Three ski resorts in the United States continue to ban snowboarders. Are skiers afraid we’re skallywags, waiting to bludgeon them for their hot chocolate money? Are they upset that when we fall our boards stay conveniently attached to our feet? Skiers and snowboarders have been feuding since the first snowboarder hit the mountain, and it seems that both sides are unsure why they’re fighting.
Deer Valley in Park City, Alta near Salt Lake City, and Mad River Glen in Vermont are the three ski resorts in the country that forbid snowboarders from getting on the chairlift. According to the National Ski Area Association (NSAA), there were 6.1 million skiers and 5.1 million snowboarders in 2011. These three resorts are missing out on nearly half the potential clientele, and they don’t seem to care.
“The current situation finds us receiving so many positive letters and comments from guests because we don’t allow snowboarding,” Chuck English, the Deer Valley director of mountain operations, said i n a 2006 interview.
So why are these skiers so passionate about keeping snowboarders off their mountain? Watch Sh*t Alta Skiers Say , and see if the reasons make sense to you. Below are some of the most common complaints skiers have about snowboarders, and why these accusations are just plain ridiculous.
Snowboarders Take Up All the Powder
It seems that skiers’ go-to argument is that snowboarders displace powder much quicker than their two-planked counterparts. Skiers claim that by keeping their feet parallel and making tight turns, they use small portions of the mountain at a time, while snowboarders carve the entire face of the slope or even sideslip down. Lets get this straight, there is absolutely no way to sideslip in powder. A snowboarder would be buried in seconds and unable to proceed down the hill.
The first argument is equally as ignorant. If snowboarders are carving across the hill, they’re simply using the hill horizontally while skiers use it vertically. This means the space between the long carves is still perfectly fresh powder. And if skiers think a snowboard is that much wider than skis, they’re wrong. The width of two modern skis and the width of a single snowboard are so similar that it’d be difficult to see a difference in the amount of powder displaced.
They Ruin Moguls
Skiers swear that snowboarders squash all of the moguls because they don’t have the maneuverability that skiers do. Skiers are also worried that novice snowboarders are sideslipping down the entire mountain. A novice snowboarder sideslipping is no worse than a novice skier “snow plowing” over moguls. Both of them are going to scrape some fresh snow away and flatten a few mounds.
Advanced snowboarders can easily maneuver between bumps and moguls just like skiers do, and beginning skiers destroy them the same as novice riders. Mogul riding is an advanced practice in skiing and snowboarding, so its important that both types of enthusiasts are experienced before they take to those runs.
They Swear Too Much
Skiers claim that, because snowboarding is a new sport, all snowboarders are immature punks who are nothing but rude and obnoxious on the hill. Snowboarding has been around since the mid 1960s. This means that the 5.1 million snowboarders on the mountain ange from young children to over 50 years old. In fact, a study by the Leisure Trends Group in 2004, found that 1.1 million snowboarders were over the age of 35.
This statistic throws the idea that all snowboarders are young and rebellious out the window. Is it too much to ask that snowboarders be judged by their personalities rather than the equipment they ride?
Learning to Snowboard is Too Easy
“It took me two days to become an intermediate snowboarder,” Chris G., a writer for Yahoo Voices , said, “By the end of the second day I could take the board down any intermediate run and could even jump fairly well.”
Chris must be Superman. His argument here is that snowboarding is so easy to learn, riders are able to access terrain they aren’t prepared to ride. Because they don’t spend as much time on beginner runs, they don’t learn the rules of the mountain or general ski resort ethics.
Contrary to Chris’ unqualified expertise, ski and snowboard instructors across the country agree that snowboarding is more difficult and time-consuming to learn.
“The first day on a snowboard is usually harder, and harder on your body, than skiing. Some people pick it up quickly, but most struggle and fall a lot during the first couple of days snowboarding,” Randy Salzman said. Randy has been skiing for 45 years and snowboarding for 25; he is an instructor of both sports.
Snowboarding is Loud
Skiers claim that snowboarders make a horrible scraping noise when riding downhill or coming to a stop. They may be surprised to know that their skis make an identical noise and it doesn’t seem to bother snowboarders.
Let Us In!
The accusations these skiers have toward boarders are downright ignorant, and they’re keeping riders from enjoying some of the mountains skiers get to enjoy on a daily basis. It’s not that the terrain on these mountains is so much better than the others, the problem is that skiers and riders can’t enjoy the mountains together. Families who want the high-class frills of Deer Valley can’t experience them if they’ve got a snowboarder in the family.
Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico opened its doors to snowboarders in March, 2008. Adriana Blake, a member of the founding family of Taos, stated that it only made sense to consider opening the doors to snowboarders.
“There were enough families that we were turning people away,” she said. Blake described that so many loyal Taos skiers wanted their family of skiers and snowboarders to enjoy the mountain together that they changed their long-standing policy.
Many ski-only resorts that made the change from ski-only to snowboarder-friendly experienced a huge influx of business at first. Eventually the novelty subsided, and most areas saw an increase in overall business of about 10 percent. For many ski resorts and the surrounding communities, a 10 percent increase in business can be critical.
It seems that many skiers hate on snowboarders just because they can. All of the excuses they (and other snowboard-haters around the globe) use are based in assumption and likely a bit of jealousy toward our comfortable boots. The truth is, if they’d just let us in their ski-only resorts, they’d realize how harmless we really are.