New smoking bans at the Remarkables, NZ, mean some skiers will just have to suck it up.
If you smoke and ski or snowboard then take nicotine patches to the Remarkables ski area in New Zealand this winter. The ski resort is the first in the southern hemisphere to go "smoke-free", starting this season.
There now are officially no designated smoking areas at the Remarkables, which means no smoking on the deck of the day lodge, at the bar, in the lift queues or on the slopes. It is a bold initiative from NZ Ski, which also owns Coronet Peak and Mount Hutt.
All three NZ Ski areas have placed a no-smoking initiative on employees effective this season, which means no smoking for staff on the mountain anywhere at any time. Not an easy task for seasonal staff from some countries where smoking is taught with the ABCs.
The New Zealand government is aiming for the country to be smoke-free by 2025 (clearly not wanting the Chinese tourist dollar). They will not be the only ones clapping their nicotine-stain-free hands at the Remarkables initiative. There's nothing worse than sitting next to someone smoking on a chairlift or in a gondola with someone who reeks of smoke, right?
But the truth is many skiers and boarders only ski or board for one week a year and are far from Everest-climbing fitness.
Some of the most hardcore roll-your-own smokers I have met in the ski world are actually mountain guides, heli-ski guides and diehard resort ski patrollers. I have put headphones on in a helicopter that reeked of marijuana and been in a gondola dubbed ganja-la when a complete stranger lit up a joint. Smoking happens, and while the majority of mountain lovers are advocates for cleaner air and sustainable living, others prefer the party line, literally.
Some North American resorts have already thrown down the Bic lighter gauntlet. Pico Mountain in Vermont in the US became the state's first smoke-free resort in 2011, rewarding reformed smokers with a free day-lift ticket or one-day learn-to-ski or ride package if they completed a quit smoking program at a public hospital in Vermont.
The mountain resort town of Banff in Alberta, Canada, home to Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Banff Norquay ski resorts, passed a by-law in 2005 for no smoking in public buildings, workplaces, public transportation, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotel lobbies and buses.
While the Remarkables has no plans - at the moment - of fining those who break the smoke-free initiative, hoping that guests will comply out of respect, it may only be a matter of time. It is nigh on impossible to stop a smoker finding somewhere to puff when the addiction takes hold, and monetary or lift-pass infliction may be the only way to ensure they retreat to their car to inhale.
Prepare for a barrage of nanny-state complaints from smokers who claim discrimination.
I, for one, don't smoke and welcome the initiative for my own health, but it would be a different story if they placed a ban on chocolate consumption or a weight limit on chairlifts. Then I'd be screaming from the top of my smoke-free lungs.
Do you think ski areas should be non smoking across the mountain? Post a comment on the blog below and join the debate.
We are back for season 2013 with another year of Instagram hashtags. Simply tag your instagram #misssnowitall and share the snow love. We'll publish our six favourites each week right here and our guest judge will choose a winner that will go into the final gallery at the end of the season when you get to choose the winner. There will be weekly prizes and an overall winner's prize too. So get instagramming and check back next week to see if you've made it on the blog.
BRING BACK THE DREAM
The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014 are set to be Australia's best yet. We had our most successful northern competition season in history with 25 medals won by fourteen athletes at World Cup and World Championship level.
Network TEN have secured the free to air, subscription, mobile and internet rights to broadcast the games and we say bring back Roy & HG. Who can forget the boys in Salt Lake City in 2002 and the gold medalist interviews with Steve Bradbury and Russia's Alexai Yaguden, the campaign for Smiggin Holes for the 2010 Olympics with KFC in Cooma for athlete catering?
Join our Olympians and local snow identities in the video below and like our facebook Bring Back The Dream page and let's get the Sochi party started.