Friday as I climbed and bladed the funnest line I've ever gotten the privilege to experience, I was reminded of how many people have worked together to give skiing to me. They taught me how to dress for comfort, what gear to look for, found me deals, showed me how to turn, explained how to hit jumps, drove me to the resort, let me crash on their couches, waited for me on skin tracks, taught me about snow safety, gave me all the skills and knowledge and experience that combined to let me slide down the coolest mountain I could ever imagine.

Skiing was a gift that was given to me. It's not something that I earned, something that I inherently deserved. So when I try to gatekeep skiing, when I try to decide who should, and shouldn't get to go skiing, I'm effectively closing the doors behind us. I'm trying to make the privilege of this sport exclusive. And that's not how it should be, it's not how we came into skiing, it's not the sort of crap others should have to deal with. Everyone should be welcome. I'm not good at this.

We need to create mechanisms in ski culture that help people progress, instead of dooming most recreational skiers to an incomplete enjoyment of the sport that has negative effects on everyone's ski experience. The exploitive boom of mega passes and predatory ski resort management isn't the fault of beginner skiers and weekend warriors. It's a byproduct of toxic ski culture that manifests itself in a whole bunch of terrible ways and hurts anyone who wants to slide around on snowy hills.

Let's make skiing better for everyone. Not necessarily "easier", not watered down, not sucked dry of any soul, but better. Skiing is a series of fun challenges that we never stop meeting and mastering. Let's make that progression more accessible instead of siloing off new skiers into a hellhole of long lift lines, full parking lots, and entitlement.