Skiers vs snowboarders is the Real Madrid vs Barcelona of action sports; El Clasico, as the Spanish would say. Nowadays, it seems like hardly a week goes by without another video popping up that shows skiers and snowboarders locking horns over something or other.
"You cut me up, dude."
"Don't point your ski poles at me."
"Leave it, Phil. He's not worth it."
You know, that sort of thing. It's not very dignified but it's very much a problem in certain resorts, especially Stateside where the no snowboarding policy at the Alta resort in Utah has been a hotbed of controversy for a while now.
The unrest between the two factions seems to be showing little sign to no sign of calming down, after an incident on a chairlift in the Aspen Highlands last weekend.
An unnamed skier and a snowboarder called Seth Beckton were sharing a chairlift when Beckton made a comment about it being easier to get "face shots" on skis. The skier took offence to this, and hurled Beckton from the lift...whereby he fell between 20 and 25 feet into the powdery snow below (he was un-injured by the fall).
"I honestly thought I was dead," Beckton told the Aspen Times. "I didn't know where we were [on the lift path]. It's not cool to think anyone would do that."
The incident happened at approximately 9:30am but, much to his regret, Beckton didn't report it until the end of the day. An earlier report would have given the mountain's ski patrol a chance to react, and track down the chairlift-pusher.
The two were reportedly having a conversation about the depth of the powder when Beckton commented that he thought it was easier to get face shots on skis. Beckton says the skier must have misinterpreted his comment because the skier then asked him, "are you making fun of me?"
"I thought it was kind of funny," Beckton told media. "I thought he might be joking. I wasn't trying to offend anyone. I didn't even think the comment was offensive."
The skier is then alleged to have said, "If you think that's funny, do you think this is funny?" before pushing the snowboarder off the chairlift.
The mountain responded to Beckton's story by launching its own investigation in cooperation with the Pitkin County Sheriffs Department.
If you're up to speed with your ski slang, you'll know that a "face shot" is when you're skiing in powder so deep that the snow sprays up and hits you in the face. However, the mix-up may have occurred due to an Urban Dictionary definition which defines a "face shot" as a sexual act involving ejaculation.
Whether you're a skier or a snowboarder, I think we can all agree that throwing people off chairlifts is not an acceptable way to behave. Let's all try and enjoy the wintery mountains as friends, not as enemies. Peace, love, and understanding; that's what it's all about.