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Dicks on lifts – is getting heckled from the chair lift a right of passage?

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Is heckling from the chairlift an accepted component of resort snowsports or the domain of petulant assholes?

This is a question I pondered at Brian Head last weekend after overhearing a triple of baggy-coated boarders (disclaimer: I snowboard as well, so don’t go there) rain pejoratives on a kid struggling to right himself after a spill. At first I thought the target of their ridicule was a friend or pesky little brother, as the insults seemed to be the type that would originate from one of those jovial, it’s always-open-season male group dynamics. Like the guys on The League. Or my friends.

The lack of reaction from the poor kid sliding sideways into the powder and presence of a nonplussed supervising adult who swooshed in for assistance indicated otherwise. I’m sure the kid couldn’t wait for their chair to finally chug out of earshot, or for his mom to cease with the tired paternal encouragement and cliches about “not worrying about what others say.”

I thought about saying something at the drop but realized it would have no impact. Plus, I probably would have been tracked down by their parents and sued for my house. So maybe I wasn’t the responsible adult for a few minutes. I kind of regret it, to be honest.

In large resorts, most beginners are separated from the advanced riders and skiers. In smaller places, where all levels share lift lines, one has to learn under the bright lights of elevated pubic criticism and a general lack of compassion from those zipping by, around and sometimes, through you. That’s not easy to do, especially within the milieu of snow sports, in which the result of even the most controlled fall resembles a Lego tower getting hit with a bazooka.

So, is getting heckled from the chair lift a right of passage for beginning skiers and snowboarders? Or should perpetrators be choked by their Skullcandy cables? I think my stance on this is fairly clear but I’m afraid not universally shared. Thoughts?

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