OPINION: Drugs, Guns, & Skiing

Ryan Dunfee's (slightly sarcastic) take on new weed laws and guns changing the face of our sport

It's no secret that the ski population is growing slower than a palm tree in Alaska. But now that athletes can smoke ten times more weed and street skiing is legitimately gangster after an incident involving guns, things may pick up for the future of skiing.

The World Anti-Doping Agency recently upped its threshold for marijuana use among athletes, increasing the paltry limit of 15 nanograms per millimeter to 150 ng/ml, a ten fold boost that folks at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) told USA Today would take a “pretty dedicated cannabis consumer” to break. Now Olympic-hopeful pipe and park skiers, who thought they had to give up pot to make the squad and had a sort of coming-to-God moment, can return to their normal lifestyles and be the recreational-drug-using superstar athletes they've always been. WADA claims they made the decision to reduce false positives during non-competition times, which is when their data suggests most athletes are using pot, while the new limit of 150 ng/ml will still prohibit athletes from lighting up at the starting gate. Their move also comes as overall attitudes around marijuana change and officials finally realize that weed's performance-enhancing possibilities are pretty much non-existent. Unless, as Robin Williams has said before, "there's a giant candy bar at the bottom of the halfpipe."

No doubt this news has done loads to relieve Tanner Hall's anxiety. More importantly, it gives the ski industry a whole new opportunity to introduce more young risk-taking males to the sport. Now that stoners can compete on the highest level, athletes can satisfy both their inner-jock and the side that would rather be high when they're flipping in the air.

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Within a week of the WADA's step forward for stoners, another critical gap in cognitive dissonance was cleared when a Latvian ski movie trailer showed a gun being pulled on a skier because they were… skiing. This is the first time that's ever happened. Before, skiing's popularity among rebellious young males was limited because it lacked a connection to anything remotely gangster. The only evidence of the mean street justice of skiing were gratuitous slow-mo shots of painful crashes on staircases. The hard stares at the camera and the waving of finger pistols so common in urban ski flicks were merely a self-delusion of bored teens who actually grew up on Vermont farms or suburban Pennsylvania cul-de-sacs and had never actually held a real handgun. But the recent gun-flashing in Skilluminati's "SKLMNTI" trailer changed everything. Now, confused teenagers everywhere can confidently set a violent and angry hip-hop soundtrack to their season edits, despite their privileged lifestyles as skiers.

This will certainly go a long way towards drawing new high schoolers to the sport, teens who would otherwise get their rebellious thrills by shoplifting Cheetos, drinking Dad's liquor under the train trusses, or just playing days of videos games. The NSAA did not comment on these exciting developments, saying only that next January's Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month would not involve a marijuana incentive program nor would they be willing to host simulations of being threatened with deadly weapons while attempting to grind a handrail.