Fanning the Flame

Since presently there is little to no snow in the mountains of California (sigh, wish, pray) I will content myself with writing about snow sports rather than participating in them. And since the article headline read “Now Here is a Rivalry: Snowboarders v. Skiers” I thought to myself, “and have I got something to say now!” I’m a skier, I have always been a skier, I suspect I will always be a skier. I don’t hate snowboarders, I don’t even mind sharing the mountain or sharing a lift or sitting in the bar après sport and mingling with boarders; I do mind the “I’m a super cool badass and can do whatever I want so get out of my way” attitude exhibited by what feels like a disproportionate number of the snowboard community. Just saying.

Said article can be found in last week’s WSJ, back page of the personal journal from Friday I think, just in case you want to see it for yourself. The summary is this: there a few, only a few mind you resorts that remain ski only. If you snowboard they don’t want you, if you ski you are welcome. And snowboarders are suing because, they say, that is discrimination. Last time I checked, and I am currently not practicing law so it’s been a while, but last time I checked snowboarding was not a protected class. Let’s try an analogy and see if it works: I am a jogger and I like to jog on the freeway, the fact that you only let cars on the freeway is discrimination against joggers. Nope that doesn’t work, it’s stupid. It’s also a bad analogy, let’s try another: you have a swimming pool reserved for lane swimmers but I want to paddle board in your pool, you won’t let me so that must be discrimination. I think this is a slightly better analogy but it is still ridiculous. The pool belongs to whoever owns the pool, they can do basically what they want with it, right?

Not so say the poor, downtrodden snowboarders. This may be the civil rights issue of our time they say, which gives you a pretty good clue as to what they are like. We need not mention the tendency to stop in the middle of the mountain run, right in the middle, and sit down to rest or whatever it is they are doing there, sitting in the middle of a run. Neither will we explore the habit of whooshing in groups, like motorcycle gangs on the freeway, right down the hill, on the bare edge of control, anyone below you be damned. No we will only consider that there are private owners and operators of mountain resorts that have said “this area is for skiing.” They have not said this area for this color person, this gender person, this religion person, this anything person. Snowboarding is not something you are, it is something you do. And three, only three resorts that happen to be in mountains with snow and have wonderful machines that take you up the mountain have said, in this location this activity is available for your enjoyment, come and do this particular activity if you like, or if you don’t like, don’t.

No I don’t hate snowboarders. I strongly dislike the sense of entitlement to making everyone acquiesce to how they want it to be that this smacks of. I also don’t like when bicyclists ride on the sidewalk, but I guess that too is pedestrians discriminating against what someone else wants to do.

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