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Rob R. Powder Shot

The Jaded Local

By Robert Reinfurt

I started skiing when I was 8 years old and I haven’t stopped since. Skiing chose my friends, the college I attended, my relocation to Utah and my career. Every choice I made was centered around ‘how many days can I ski’.

If there was fresh snow, you could find me waiting for the tram to open at Snowbird.  Every powder day was a race, starting at the sound of my alarm at 6am.  A race to the fresh, and get in as many laps before I had to start the work day.  I would wait for no one and make sure no ‘tourists’ saw where I was going. The sensation of skiing untracked, fresh powder is so enjoyable and in such short supply, that I would literally do anything for it.

After spending a few winters in Little Cottonwood Canyon, it was time to check out the famed Jackson Hole.  If you don’t know, the best ski trips are NOT planned.  You watch the weather like a hawk and strike when the snow is en route. As the storm tracked north, so did Greg (my ski partner) and I.  We landed at the Mangy Moose, in search of an old friend and some ski beta.   Bar after bar, The Menace, was no where to be found.  We only found his unpaid bar tabs and bartenders who were also trying to track him down.  The snow piled up and we did our best to find some stashes, but the powder goes fast in Jackson Hole.  We met locals, bought them beer, and shared whatever we had, but their lips were sealed. No one was showing us ‘the goods’.  After a handful of attempts, Greg turned to me and said ‘We probably wouldn’t return the favor at Snowbird’.  He was right.  Back home, we were the same jerks. We too, were ‘jaded locals'

Realizing I was a ‘jaded local’ was a bit eye opening and frankly made me feel like a real jerk.  How many times did I blow by a slower skier on the Hi-T at Alta or ignore a tourist’s question while waiting for the lifts to open?  Around the same time, life was getting difficult and I was getting ‘the test’.  I was learning a lot of lessons the hard way and reflecting on my actions. It was time to soften up, grow up a bit and gain some perspective.

Since then, I’m a lot more laid back on the hill, and open to sharing some local insights with my fellow skiers and tourists.  It's easy to tell when someone new is in the lineup, bright eyed and fresh off a flight from the east or west coast.  Frankly, it feels nice to show someone who loves the sport a thing or two about my home mountain.

As skiers, caught up in the moment, we may not realize that we’re an elite group.  An exclusive group. A privileged group.  And as the world shines a light on what it means to be privileged and what it means to be a person of color, it feels right to address our exclusivity.  It feels right to be more inclusive.  At Geartrade, our sellers have always made it possible for people to get a deal on gear that they otherwise may not be able to afford.  But, moving forward, we can take this a step further and work harder to make sure good gear gets in the hands of people who want to experience the outdoors, but can’t afford to.  When I reflect on my experience as a skier,  I realize how many places it’s taken me, how many wonderful experiences I’ve had, and how many doors it has opened for me.  It truly has been a blessing.  I think it’s time we hold the door open for the folks behind us, so they can experience some of this magic.

Rob Reinfurt has been running Geartrade for the last 15 years and trying to ski as many days as possible.

To find out more about how we can make the outdoors more welcoming and accessible to all read Environmental Racism Is Nothing New and Intersectional Environmentalism is the Way of the Future