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Reader: If Eskimo Was Bad, Will Explorer Be Offensive One Day, Too?

Winter Park before high-speed lifts, including the Eskimo.
Winter Park before high-speed lifts, including the Eskimo.
Winter Park Resort
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When Winter Park Resort opened for the season, it opened without the Eskimo Express.

The high-speed chairlift is still there, but it's been renamed: It's now the Explorer. In 2019, resort managers examined the names of trails and lifts, and determined that "Eskimo" was a “derogatory and offensive term that connoted barbarism and violence,” explains Jen Miller, communications manager at Winter Park. "The name 'Explorer' more accurately represents our resort, our brand, our team and our guests.”

But a name change doesn't end the discussion, as evidenced by comments on the Westword Facebook post of the Eskimo name-change story. Says Christopher: 

Man, imagine getting your panties in a twist because a ski lift got a new name. People be sensitive.

Explains Richard: 

The decision to change the name was corporate. They used PCness as an excuse. I don’t recall any protests over the former name. Cancel culture is just change. Culture changes. Get over it.

Responds Ernie:

The cancel culture is hilarious.

Replies Saran: 

Would you ever prefer someone calling you white trash? Eskimo is a derogatory term.

Adds Cassandra: 

It’s not “cancel culture” to reconsider language. Not too long ago, the “N” word was commonly used as a descriptor for Black. Why doesn’t it matter to you that the people being called Eskimos find the word offensive and hurtful?

Counters Rick:

Snowflakes took offense... got to give in so they don't throw a temper fit and destroy shit. Daddy should have spanked that ass instead of timeouts.

Concludes Matthew:

I’d make the bet someone will eventually think “Explorer” is offensive, and somehow link the term to colonialism or slavery.

The original Eskimo lift, installed between 1961 and 1963, was named after the Eskimo Ski Club, a kids' skiing group that started in 1940, the same year the City of Denver opened the Winter Park Ski Area. But the club shut down a couple of years ago, when it lost its gathering place at the base.

Do you remember the Eskimo Ski Club? What do you think of the new lift name? Post a comment or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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