The weekend was well balanced with some skiing on the Park City side of the Wasatch. I took Saturday morning to explore The Canyons w/ some of my friends and enjoy a couple of fun cruisers before it became absolutely packed with people and really not as enjoyable. With that said, it seemed like a good opportunity to bounce over to Deer Valley to check out the celebrity ski event was going on.
I’ll be honest. I’m not a huge fan of these types of events for the mere fact that I feel like it really does nothing for snow sports other than promote the affluent nature of the sport and if anything might turn off a younger generation from a great past time.
…this leads me into a few things that I’ve really been pondering as of late. Why has skiing become such a “rich man’s sport”? In a way it is ironic that ski resorts began with simple machines made from the reminents of mining towns and a few strong souls that were full of passion for the snow, and now it can cost upwards of $80 per adult to slide down the hill for 8hrs. Disgusting. We have taken something very pure and enjoyable and segregrated the average person from participating. In a world full of trouble, violence, drugs, etc. isn’t there a way to share a positive experience like snow with everyone?
I had a great experience a few years ago participating in a program called TELE (Teach, Enrich, Learn, Educate) kids. It was a multiple week program where one of the Boys and Girls club of Salt Lake brought there kids to Alta to participate in Telemark skiing with some basic instruction. What a beautiful experience! Some of these kids had never had the chance to experience snow in the mountains…and their smiles were priceless. On top of that…you would be amazed at some of the athletic ability shown by these youngsters on Freeheel gear. I’ll be the first to say that if some of them were to stick with it beyond the program they could easily become some of the athletes to redefine a generation of Telemark skiers.
I think the path to a solution is that we need more people to be aware of the greatness that skiing is and try to find ways to share it beyond those that we know that work in the ski industry or the affluent vacationers. If we all try to help others that may not be able to enjoy the mountains regulary, I believe this would be a success story and a way to contribute beyond our own personal enjoyment.