Tuesday, 24 November 2015, 4:06 pm

Theft a common problem at ski resorts

A snowboard locked up with a Ski Key at Glen Eden. PHOTO BY JAMES HERBERTBy JAMES HERBERT
Staff Writer
Picture this: You’ve just purchased a brand new snowboard, complete with matching bindings. The entire setup cost you about $800 but you know it will be worth it. You do a few runs, the best runs you’ve ever had and head to the chalet for some food. When you return for your board, it’s disappeared. You frantically search around the rack you know you placed it on, but ultimately come to the devastating conclusion: someone has stolen your board.
This scenario is becoming all too familiar at ski resorts these days.
Jeff Ball, an employee at Ski Pro Shop in St. Catharines, says he’s heard too many tales of people losing their equipment to thieves.
“We had a customer one time who bought a brand new setup. He got a K2 board and fantastic bindings and went to Chicopee in Kitchener to test it out before going to the bigger hills,” he says. “He bought a lock too but forgot it in his car, so he left his board out to go get the lock and it was gone when he came back.”
“Another customer bought a lock from us, but when he used it on his stuff, he couldn’t unlock it. So he went into the resort he was at and asked for a pair of cutters to get it open and they just gave him bolt cutters without checking ID or anything,” says Bell. “He could’ve been a thief and used the cutters to steal a locked board, but, thankfully, he just needed them for his own board.”
The worst part about snowboards or skis being stolen is that there is virtually nothing anyone can do to get them back. All a person can do is file a report with the resort, inform the police and hope for the best, but the skis or snowboards are rarely recovered.
Bell says it’s pretty much impossible to spot thieves. “You see a dude walking around the resort in a snowboarding outfit, you don’t know if he’s a thief. If you see him walking to the parking lot with a board, you don’t know if it’s his or if he stole it.”
“It’s not always on purpose either,” says Bell. “Sometimes when you get a couple schools at a resort together, people have similar looking skis and they take the wrong pair thinking it’s theirs.”
So what can skiers and snowboarders do to keep their equipment safe?
“Buy a lock,” says Bell. “That’s your best bet. Locks are inexpensive compared to a $600 snowboard. Or if you’re skiing with a friend, put one of your skis and one of his skis together, and the other two skis together on a different rack. Of course, the reverse side of that is if one mismatched pair is grabbed, both of you lose skis, so it’s not the best idea.”
Madison Garratt, a student at Niagara College, says a lock is a good idea. “And sometimes people just grab your stuff by mistake, so putting a name on it is sometimes a good idea too.”
“Ski Keys are compatible at almost every resort across Canada and the states, and cost only $20, a fraction of the equipment cost,” says Chris Holvey, a broadcasting student at Niagara. “Also, taking pictures of the equipment and their serial codes will give the police something to base their search off of.”
Holvey says it’s easy to just go inside leaving equipment unattended, and recommends having a friend watch the snowboards and skis. “Buy his food for him while you’re inside or taking a washroom break or whatever,” he says.

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