As I waved cars in to their parking places at my local ski hill, Ski Snowstar, I noticed something. It was a sunny Saturday, around 30 degrees, yet I noticed a high number of grouchy people. I would wave a car a certain direction and they would want to go a different one, or as soon as the car parked the doors would open and immediately parents would be bickering to their kids. As they exited their vehicles I would make the usual small talk, “Should be a good day today, bluebird skies, have fun!” But I would receive almost nothing in return from a majority of people. “Yep,” they’d reply. Rarely would they acknowledge me and strike up a conversation.
This got me thinking, why are people so incredibly snobby when they ski? It is possible that I’m just a stepping stone for them as they head to have a Saturday enjoying the sport they love. However, to me the number of people who didn’t acknowledge me seemed to be in a terrible mood as soon as they park their cars, and the number of people who were being snobby to me, their children, and other workers was exceedingly high.
It could come from the fact that skiing is generally a rich person’s sport. People pay upwards of a thousand dollars for their ski setups, they drive nice SUV’s, and (at my local hill) pay $200-$300 for a season pass. They spend thousands of dollars traveling out west to Colorado or elsewhere to ski for ten days. They don’t want some kid instructing them where to park, and then bothering them while they’re putting on their ski boots and rounding up their children.
It’s not just in the parking lot I’ve noticed it either, the snobbyness happens on the hill as well. It could also come from the “better than you” mentality on the mountain (or hill in my case). People, especially ski instructors at my local hill, think they can out ski anyone and will brag about how “big they went off of that kicker” or “how many times they back flipped that knoll on the side of that run.” Or kids in the park who ski with different little cliques trying to go bigger than kids in the other cliques and then bragging about the rodeo five they just landed to the other clique.
Is this what we’ve come to in a sport? On a sunny December day, we are rude to other people who are also enjoying the sport we love. Or, better yet, rude to people who are running the ski hill itself. Without workers like me, lift operators, rental people etc. the place wouldn’t run and those snobby people would not have a place to go enjoy the December day.
Now, I do realize that this is a singular case study at a single place, and I am speaking generally. There were some people who were incredibly friendly. However, the unfriendly extremely outnumbered those wonderful people. We need more people like those incredibly friendly people in our ski resorts and I don’t think there are enough of them. Clap your poles when an excited skier sticks their first flip, spark up conversations with people, make the resort and the sport we love a friendlier place.