The Post editorial: As The Denver Post celebrates its 125th anniversary, the moment has us reflective about the state.
The Denver Post celebrates its 125th anniversary Tuesday, and the moment has us especially reflective about this great state we get to live in and love and write about.
So, little wonder we took delight in Post reporter Jesse Paul’s moving obituary about Ike Garst, the first ski area operator in Colorado to sell lift tickets to snowboarders.
In this uniquely Colorado story, there is a parable, one worth noting and remembering these days and always: Embrace the other and change the world. When elected officials talk with reverence about a culture of cooperation in this frontier state, this is the kind of story that drives home the point.
It was 1977, and Garst, a 26-yearold Iowa farm boy, managed to get enough money and backing together to purchase the now-defunct Berthoud Pass Ski Area atop the Continental Divide, then the oldest in Colorado. Trying to make ends meet situated between the likes of Loveland and Winter Park, Garst — a diehard skier — didn’t play the skier vs. boarder card. If the knuckle-draggers with the weird rides had the money, they could take a seat on the chair lift, too.
Playing to the niche earned him scorn from the establishment and freaked out some employees, and his insurance company, but made Berthoud Pass Ski Area a hit among the first generation of riders and equipment makers — including pioneers Jake Burton and Tom Sims — and Garst a snowboarding legend, even though he never strapped on one himself.
It would take years before other operators began following Garst’s lead, but his willingness to give weird a chance helped make snowboarding what it is today. Along the way, the movement rejuvenated a stagnant ski industry, and even influenced ski makers to offer twin-tipped shaped skis that draw their effectiveness from snowboard design. It’s impossible to imagine removing the contribution of the sport and its superpipe ethos from the global consciousness.
Like the lingering and silly, mostly good-natured skier-snowboarder rivalry, too many aspects of our lives offer chances for division. Our newsroom presently is plumbing the depths of the ruralurban Colorado Divide. Political parties are locked in starkly mutual opposition. Washington remains in gridlock.
The culture wars rage. The collateral damage in terms of personal and economic liberty is all too real.
Garst’s Colorado Parable shows that setting aside differences is often the more fulfilling way to go — and better for the bottom line.
Back in the day, many a boarder dealt with ridicule and exclusion from skiers with a “don’t be a hater” persistence. It’s a simplistic way to think about a complex world, perhaps, but remember it the next time you’re on the slopes.
When you’re lucky enough to be there, look around: Mostly, all over the hills, you’ll see skiers and snowboarders sharing the good times, pushing one another to live the adventure — and chatting happily on the lift.
Ike Garst, who died last week at 66, operated the now-defunct Berthoud Pass Ski Area with his wife, Lucy.