Wow, what a sad state of affairs we evidently live in when a corporation like Vail Resorts feels it has to flex its muscles by blowing up some shacks that are hidden and well off the beaten path of any of the tourists on any given mountain on any given day. The reality is that Vail Resorts has probably known about these “smoke shacks” for a much longer time then they are admitting to. I say this as an avid border who has ridden on every Vail Resort mountain in Colorado, and one who has ridden “sober” and “high” hundreds of times on those mountains with out any incidents or accidents ever. I say this because I have been in many smoke shacks and they are not easy to find unless you are a local and unless you have the inside knowledge that only locals have.
The infamous “Leo’s” was obviously not built in days, or even weeks. The reality is, it took multiple seasons to build. I say this because I was witness to its multi tiered evolutions over several seasons. Hence the Ski Patrol had to have been aware of it, given the thousands of “sweeps” they make each season.
This whole thing is really not about the actual threat of any accidents on the mountain, but rather the corporate giant simply flexing its corporate muscles all in the name of greed. As a local, I have seen Vail Resorts treat its employees as second rate citizens, in comparison to its precious tourists, over the ten years I have lived in Colorado, more times then I care to count.
The true issue here is the turning of the tides. It is not about some locals smoking some “weed,” inside of a wooden shack in the middle of a forest. Rather, it is the fact that “weed” has become legal in Colorado and the corporate (conservative) powers that be, simply can’t stand it. The original stigma created around marijuana, probably found its roots in the famous 1937 movie “Reefer Madness.”
As a recreational smoker who has been partaking since my college days (I am now 46), I have never witnessed anything violent about marijuana. On the contrary, I have only witnessed, happiness and inspiration as the result of the ingestion of this mystical “weed.” If anything, I have experienced a higher level (no pun intended) of focus and concentration.
My real point here is all this “blow back” is not really about some locals building shacks and smoking some weed in those secluded spots. The reality is, this is a desperate effort to cling on to an old paradigm, a myth that no longer exists. Lets face it folks, weed is here to stay, and we locals like to play. Weed is not dangerous, there is no proof anywhere that it impairs judgment or the ability to ski or board.