Perhaps it’s the proximity of “The Dirty Line” in relation to, well, let’s call it “The Clean Line”, that makes taking it such a contentious move on the slopes. Blackcomb’s Spanky’s Ladder is guarded by a short, steep, rocky pitch that, under normal circumstances, takes a reasonably fit human about two minutes to climb up. But given that Spanky’s is such cherry terrain (read: arguably the best zone on all of Whistler and Blackcomb), people have a tendency to wait at the bottom of the bootpack well before patrol is able to complete their control routes and open it up.
As with anything, a crowd brings a crowd and sometimes the queue is more than a hundred people deep by the time the rope finally drops. This is where the conflict happens. “The Clean Line” shuffles along slowly towards the foot of the bootpack and is subject to the bumbling steps of less experienced mountain enthusiasts. “The Dirty Line” however, is basically a high-speed traverse that forms just underneath the platform that “The Clean Line” creates and connects with a second, theoretically faster, bootpack.
So yes, those who do “The Dirty” can roll off the lift and brazenly bypass the slower shortcomings of the standard route without having waited their turn. It’s frustrating, to be sure. But the anger that this move has elicited lately has been completely out of control.
Hard to get pissy when this is what waits on the other side. Charles Filion revels in the open spaces that Spankys has to offer.
In the past, anyone dropping into “The Dirty” has done so with the full expectation of being heckled, dodging snowballs and climbing a more challenging bootpack. But the tension has really escalated over the last few storm cycles; people have been booby-trapping the lower traverse with rocks, jabbing at the dirty-doers with their poles and generally getting way more aggressive than we’ve seen in the past.
Matty Richard doesn’t mind waiting his turn to hop into the goods. Of course when you’re riding lines like this one, it doesn’t really matter how many people are ahead of you.
The most shameful display occurred when a guy from “The Clean Line” blocked a girl’s forward progress on “The Dirty”, forcing her to drop her poles, which he subsequently threw down the slope. And then, after she fell down on the way to retrieve her gear, he started shoveling snow in her face with his board, completely humiliating her and ruining what should have been her best day of the season. (She went home in tears).
The worst part is that Ski Patrol had to mediate a near-physical conflict at the bottom of Spanky’s Ladder between the face-shoveler and a bystander who just couldn’t stand to see such ridiculous behaviour on the mountain that he calls home.
It’s worth noting here that both of them had probably just enjoyed one of their best runs of the season.
Not cool. That’s all there is to it.
When we tested the waters of public opinion by explaining what happened in a facebook update, someone responded that “that is the reason [they] hate Whistler!”
So yeah. It’s embarrassing. And even though we’re not gonna make the problem go away, an open dialogue within the shred community might help people see both sides of the issue.
I’ve got my own opinion, and I’m sure it’s shone through in spite of my best efforts to be objective. But I’m gonna save it for the comments.
Let’s talk about this people, before someone does something really stupid and forces WB’s hand on the issue.