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Defining Snowboarding Etiquette

I have thinking about this for the past few weeks; is there a difference between snowboarding and skiing etiquette?  My initial reaction was yes, there are inconsiderate or dangerous bahaviours that are specific to boarders or skiers.

I hopped on google to see what I could find on snowboarding etiquette.  I clicked on a link to ehow.com and found this article here that outlines nine essential steps to not looking like a jerk on the hill.  What I found interesting is that the link on the same site which discusses skiing etiquette lists the same exact nine steps. 

Perhaps the people running the site were tired or thought it was time to cut some corners.  Perhaps they really see no difference between skiing and snowboarding etiquette.  I’ll likely never know.  But this got me to thinking.  Snowboarders tend to stop and sit in the middle of runs while skiers tend to sometimes make their big slow ‘S’ turns.  However, I have seen skiers stop and talk at places where doing so is unsafe and I have seen some boarders make slow winding turns on the hill.

I think that inconsiderate behaviour is itself the problem, not anything inherent to boarding or skiing.  We need to talk about general mountain behaviour rather than anything specific to boarders.  So here are some of my Mountain Etiquette Tips:

– Make sure you park somewhere safe and that your car is not blocking others from leaving.  Mountain parking can be a big issue, as I witnessed at Sunshine Village.

– Wear a leash when you board.  You’ll likely never need it, but it’s not like it hurts to have it. Mine is the long nylon strap type of leash that I can use to help me carry my board on my shoulder when I am walking about.

– When in lift lines avoid scraping the boards and skis of others.

– Let others get on the lift ahead of you if you’re not sure who should go first.  Waiting 5 seconds won’t kill you.

– Once you get off of the lift get the hell out of the way.  Also, just get off in any direction and then worry about heading to your run.  If you’re sitting on the left and you need to go right once off the lift, you should go straight and wait until it is clear to go where you want.

– When you need to get your bindings done up, try and do it off to the side.  Let people ready to ride access the middle area leading into the run.

– If you need or want to stop during a run, try and do so off to the side of the run. More importantly, make sure you are visible from above to riders coming down the hill.  Think of how fast someone could potentially be coming down and how much distance they would need to see you and react.

– If you board, try not to snowplow too much, erasing the moguls that skiers have made and use.  If you ski, try to either not go too slow in flat areas or just move off to one side.  Snowboarders can’t create speed on flats and they have to work hard to maintain speed.

– In agreement with Adam, don’t fly into the lift area at the end of your run.  It’s fine to ride in rather than walk, but you don’t have to rocket your way in.

– Remember that you share the hill with everyone; watch your language around kids, don’t litter, and be friendly to strangers.

Do you have any additions to the list or opinions otherwise? As always, feel free to share.


  1. A very pertinent article indeed.

    Posted by Huckleberry Hart | January 10, 2009, 1:37 pm
  2. Great post. I think if everyone took a little extra time and had a little extra consideration for others on the slopes, it would make it a much better experience for everyone. I have seen so many fights erupt on the mountain over the silliest thing… lets have manners people, we all deserve to have a great time on the mountain.

    Posted by Intheboard | January 10, 2009, 3:35 pm
  3. I’d disagree with the snowplow comment. Snowboarders should, in mass, plow entire runs so that they are better suited for ‘boarders :). The skiers are just going to come carve it up again anyways.

    Seriously though, I would add:

    – Don’t steal the seat(s) in the lunch area that somebody has been standing there waiting for.

    – Don’t go completely across the rung without looking up the mountain first. I’m in agreement that if you hit somebody below you, it’s your fault, but…it is very annoying when you have the pattern of those ahead of you pretty much nailed only to have that person suddenly decide to slice all the way across the run on a whim.

    – Completely agree about flying in to the the lift line. One of the most annoying things there is.

    Posted by Steve | January 10, 2009, 8:58 pm
  4. all wrong! snowboarders are skate punks on snow, the attitude, behavior, lack of etiquette comes from changing the set-up because original ski mountains banished us until snowboarding became a necessary evil. we create chaos in the controlled environments because that’s what we are supposed to do; we jib the sides of boxes/rails; ollie slow signs; rotate off of the side of a hit, versus riding straight on…because! im 40 and slipping under closed signs, past wide-turn skiers and snowboarders, hitting the park with the same atitude i did 20 years ago. everyone starts somewhere.

