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Boarder’s actions strike nerve in skiing community

Last week’s column about my incident with a snowboarder touched off considerable response. I’m not sure how many messages I received as I lost several – I’m sometimes technically challenged – but I’ll share those with you I did manage to collect.

First, in case you didn’t read the original column last week, I described an incident with a snowboarder in which he yelled at me, “Gimme some room” as he flashed past me. I asked for response and here’s a fair sample. I didn’t get a single response from a snowboarder, incidentally.

MALE CALLER: “I think that guy probably had been on the hill for two months. He was up before he was ready.”



AVID SKIER: “He obviously needed some lesson in etiquette. I was hit two times by snowboarders this season and I was also accused of “taking up the whole hill.” I’m an ex-racer and I ski with my 6-year-old daughter and she was hit once by a boarder.”

DAVID: “I was hit three times by a boarder this season. About all I got from them was, “Sorry, dude,” and off they went. I think it’s a generational thing, the 15 to 25 group, Generation X. Many of my friends board and love it. But when I’m out skiing with my kids … is when I get scared.”




DAVID, Heavenly Ski Patrol: “Education. That’s about all you can do with snowboarders like that one.”

MARC, local skier who is learning to snowboard: “I think you missed something about that boarder. Seems to me he was clearly out of control, didn’t have the skill to maneuver around you as is the normal, safe way to ride. He just was going too fast for his abilities. Send him back to boarding school.”

KEN: “The week before a boarder accused me of blocking his way. I think it’s because many boarders never go through the learning process the way skiers do and don’t know the regulations. They never learned etiquette. My problem is that I find boarders all over the place, blocking exits from lifts, blocking the landing area from lifts.

VIC: “Bravo! About time someone wrote about the way boarders behave on the mountain.

BAY AREA SKIER: “It’s a kind of road rage. Don’t argue with boarders when they act like that. You’re asking for trouble. (This caller also asked for reports on various things that are beyond the scope of this column.)

All right, that’s not a loaded sample. I’ve kept these comments on my phone answering system.

I suspect what it adds up to is there’s a lot going on along ski trails that doesn’t get to management. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the comment, “I hear that snowboard scraping sound behind me and I get scared.”

I’ve given snowboarding a try and enjoyed it. I never got beyond a toe turn and a heel turn and a falling leaf but next season I’ve promised myself to really learn it.

Of course, the negative comments above only reflect the tiny minority of boarders who think the rules don’t apply to them. The rest are good mountain people. Anyone who has watched a snowboarder cutting those lovely wide radius turns dragging an uphill hand has to agree that a sport in which you can do that can’t be all bad.

Hein leads racing camp at Hood

Jim Hein, a coach at the Kirkwood Ski Foundation, is taking his highly successful racing program to Mount Hood in Oregon for 10 weeks this summer. Hein and the foundation have signed on several young racers for the camp, which runs Monday through Friday from late June through August.

Hein, who coaches the J4 and 5 divisions at Kirkwood, offered private training last summer at Hood and then turned around and led his racers to their best-ever finish this season. Racers from South Lake Tahoe, Minden, Sacramento and the Bay Area will take part in these week-long sessons. For more information, call Kirkwood.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

DONNER SKI RANCH offers $23 lift tickets through May 2, closing day. The area is also selling season lift tickets for nest year for $169. Donner’s a fun, funky place and at $169 there’s a real bargain.

HEAVENLY SKI RESORT hasn’t set a closing date but starting next week will made a decision during each week. Last Saturday was magnificent at Heavenly with perhaps four to five inches of new snow. Lots of untouched stuff around until noon. Mott Canyon and either Dipper or Comet chairs are open on the Nevada side. Lift tickets are $39 for adults.

KIRKWOOD will close Sunday, May 2. On that date season pass holders can bring a friend who can ski free. Adult lift tickets are $25.

ALPINE MEADOWS will be open through May. Lift tickets are $34 for adults, with the other categories also reduced. Friday is Billy Davis day, with lift tickets $20.

SUGAR BOWL, that lovely piece of skiing history now updated, will close May 2 with lift tickets $25. Silver Belt chair should be superb right now, even if you don’t want to ski down under the chair.

SQUAW VALLEY USA will operate until May 31. May 2 is the last day for KT-22 as the steeps lose snow early. Big sundeck party that day. Granite Chief runs should be great fun.


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