A serious blow to Darwinism | AspenTimes.com

A serious blow to Darwinism

Not only did Todd Hartley indict himself in his dim-witted confessional column about skiing passed closed signs on Aspen Mountain on opening day, but he dealt a serious blow to Darwinism. In his Dec. 5 writing he trivialized safety while bemoaning his friends who ditched him all day, likely because he lacks common sense and respect for the ski patrols’ closed signs.

With his cavalier tone, Todd sent the wrong message to other one-celled protozoans when he said: “I had a devious little plan in mind. I knew that technically, Jackpot was closed, but I thought there might be a way to access it below all the closed signs.” Before pushing off he yelled to his wiser friend, who turned back, “Dude, it’s a great idea.”

Then he admits that he tore up his new skis, hurt his hip on a big rock and lost his rhythm because his cell phone went off. He bragged earlier in his bloated account of finding a way into Gent’s Ridge, which was also closed.

Herein lies the problem: The ski patrol cannot put closed signs every two feet. Closed is closed, and just because a person can find an unclosed hole through some imaginative traverse does not mean that the trail is open or that they have a legitimate excuse. Locals ought to know this. Had Todd been caught he would have lost his ski pass. As it stands, he’s got his own page in the “bust ’em” book.

Unfortunately, disrespect for closures on the mountain has become endemic on opening day the last few years. Frenzy sets in and good people go bad, following others into closed areas because everyone else is doing it. The patrol is not up there trying to keep people away from good skiing, nor are they trying to cramp Todd’s style.

Knowing the underlying terrain on the hill, the patrol makes safety judgments on what should be open and what should be closed. Broken backs, exploded spleens and head injuries ” to name a few ” have been hauled out of closed areas in past years because cocky skiers don’t consider early season conditions.

Todd should write a retraction of his wrong-headed attitude so that young skiers might learn that the better way is to respect the ski patrols’ closures and to practice awareness of other peoples’ efforts.

P.S. Up until now, we didn’t read your column regularly.

Tim Cooney

Aspen Mountain ski patrol

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