Monday, January 17, 2005

Why can't we be friends?

It's a line from a song that got stuck in my head today, and was oddly appropriate when an idiot skier (excuse the tautology - ooh cheapshot) started tootling merrily across the slope at precisely the most inconvenient time for me.

It all happened just below a roller on the new side of Fernie. A roller is where the run suddenly gets steeper, creating a nice jump that you can either pop off for some decent size air, or just absorb with your legs for one of those stomach dropping sensations (like going over a humpback bridge, or something). The new side is where Resorts of the Canadian Rockies slapped in a couple of chairlifts when they took over a few years ago. The runs tend to flow less easily than on the old side, but have their own attractions. The run looked empty, so I was booting it and had taken a little air even though I tried to keep it on the ground - you go faster when your board is on the snow.

Anyway, I was just getting my heel edge back into the snow (so I was heading pretty much straight down the hill) when the skier stood up. She'd obviously been having a picnic, or something, in the middle of the run *and* where she couldn't be seen from above. She started tootling merrily across the run without looking up the hill to see if anyone was coming - this is somewhat akin to just randomly pulling out of your driveway.

Because the new side is less logical than the old side, which has been smoothed over numerous summers, we were both kind of heading downhill (although she was heading sort of downhill towards the trees, and I was heading downhill down the run).

Anyway, I yell loudly and try to go from warp-speed to something surviveable. Unfortunately, there isn't much space to do this in. I slam the board round until it is at 90 degrees to the hill and lean back and bend my legs to dig as much edge in as possible.

My "hockey stop" has the desired effect, I deccelerate very rapidly. Rapid changes of velocity are rather unpleasant (blah blah G force) in almost any situation, this is no exception. Basically, my board bounces into the snow a few times - jarring my ankles, my bottom bounces into the snow a few times, and I get a faceful of ice crystals.

What does the skier do during all of this? Well, as best as I could tell, she keeps coming straight towards me.

Anyway, long story short, I nearly crashed into an idiot skier today, and it got me thinking. Just why is there so much (or any) animosity between skiers and snowboarders?

Let's look at some of the ideas that have come up in my chairlift symposiums on this topic. In no particular order.

1) Snowboarders wear their pants too baggy and too low.
- Not true, I wear mine above the hips and cinch the belt up tight - it keeps snow out. Plus, our pants need to be baggy for all the flexion and extension that we do. Anyway, other people's fashion decisions / disasters

2A) Skiers create moguls.
- Possibly, I haven't seen them doing it. But so what? Moguls are just another feature of the ski hill. Some people like em, some people hate em, some people just ride somewhere else.

2B) Snowboarders create / destroy moguls
- Well it's probably not both, but either way, I haven't seem them doing it.

Well, I was going to go on, but it's snowing hard, and we're going out to the Chinese restaurant for all the slightly suspicious sweet and sour "pork" (and other dishes) we can shove into our (soon to be) distended bellies.

Comments:
Great to hear you finally passed the instructor's exam, Congrats. Hope some skiers reply to your comments. What about your sister?

How was the Chinese?
 
HIS SISTER IS NOT A SKIER!!! that is an insult at its best, mistaking a snowboarders for a skier. Yes, I have skied once but that was after I sprained my wrist and could not snowboard and so reluctantly used skies with one pole. But those few days do NOT make me a skier!!!
 
Malcolm: anyone care to inform someone who is neither a skier OR a boarder what a mogul is?
 
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