Slidin Prejudice


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Many skiers and snowboarders have prejudice towards each other for various reasons.

Ty Soutas, Sports Editor

It is said that Utah has the greatest snow on earth. Snowboarders and skiers can attest to this, even though overall, the snow has been pretty crappy this year. Despite the warm, happy feeling that snow-shredders get from the snow in snot-freezing temperatures, snowboarders and skiers seem to have an ice-cold dislike for each other. And sharing the mountain is not always part of their plan.

Some snowboarders are arguing that Alta Ski Resort, which opened its park in 1939, needs to learn how to share. The resort is one of only three left in the United States that prohibits snowboarders from entering their terrain. The other two resorts are Deer Valley (also in Utah) and Mad River Glen in Vermont.

Four snowboarders, teamed up with a group called Wasatch Equality, sued Alta for their skiers-only policy on January 15th. They claim that Alta is violating the 14th amendment, which states, “No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The federal lawsuit is still under process.

“We feel that it is time for Alta to let go of outdated prejudices that perpetuate a skier versus snowboarder mentality and allow everyone, regardless of whether they are skiers or snowboarders, to share the mountain together, ” Drew Hicken told the Deseret News. He and three others are suing Alta: Rick Alden, Bjorn Leines, and Richard Vargas.

Early in the snowboarding era, Alta allowed snowboarders to use their lifts and to board with the skiers at that point. After two years, they came to the conclusion that there were too many problems the boarders created.

“Boarders make a different style turn, therefore the snow style is different,” explained South Jordan resident, Bob Grant, who has instructed and improved the abilities of many skiers at Alta for over fifty-two years. “Because of the wider board, the snow is packed much harder and quicker on main runs than the skis do. The snow conditions become much harder much quicker. “

Grant explained that youth have a tendency to board a little faster, and snowboarders tend to be a little out of control. Also, it is difficult for snowboarders to traverse across flat areas because they don’t have poles. At Alta, you need to traverse many hills to get to the good snow. He also explained that snowboarders cause problems in the ski lift lines because they are too slow getting on the lift.

“It’s just a different atmosphere when the boarders are trying to use our lifts. They do, however, have the opportunity to [board] on any federal land so that is not a problem. [Technically] they can ski [or snowboard] on any of Alta’s slopes that they wish, but they just can’t ride the lifts that Alta has built,” said Grant.

Like Alta, snowboarders and skiers at Bingham have their reasons for their dislike of each other.

Bryson Duncan, a junior, has been skiing since he was four. He is an extreme skier. He and his buddy wake up once a week before the crack of dawn and ski the backcountry before school even starts. He has his reasons for his irritation with some snowboarders.

“They can do some stupid stuff. But I am kind of one of those skiers that people probably hate because I do some pretty stupid stuff. Some snowboarders are just idiots. I mean you don’t need to be taking your first drag when you’re going up your first lift. Put the smoke away! Some drink beer on the first lift of the day and I am just like ‘you moron,’” said Bryson.

Obviously not all snowboarders drink or smoke. Yet both skiers and snowboarders complain that the other impedes their progress while on their runs and that their sport is better.

“I hate how they do all of their wide s-turns. Snowboarding is cooler than skiing because you can do more tricks. On rails you can go sideways and forwards, whereas on skis you would do the splits and hurt [yourself],” said senior Austin Nuttall.

“Snowboarders are just punks! Dang Punks!” said senior Braden Dillon. Well, I don’t really dislike them that much. But it’s just that they think they are better. I snowboard and ski, but I prefer skiing because I can go so much faster and I’m a lot more gutsy on skis.”

Seniors Chandler Olson and Josh Olsen (no relation) are avid snowboarders and have many issues with skiers.

“They are skiers and I hate them,” said Josh. “They think they own the place.”

“They take up the whole mountain and they think they own the whole [terrain] park,” said Chandler. “They go way too slow and cut across the whole mountain. They cut you off! You’re allowed to like girls if you snowboard,” he added.

Emily Jackson, a senior, is a converted snowboarder. She started skiing at an early age but felt like she mastered skiing, and got bored of it. Though she was once a skier, she has some animosity towards some skiers who are reckless.

“A skier ran into me and messed up my shoulder last year,” she recounted. “I still have to go to therapy for it.”

Despite the dangers of the two sports and dissonance between the riders, there is much to smile about while being up in the Rockies.

“I love being in the mountains and enjoying the great weather of Utah. I love the cold. I would live in it my whole life. I would live in an igloo if I could,” said senior snowboarder, Dallin White.

Do you enjoy the snow in Utah?  Comment below, let us know.  If you want more Bingham Prospector Online, subscribe with your email.