Caroline Tison


Getting high on the mountain

At Mont Rigaud last Saturday, two young men were sitting in a car. The vehicle’s doors were open, the trunk was popped and there they were smoking pot. It was obvious. You could smell it. A few minutes later they picked up their snowboards and headed for the slopes.

This is the scene that greeted my husband, my 5-year-old son and I as we were walking to our car after a morning of skiing. They weren’t hiding under the stairs or tucked away in a dark corner of a parking lot. It was 1 p.m., on a sunny day. Their doors and trunk were wide open.

We walked past them, opened the doors to our car, which was parked right next to theirs, loaded our car with our skis and closed our doors. I turned tomy husband, looked at him in disbelief and shook my head. At this point, I am bothered that this is happening right next to my car in plain daylight.  At a small local ski hill!

Then, I turn my head to the right, see them close the doors to their car, pick up their boards and head for the hill. I can’t remember exactly what I said out loud to my husband.  I remember making an effort to filter my language as my 5-year old was sitting in the back seat, but I was fuming.

It begs the question: How safe are we while skiing? And better yet, why did I just grumble a few words of disbelief and drive home?

What should we have done?  Run after them? And then what? Tell them they should go home? Tell them it’s one thing to get high, but another to put the safety of others in jeopardy? Should we have called the police? Not sure they would have done much.

That evening we were at a dinner party and I mentioned what happened. A few people looked at me and said that it wasn’t a big deal. They used to smoke up before skiing. They used to smoke up and drive their cars.

The documentation available on the Net about marijuana use states that the marijuana available today is as much as 10 times more potent than marijuana used in the early 1970s (which is around when the “50+ year-olds” at our table were smoking up)….

It’s widely known that marijuana reduces the ability to do things which require concentration, swift reactions, and coordination. Experiments have shown that marijuana affects a wide range of skills. Thinking and reflexes are slowed. Smoking pot and skiing (or boarding) is a dangerous combination.

If I saw someone running around with a gun in their hand, I would call the police. Why is it that I simply grumbled for three minutes and drove away?


  1. It sounds like you were more upset at the fact that they were smoking next to your car while you had a 5yo with you, than you were with them smoking in general. I guarantee you that you would not have thought twice about it if it were just you two.

    Weed/pot, (whatever you want to call it) is around us, it always will be.

    Deal with it.

  2. no big deal, sure reflexes are affected maybe .05%
    you seem to be of the old school with blk and white after school special videos warning us of “crazy pot smokers” watch out they may want to take a nap or buy a bag of chips.
    imagine they where drinking=100x worse

  3. There was an interesting interview on CBC radio this morning with Ross Rabagliati.I guarantee you that he won world class snowboarding competitions under the influence. Studies have shown that an entire joint is less impairing than a glass of wine, about the equivalent of a .05 BAC. The warning label on Marinol, the legal, pure THC pill, advises patients to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until they become accustomed to the drug.

    Two experienced stoners/snowboarders sharing a joint would not be impaired. On the contrary, cannabis can also improve concentration and relaxation, or put you in “the zone.” Reaction time? How many video game high scores do you suppose have been posted by stoners? Of course, don’t try that at home kids. Cannabis, like alcohol and tobacco, is for grown ups, or at least it should be. Of far greater concern on the sloops and our highways are cold remedies, sedatives, anti-depressants and sleep deprivation.

  4. Big deal. They sell beer wine and liquor at ski hills, those consumers dont hide their consumption and they are often far more intoxicated than the marijuana users. The notion that pot is somehow “10x stronger than the stuff you smoked when you were a kid” is hyperbolic nonsense used to bolster the archaic moral hysteria which permeates this article. Keep in mind that some pot smoking snowboarders go on to win olympic gold medals.

  5. Driving while stoned can be dangerous and is against the law. The two young men could have driven away later stoned. You should call the police to discuss the incident and what your options are so next time you don’t end up grumbling. The police are there for us to address our concerns. I would guess that they would prefer to give the young men a warning or ticket rather than scrape their bodies off the pavement because of a road accident.

  6. What is the world coming to? How would you feel if you found out those two kids were involved in a deadly accident?
    Because of the ‘do nothing’ attitude, there is more and more accidents involving young lives. It always breaks my heart when I hear of a life being wasted, let alone a young one. Think of you 5 year old next time and take the license number and report it to authorities. If the authorities chose to do nothing, at least you will know you did something.

  7. By Caroline Tison

    Thanks everyone for your comments! They are all pertinent (some made me smile more than others…). I would like to add that my “after-school specials” were in color…. not b&W . LOL. The points about pot vs. alcohol is a strong one. Very true: they do sell wine and beer at the chalet…. and yes, some were heading for the slopes after their beer.

  8. What ever happened to the concept of FREEDOM?
    They were outdoors
    They didn’t hurt you
    Prohibition of pot is the same as the prohibition of alcohol.
    Something close to 15% of people smoke pot
    And when talking about teens the figure is probably closer to 45%
    Why don’t you mind your own business because if we keep making laws against every single possible minute “danger” we will in turn be abolishing the freedom to choose what we want to do with ourselves and our free time.

    So … If you don’t like pot don’t smoke it, but if you want to protect your child from everything he shouldn’t even be allowed to ski on a dangerous slippery when wet slope …
    Think about it..

  9. By Raoul P. Fox

    Caroline: You are unbelievable! Just because you have a bully pulpit you think you can spew your ignorant diatribe against pot! Guess what? You woke up after sleeping under a rock for 20 years and discovered that people smoke pot. Do you think that you are any less safe today knowing this? Have you been skiing before? Have you been hit? Didn’t think so. And you’re wrong. Much research has been done and pot does not affect the ability to function the way it has always been believed. In fact, chances are, you people taking prescrip. pain meds; anti-depressants, alcohol, cocaine,are much more likely to “zone out ” and hit someone driving or skiing than the pot smoker. Society around us smokes pot in a big way. Look at Amsterdam, Colorado and Washington and join the 21st century!

  10. Perhaps they could have saved it for the chair lift or in the trees part way down the mountain. As far as safety goes, I would not worry too much about that. Having spent 4 years living and skiing in the rockies, I can attest that this happens more than you would like to think, I may have even partaken in this myself once or twice. Some of the best skiers I have ever skied with skied high on a regular basis.

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