Guide for snowboarders

A while back, I wrote a "tongue in cheek" reference comparing snowboarders to drivers with cell phones. I got some negative feedback, including from my good friend Nick (reader #5 out of 20 total readers).

On further reflection, I think that I may have been a bit unfair. Most snowboarders aren't bad people, they are just a bit misguided. So, I thought I'd try to improve the situation by giving some advice to those of you who prefer a single plank for your snow-riding activities:

  1. At most ski areas - with the possible exception of the Cascades during the winter of 2004-2005 - loose snow accumulates on the slopes. Unfortunately, it tends to accumulate more on the upper slopes than on the lower slopes, leading to a distinct snow deficit lower on the mountain. Do your best to scrape any loose snow off the upper slopes towards the lower slopes by sliding sideways down the slopes. This will make the mountain experience better for everyone.

  2. You don't get better by staying within your limits. You paid full price for your lift ticket (well, you might have paid $10 to that guy in the parking lot), so you deserve to use the whole mountain. Even if you have to slide sideways for 1200 vertical feet.

  3. You're good enough that you don't need to know what's behind you.

  4. Most ski areas have an ongoing peek-a-boo contest. To get the most points, find a slight rise on a busy slope, go just beyond the edge, and sit down. Say "peek-a-boo" as skiers appear at the top of the rise. Double your points by getting your friends to play along.

  5. Lift maze barriers are there for your comfort and convenience. If the line is slow, sit on the barrier.

  6. The skiers in your party are more tired than they let on. Take extra time to hook up to your bindings so that they have a chance to get a nice long rest.

  7. Congregate with other boarders wherever it's convenient. I suggest the top of the lift, right after it unloads, or at the entrance to the lift maze, but I'm sure you can come up with your own ideas.

  8. Come up with your own idea.


Comments (9)

  1. Matt Hope says:

    number 3 is very, very wrong.

    You *should* try to know what is happening around you.

    you should *always* check uphill before entering a piste after stopping (I think you should do this before stopping too)

    Your primary focus should be on what is below you (to your side) since it is the person uphills responsibility to take into account people below them (and this includes them making sudden direction changes!)

    I admit people on slopes way to hard for them are idiotic but nonetheless if you are going faster down the slope (and decent skiers will likely go much faster than decent boarders) then *you* should keep out of their way.

    The number of skiers who scream past me at high speed so close that I am forced to break* is unreal. Perhaps in the USA/Canada they are more polite – we’ll have to see (Banff in Feb, yey!)

    * I am aware of my limitations and therefore slow down if I know I cannot avoid hitting someone if they stop/fall over

  2. David Hayes says:

    I think that a certain percentage of boarders and skiers are idiots (I’ve been a skier, I only board now). For some reason the idiots from the other camp seem to stick out more. Personally I try to head to the mountains at quieter times and keep off the piste/slope as much as is practical given the conditions

  3. Man, I’m going to have to come out there and board again with you just to remind you that we are not all that bad (*hint hint* email me privately if you have a date/time in mind).

    I’d like to address some of your points:

    1) This is referred to as "plowing" and it’s not exactly looked on favorably by experienced boarders either.

    2) There are more than enough skiiers that make HUGE carves (I don’t know what it is in ski lingo, but it is a huge "S" on the side of the mountain).

    3) As stated before, while you should ALWAYS try to be aware of everything around you, the person in front of you has the right-of-way. Thats the rule on any mountain.

    4) That’s just moronic. I’d be inclined to "plow" over those people. If you congregate, you do it on the rise, on the sides.

    5) Again, idiotic, I’ve never boarded out-of-bounds.

    6) They do make click-in bindings, but those are generally for rentals. Strap-ons are the better piece of equipment, and it just takes longer.

    7) Feel free to roll right on over them. I try to stay off to the side. Personally, the idea of four to six people coming at me and running over me with skis is not pleasurable.

    8) Stop to shoot video whenever possible. =)

  4. Joakim Hallberg says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more Eric.

    I would say that you are kind of incorrect on #3. The person in front of you has the right of way. But it would be nice to give some kind of indication that you are about to stop or keep the rhytm you are in.

  5. Wife, PhC says:

    Common discussion in the post ski drive to the cabin…how many boarding kids barely missed hitting the offspring today?

    It is becoming abundantly clear to me that at some "magical" age snowboarders become fun to share the slopes with, however, the youngsters do their best to ensure that the "bad boy" image remains.

    Point 3: clarification…I think he is speaking about the boarders who as they board downhill are facing uphill and have not developed the skill of looking over their shoulder at the people below them on the mountain…nearly all of the offspring collisions have been due to this lack of skill.

    On the plus side…It is great fun to watch the trick jumping…last week was my first live experience of seeing someone do what in diver’s terms is called a full gainer and land it with only a loud grunt…Awesome!!

  6. JConwell says:

    Man Eric, I’m a snowboarder and I’m with you on this. I cant stand MOST snowboarders. My number one complaint with them is they seem to think since their turned to one direction (goofy or regular), they never have to look behind them (to the other side of the board). I’ve seen more people get wasted by a boarder flying down the mountain doing a heelside turn right into someone who is going slower then them.

    As far as number 6 goes, Flow bindings are way more solid than strapons and it takes about one second to get in. Go Flow!

  7. woodbeeprogrammer says:

    Hey Nick’s comment wasnt negative– he just cautions to Remove him from the the List Snowboarders before posting. :p

  8. AlfredTh says:

    I used to feel the same way. I was a life long skiier and snowboarders really got me upset. But what happened is that my knees have gotten old and they will not take the side to side stresses of skiing any more. So it was find something else or stay off the hill. I took up snowboarding. I still miss skiing but I am really enjoying snowboarding. In general I find now that skiiers are as big of a pain in the neck as I ever found snowboarders. There is room on the hill for both.

  9. Eran Kampf says:

    I agree with Alfred.

    Skiiers ARE a pain in the neck 🙂

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