Skiers vs. snowboarders: Locals mellow about long-standing feud
For just about as long as snowboarders have existed there has been conflict between skiers and those who prefer to take their turns on a single plank.
Snowboarders often think of skiers as entitled and elitist jerks, while skiers often see snowboarders as disrespectful and dangerous punks and while the feud between these two proverbial tribes has waxed and waned over the last several decades a new paradigm seems to be emerging as diehards from both groups embrace an ethos of live-and-let-live.
“Everybody is out here for the same thing,” Dave Turner, more commonly known as the Mayor of Mary Jane, said. “It is all about fun. I’m not here to slam anybody. If you are on a snowboard and having as much fun as me, then let’s rock and roll.”
Turner analogized the long running dispute between the two groups to the old west battles between cattle ranchers and sheepherders.
“I might think different if I had ever been run over by a snowboarder, but that hasn’t happened,” he said.
Still despite his positive outlook on snowboarding Turner, who often logs upwards of 80 days a year skiing, could not resist an opportunity to poke a little fun.
“I have tons of friends who snowboard. Both my kids went over to the darkside,” he said with a laugh. “Really though I don’t have any issues with snowboarding. I’m glad everybody is having fun.”
Other Grand County snow sports enthusiasts echoed that tongue in cheek sense of humor about the longstanding dispute.
“With my wife being a skier and I a snowboarder, I’ve gotten used to being told I’m wrong,” joked Christian Hornbaker, Grand County’s Emergency Manager. “I’m not sure if that’s my snowboarding skills or just me in general? All I know is that if we don’t band together, the mountain will be overrun by those crazy kids on hybrid ski bikes.”
Hornbaker noted that he still occasionally encounters subtle digs and mildly snide remarks from skiers as he walks through the village and said he thinks the beef between the two groups is roughly the same as it always has been.
“It’s not surprising that the divide between skiers and snowboarders has stayed about the same,” he stated. “However, I personally would like to say thanks to cell phones and wireless headphones that keep me from hearing comments about my inability to make it down the mountain in a safe or timely manner.”
Middle Park High School Counselor Ben Polonowski was more earnest in his take on the feud.
“I think snowboarders are great,” Polonowski stated. “They have been bringing new people to the hill for the past 30 plus years. I like the diversity that it creates on the hill, and the technology that snowboarding has brought to skiing has made the sport way more exiting.”
To Polonowski the conflict between the two groups was derived from the way snowboarders often side slip quality powder off the hill as they descend the slopes.
“I think the conflict between the groups has gotten better,” he stated. “Snowboarders and skiers are sharing and even crossing over styles and genres. With the creation of parks, half-pipes, and rails, snowboarders are now sharing the space and time with skiers. New technology with split boards is bringing many new boarders out into the backcountry.”
The merging of the two groups was something Lucas Harville, owner of Mad Munchies and Lion Head Coffee in Granby, noted in his comments.
“I would say that, luckily, we are growing into more of an overall ‘snow sports’ category,” Harville stated. “So many people now are very capable skiers and riders that it’s much less an us versus them mentality and more about doing what you enjoy most.”
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