A Plea to Mountain Bikers Everywhere

I do a bunch of sports that are associated with puerility: snowboarding and mountain biking, to name the top two. The noun “snowboarder” conjures up images of an unhygenic punk swishing his (yes, it’s a guy) way down the mountain, earbuds all but surgically affixed to his auditory holes, completely zoned out to all that is around him, including other people. It is the zenith of being inconsiderate, and it’s really irritating to skiers.

But guess what, it’s even more irritating to us snowboarders, the ones who are aware of their surroundings and are just trying to have some fun on the slopes while our younger, long-haired, underwear-hanging-out brethren (yes, they’re mostly boys) are slowly turning the perception of snowboarders into punks on the hill who go too fast and are completely oblivious to the mountain happenings around them.

Hell hath no fury like a middle-aged female snowboarder who watches these clueless knuckle-draggers ruin it for the rest of us.

You see, this is why we snowboarders cannot have nice things.

And neither can mountain bikers. Based on anecdotal evidence, mountain bikers are the least considerate non-motorized users of trails. We’ve got the machinery to inflict more damage, and we do. This damage is inflicted when we skid out, when we ride on the outside of the trail, when we don’t yield to other trail users (forcing hikers off the trail, further degrading it), and when we ride it wet.

Riding a muddy trail is bad all around. It’s bad for your bike, whatwith all that mud getting caked up in orifices you didn’t know your bike had or clinging to the chain you’re not going to bother cleaning off when you get home. It’s bad for the trail, because instead of going through the middle of the trail, which keeps its pristine and singletrack-y, you’re heading along the edge, where the rivets from other inconsiderate bikers are not as deep. And lastly, riding on muddy trails is bad for the overall perception of the sport. Every time a mountain biker pedals through mud, the tire track evidence is evident, and its impression stays there for weeks, days, or whenever the next trail repair is scheduled.

And then the National Forest Service rangers or the Department of the Interior or the state parks system declares this trail, this park, or this section off limits to mountain biking but (surprise!) open to both hikers and equestrians. Mountain biking = erosion on steroids is the subtext of the trail-closing message. And pretty soon we’re all squeezed onto the same dozen trails when we used to have dozens available to us.

All because you just HAD to go out riding after Noah packed up his animals. Way to go, bigshot.

Stay off the trails during monsoon season. I’m writing at you, Colorado.

Snowboarding in July

Yep, you read that right. Snowdump in places like the Sierra Nevada in California have reached unprecedented levels this season, which places like Squaw Valley (USA!) getting over 700 inches this season. You do the math.

Snowhounds should look west to make some turns: California, Oregon, Colorado, and Utah all have resorts that are remaining open or will re-open for the 4th of July holiday. Powder skiing and boarding, this ain’t, and get there early to get some fun in before the snow turns to frozen mountain lemonade.

Catch the details over at National Snowboarding Examiner.