Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Why should skiing just be for rich white folk?

Posted by Frum Hiker on February 1, 2007

Skiing is becoming gentrified. I have been skiing for a long time and there has never been many minorities who ski. So why do I say it is becoming gentrified? Well at a whopping $72 for a Sunday lift ticket at pretty much every decent mountain in Vermont it has became a sport of the rich, suburban-hummer driving type people. It has also become nearly impossible to ski as much with the skyrocketing prices. If skiing was always a white persons sport how can it become gentrified? Though it is a white persons sport, there is a mix of folks. The folks who wear their blaze orange hunting gear, those guys that bust out their carhart or camouflage suits and the folks who sleep in the cars instead of hotels and cook heir oatmeal on a portable stove while the Volvos and Lexus’s pull up. The hardcore lower income folks who make it happen by forgoing over priced beer in Après Ski establishments that litter the access roads to ski mountains. Folks like me, who happen to sleep in my car and cook oatmeal in the parking lot in front of scared soccer moms who shield their kids away from the weird guy, cooking on his tailgate.

What happened to the days when you could ski for $35 and everyone was on rented or older skis? Just the other day I was skiing at Stratton in Vermont and some guy commented on how old my skis were. They really aren’t that old I told him, I have only had them for about 5 years or so. Well in the rich mans sport of skiing that is old. Its kind of like forced built in obsolescence. Instead of it breaking or dying like say a car or a digital camera, the ski industry forces new products on its wealthy patrons because they know they can. Skiing has become a fashion show and is losing its spot as an outdoor sport. The mountains are littered with conveniences, like wireless internet and cell phone service. Many folks ski because they want to get away from it all, I don’t want to hear a guy trading stocks over the phone on the lift. Come on cant we have a little peace for once?

In Stratton one of the lifts has a corporate sponsor, a new concept. American express has sponsored the lifts. Will all the trail names have corporate sponsors in a few years? Oh I thin k I will take KFC way to the Microsoft terrain park. Nothing wrong with it, besides the fact it is bringing billboards and other city like annoyances to the ski hill. All the kids have walky-talkies to communicate with their worried parents, I guess it’s the cell phone age upon us. Parents have gotten so used to cell phones, (leashes in my mind) that they cannot bare the thought of having their kids out of their sight. So instead of the peaceful snow falling onto your pants and the beautiful views from the lifts, the silence and serenity is broken by crackling voices over two way radios and people on cell phones checking up on their work. I guess if you want to be able to afford skiing you have to bring your work with you?

Now everyone has an I-pod, and everyone wears one on the mountain. Caused me to slam into some poor snowboarding kid who couldn’t hear me shouting at him. Maybe they will have to make laws on ski mountains. Well thinking of laws, how about this one for a bureaucratic punch? The terrain parks at Stratton which are amazing by the way, all have monitors who check to see you have a pass given to you by the safety training course. Yes all who ride half pipes must now take a class. Horribly inconvenient and time wasting, but the mountain probably saves on insurance costs-while it raises your ticket and concession prices.
Forget about skiing in jeans, the fashion police are bound to say something though the occasional hunting outfit guy will pass you. A quick scan around the parking lot reveals the income levels of most the mountain allow them to buy $50,000 SUV’s. The random local plated pickups and raised up jeeps are scattered about as well as normal every day cars like Camery’s and Accords. Most of the folks who ski happen to come from Connecticut and New Jersey- the two highest income states.

So what if rich people ski? Well its not the rich people that piss me off it’s the fact that their ability to keep paying is cutting all the lower income people out of a great sport. Maybe they are doing it on purpose so it can gain the country club feel? No blacks, no Hispanics, what heave eh?

At least we still have Jay Peak, Mad River and New Hampshire, Maine to ski without the distractions of digital devices and corporate named chair lifts.

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3 Responses to “Why should skiing just be for rich white folk?”

  1. Because with skiis it is more pleasant to stroll down a parkway full of snow as oppose to a snowboard moving all around, not white man type. Plus I guess the white man invented it so there you go!

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