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Skiers vs. Snowboarders — Rumble at the Statehouse Edition 

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I know what you're thinking: skiers vs. snowboarders? Um, isn't that a totally dated battle? To that I would answer, yes. Totally. For those of us who regularly ski or ride, there's not a whole lot of thought that goes into determining which snow sport is better or more sick or fucking rad.

Maybe it used to be the case, you know, when snowboarders were a rowdy, saggy-pants posse of rule-busting young guns and skiers were old fuddy-duddies rocking one-piece fart bags and leathery goggle tans. Perhaps they would battle for supremacy of the slopes à la 1984's Hot Dog...The Movie, thus fomenting this rivalry of sorts.

But now, that's not the case. Everyone seems to get along A-OKish, apart from the occasional kerfuffle when I get run over by douchey skiers who forget that I don't have eyeballs at the back of my helmet. But enough about me.

So, if all the knuckle-draggers and two-plankers get along, then why are our esteemed leaders at the Statehouse trying to start something? Apparently, there's been a vocal lobby working to get snowboarding named the official state sport of Vermont. Hawaii has surfing, Massachusetts has basketball, and South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming all chose rodeo as their official state sport. So why not designate snowboarding as Vermont's sport?

This lobby was so persuasive that it succeeded in getting a bill introduced to that effect. H.140 seeks to have snowboarding named the state's official sport, and 17 representatives signed on to the measure. Yes, you're reading that correctly -- you're sending lawmakers to Montpelier to draft legislation regarding our state flipping sport. Because that makes sense when the state budget is in the crapper and people are fighting pigeons for sidewalk crumbs.

Apparently, this bill wasn't so popular with the skiing set. Or at least those who were elected to represent the skiing set. Because we can't have anyone feeling left out, they drafted a little bill of their own. H.365 is being sponsored by 15 representatives and calls for the state sport to be ... wait for it ... skiing AND snowboarding. How magnanimous and equitable of them.

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Wheeee! Skiing is so much better! 

Let's recap: Some people want snowboarding to be named Vermont's state sport. Some people want skiing to be named Vermont's state sport. But those people lobbying for skiing are being big about it and saying they'd like both sports to be the state's official sport. Which is impossible, since there can only be one. Unless you're Maryland, where both jousting and lacrosse are the official state sport. Right. 

So that you fine people can make up your own minds, I submit to you the merits of both arguments, as outlined by our hardworking representatives who crafted the respective bills. 

Snowboarding pros:

1. Burton Snowboards' cofounders Jake and Donna Carpenter live in Vermont. When they're not traveling the globe "for work." 

2. Snowboarding was invented in Vermont. 

3. The U.S. Open snowboarding championship is held in Vermont. 

4. Apparently, the nation's first "snowboard park" was in Vermont. 

5. The first resort to allow snowboarding and host a snowboarding race is in Vermont. 

6. Burton Snowboards and Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate are in Vermont.

7. Famous Olympic snowboarders Kelly Clark, Lindsey Jacobellis, Ross Powers and Hannah Teeter are from Vermont. 

8. Shaun White's coach and the coach of the U.S. Snowboarding Team, Bud Keene, lives in Vermont. 

9. No state has yet claimed snowboarding as its official sport. Though I'm thinking Florida might snatch it up. 

Skiing pros: 

1. It's not snowboarding. Just kidding.

2. Nation's first ski area was in Vermont.

3. Nation's first ski race was in Vermont.

4. Nation's first J-bar and T-bar lifts were in Vermont.

5. Nation's first ski patrol was in Vermont.

6. Nation's first real chairlift was in Vermont.

7. The famed 10th Mountain Division got its start in Vermont.

8. Olympic medalist skiers Andrea Mead-Lawrence, Billy Kidd, Barbara Ann Cochran and Hannah Kearney are from Vermont.

9. So is Olympian Bill Koch, but he's a Nordic skier, so that doesn't really count, does it?

10. There are lots of ski academies in Vermont.  

OK, it looks like the arguments are pretty even. But here's the one hiccup -- skiing is already the official state sport of New Hampshire. And do we want to be like them? Methinks not. Designating snowboarding would make us unique. But it could miff the skiers. And I'm guessing they come out to vote in greater numbers than snowboarders. You know, if we're thinking about the politics of choosing a state sport rather than, say, thinking about how many Vermonters are sleeping in abandoned boxcars. 

I say we just go with something neutral like sledding or skipping stones or dancing barefoot in the mud at some hippie festival in the country. Who could get their noses out of joint about any of those?


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Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober was a Seven Days staff writer from 2009-2011.

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