I forgot to mention that after all of the lily white skiiers from Westchester, Fairfield County and Manhattan left Steamboat (except for us and the other stragglers who had originally planned to leave for the East Coast on Sunday, when the airports decided that there would be no flights to the East Coast on Sunday), Steamboat became the site of the 2007 Summit of the National Brotherhood of Skiiers.
I have to be honest, it never occurred to me until Sunday, that as a general matter, I never see anyone of color on the slopes. And I mean, literally, never. As in, not a single person who doesn’t look like me, albeit taller. So, I was quite taken aback when starting on Saturday, I began to see, here and there, a number of extremely well-dressed (think Spyder, rather than Columbia, if you are a skiier) skiiers with skin the color of coffee. By Sunday, the mountain had, I believe (or so I was told) fourteen-hundred (1400) NBS’ers from all over the country, and I believe, a good number of members of related and partner-clubs from other countries. Or so the backpacks and jacket logos would indicate.
Since Presidents Week was over, Steamboat was relatively quiet. Thus, it was an interesting reversal for me and my friends. We found ourselves, in most instances, among a racial minority (albeit temporary and circumstantial). Quite possibly, we were also among an economic minority as well, being possibly among the least monied people on the mountain. On a shuttle bus back from Steamboat’s downtown, we found ourselves in the midst of a boisterous crowd of NBS members. The loudest of all was a very well-dressed man with very large lips and a very thick London accent. He turned to me and asked me where I was from. When I got around to telling him that I lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, he raised an eyebrow and cracked, “Oh, you mean where all the rich white folks live!”
I pondered it. I had no sparkly comeback. I fumbled about and said that some poor white folks live here too. Then I felt vaguely embarassed.
Why was I trying to smooth over a racial slur made against myself?
That was the question to which I still have no answer.