By Roger Lohr, special to GraysOnTrays.com
Hey riders, have you ever given much thought to whether or not you bring your snowboard inside the gondola? Among eastern ski areas, there may be 10 that have gondolas including Killington, Whiteface, Loon Mountain, Tremblant, and Mont-Sainte-Anne.
There are two gondola manufacturers with rack configurations outside the gondolas including metal baskets or slots where the snowboards fit loosely and precariously dangle. One of the manufacturers responded to my question by typically spewing ass-covering corporate-speak phrases such as “according to code” and “approved by the authority.”
The manufacturers may care less about the potential interior damage to the gondola cabins; but the truth is that the board edges will scratch cabin windows and damage seats, which is the basis of policies at Mont-Sainte-Anne and Loon Mountain to prohibit bringing the snowboards inside. Four boards can fit in the outside rack and if there are more than four snowboarders in one gondola, they put the extra snowboards on the next gondola.
Loon Mountain felt that the gondola cabin is not large enough to accommodate both people and snowboards. There appears to be a question about whether the snowboards can fly out of the gondola rack during windy days and at Killington, on windy days the lift operators can mandate that all snowboards be taken inside.
After conducting a statistically irresponsible survey of random gondola skiers and snowboarders, I found out that most people don’t really care very much about the issue of whether snowboarders are “innies” or “outies” when it comes to bringing their boards inside the gondola. One rider said “The edges on snowboards are like knives and I’d rather not have them in the gondola to rip clothing,” but most felt “It’s not a problem inside the cabin. I just put the board between my legs.” One wise guy commented that he brought his board in the gondola “to minimize exposure to the sun.
Sometimes, inside the cabin I hide behind my board to avoid acknowledging my gondola mates and just listen to my music. Most of the time, I use the outside racks so I can relax inside and mess around with my clothing and iPhone. Frankly, I’m uncomfortable with the way the board dangles outside the gondola in the rack and have heard from others that the board can fly off when it’s windy. When I bring the board inside the gondola, I often get positive comments about my board (the Rossignol Experience has a “wood look” with black graphics) which postpones my desire for getting a new board.
But it is sometimes a problem feeling crowded if there are a few boards inside along with some “big” bodies, too. Hey, if snowboards damage the gondola maybe it’s best that they be put in the outside racks. Would anyone really care or rebel if they knew there was a policy regarding snowboards in the gondola?
When it comes to enjoying the snow, Roger Lohr is multilingual. In addition to being a snowboarder, Lohr is an avid Nordic skier. He is the editor-in-chief of XCSkiResorts.com. This article was first published by The White Book of Ski Areas and is used with permission.