Steep Shots: Skiers, riders should be friends

Emily Palm

We’re all sliding down the same mountain

By Emily Palm

While riding the chairlift earlier this season we witnessed a rather unbecoming display from a skier. After a rider biffed it and fell board over teakettle, a skier whizzed by yelling, “Dumbass.” Albeit funny, ‘twas not kind.

Seeing such poor snowboarder-skier relations led me to thinking. Sure, I dislike getting cut off on the way up to the mountain by Honda Civics with grenade stickers. True, when I smell cigarette smoke in the lift line it tends to be a troglodyte with super-baggy pants. And yes, having fresh powder scraped off the mountain by inexperienced boarders grinds my gears. But maybe it’s not just the snowboarders keeping relations tense, a notion that should have been previously obvious.

My gripes certainly do not apply to all snowboarders, for it’s only the 90 percent that make the 10 percent look bad.

I jest; in fact, I’ve heard resort executives acknowledge that snowboarding saved the snowsports industry back in the 1990’s.

Actually, more and more rapscallions on the mountain are donning skis these days. I’ve seen many a mixed pack of youngsters wearing pants so baggy I wonder how they can maneuver down the slope.

With the next generation of riders and skiers on the mountain embracing the styles they like, it begs the question if jackets and pants companies will still differentiate between skier and snowboarder garb or if there will soon be just park style and backcountry style.

As the season wanes, so does the time to help build bridges between boarders and skiers. Yesterday I saw my first mountain bluebird of the year. Many Front Rangers are putting their planks — whether single or dual — away for the summer (though the season’s not dead yet! A-basin has concerts lined up for May, and backcountry spring skiing is a fine way to spend an April day).

So go ahead, reach out a pole the next time you see a boarder doing the penguin dance on a catwalk. You’ll give them a whole summer to think about how kind skiers are.

Telemark skier and freelance writer Emily A. Palm Mulica lives in Golden, Colo. Check out her Web site at & follow on Twitter and Share with her your favorite joke at


4 thoughts on “Steep Shots: Skiers, riders should be friends

  1. Yep, many’s the time I’ve winced as I ride up the chairlift and see riders who haven’t figured out how to carve scraping all the snow off the mountain. Ouch! At those times I wish I lived alot closer to Alta.

    And yet, one of my husband’s best mountain pals is a rider and a good one, not a snow-scraper. They haunt and trees and steeps together, rider and skier.

  2. Nice article. Next….how about writing a piece on the aging AT skiers snobbing all tele skiers (even the ones that can tele ski anything effortlessly).

  3. As a snowboarder, I find it’s mostly the older generation of skiers who still harbor a lot of ignorance/animosity towards snowboarders. Most younger people ski/ride in mixed groups of skiers & snowboarders, or at least are more forgiving of the other disciplines. The slopes are plenty big enough for all of us to share, whether you’re on one plank or two, fixed or free heeled.

  4. Several times this winter I have noticed how much better the riders have gotten. Their skill levels, plus newer, better equipment, plus dedicated terrain parks, plus mutual awareness of the rider’s blind spot have really eliminated most of the on mountain problems. I have been irked by young skiers more often than young boarders recently.

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