A Ski Industry Oddity
The ski industry is an odd business. When I was a kid and we went to our local ski hill and tried to build a jump, the ski patrol would invariably come around and destroy it. Now, in a world of even more litigation, the ski areas are building house-sized ramps with do-or-die gaps and for good measure they’re throwing steel rails in the middle of trails and daring you to eat s#!t. What a 180 from the 1980′s?! How did this happen? Did the ski areas just say F- it , we want people to come to our mountain and we’ll do anything to get them here? Or was it an insurance epiphany…” hey, we’re gonna get sued anyway, let’s go for it and make some $ in the process”. Kids wanna jump, and for the most part, adults like seeing their kids off the couch, taking a couple chances and having some fun. I have to say, even though I’m not 15 anymore, I love catching air. It makes the skiing experience really fun, it makes the heart race and you can always get better or go bigger.
So, the other night, we’re night-skiing at our local mountain and they’ve blown a ton of snow and have built jumps and put rails up- the place looks great. Now, the guys who form the Park, are like 18 yrs old. So their frontal lobes haven’t fully developed, and safety isn’t on the forefront of their minds. So I’m pretty pumped about the jumps of all sizes, and I’m hitting them fairly conservatively and having a great time….Then, I hit a smallish ramp that appears to be harmless, until I get off the ground and look down at my landing and see a staircase instead of snow. I have to figure out how to land this and not end my season, so I lift my tips up and somehow ride down this potential “season-wrecker” and ski to the lift with a racing heart. WHO THE HELL WOULD PUT A HIDDEN STAIRCASE IN THE MIDDLE OF A SKI TRAIL? …my local mountain, of course. They want you to come and have a memorable time. Go BIG!…but live to ski another day.