Roger Marolt: Since when does truth matter when we talk about snowboarders?
The story this week about the snowboarder running over a skier on Little Nell is stunning, not only to the skier who got plowed into, but also to anyone who read the follow-up story that ran the next day. It turns out that eyewitnesses aren’t worth a damn.
Before the sun rose again to shine more light on this tragedy of injustice, another snowboarder, who nobody saw or took note of from there on the deck of the Ajax Tavern, knuckled up and admitted that it was he who is the actual perpetrator who rang the poor skier’s bell on Nell.
This is frightening stuff, and I am not talking about out-of-control snowboarders and skiers mixing it up like tossed salad with buttermilk dressing. It is scary that no fewer than three people came forward at the accident scene and positively misidentified the guy who didn’t do it. They swore he did. They described him in detail. They tried to detain him. They attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of his pass.
The wrongly accused snowboarder swore, figuratively and literally, that he didn’t do it. He assured them they had the wrong guy. When they continued to harass him, he apparently got belligerent and pushy and jumped into a free electric public taxi to attempt his getaway, but the driver apparently had no intention of aiding and abetting this criminal, so the wrongly accused jumped out and fled on foot and right into the arms of the police.
A bystander exclaimed in disgust something to the effect that it was hard to believe anybody would act this way.
I’m not sure I agree. I cannot say that I would behave any better under the same circumstances. I might be worse! Imagine being accused of a crime you did not commit. At first you might feel confident that truth will prevail, like it always does, but as more witnesses start angrily pointing their fingers at you, then who could help but imagine sliding down the slippery slope of despair on their butt with their snow pants hanging down around their knees?
Suppose the skier was hurt badly. He’s skiing in Aspen, so chances are he has a lot of money and a good lawyer. There are at least three eyewitnesses who will swear under oath they saw you nail the guy. On top of everything, you are a snowboarder on Aspen Mountain! There is a pack of Marlboros in your jacket! You cussed at a ski instructor in uniform! You fled the scene! You are so screwed! This could cost you millions and jail time! Your season pass! Your life is ruined!
This would be the time to tie this incident in with racial inequality and the plight of minorities under the current administration that appears to tolerate and even condone racism whenever the president feels the need for attention, except that doing that would be a far greater injustice than a snowboarder getting railroaded in a ritzy ski town. An altercation on the ski slopes in Aspen, Colorado, gives us insight on racism like inhaling helium does on flying.
Snowboarders are a minority on the slopes only in numbers. Their plight, if you can call it that, is due to a choice of recreational equipment. The people who falsely identified the snowboarding criminal are probably not as prejudiced as they are likely clueless.
The truth is that skiers do not hate snowboarders as much as snowboarders wished they did, like back in the old days when knuckle-draggers first appeared on the scene leaving sharp carves in the snow and surgical cuts eviscerating the status quo with an alternative ragged edge of attitude.
The worst thing that ever happened to snowboarding is that it got caught in the mainstream. It’s there that it got the funk scrubbed out of it, roiling through the ever-changing rapids of trends. Nobody cares if you ski or snowboard anymore; they are equally elitist activities. A belligerent snowboarder in baggies is no more counterculture than a debonair skier in Gucci. Their attitudes are cut from the same swath of self-satisfaction.
This said, I think there is one mildly interesting takeaway from this story of the Band-Aid on the man-made: Don’t believe everything you hear about snowboarders. Apparently there are more than a couple of people out on the slopes who are seeing things. The next time you listen to someone telling you about the chaos they saw a snowboarder causing, just remember their minds might be playing tricks on them.
Roger Marolt sees snowsport trends as presaging the fall of Western culture. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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