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The Frabert Award

Cold Front
posted: 08/16/2002

Next time you visit Big Mountain in Whitefish, Montana, you might want to schedule a Wednesday night visit to the rowdy Bier Stube bar-and be on the lookout for a short, hairy guy named Frabert."Frabert" is actually a stuffed monkey with a cast on one leg (courtesy of a local MD), meant to reflect his cloddish disposition. In a tradition dating back to the Hellroaring Ski Club days of 1960, Big Mountain ski patrollers dish out a weekly Frabert award to the reigning "Clod of the Day."

Last March, local cook Robert Bishop put himself in Frabert contention by snaking his way to the front of the Glacier Chaser quad lift line on the biggest powder day of the year. A skier Bishop was sharing the chair with started in on him for cutting line. The cook explained that he would only get one run since he had to work all day up at the Summit House. When the guy continued chiding, pointing out that flipping burgers didn't warrant such perks, Bishop turned to his harasser and said, "You know, you?re kind of a f-ing dick."

Turns out, said dick was Mike Collins, CEO of the resort.

A patroller who was also on the chair saw to it that Bishop fulfilled his cloddish obligation later that night by chugging a schooner of beer at the Bier Stube while holding the lovable Frabert. No word on whether burger boy will be back at his post this season. -Scott Willoughby

Slope RageIt had started as just another February powder day for Vail local Skip Moss. After a morning in the back bowls, Moss was heading out-of-bounds to ski the East Vail Chutes when he ran into a group of snowboarders. He suggested to them that they might not have adequate gear for the backcountry.

An argument erupted, and the snowboarders began pummeling the skier. One of them even took Moss's own pole and used it against him. "I couldn't believe it," said Moss. "I had five guys on me, kicking me in the head."

The incident caught the attention of the mainstream media, including The New York Times, and served as a reminder of an earlier era-when clashes between skiers and snowboarders were commonplace. "It really disturbs me," said Vail local and professional snowboarder Chris Albers, upon hearing of the assault. "I thought we were over this type of stuff. Punks like that perpetuate the idea that everyone who rides a snowboard is an asshole." However, others familiar with Moss say the incident may have had less to do with bad blood between skiers and snowboarders than with the victim's temper. "He can get wound up pretty easily," said a local who has had barroom confrontations with Moss. "The snowboarders definitely went too far, but I'll bet Moss helped bring it on."-Tom Winter

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