Today I brought up snowskating to some of my classmates. A couple of them had tried it and said it was hard but fun; all of them were enthusiastic about the sport. Then one of them mentioned an instance where they saw a runaway snowskate fly down a run at Heavenly. My jaw dropped, and I was instantly enlightened and terribly troubled.
Who knows who the mystery snowskater was who didn’t have a leash on. It actually doesn’t matter who he was. He was a snowskater at that moment. He was not an individual to all the witnesses of his stupidity. He was only “a snowskater.”
When I am in public, I am representing all the people I have commonalities with, and I’m conscious of that. For example: when I’m driving, I am a woman driving. And, when I crash my car, I know I am reinforcing the negative stereotypes about women drivers. So, I try to drive carefully! Not just for me, but for all women who are affected by negative stereotypes about women. Just by being a woman in public, I am making a contribution (hopefully a positive one) to the way that women are perceived and will be treated.
So, every time we step on our snowskates, we are snowskaters, and we represent “snowskaters” as a group. Given the precarious situation of snowskaters’ access to resorts, we need to be especially careful. We cannot afford to have any one snowskater’s reckless actions undermine our hard work and progress. But, at the same time, each time we are snowskaters and represent ourselves and our sport well, we are making progress and changing people’s perceptions.
Remember, we are all ambassadors to our sport. We have a responsibility to each other:
- Always purchase a lift ticket.
- ALWAYS wear a leash.
- Ride off the lift. (No walking; it is the easiest thing, seriously.)
- Be polite and respectful in lift lines and on the chair.
- Ride within your ability. Stay in control.
- Obey all the other rules of the resort.
- Be enthusiastic and patient every time you get asked, “What is that?!” Then, after you’ve explained it, do a kickflip to demonstrate radness.