Marolt: Knucklehead vs. knuckle-dragger
January 22, 2016
Here we are, barely a Gay Ski Week past Winterskol and we already have a front-runner for next year's king. It's the guy who got pushed off the Loge Peak chairlift. This isn't a sympathy selection, either. This guy earned the crown.
The story starts like a ski-town joke:
Did you hear the one about the skier and snowboarder riding up the lift together? The snowboarder says, "I think you can get better face shots on skis."
"Oh, yeah?" the skier replies.
"Sure," the snowboarder says. "To get tits-deep pow shots, you just need to be on your edges."
No, I don't get it. Apparently the skier didn't, either. Maybe it was too esoteric, or maybe it came across more like an erudite knuckle-dragger riddle. At any rate, the skier felt awkward.
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"Are you making fun of me?" he asked, flummoxed by the humor he couldn't get.
"Not really," the snowboarder replied coyly. "But maybe."
From all accounts, this stretched the comedic envelope to the point where the skier felt the need to cancel the return address, stamp it and return it to sender. He accomplished this in one fell swoop. He grabbed the snowboarder and chucked him off the lift head-first into the snow some 20 feet below.
Obviously, I'm not nominating this snowboarder, one Seth Beckton, for Winterskol royalty because he is a gifted comic. It's what Beckton did after he took the assisted involuntary belly flop from the lift that gets him the nod.
Newspaper accounts relate a beyond-stunned Beckton finding himself suddenly falling through the air, scared for his life. How frightened he actually was only he and his dry cleaner know for sure, but we can all imagine being rightfully petrified plunging headfirst toward Earth from a chairlift.
If you can picture that, then try putting yourself in his snowbank after the short flight courtesy of Big Jerk Ejector Seats. You are in a face-down daze, seeing nothing but black; the stinging cold of ice crystals packed onto your cheeks, eye sockets, ears and forehead gradually bringing you back to your baggage claim. You know you are not in heaven.
You want to jump up but realize the prudence of taking a quick inventory of what you are not sure is left of your physical being. You start moving body parts one at a time until you are sure you can kneel up. You wipe your face. You recognize a nearby lift tower! What joy! You are alive!
The ecstasy of surviving the murder attempt fades, though, as you realize the would-be killer might come skiing around the corner at any moment. Of course you want to strangle him, so you hop to your feet, trying to get the snowboard hanging from one foot and tangled in the powder into a position where you can look halfway athletically dignified and somewhat threatening.
But the effort is for naught. The skier, who we now know was a "local," was familiar enough with the mountain to make his escape down Deep Temerity to avoid the confrontation.
This is where Beckton did what he didn't do in order to earn my vote for next year's highest Winterskol honor. He didn't call the ski patrol. He didn't call the police. He didn't call an ambulance. He didn't call his attorney.
No, he didn't do any of these things that the average indignant, all-important, self-righteous, pompous Aspenite in his predicament would have done. Instead, he did what most of us wish we would do in the same situation if only we could control our heart rates long enough to regain some perspective.
After dusting himself off and seeing that he was perfectly OK, Beckton decided that any action besides pointing his board into the fall line would be a terrible waste of a perfectly good powder day. The on-purpose accident occurred at about 9:30 in the morning, and Beckton didn't take a long enough break from that point until the lifts closed to report the incident as an afterthought at 3:45 p.m. Good for him!
I love that! In this age of playing the victim for profit and profile, it is inspiring to hear of a person whom nobody would blame for assuming that role, who instead brushed the snow from one cheek and then turned the other, deciding it would be far more liberating to ski powder all day than to waste it filling out paperwork and answering questions to exact revenge on a person who deserved it. Beckton apparently didn't even care much if karma did it for him. It was better that it was busy dishing up tits-deep powder shots to him.
Roger Marolt recognizes a local legend when he writes one. He's also happy to report that the Big Jerk Ejector Seat was potentially found and hopefully will be disassembled by the authorities. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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