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For the love of the game...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So here's the question:

I read a lot on here about frustration with some of the mega-resorts (like Vail) and some of the snobbish attitudes at places like that. There's also a lot of rippin on gapers and other annoying things that are part of the world of skiing. All things being equal...is it better for the sport to constantly have newbies starting out? What I'm wondering is if the health of the sport requires new blood to keep it vital even at the recreational level? More people =higher demand which equals higher lift tickets and the skill level--on the average-- being lower on the mountain which equals resorts catering to that level. How do you really feel about that? Are you--down deep--a ski snob and want every resort to cater to the hard core...or...do you feel otherwise? Are you genuinely happy to share the mountain with the beginners or do they annoy you when they cut across your line with an unexpected traverse or similar?

Answering my own question...I try to hard to fight the ski-snob attitude. I love the sport so much that I want to tell everyone that they're missing out...yet the more others ski I get this feeling its going to cut into my experience. Challenging terrain might go down, lift tickets and lodging prices go up...gear reverts closer to the mean and becomes even more biased toward safety and law-suit avoidance. I guess if I love it in its purest sense I should want to share it with everyone--I have a bit of angst over this question. I'm still struggling with my own thoughts on this.
post #2 of 12
If I answer to your thread's title, then you have to love the beginner. You have to love them all ...they'e your sisters and brothers.

This kinda reminds me of when I was working my way through undergrad. I made a living as a military base lifeguard (BTW, this pays very, very well for a college type job.)

The lower ranked officers were meanest and rudest. I'm talking about Lieutenant to Major. Once you started dealing with Lieutenant Colonel up to Lieutenant General they start to become much kinder to those at a lower rank and yes, even us lifeguards. I think this might be the same of skiers. The older and more experienced you have become the more love you have for those who have come to play regardless of their skill.

I'm trying to be that kind of person. But I admit I still have a certain ugly smear of elitism.
post #3 of 12
The more the merrier. I love skiing, try to promote it often, and feel extremely inclusive about it. Never saw a ski day I didn't like (almost anyways) and after 40 years of skiing I'm morphing into one of those effusive old farts that's just glad to still be at it. When I find out I'm sharing a lift with a first timer my favorite response is, "what a great day you picked, in all my X number of years skiing this one of the best days I've ever seen."

Of course if I was an instructor or something and couldn't just ski away from the brain-dead and the clumsy I might have a different attitude ;-)
post #4 of 12
Beginners are rad. It's the people who turn off thier brain because they're on vacation and demand lightspeed 9-packs so they can get MAX VERT that I really would rather not be around.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Beginners are rad. It's the people who turn off thier brain because they're on vacation and demand lightspeed 9-packs so they can get MAX VERT that I really would rather not be around.
Not really intending to hijack the thread but...

Do you really think their motivation in seeking ski hills with highly modern lifts is to get maximum vertical?

I don't believe that's the real reason. Personally, I think it's just that very few people like to stand in line. I'd much rather be skiing than standing in a liftline.

As to locknload's original question, I think we're all conflicted about that from time to time.

I've been skiing for a very long time - it'll be 40 years this coming December. Since the very first day I tried the sport, my love for skiing has significantly shaped my entire life. It's a very healthy activity that combines fun, adrenaline, astounding beauty, wonderful friends, and a never-ending opportunity for growth.

Skiing has meant so much to me that I think it's really selfish to wish that other people wouldn't try it so that MY experience would be somehow "better". I think the world would be much better off if more people skied, rather than fewer.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

As to locknload's original question, I think we're all conflicted about that from time to time.

I've been skiing for a very long time - it'll be 40 years this coming December. Since the very first day I tried the sport, my love for skiing has significantly shaped my entire life. It's a very healthy activity that combines fun, adrenaline, astounding beauty, wonderful friends, and a never-ending opportunity for growth.

Skiing has meant so much to me that I think it's really selfish to wish that other people wouldn't try it so that MY experience would be somehow "better". I think the world would be much better off if more people skied, rather than fewer.
Hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!
post #7 of 12
As always Bob Peters nailed it!

I never seem to mind giving up a day of personal ski time to take a friend skiing for the first time. The outcome of that time is usually closer friendship, and another ski buddy who'll hit the slopes with me.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

Do you really think their motivation in seeking ski hills with highly modern lifts is to get maximum vertical?
Yes. I know several gapers personally who will not vacation at hills with less than about 2500 vert. I've also talked to many many gapers on lifts who were keeping track of their daily/vacation cumulative verticle with some manner of GPS/altimiter. These are the same guys who bag on the "slow" Supreme or Wildcat lift at Alta. Also the same guys who laugh at all the people waiting for a rope to drop while they're getting an extra 2-3 runns on some groomer.

For most people (well, me at least) it's all about quality over quantity. But for a great many people (and American society in general) it's all about quantity. Bigger, faster = better.
post #9 of 12
One of these days I'm moving to ski country, my lifelong ambition. I'm beached-out, hate the heat and humidity, and frankly there is nothing more beautiful than a bluebird day with the Xmas-tree aroma of those huge, green pine trees.
post #10 of 12
Gpaul - that beautiful but even more beautiful...waist deep powder. P.S. seeing some flakes above town today!!!
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Good responses all. All in all, I would rather help spread the gospel of skiing. I've had some really fun days teaching beginners and seeing the light bulb go on as they learn how to use the ski's shape rather than fighting it is very rewarding. I also am quick to remind a beginner that everyone struggles with the same issues: fear, getting in the back seat, blah blah...its just happening at a higher level. The biggest thing that frustrates me is beginners that haven't been taught how to be aware of their surroundings (other skiers...stopping in blind spots)...I definitely try to teach good habits and etiquette around those items as well. I guess its a lot like driving and its frustrating when incompetence can become dangerous to others.

In the end though, being in the mountains on a beautiful winters days flying down the snow on a pair of boards...is a truly sublime experience...you almost HAVE to share with someone. The best is probably shredding that untracked POW with a couple of close friends and at the bottom wanting to smile and high-five b/c its so much freaking fun. That part never gets old.
post #12 of 12
I have a different perspective than most of you. I live in North Dakota - not exactly a ski Mecca. I grew up in Minneapolis, and while some might argue that what one can do there barely qualifies as skiing, I was on the slopes 4 or 5 days a week through high school; now I'm lucky to get out 10 days a year (and most of that in ND). Most of the time we're on man-made snow, and powder is a foreign concept.

But I LOVE to ski. I taught my husband to ski, so he would go with me. We taught our sons to ski (as difficult as that is in ND). Some of the happiest days of my life have been watching them progress and learn - and thoroughly enjoy themselves. As they get older, it is increasingly important to me to have fun things that we can do together - that they WANT to do with me. I don't even mind that one of them has taken up snowboarding, as long as he is having fun doing it. They are finally learning that it is as much an achievement to go down a blue run with style and grace as to get to the bottom of a black run in one piece.

I love introducing people to the sport; I love chaperoning groups of Boy Scouts and church youth groups and middle school groups to the slopes. For a few runs, it's all about ME, skiing to the best of my ability, but the rest of the time it's about making sure the kids have a good time, and want to come back (so I get to go out again!).

My Mom, at 67, still skis with us. I hope to be skiing with my own grandkids one day. What more can one ask of a sport?
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