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The One Word I’d Love to See Die a Fast and Painful Death in Ski Culture

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Chew on this.

“We want everyone to come skiing and enjoy the sport that we all know and love.”

That’s what we say with one breath.

“But if you enjoy the sport without dressing like us core skiers do, we’ll secretly mock and laugh at you behind your back.”

That’s what we say with the other.

The Word
If I could get rid of one word from ski culture, it would be “gaper”. We work day in and day out to get anyone and everyone on skis, feeling the rush we’re stoked on during the winter months.

But if these newbs wear their normal winter coat, borrow old gear, or break an one of dozens of unwritten but generally accepted rules, your participation in the sport isn’t enough. We create this club and say “come on in”, but as they try to walk in the door, we face-shove them down and laugh.

Brilliant strategy for growth, eh?

There are enough worries a beginner has on their first day, being laughed at because of their style shouldn’t be one of them.

Look Familiar?…

Two people you might call gapers, right? Yet, in order, they are:

  1. Hotel Tonight CEO Sam Shank skiing at MTS
  2. Actress Zoe Saldana

Not to give preferential treatment to wealthy or important people, but they are who drive the industry in its current state. Turn them off by calling them names and what have we got? Offend the newbs before they ever have a chance to feel what a powder turn is like, and we’re even worse off.

If you don’t carry your skis over your shoulder, we snicker. Use the classic Texas briefcase, we Instagram you.

Wish I May, Wish I Might…
I’d love to see this word take a train to nowhere and never come back. Having the latest gear or looking some unwritten part can’t be a requirement for skiing. It just can’t.

We’ll either add another barrier preventing people from starting the sport or offend people who can only afford lift tickets but not a $5,000 gear closet.

One of my favorite days ever was at Ski Cooper last year. A reason for that designation came from the people. There were dudes from Leadville in Carharts, more rear entry boots I had seen in years, and more smiles and good times than any other mountain I had been to in recent memory.

The more “gaper” enters mainstream, the worse off I think we’ll be.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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