Recently I’ve spent a lot of time night skiing. Unfortunately, I’ve found it has one major drawback: it is widely used by local ski bus programs, creating an influx of young riders.
Riders participating in ski bus programs slow down lift lines. They are loud (but not usually funny or entertaining), and most importantly, they reduce mountain safety through lack of/inattention to ski etiquette.
Over time, I got pretty upset with ski busses and their riders. It was easy to feel that way. I had to constantly be on alert to ensure I didn’t run into someone. I had to change where/how I wanted to ski, and in general, I got to ski less because their riders clogged up the hill.
Luckily, over time I made another discovery about ski bus programs. I realized that when I was the age of these ski bus riders (7th to 10th grade), I first discovered my favorite bands. I first began to ski, rollerblade, and snowboard, which (collectively) led me to skiboarding. Within those few years, I developed key preferences that shaped my life.
I’ve found many people have similar stories about their “ski bus” years. With that in mind, my frustration began to shift to optimism. To me, the ski bus now stands as a symbol for something entirely different: opportunity.
These riders are the future of our sport. They represent our chance to maintain the activity and the community we enjoy. They will grow into the pioneers of new lines, new tricks, new events, and new products. That’s exciting.
I don’t expect “Bus Nights” to ever become my favorite time to ride. But it turns out, they are a whole lot better with a healthy dose of perspective. It’s likely that both the next backcountry specialist and the next trick innovator are riding on one of those busses. Hopefully I’ll get to take a run with them someday.