writer, photographer

The Inertia

Ski culture can be far out, but I’ve yet to witness anything as radical as the current talk of the slopes involving one bone-broth-drinking white woman, one retired optometrist, one low-speed collision that occurred on a bunny slope almost a decade ago, and one $300,000 lawsuit for the accident in question: also known as the ski trial of Gwyneth Paltrow. Or, a true Jerry-of-the-Day moment that played out in real time. 

Almost every aspect of this situation is humorous: the two skiers in question both come across as fame-obsessed, middle-to-old-aged individuals (never a promising combo) shredding the Park City bunny slopes when the now media-magnetized incident occurred. How any sort of $300,000 lawsuit could come out of any sort of altercation on a bunny slope is reason enough for comedy. Hey, no one said you need to get your adrenaline fix while actually on the mountain, right? 

To debrief, Gwyneth Paltrow was sued for the incident for $300,000 by Terry Sanderson. The New York Times reported that the “retired optometrist accused the actress of skiing ‘out of control’ during a run at the Deer Valley Resort. He testified that Ms. Paltrow crashed into his back, leaving him with four broken ribs and a traumatic brain injury that has made him a ‘self-imposed recluse.’” Frankly, anyone who gets four broken ribs, from Gwyneth Paltrow or not, on a bunny slope has every right to hide from the public for a while. 


While what actually happened on the mountain remains unclear (with plenty of creative drawings and animated simulations attempting to figure it out). What is clear is that the courtroom is chock-full of drama. The media has been eating it up: high-caliber publications Rolling Stone and The New York Times both put out commentary on the trial, making note of Gwyneth’s inability to be cancelled and her interesting wardrobe choices, respectively. (Gwyneth apparently wore her own Goop designs to court, never one to miss a marketing opportunity even in the worst of times!) 

And Gwyneth’s outfits, which ranged from drab-colored cardigans to Celine tote bags to full-length skirts, gave off a strange “how do you do, fellow skiers?” vibe that was, at best, a bit weird, and at worst, missing the mark completely. 

But perhaps even better was the peanut gallery’s reaction to the ever-ongoing news phenomenon. Gwyneth Paltrow is no stranger to internet memes. This trial, however, has only accelerated that trend. Comments from internet trolls were all time: the “gwyneth paltrow trial is a true crime yassified for gay men,” wrote one and “it looks like all of them farted and are blaming it on someone else,” from another. One thing is for sure: the whole situation was pretty absurd!

The trial concluded Friday with Gwyneth winning, and being awarded her symbolic, singular dollar (which she indeed wanted!), it looks like we’re back to checking the famous Instagram account Jerry of the Day for our fix of skiing memes. 

Court employees are probably bummed the trial is over: Gwyneth offered tasty treats to the Utah courtroom security guards (which the judge rejected with a “thank you, but no thank you”… I guess he hasn’t been tuned on to Gwyneth’s latest health crazes!) and the jury has definitely had quite a long and titillating experience. 

Gwyneth’s genuine I-don’t-give-a-F attitude will probably be missed, as she stated, in true ski-bum fashion, when answering the question regarding the losses she suffered from the crash: “I lost a half day of skiing.” Lift tickets are expensive, even for those who wear head-to-toe Prada to trial. Total bummer, dude!

Park City, on the other hand, is probably stoked to have seen the last of celebrities and their wild drama on the slopes for awhile. Let’s hope everyone who was involved had their passes pulled and tries a little harder to stay aware of their surroundings next time!


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