I 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.