On the night of March 5, 1770, American colonists angry at unjust taxes imposed by colonial authorities began throwing snowballs at British troops guarding the Customs House in Boston. In the commotion, British troops opened fire on the mob, killing three immediately. Two more colonists died a short time later from their wounds. The American Revolution was set in action.
Skiers at Red Mountain have a history of expressing their dissatisfaction with a snowballs. As I recall it, on a powder day in December 1992 , the new ski school director attempted to assert lift-line priority on the Granite Chair for a group of ski instructors, before the public loaded. The large powder hungry crowd grumbled and jeered. The lift operator clearly expressed his sympathy with the waiting crowd and demanded authorization from above. When this was not forthcoming, the emboldened crowd errupted in celebration and pelted the ski instructors with a continuous hail of snowballs as they retreated down the hill. One of my room-mates, who was amongst the instructors, quit that very day.
And so to the events of yesterday morning. As on just about every other powder day this season, we waited until after 10.30am for the Motherlode chair to open (Red opened at 9.30am). As we waited to ski the largest overnight dump (30cm) since January 2009, patrollers skied run after run, culminating in the whole lift-line watching in palpable resentment as three patrollers simultaneously ripped tracks under the chairlift while hooting in satisfaction. As the patrollers entered the lift-line there was widespread booing, then a hail of snowballs and jeers that snowballed (if you’ll excuse the pun), with every subsequent patroller a target.
I’m not suggesting that this sort of mob justice is reasonable, but the skiing public is pissed. While there are undoubtedly valid reasons for each and every delay (apparently wind and challenging snowmobiling today), rather than emotional personal attacks from staff, might I humbly suggest that what is needed are periodic updates while we stand waiting, a more sensitive approach to the flaunting of powder skiing privileges, explanations and apologies where appropriate, and obviously a more effective strategy developed to ensure that more often than not we spend the mornings we’ve paid and planned for skiing powder rather than standing around.
First tracks down Needles was a candidate for the run of my season!