Friday in a ski lift line at Vail, a 26-year-old Vail skier was arrested for making what he referred to as a”just joking” comment about facemasks and guns. He was arrested for menacing and then charged with disorderly conduct. The skier was at the Golden Peak chairlift and two lift ticket scanner employees reported the comment.
According to the Saturday Vail Police Department Incident Sheet, the arrest occurred as a result of what the skier called “a joke” being told to two lift ticket scanners at Golden Peak. When one of the ticket scanning employees asked a skier in the line to put on his facemask, the skier replied that it would be a felony if he put his mask on because he always carries his gun.
According to the Vail Daily, before police arrived, a Vail Resorts security officer interviewed the man, about what he called “a joke”. The man was verified as a fellow Vail Resorts worker at nearby Beaver Creek. The security officer described the joke as a threat and notified the Vail Police.
“You know it’s not funny to make a threat like that to other employees?” the security officer asked the man, according to the incident sheet.
The mess caused by police having to investigate the potential of him carrying the firearm was enough to result in an arrest. “Obviously offensive utterance, stating he had a gun, within earshot of multiple Vail Resorts guests and employees, in a public place … would tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace, i.e. possibly causing the public to panic,” read the report.
Not wearing a facemask in Colorado, which is mandated by executive order, is a misdemeanor. The topic of guns in the West is always a loaded topic (pun intended), but this is not the year or the season to make menacing jokes involving either facemasks or guns.
Making comments about guns in packed ski lift lines isn’t any more cool, than making jokes about guns in schools or movie theaters. No guns were found on the skier-Vail Resorts employee, but Vail Police responded with two squad cars, as if there was an armed party at the lift.
“When I arrived on scene, I deployed my long gun and held it in a low ready position while walking to Chair Six,” officer Angela Sommer said in her report.
“Believing there to be an armed suspect in the area, Officer Deering unlocked and deployed his patrol rifle and I un-holstered my service handgun,” officer Dan Wylie reported.
The unidentified man was issued a summons for disorderly conduct, received a court date and was released. He reiterated “I was just joking, I know it’s not a joking or laughing matter.“