Concerned mothers, reveal yourselves
December 5, 2002
On Monday you published our letter to Mike Kaplan of the Aspen Skiing Co., regarding the company’s recent announcement that parents would no longer be permitted to carry their children in backpacks while skiing on Skico mountains.
Mr. Kaplan was quite prompt in responding to us, to say that this wasn’t some corporate decision driven by lawyers but a response to complaints filed by “concerned mothers” who felt the practice was unsafe. We don’t believe for a minute that the Skico does anything it doesn’t want to based on a few complaints, but we’ll play along.
We know from experience that it isn’t wise to mess with Concerned Mothers, but we think we need you to reveal yourselves because we have a lot of questions.
Like, why is it important to you to trash a perfectly valid recreational opportunity for young families? Are your children now old enough that you don’t need to carry them in a backpack and it’s time to protect the rest of us from ourselves? Is your own husband such a weenie on skis that prohibiting kids in backpacks is the safest course for everyone?
We can assure you that we’re not very interested in the “something may happen” argument or that it’s a “trend in the industry.” Aspen used to be known as a place famous for independent thought. We remain of the opinion that this is about corporate lawyers fearful of a lawsuit from stupid or incompetent people who would blame the Skico for their own stupidity or incompetence.
We think there is a strong argument that a small child is safer strapped to the back of a competent adult skier then they are for the first few years they’re on the ground fending for themselves.
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We’ve only skied with our daughter in a pack a couple of times and she LOVES the movement (HEY, why are we stopping?). We believe it will encourage her to want to do it herself when she’s big enough, but we guess we wouldn’t want her to have too much fun too soon in life.
As for the Concerned Mothers, we read an awful lot about how dangerous it still can be to ride in a car. We guess you’ll be working at the national level to see that younger families can’t put their babies or toddlers in a car. Getting Lil Stinky home from the hospital will be a trick, but it’s much more important that the Concerned Mothers feel good about themselves.
And going outside? Whoa, talk about potential for injury or death. You’ll let us know when you approve of the padded room design that the rest of us are to keep our kids in until they’re 18.
In the meantime, why don’t you mind your own damned business? Your time would be better spent keeping your own kids from any contact whatsoever with the real world.
For the Skico, we know the only good argument is an economic argument. That argument is that the young families that you turn away today will be the older families that may reject you in the future.
As for being sued by stupid and incompetent people? Rest assured, that will happen anyway. People who need to carry their kids in a backpack are too small a demographic to effect that outcome, which is probably why we’re so easily sacrificed.
Jay and Danielle Hammond