Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Wolf Creek ski area in Pagosa Springs, Colorado opened this weekend. One of the first ski areas (and THE first in Colorado) in the United States to open this season. Ski and snowboard season has begun, folks.

If you ski or ride, we assume you've heard the term 'gaper.' If you don't ski or ride, we think it's safe to assume you've heard of the Urban Dictionary. According to Urban Dictionary, a gaper is a skier or snowboarder who is completely clueless. They are usually distinguished by their clothing and their oh-so-noticeable "gaper gap" - a gap between the goggles and the helmet (or worse, they're not even wearing a helmet). Urban Dictionary states, "[gapers] will sit on their ass for a good 5-10 minutes talking about what they're going to do off that "jump" or "rail" while everyone behind them goes before them and they stare with their mouth gaped open." Gapers go up lifts that only access black runs but look like fools trying to get down them. Basically, gapers are posers. They *kind of* have the right outfit on the mountain and talk like they can ski/ride but they pretty much suck at it.  So, they just sit in the snow and talk in skier/rider lingo and annoy all the people who are actually there to fine tune their turns.

Gapers think they're cool, but to the people who are actually know how to ski/ride, they suck. They spend thousands of dollars on passes and gear to just sit around and make the rest of us look bad. Gapers are just there for the image - and for the beer drinking that follows their difficult day of skiing/riding - I mean gaping.

Yesterday I was at the grocery store and saw a group of five or six fraternity men outside collecting food for a campus food drive. I don't know what the other unpresuming grocery patrons were thinking, but I was thinking, "blech" and curling my lip and rolling my eyes while thinking it.

What?! You're surprised! You thought I loved fraternities and sororities! Well, I do.

I might love fraternities and sororities, but here's what I hate: Gaper Greeks.

These men were wearing the perfect outfit: clean sweatshirts with letters, well tailored jeans, preppy-but-but-not-too-preppy running shoes, and they were all standing next to their new and freshly washed typical Colorado extended cab pickup truck. Plus, the chapter clearly chose their perfect match of handsome-but-not-too-sexy group of men to represent them at the grocery store. Don't they look like nice young men collecting food for the food bank?

Sure they do, but I knew they were #GaperGreeks so they made me gag. This is the same chapter that is constantly getting busted for drugs and alcohol at events in their chapter house. Oh, wait, their "chapter house" isn't even an actual house - it's basically two third-world-looking run down shacks next door to each other. There are three foot weeds in the yard and - literally - there are boarded up windows. Yes, these clean cut classy men *live* here and ladies enjoy going to their parties. Rumors of sex assault swarm and let's just say, if I wanted to buy an eight ball I think this would be a good place to look. Oh, and did I mention, they're not even recognized by IFC due to their repetitive bad behavior.

Yuck, #GaperGreeks.

Gaper Greeks are all talk, they sit around and talk about fraternity and *think* they know what that means and feels like. They don't. They're not there to actually fine tune their leadership skills and practice their fraternal values - they're only there for the beer drinking.

While these #GaperGreeks were  flaunting their Greek at the grocery store, a man from another chapter (of non-GaperGreeks) humbly came to my door with a grocery bag to collect food for the same drive. He introduced himself, told me about his fraternity, and asked if I would donate food. Get this, he left the bag with me and said he would pick it up the next day if I left it on my doorstep. Um, these guys were actually doing work - and they chose to do the same task without parading themselves around. They just wanted to collect food and were seemingly uninterested in promoting their chapter in some inauthentic way. This guy wasn't even wearing letters.

The problem with gapers - of any kind - is that the majority of the population thinks they fit into our non-gaper group. They say things like "Ugh, I hate snowboarders because they just sit on the hill and get in the way of the skiers." Um, not true! If you actually know a snowboarder - who's not a gaper - you know they can rock the back bowls and the T-bar lifts as well as any good skier can. It's the gapers who are on the front side just planting their asses under the lift - and the rest of us don't like being associated with them.

The same goes for fraternity/sorority members: many people think all fraternity/sorority members are huge partiers. We're poor students and don't enhance our college/university whatsoever. Not true, those are the #GaperGreeks you're talking about. Like the gapers on the mountain who stand out because of their bright-colored clothing and the fact they're always in your way, #GaperGreeks, steal the spotlight with their substance abuse and hazing. You don't see the non-gapers on the mountain because we're in the back bowls - away from the crowds and not calling attention to ourselves. We actually want to spend our day skiing/riding. Similarly, the non-gaper Greeks continue to plug away with community service, building relationships, developing leaders, and succeeding in school.

The problem is, gapers do actually fool people. But, the only people they're fooling are the tourists and the novices - those people who only get out to ski/ride a few times a year. Unfortunately, this is about 90% of the people on the hill. Same with #GaperGreeks - you might be fooling lots of people, but you're not fooling those of us who matter - the ones who are members of a fraternity/sorority for the values.

We're onto you, #GaperGreeks. We can spot you from a mile away. And, while you might be feeling proud and smug about fooling 90% of the people who came to the grocery store that day into thinking your fraternity is a group of classy guys who does philanthropy, you'd be arrogant to forget about the 10% of people who saw for what you really are: a #GaperGreek.

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