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Prejudiced skier

Matthew Newton

Re: Save us from these dang snowboarders (Letters, 4/6/2, from Shelley Levy): This year out of all the accidental deaths on the mountains of Colorado the vast majority have been skiers. Who are the dangerous ones?Yes, I am a snowboarder and was disgusted by the narrow-minded prejudice in this lady’s letter.Would she also like to keep blacks, gays and other groups different from herself off the mountain? Who does she think is going to keep the resort running if there are no snowboarders to work here?I agree that there are a huge number of too-fast and out-of-controlpeople out there, both skiers and boarders. But then, who gets to decide which winter sport activity is more dangerous?I have snowboarded for eight years and I have never collided with another person (a lift tower yes, people no.) I have only ever been hit by one fellow snow user. To avoid any prejudice I shan’t say what he was skiing (sorry, sliding) on.I try to always make people down-trail aware of where I shall be passing them; I always try to stop at the side of the trail; I always look up-trail before setting off; I try to be polite and courteous to all other mountain users and make sure I apologize to anyone who I may have cut up.Maybe this is due to a good upbringing rather than the fact that I am a snowboarder.I run a ski lodge in east Vail for British holiday makers and recently had a 64-year-old high court judge stay with me. He was a snowboarder, a convert from skiing after 30 years, and I’m sure that he wouldn’t know what a rapper was, never mind how to behave like one.I wish Ms. Levy a speedy recovery from her injury but suggest that next year she visits Deer Valley, Taos or one of the other snowboarder-free areas.May I also suggest that when anyone is hit by someone else they refer to that person as a “fellow snow user” because there are good and bad people in all walks of life.Matthew NewtonVailSkier’s ridiculousI am amazed by the gross generalization that is included in Shelley Levy’s letter, “Save us from those dang snowboarders.”Ridiculous phrases such as “as a group they (snowboarders) behave like rappers” demonstrate her inability to clearly account for what is happening on our mountain.I am sorry to hear that the author was involved in three accidents on the mountain. However, I would like to point out that there are many snowriders who have logged hundreds of days on the hill without ever being in a major collision. The fact that Levy has been hit three times makes me wonder if she is neglecting to watch out for others on the mountain. Just as defensive driving is an important skill in driving on crowded roadways, snowriders must be willing to take responsibility for their own safety on the mountain.Levy writes that she wants “to help save the sport we love.” Amen. However, she is ignoring the fact that the addition of snowboarding has revitalized a stagnant ski industry and that it is the individual who is safe or unsafe on the mountain<not whether they ski, snowboard, telemark, etc.The redeeming point that Levy makes is that “there has to be a safer way to share the snow.” Sadly, the author has forgotten the times that she too was a beginner and made mistakes such as falling off of the chairlift or cutting off another person.I ride in the singles line a lot. This year I have been appalled by the number of people who have given me dirty looks or insulting comments when I ask if I can join them on the chairlift. This includes a Vail ski instructor who should have acted in a professional manner and set a good example for her student. Snowboarders will not knock you down in the lift line (no more than skiers). We will not spit on you or kick you!Remember that all snowriders go on the mountain to have fun. So instead of wasting energy and a beautiful day on name calling and rudeness, use it to enjoy the mountain.Kim WallachVail


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