Why Skiers Hate Snowboarders

vampires-vs-werewolvesI have been trying to understand this for a long time. Many of my closest friends are skiers and they make no apology for their vocal hatred of snowboarding and snowboarders. I believe that their reasons are based on “old school” ski culture (resisting change) and various unfounded beliefs about snowboarding (that were created to defend their unpleasant position).

Background: I skied for 20 years before switching to snowboarding. I LOVE skiing, but after trying snowboarding for a few days I switched to snowboarding simply because it felt “right” to me. I honestly don’t feel any idealogical or cultural identity with snowboarding, I just like the sport.

FACT: Skiing is faster than snowboarding. This is simple physics and imo accounts for a most of the problems on the mountain between skiers and snowboarders, as well as the higher death and injury rates of skiers over snowboarders.

FACT: Skiers are 3X more likely to be involved in a collision with other people than snowboarders. https://www.nsaa.org/media/68045…

~FACT: “Snowboarders don’t appear to be making the slopes less safe for their skiing peers … A study presented at the Ninth International Symposium on Skiing Trauma and Safety i… 7.7% of all ski injuries are the result of skiers running into skiers, while only 2.6% of snowboard accidents are caused this way.”

FACT: Snowboarding is safer. Skiing deaths and injury accidents occur at a significantly higher rate than snowboarding (taking # of skiers/snowboarders into account)  https://www.nsaa.org/media/68045…

Common Skier Myths on Snowboarding:

1. “Snowboarders are rude, dangerous, and cut me off more than skiers!”

When I switched to snowboarding, I noticed that 99% of my near collisions & altercations were with skiers. Most of these were due to skiers passing me very closely and far too quickly, and spraying me with snow, and then taking my line (as they shot away down the mountain). My skier friends tell me that they have the EXACTLY OPPOSITE experience (i.e. most of their altercations happen with snowboarders). So, I have concluded:

a. Aggressive/fast skiers and snowboarders alike, show off & taunt their counterparts (e.g. skiers taunt snowboarders, and snowboarders taunt skiers) because of the known cultural animosity. This is mainly done by passing closely at high speed (and noise) levels, often with snow spray.

b. Skiers LOVE to pass snowboarders due to their clear speed advantage and tighter line. They just can’t resist the urge to show off their speed. 😉 Snowboarders probably do the same thing to skiers, but it happens less often (statistically) due to the skier speed advantage.

c. Skiers and snowboarders have different “lines” and movement patterns which lead to more collisions. I hear this a lot and its true, but honestly, I think that its only a problem for beginner skiers and snowboarders. I have no problem managing skiers in front of me or in my line, mainly because they are moving faster.

d. The average age difference between skiers and snowboarders is a primary factor in the cultural tension (mostly coming from the skiers who feel their storied traditions have been ruined by snowboarding). The fashion statement (slacker, sloppy, rebels, skulls) and showboat style of snowboarders riles old school skiers who don’t want to share “their” mountain with these new kids who don’t appreciate the history and blah, blah of skiing. 🙂 So, I believe this has less to do with the equipment and mechanics of the sport, and almost entirely due to age differences and resistance to change that old school skiers exhibit. In general, younger skiers AND snowboarders alike are generally less courteous, faster, and wilder than adults, but that’s not limited to the slopes.

2. “Snowboarders blow all the good snow and powder off the mountain”

I firmly believe that this is a myth created by old school skiers that just don’t like sharing the mountain with snowboarders “renegades.” 🙂 If it were true, we would see large mounds of wonderful snow blown by the snowboarders off the sides of the trails… but we don’t. Also, consider that skiers have two edges with strong pressure on tighter lines and probably move as much snow (possibly more!) as the snowboarder. Lastly, even if snowboards do move more snow (doubtful!), keep in mind that the snow is moved randomly across the run and MOST snow moves down due to gravity. I am open to scientific evidence that snowboarders “blow more snow off the runs”, but need more hard evidence. I believe that the myth is rooted on the observation that snowboards are wider than skis and “look” like they might blow more snow.