    Posted by eddierilla | January 10, 2009, 10:37 pm
  5. “try not to snowplow too much, erasing the moguls that skiers have made and use” F-ck that, i agree with steve, snowboarders should gang up together and mass snowplow moguls!

    Posted by Martin Beran | January 11, 2009, 6:08 am
  6. Uhm, while “f*ck that” is a compelling argument, I think it’s okay if a few of the runs have some moguls off to one side. Let them have their mogul fun and then we don’t need to do the work of plowing at all and could just snowboard.

    Posted by josh | January 11, 2009, 6:03 pm
  7. There is nothing here about lift line etiquette.

    Yesterday I was at Earl Bales park in Toronto at the small ski hill there. On one of my runs I arrived in the lift line and some of the other people in line were explaining to someone why he couldn’t duck under the rope and join his friend who was already half-way through the line.

    The guy finally gave up his arguing and went to the end of the line. A few minutes later, after more people had lined up behind this guy, a third guy arrived and started to duck the rope to join his buddy.

    I said to this third guy that he needs to go to the end of the line. But the two guys started arguing with me. Telling me that it doesn’t make a difference if he cuts into line to join his friend because if they didn’t join up he’d be riding the chair single. It’s only a double chair.

    They might have had a bit of a point, but in my opinion proper etiquette is to not get into line until all of the people you want to ride the chair with have finished their runs.

    I explained this to them but they didn’t seem to agree with me.

    These guys weren’t getting into line seconds apart it was more like a minute or two. By that time the first guy is quite close to getting on the chair and there are ten to fifteen groups of people behind him.

    And anything that makes it look like you are cutting line can’t be good etiquette can it?

    Posted by Sam MacCutchan | January 11, 2009, 8:51 pm
  8. Earl Bales is where I taught Adam how to board many moons ago! I might go Tuesday night to help another new rider learn.

    I think you are completely right Sam. They were cutting the line which is always rude and inconsiderate. Good for you for speaking up.

    Posted by josh | January 12, 2009, 12:22 am
  9. It’s really just about being aware of your surrounding and being generally considerate of other people on the mountain. It goes both ways, but I think snowboarders get more of a bad rap because there are more younger boarders these days than skiers. Which means there are going to be more immature riders than skiers out there.

    I would like to add one point though. Parents should not allow their obviously under-skilled children to go through the park and ski / ride over the kickers. I don’t blame the kids, which are sometimes 6-10 years old, but the parents. Ive seen way to many accidents happen because a small child wanted to ride up that 20 foot table for fun. It’s not that they get hurt from catching air, it’s that the person after them has no idea the little fellow is still sitting on the landing.

    Posted by Dan | January 12, 2009, 2:41 pm
  10. Good post; so true that good etiquette goes both ways (and also true that boarders get a lot of the slack). I would definitely add, though, park etiquette to the list. (Call your drop or drop next; Don’t go if someone else called it; Don’t stop/sit in front of a lip; if you fall get the heck out of the way; etc.) It is irritating when people don’t have common sense in the park, especially on a packed day.

    Posted by Andrea | January 12, 2009, 8:25 pm
  11. Great post! I’ll agree with Andrea.. don’t stop or sit in front of a lip. GAH.. I can’t stand that. And it is so dangerous.

    Posted by VancityAllie | January 12, 2009, 8:45 pm
  12. Thanks Andrea and Allie – I did forget to mention anything about park courtesy, probably because I never park ride. I think Dan’s frist paragraph sums it all up nicely.

    Posted by josh | January 13, 2009, 9:17 am
  13. I agree with the park thing. I was waiting my turn, nervously, and was being cut off by midgets along with everyone else. Very annoying, and more so when they fall and can’t get up. And it’s not limited to the tykes. I was talking with some guys at the top and seemed nice, until they busted into the park, cut me and everyone else, hit the rails and sped out. SO RUDE.

    I don’t find it that bad up north, but by me we have city people come up, and they are the absolute worst. The attitude is definitely carried over to the slopes.

    Posted by Pam | January 13, 2009, 2:00 pm
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