It’s rare that I get to use my real-life expertise at this job, or am actually qualified to write the things I think, but today is the day a decade of arrested development as a snowboard bum pays off. I’m here to tell you why both Gwyneth Paltrow and the other gaper* on the slopes of Deer Valley in 2016 are at fault for a ski crash that’s led to a much-publicized trial.
If you haven’t been following the story, Paltrow is being sued for damages as a result of a collision with retired optometrist Terry Sanderson. She countersued, yada, yada, yada, it’s a popular story and tied to sports enough to write about.
It seems like the crux of the case centers around who was uphill when the crash occurred, or in layman’s terms, who had the right of way. The skier/snowboarder in front of you always has the right of way because they can’t see you. It’s common courtesy because goggles don’t come with rearview mirrors (yet), and assholes like these two aren’t good/confident enough to check their blind spots.
My guess is Gwyneth and Terry were both taking up the entire run, making boundary-to-boundary turns like a couple of geriatrics testing out their new shaped skis and had an awkward foray into each other after a bunch of sporadic speed changes. That was originally just a throw-away barb, but the little reenactment graphic shared in court showed the two of them on the edge of the run.
Good lord, neither should be allowed on skis, (and I’m a couple more ski articles away from being flown to Utah as an expert).
Given that these two were skiing at Deer Valley, the status of the clientele who go there, and Paltrow’s bank account, it’s safe to presume they had better gear than my previous joke implied, but it’s also safe to say that they’re a couple of jerrys** because the only kind of skier-on-skier violence that happens on green runs is jerry-on-jerry violence.
Gwyneth alleges Terry skied right into her “effing back,” and Terry claims Gwyneth didn’t stick around to make sure he was OK. The actress says she left because she thought the accident was relatively minor. It might’ve been if homedude was on the Goop lifestyle program, but he’s not, and his calcium levels weren’t enough to keep his ribs from getting broken.
I’m just glad it happened at a skier-only resort so we can do away with the “snowboarders are unsafe” myth. You know what’s not safe? Mountains full of people who don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, and judging by the incident and the fact that they were on a run named “Bandana,” Sanderson and Paltrow don’t strike me at the type who are getting their 100-day pins***.
Sorry if that reference was hyper-specific, but I’ve been catching up on a lot of John Oliver lately and his cadence is in my head. (Hey, it’s better than writing to the beat of the fucking Burger King jingle.)
Back to the optometrist and the influencer. Etiquette and human decency dictate that you should wait around to see if someone is OK regardless of who hit who. Paltrow may not be at fault, but she’s still a fucking asshole.
Paltrow can show up to trial looking like an Amish Grim Reaper to display her seriousness, but in the court of mountain-town opinion, nobody wants to be anywhere near these two in a lift line, on a beginner run, or during aprés. Go order a big vat of vegan fondue and post some selfies from the lodge. You’re a damn liability and the reason I waited until adult swim**** to get in the pool.
* A gaper is slang for a shitty skier.
** Jerry is another word for gaper.
*** The 100-day pin is something you get when you reach 100 days on the slopes in a single season.
**** “Adult swim” is a term I just made up for snowboarding during non-busy times.