The age-old competition between one board and two has been raging for decades. But the real question is, which is better? We have the answer right here. But if you don’t like this answer, be sure to check out the dark side’s argument.
When snowboarding first started, many ski resorts were hesitant to allow boarders and no, it wasn’t just because of their attire, attitude or any other personal reason; okay, yes it was. I used to have a problem with snowboarders myself. I say I used to because my daughter has moved over to the dark side and I now not only must accept them, I have to sometimes share a lift with one.
In the Beginning
When boarding first took off, there were no boarding schools or very few instructors and let’s be honest, most boarders were self-taught with many riding out of control. Every time I skied in the 1990s and I mean EVERY time, one of us would get taken out by an out-of-control boarder. Now resorts offer just as much instruction for boarders as skiers and after thirty years or so, (The first Snowboarding World Cup was held in Zurs, Austria in 1985) the average skill if not I.Q. level has gone up. Add in the fact that beginner boarders slide down the hill sideways, flatten the bumps, and jam traffic at the top of the lift due to squatters (that’s what I call boarders parked in front of the offload, strapping in) and you have understandable concerns.
The Times Have Changed
I used to dream about visiting a skier’s only resort, but I have changed. Heck some of my best friends are boarders. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but we do drink beer together. The battle between skiers and boarders raged for years and is almost, though not quite, resolved. Now both co-exist pretty well on just about every mountain in the land. Alta and Deer Valley in Utah along with Mad River Glen in Vermont are the last places around which ban snowboarders.
The Good Fight
There was a suit against Alta that was filed in January, 2014 with oral arguments presented in August. I think there was more to the boarder’s presentation than “C’mon Dude, that’s not cool” but I wasn’t there to confirm that. In September 2014 U.S District Judge Dee Benson ruled against the boarders saying there were rational reasons for Alta to ban snowboarding.
The snowboarders claimed in the suit that Alta banned them because of stereotypes that they are “Undesirable people with obnoxious habits and characteristics.” Good thing I’m not the Judge or I’d say, “Yeah, what’s your point?” Anyway, in the end, Judge Benson mainly threw out the suit because he ruled federal court was not the right forum to argue this issue. As of this writing, Alta, Deer Valley and Mad River still ban snowboards.
Why I Have a Problem
I considered trying to board once and only once when I saw how comfortable the boarding boots look. After so many years mastering the art of skiing on two boards though, I don’t want to start over. That and the fact I look ridiculous in baggy, sagging pants. I also don’t care to have to plop down on my butt at the top of every lift to strap in. On skies, once up top, I stand up and go: no plopping, flopping and strapping required. If I am on my butt on the slopes, you should call the Ski Patrol because I’m probably hurt.
In the Flats
Let’s face it: boards suck in the flats. My daughter gives me grief, and boy can she give me grief, if I lead her into a flat area. On my skis, I can skate through most any flat and if worse comes to worse, use my poles to get out of anywhere. If boarders hit the flats, they are huffing and puffing with one foot strapped and one out, or they have to walk and carry their board. This is one of those instances where I fly by and announce, “Two Boards rule Dude.”
Can’t You See?
I don’t care if you ride regular, Goofy, Donald, Pluto, or Mickey Mouse, half the time your back is to me and you’re blind, Dude. It also seems to me that skiing is harder: you have two boards that can separate causing the splits, cross each other causing face plants and they are longer causing all kind of problems in the trees. Boards give a false sense of stability making beginners go way faster than they can control. I actually bought a t-shirt in Breckenridge that says “If skiing was easier, they’d call it snowboarding.” I get a lot of compliments on that shirt.
Two Boards Rule But That’s Just Me
Snowboards seem to float better in deep powder, at least that’s my excuse when my daughter kicks my butt in the Back Bowls of Vail. Skiers seem to dominate the bumps though. If you can kick it on Double Black Diamond bump runs with your board, than you are good and welcome to ride next to me anytime, goofy or not. Yes, I too have learned to accept snowboarders and try to coexist on the mountain. Time, and the fact that the daughter is a boarder, has mellowed me considerably. That and beer.