Wild animals seem to be on a mission to reclaim ski slopes in Wyoming and elsewhere around the world.
Earlier this week at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, a young bull moose went galloping down the slopes among skiers and snowboarders, coming too close for comfort to people a couple of times.
And in Japan, a belligerent wild boar got downright rough with some snowboarders.
A skier who took video of the galloping moose at Jackson Hole can be heard yelling at others to “go faster” to avoid getting trampled.
For his part, the moose didn’t appear to be trying to charge any particular person, but instead just seemed hell-bent on getting down the slope and away from the stunned skiers.
The moose-capade happened just a few days after a black bear was spotted careening across the ski slopes at Jackson Hole.
The bear didn’t go after anybody or cause any trouble, and was probably just out for a brief foray before heading back into hibernation, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Nothing To Trifle With
In the moose video, the young bull looks highly agitated, with his ears pinned back and he thunders down the slope.
Reading the body language of moose is important, because they’re nothing to trifle with, professional wildlife photographer and tour guide Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven told Cowboy State Daily.
He spends considerable time around moose in the Jackson-Teton area, and has captured some stunning images of the massive beasts, which are the largest members of the deer family.
“Moose are definitely at the top of my list, together with grizzlies, for wildlife needing to be extra cautious around,” he said. “Most of the moose in Jackson Hole grow up fairly used to seeing people, but that doesn't mean they are not to be treated with the proper respect.
“When I'm out photographing moose, I'm constantly paying attention to their body language to see if they are OK with my presence, and just in case I try to stay close to a tree to hide behind.”
And even on skis, a person might have trouble out-pacing a moose. Despite their gangly appearance, moose are quick and agile.
“A moose can run fast, even in deep snow,” Vangoidtsenhoven said.
Bully Boar, Mean Bears In Japan
While the Jackson Hole moose might have just been looking for a good escape route, a boar recently caught on video on a Japanese ski slope seemed outright resentful toward humans.
In the video, the boar can be seen running toward a group of snowboarders. The boar comes up behind one person, knocks him down, and then head-butts the snowboard. Then it takes off after another snowboarder, knocking him over too, before belligerently trotting away.
Wyomingites might consider that while wildlife here can be dangerous and is deserving of respect, Japan’s critters might just be meaner.
Japan has brown bears similar to Wyoming grizzlies, and Asiatic black bears similar to black bears here.
There has been a surge in bear attacks in Japan. Between April and November 2023, Japan’s Environment Ministry recorded 193 bear attacks on people. Those attacks involved 212 victims, six of whom were killed.
As for the moose in the Wyoming video, it probably took off running because it felt “pressured” by so many people nearby, Game and Fish Jackson region spokesman William Poole told Cowboy State Daily.
“It is not uncommon for moose to use groomed ski and snowboard trails because the trails make it easier for moose to move through snowy areas. Moose typically are non-aggressive but can be startled and become defensive when people move into their space. In this case, the moose is being pressured by skiers and snowboarders,” he said.
Mark Heinz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.