Skiers brace as barriers to snowboarding fall

Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:26am EST
 
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By Ed Stoddard

TAOS SKI VALLEY, New Mexico (Reuters) - Skiing purists are grumbling this year as they brace for an influx of snowboarders at Taos Ski Valley, one of the last ski-only holdouts in a culture war between the two pursuits.

Snowboarders will be able to roar down the resort's steep trails and challenging terrain starting in March, a victory for enthusiasts who have waged a long battle for what their bumper stickers describe as a "Free Taos."

Snowboarders stand on a single board almost surfer style and don't use poles. Their brashness and daredevil antics turn off some skiers.

"I'm afraid of snowboarders because they are crazy," said 30-year-old Alina Appasova from Houston as she ate breakfast at a lodge before hitting the Taos runs. "The major reason I come here is because they aren't here."

Taos made the announcement as it opened its slopes in mid-December and it was the hot topic of conversation from the chair lifts to the bars.

"A bad snowboarder is worse than a bad skier," snorted one man on a Taos chair lift, a view echoed by many. Some people muttered darkly of fatal collisions on the hill.

Some U.S. resorts have addressed the issue by providing separate facilities for the two sports. But Taos says it will open all of its trails to both.

SNOWBOARDING LIFT-OFF   Continued...

 
<p>A man performs as part of the "Big Air Back" show a day before the snowboard FIS World cup competition in Bulgarian capital Sofia December 21, 2007. Skiing purists are grumbling this year as they brace for an influx of snowboarders at Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, one of the last ski-only holdouts in a culture war between the two pursuits. REUTERS/Nikolay Doychinov</p>