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Skiing and Snowboarding Etiquette

Skiing and Snowboarding Etiquette

When it comes time to hit the slopes for winter fun, its important to remember that even though you pay for a lift ticket, ski and snowboard resorts are still essentially public areas which must be shared. In any shared space, people tend to develop rules of etiquette to help them get along with each other and ski/ snowboard areas are no exception. If you are a new skier or snowboarder here is a short overview of how to be respectful on the slopes to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness.

Lift Etiquette
Lift etiquette is especially important for skiers, since lifts are designed with you in mind. Boarding and exiting the lift is sometimes a far harder skill for many riders to master than getting down the hill is, so be respectful of this and give riders some leeway. A little preferential treatment on the lift can go a long way towards building goodwill on the slopes.

Skiers, Watch your tips
Remember that boarders ride parallel to their board, so while skiers face front, boarders face to the side – even while standing in lines. Unaware skiers will often run over the back of a rider’s board and sometimes even be standing on top of it when a rider tries to move forward. Both skis and snowboards rely on sharpened edges to carve through powder, so if you’re standing on a rider’s board when they try to move forward, you can cause them to fall and possibly even damage their board. The best way to avoid this is to simply pay attention when standing in lift lines with snowboarders.

Ask a snowboarder before trying to board a lift with them, and if possible, ask which side they would prefer.
Skiers keep both feet firmly in their skis while on the lift, but snowboarders have to remove their back foot from their bindings. Because riders don’t always ride the same way, sometimes their back foot will be the left foot and other times the right. When exiting a lift, this causes riders to sometimes veer left and sometimes veer right. Since they essentially “steer” the board with their back foot, having to remove it severely limits how much control they have over steering.

Don’t cut the line
Even if your friends are just a few people in front of you, don’t cut. If people in front of you are adjusting equipment and create a gap, unless they wave you forward, don’t cut.

Slope Etiquette
Don’t use greens and blues as a speedway
Green and blue slopes are designed with beginners in mind, so they are often smooth runs with a gentle slope. They can be tempting for experienced riders to use like a freeway. Don’t do it. Remember that these slopes are filled with beginners that are already focused on mastering basic skills – and sometimes already nervous or fearful. Having someone zoom by you at what feels like a just a few inches away can shatter confidence and frustrate newbies.

Don’t pee on the slopes
Just don’t. Enough said.

Stop on the sides of a run, not the middle
Whether you need to stop to adjust a binding or just take a quick breather, don’t do it in the middle of the slope where people have to ski or ride around you – or end up crashing in to you. Not only is this dangerous for you, it’s annoying to others.

Pay Attention and Observe the Right-of-Way
Stay alert as you ski or ride. Watch out for other skiers and snowboarders merging onto main trails and pay attention to slower skiers below you.

Some slope etiquette is the same as in the rest of life

  • Don’t litter
  • Don’t smoke on lifts or in gondolas
  • Help out others where you can
  • Don’t harass people from the lifts
  • Don’t be a whiner

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