There is a a divide amongst team Dongshow over the worth of early season skiing. On one side are people like Mania (despite a broken femur attributed to the cause) and myself, who suffering from autumnal apathy can not wait to make mediocre turns after the first dusting thick enough to disguise the rocks. We feel a summer of boredom and a fall of getting fat watching football justifies destroying a pair of skis in search of forgettable skiing. The opposite side are the Wilsonites, who refuse all ski before Christmas, out of principal, regardless of snow depth. This dispute has ragged on since the early Utah days, before Radical was a fugitive and before Politics was an ex-con.

Today, in the office, dreaming (sunny this morning) of some early season turns, I stumbled across this article and was prepared to have a good laugh at Colorado’s expense. I carry a grudge against that state, based on the number of times my Utah complaints prompted the annoying Michigander question, “Why don’t you just live in Colorado?” But as I was getting started I couldn’t help but think of lift served November days in Little Cottonwood that were scarily similar, so after some brief contemplation I realised that the key statement“No doubt, resort owners know they can make more money by opening early, as many skiers and snowboarders gladly accept the crowds for the chance to go down the few runs the snowmakers make possible” is a fair statement when applied to skiers everywhere, and that rather then writing the ‘woo! Colorado sucks!’ article we’re eagerly awaiting Dave to finish, I’d be better off ranting about the stupidity of North American skiers in general.

Now, I’ll concede that I grew up skiing in Michigan, and that without the motivating skiing snow guns provided, I could find myself about to lose my job at a car plant. So I don’t really have any gripes with artificial snow, but I do question it’s necessity in places like Utah, Alaska, or even relatively snowless Colorado. Ski Areas everywhere waste oodles of money snowmaking hoping to open by Thanksgiving, only to close in early April with 80 inches on the ground due to a lack of interest. What is wrong with skiers? Well if my usual skiing experience invovled sharing a single icy slope with “2,400 riders an hour” i’d quit before spring too. Then there are places like Alyeska, which despite getting upwards of 800 inches on any given season, and having a tram that renders the lower mountain obsolete, will spend thousand of dollars making snow so a few fools can ski to their car on a rainy day in December. Rather then operate at a loss in late spring to provide a quality skiing when it’s hard to find but extremely sunny, they’ve decided to throw money away to coddle the delusional fantasy that winter in Alaska means snow at all elevations.

Whats possible with fake flakes

What's possible with fake flakes

Now I also fully understand that many ski areas are facing severe economic and climatic difficulties so look to make money or snow whenever possible. But at the same time I’d expect them to look after their product a bit more; not go the route of the micro breweries who despite brewing fabulous stuff have their reputation forever tainted by over carbonation and distribution issues. After seeing the conditions many areas open with, can it really be surprising people become disillusioned before march? It seems that quality can overcome a bad economy but does this sound quality?

Most ski areas post ski patrol and volunteers to remind guests to maintain safe speeds, but armed with only whistles these sentries are serving tough duty. The large orange SLOW signs are routinely ignored no matter how far the ski season has progressed.” (via Ski Safety Blog)

Being told to slow down by large orange signs and whistle blowing spastics before being herded like cattle (with strange east coast accents) while waiting in line so some burn out from east Texas can scan the bar code that lets you ride the lift is exactly the reason I don’t spend much time at ski areas. The whole affair reminds me of something I read from Matt Taibbi in an epic Sarah Palin rant earlier this fall. “Only 21st-century Americans can pass through a metal detector six times in an hour and still think they’re at a party.” Replace “at a party” with “on an exotic alpine adventure” and you have my thoughts perfectly.

Skiing should be good (for early season) the next couple days, and in the pass I shouldn’t have to worry about mass congestion, but with the 18″ from Tuesday night on top of the hoar and facet sandwich we saw last weekend I think we’ll have to keep it pretty safe. Whatever happens, I should have some (good or bad) stuff soon.