I have skied for 20 years and then snowboarded for 15 years. I never hear snowboarders saying the ugly things about skiers that skiers say about snowboarders. This is a classic case of old school resistance to change– they feel that “their” sport and their mountain is being ruined by interloper upstarts (yawn) who don’t appreciate the fine tradition of skiing. And so it goes that they need to create myths to defend and justify their position (since its based on myth and false stereotypes).

We can all share and enjoy the mountain together by using simple, common sense safety, friendly politeness, and forgiveness when people make mistakes (which happens frequently on the mountain). So, when skiers race by me at twice my speed within hands reach blowing snow on me and scaring the daylight out of me, I just try to chuckle, let them have their fun, and remember where I am.


Andy Goldsworthy Copy #1

My Andy Goldsworthy rip-off (#2)

During our Thanksgiving holiday in Annapolis I reveled in the fall colors and decided to make my first Andy Goldsworthy copy. This was done in my sister’s front yard in Annapolis. I wished I had made it larger and cleared the brown leaves away. I was taking a lot of abuse from the family so I rushed it. I now know that these projects need to go slow and allow the artist to soak in the surroundings. It was a great experiences-besides the constant abuse from family members–and I look forward to doing more copies. I have ideas for making these more my own in future projects.

Here’s a few other angles:
My Andy Goldsworthy rip-off
My Andy Goldsworthy rip-off
My Andy Goldsworthy rip-off

btw: Andy Goldsworthy is an amazing artist living in the UK. He’s been doing these types of pieces for a long time (and I just found him recently!). You can see his stuff at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Goldsworthy and here are some of his best pieces imo:

I enjoy the freedom of just using my hands and `found’ tools – a sharp stone, the quill of a feather, thorns. I take the opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches. I stop at a place or pick up a material because I feel that there is something to be discovered. Here is where I can learn.” Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

New movie: What Would Jesus Buy?

This movie opens November 16th 2007 and looks like genius. The trailer and various videos on YouTube are hysterical. These folks have found a way to deliver an important and unpopular message to many audiences. I love the “Retail Interventions” where Rev Billy and choir go to stores and exorcise the shopping demons from the cash registers! And, it’s hilarious to see Rev Billy get arrested in NYC for reciting the First Amendment.

They make a very good point about the foolishness and contradictions implied by Americans addiction to shopping and consumerism. We have a incubated a cultural cancer in America and are now spreading it to the rest of the world. As Borat would say: “Very nice.”

The parody of using evangelical christianity to spread the word is pure genius. They found a way to reach out to an audience that the progressives rarely target–granted it is a bit sarcastic, but maybe some will miss this or get a kick out of it–and at the same time put religion and religious people on trial for the obvious hypocrisy of not speaking out against bad family values (i.e. out of control consumerism).

[While I’m on the rant, why on earth have the religious communities and orgs (read Christian) not come out loud and strong against consumerism, the Iraq war, and global warming? These issues should be direct hits with the core issues and values of Christianity (killing innocent people, lying about the facts, spending money on things rather than time with people, destroying our planet and causing misery to the less fortunate, etc.). It makes no sense. (and yes I know, some Christians are going to say “I care about these issues”, but the problem is that the institutions of religion are not doing enough and end up on the wrong side of the argument.)]

On a larger scale, this film represents to me a new and smarter approach to packaging counter-culture ideas and change into effective, broad viral memes. I think that Carl Rove has taught us all how to be more effective in persuading the American masses. And, Walt Disney invented the ability to talk to multiple audiences at the same time (e.g. children and adults). It will be interesting to see if this is a growing trend.

The Problem with Atheism by Sam Harris

I’ve been a quiet non-believerfor most of my adult life–grew up a devout Catholic–but have always felt uncomfortable with the term “atheist.” I never liked the idea of representing my beliefs by a term that describes what I don’t believe in. The term “atheist” feels nihilistic and negative, and does not describe what I believe in (secular humanism, rationalism, skepticism, speciesist?). Sam Harris’ speech captures this issue perfectly. It’s long, but worth every minute.

I hope you enjoy the read as much as I did:


Video – The Problem with Atheism

btw: I read Sam Harris’s “Letter to a Christian Nation” and “End of Faith” and thoroughly enjoyed both reads.