide is an extension of a larger socio-economic battle — with the rich gravitating toward skis and the less affluent mounting snowboards.
Still, she said, “If we can all get over our egos, we can be friends.”
Richard Casey, a skier from Fort Collins, said the friction is actually a clash of cultures. Skiers and snowboarders have different dress codes and different styles of getting down the mountain, and snowboarders can get a little wild and have less control, he said.
But amongst Sunlight’s powder gluttons, two Colorado Mountain College students — one a skier and the other snowboarder — took a stand and ate breakfast side by side in the lodge.
There shouldn’t be any prejudice about how you get down the mountain; “We’re all sliding down the slopes on boards of some kind,” said Savanah Evig, a snowboarder.
Skiers and riders getting along seems pretty natural to these two — though they’re still not afraid to make gear-based jokes at the other’s expense.
“Sure, we’ll make jokes about boarders, but some of my best friends are snowboarders,” said Kaitlin Gallemore, a skier.
Todd, a Buena Vista resident who wouldn’t give his last name, also agreed that skier-snowboarder conflicts are real, often because snowboarders are getting in skiers’ way, sitting down in the middle of a run or at the lip of a drop, stopping to strap in their boots in everyone’s path.
And though skiers probably cause just as many problems, when it’s a snowboarder, it’s hard not to think of them as representative of all snowboarders, he said.
He said he was uneasy that his own grandson had taken to hanging out with snowboarders, hoping that it’s just experimentation.
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