As I mentioned below, I was in Steamboat Springs, CO last week for some skiing with my wife, my brother and sister-in-law, and nephew and his wife. I won't bore you with the skiing details, especially since I'm not a particularly good skier, so I have little to say on that anyway.
But what was interesting was what was going on around us. We just happened to book the very same week (or maybe it wasn't such a coincidence - we were looking for a good deal) as the 2007 Ski Summit
sponsored by the National Brotherhood of Skiers
! It was a tad surreal, but being that these are skiers we're talking about, it was nothing like it must have been to accidentally book a weekend getaway to Las Vegas during NBA All-Star weekend
. It was a bit disconcerting strolling thru the litte ski-town area and hearing loud thumping hip-hop out of the saloons instead of country and gold-chains around mens' necks in place of string ties, but no big deal.
One thing that stood out is the difference in black and whites personality types. On the gondola or shuttle rides, conversations among whites are typically stilted, formal/reserved, or annoying. When it's young white men, there's no conversation at all
beyond a few minimal communications in hushed tones and grunts ("Head'n to Storm Peak? Ummm") Which is fine with me - I find conversing to be an enormous effort. When you're with blacks, there's a steady stream of kidding, joking, and laughter throughout. There's no measuring of each word, no calculated small talk, but alot of fluid, disarming chat.
Another observation is that the women tended to be more refined - or perhaps I mean to say 'whitish' - than the men. They tended to have more prep-school accents and speak more deliberately, while the men, as gentlemenly and bourgeoise as they were, had much more down-home deliveries and more traditional African-American patois. And the blacks had much niftier ski-outfits than the whites (particularly this white). That could be explained by the group dynamics, as people in groups are likely intent on impressing each other, but I also got the feeling that looking good is part of the whole experience.
One well-known negative stereotype - that blacks are poor tippers - was confirmed. Our table of six sat next to a table of 4 'Brotherhood' couples. They had a great time from all appearances, were joking with the waitress, and one of the couples we recognized from the lift and we exchanged pleasantries. We left a $60 tip on our $300 pre-tax bill (there was some debate on whether the 20% should be applied to the whole bill or just the non-tax part). The other table left first, and as we were leaving, the waitress came up to thank us, and then mentioned that the other table "stiffed me." They left $3.00, which would amount to 1% at most. My wife vowed that if we ran into the same couple again the next day (our last day) on the slopes, she would confront them about it. I prayed to God that such an encounter would not transpire, at least in my presence, and my prayers were fulfilled.
It was a fun time, and while I would recommend researching the whereabouts of the NBA All Star Game before planning a winter-weekend getaway, no such precautions are really necessary before booking a week of skiing.