February 2, 1996 in City

Don’t Stereotype Snowboarders For Boards Downhill Skiing Going Down Hill.

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Snowboarders aren’t the ski slope hooligans that ski snobs make us out to be. Thankfully, snowboarding has revitalized the ski and ski-resort industry so our two-board cousins can enjoy their dying sport a little longer.

On a busy day, hundreds of snowboarders join lines of skiers at mountain resorts to enjoy the thrill of speed, the joys of powder. Snowboarders are sharing the stoke of carving turns and making jumps.

Fact No. 1: Boardheads are men and women of all sizes and ages - though admittedly 80 percent of the boarders are male and about 80 percent of those are under 25.

But when genteel “destination skiers” (historically prized by resorts) sneer at teens on boards (rarely prized, but needed by resorts), they turn a blind eye toward their own kind. There are skiers who take blind jumps, speed-tuck down cat-track runs, cut across trails without looking, and shout profanity across the slopes.

Sure, board-mania has increased the number of teenagers on the slopes. And the folly of youth has led to accidents and misunderstandings. But to blame snowboarding for poor behavior is like blaming chemistry for the drug problem or lawyers for the divorce rate. Let’s avoid the stereotyping of snowboarders while expressing our universal disdain for poor etiquette.

Fact No. 2: Though still only a fraction of the ski industry, snowboarding is the fastest growing segment of skiing in general. Skiers are taking lessons and ditching their skis in droves. Every year, more boarders take their places on the lifts.

The sport isn’t cheap. Snowboards cost $400 to $700, boots from $100 to $200 and waterproof clothing will set you back another $150 to $250. It’s enthusiasm that drives this kind of spending.

We can only hope that as the popularity grows, skiers will learn to tolerate the differences and cut snowboarders some slack.

It’s been almost 20 years since pioneers like Tom Simms and Jake Burton Carpenter strapped their feet to wooden boards and slid on snow in an attempt to translate surfing to the frozen slopes. Glance up the bunny hill on a snowy Saturday morning and count the grins. That’s the ecstasy that grips every new snowboarder in the first smooth carve. And if you ask a teen snowboarder how he’ll enjoy himself when he’s 40, don’t be surprised by his ready answer. Snowboarding.

, DataTimes MEMO: For opposing view, see headline: Snowboarders, skiers don’t mix

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides

For opposing view, see headline: Snowboarders, skiers don’t mix

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides


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