How to Steal a Pair of Skis or Golf Clubs

This article has two purposes: to put it out on the Internet that my Volkl Mantra 184cm skis (serial number 011154018) with Griffon bindings were stolen at Copper Mountain Resort on Friday, February 15 at 2:00pm (in case anyone does some searching before buying a used pair of skis) and to suggest ways the ski industry can help its customers prevent such thefts in the future because, let's face it, stealing skis has got to be the easiest racket in the world.

In what other sport do participants leave thousands of dollars worth of equipment out in the open, unlocked (oh yeah, I forget, golf)? Imagine if bikes were left at bike racks unlocked. How many of them would be there after a few hours? Yet, this is what skiers do every day. In very few cases do skiers lock their skis, leaving them to the whims of criminals.

How easy is it to steal a pair of skis? About as easy as anything can be. How hard is it to get caught? Virtually impossible. My guess is that a two-person team, working in a fairly small segment of ski resorts, could easily steal $20,000 worth of skis in one day.

Think about it. All any of us has to do to steal a pair of skis is walk up and take them and walk off. Assuming the thief is dressed in appropriate ski attire, nobody would think to question it. And assuming the off-chance that somebody does, or even that the owner spots the thief walking off, all the thief has to say is "my mistake, I have the same pair of skis." Unless the owner is very persistent, the thief gets away every time. If the owner tries to apprehend or physically restrain the would-be thief, it's the owner who risks ending up in jail. Stealing skis is an impossible crime to stop if you're the owner.

So how can the resorts help its customers keep their skis? Clearly, all ski racks need to have locks, just like the kind of lockers one finds in an airport, where a quarter is inserted and a key is released. Adapting ski racks to such a system would be simple and not particularly costly. Not every rack space would need to be keyed as many people have equipment that's just not worth stealing.

What else can the ski resorts do? Security cameras focused on the major ski racks would prove a significant deterrent to would-be criminals. If criminals knew their identities might be revealed as the result of a camera search, they would be much less likely to steal. Having the thieves' identity would also help policy identify them. Installing such a system is not very expensive for a business the size of a ski resort.

The way skiers casually leave their skis out in the open and the profound lack of security provided by ski resorts is an open invitation to thieves. Skiers need to demand better if they want to keep their equipment.

(Note: I'm going to update this article to include golf clubs as well. I've played golf all my life and know a bit about it)

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