Boarder vs. skier battle revisited |

Boarder vs. skier battle revisited

Column by Sam Bauman

Yes, there are more closings but also there’s plenty of resorts still running. But before getting into that, I’d like to make a reality check.

Before I start, I ‘d like to say some of my best snowsporting friends are snowboarders. That said, I’d like comments on the following incident. You can call (530) 541-3880, extension 234, and leave me a voice message.

So here’s the incident that triggered this. I was skiing last Saturday at Heavenly on the Nevada side, making short-radius turns on the section of Olympic trial between the top of the North Bowl lift but before the cutoff for Stagecoach. I was boiling; I figure a rock can go straight down a hill. So I was making a series of short radius turns across the moderately narrow section.

Suddenly a blur hurtled past me on the right, shouting something to me. Naturally, I understood nothing said; I’ve often thought that the old way on screaming out “On your left!” while passing was a dumb thing. Most times the person being passed can’t understand anything in the rush of wind and noise of the skis or boards on the snow.

At the cutoff for Stagecoach I caught up with the boarder. I asked what he had yelled at me.

“I said, ‘Gimme some room!’ You were all over the trail and blocking me,” he said angrily. I suspect my whitening hair suggested to him that I was a geezer, which I am.

I suggested to him that the basic rules of snowsporting hold that the overtaking skier/boarder is responsible for avoiding the person ahead of him or her.

“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “You were blocking me.”

More words were exchanged, but the gist of it all was I was in his way and I should have disappeared. Rules or no rules, I was blocking him.

So at the risk of rekindling the old skier vs. boarder controversy, I wonder what other skiers and boarders would say to the rider I was “blocking?”

Am I so far out of current slope courtesy and safety that I should get off the trail? Have the safety rules been rewritten? Should I have been looking over my shoulder to keep out of his way?

I dunno. If the old safety rules have been suspended for boarders, I’d like to know. Maybe I’ll have to stick to snowshoeing.


NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE will reopen for the weekend before closing for the season. Too bad, there’s so much to ski there that we missed this season. Wait ’til next year!

MT. ROSE will close Saturday. Rose went public with its plants to redo the base on the Slide Mountain side, with a new lodge and other upgrades. Lots of permits to get yet but we can hope for next year.

SUGAR BOWL will close May 2 but not before holding its rescheduled Masters Race this weekend.

SQUAW VALLEY is staging its Spring Jam this weekend in conjunction with its Lake Tahoe Ski/Sail Regatta, with Olympic skiers and sailors at play. May 2 is the last day for KT-22. Closing is set for May 31 with the annual season pass holder party.

ALPINE MEADOWS happily will match Squaw Valley and remain open until May 31.

SIERRA-AT-TAHOE holds its Customer Appreciation Day on Sunday April 25 with lift tickets $5, all going to local charities.

KIRKWOOD will close May 2 and hold its employee day May 3. If you know a staffer there you maybe able to sneak into the party. Tickets are just $25 at Kirkwood.

HEAVENLY will remain open on a every-week evaluation decision much like last season. You may remember that Heavenly closed and then reopened for another weekend.

Snow at all the resorts remains superb, spring skiing at its best. And then there’s Mammoth Mountain. Last year we had some wonderful skiing there July 4 and then went to the hot creek to bathe in boiling/icy water. Great fun!

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