The Post edi­to­rial: As The Den­ver Post cel­e­brates its 125th an­niver­sary, the mo­ment has us re­flec­tive about the state.

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST -

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.

Photo cour­tesy Lucy Garst

Ike Garst, who died last week at 66, op­er­ated the now-de­funct Berthoud Pass Ski Area with his wife, Lucy.

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