Ski and snowboard season is firmly upon us, with plenty of places in Canada getting dumped with glorious, fluffy white powder.
Heading to the ski hill is some of the most fun you can have in the Canadian winter, and playing by the rules ensures everyone can have fun and stay safe.
As people who play in the mountains of Alberta almost every weekend, we've seen our share of impolite and inexcusable behaviour on the hill. Some of it is unsightly, some dangerous and some downright disgusting.
Check out these 12 tips to help you navigate good ski hill manners. If we missed any, let us know in the comments below.
Save Your Pee Breaks
Don't pee on the hill. Just don't. If someone wipes-out in your pee, that's just gross. If you HAVE. TO. GO. try to get as far off the trail and into the trees as possible. Otherwise, take 10 minutes at the bottom and relieve yourself in a proper washroom.
Don't Ski Or Snowboard Out Of Bounds
Not only is it dangerous, but skiing out of bounds is a waste of the ski hill staff's time and a potential drain on rescue resources, should you get injured or go missing. If you want to ski backcountry, do it on your own time or book an excursion specific to backcountry activities, like heli-skiing or Cat-skiing.
Don't Ski Or Snowboard Like A Maniac
Keep in control as much as possible. Sure, it's fun to go fast and try new things, but don't do it at risk to those around you. Accidents happen, people fall, but make sure you're doing your best to ski or snowboard responsibly.
Don't Cut The Line To The Lifts
It doesn't matter if your friends are just a few people ahead, or you're supposed to meet them at the top of the hill, it is never ok to skip the line to the chair lift or gondola. Tell your friends you'll be a few minutes and ask them to wait for you. Canadians are really polite and likely will let you skip in line anyway, but secretly they're not going to like you very much for it.
Don't Smoke Pot Or Cigs On The Chairlift Or Gondola
While you probably shouldn't be smoking left-handed cigarettes while skiing, period, it's incredibly rude to do it when sharing a common space or seat. And even if you get your own gondola or chair, the people behind you or next in line probably won't appreciate the second-hand smell of your wacky-tobacky.
Don't Chirp Others From The Chair Lift
Don't yell at other people enjoying their day on the hill as your pass above them on the chair lift, especially if they have fallen or are struggling to get down a run. People on the hill want to concentrate on the snow below them, not the rude people above them.
Know The Right-Of-Way
Watch out for merging skiers and snowboarders coming in to main trails and take account of slower skiers below you. If you need to stop on a trail, do so off to the side and make sure skiers coming from behind can see you and know you have stopped.
Be Careful With Your Gear
Whether you ski or snowboard, make sure you know what your gear is doing, especially when you're carrying it around the resort. Try not to smash anyone with the skis or snowboard hoisted up on your shoulder and make sure your poles are in check.
Stash Your Trash Responsibly
It's good to bring a snack in your pockets, but make sure any wrappers, cups or peelings stay there until you can find a garbage bin at the base of the hill. Litter can be dangerous if another person's gear gets caught on it, not to mention unsightly and bad for the environment.
Don't Be A Whiner
It's possible you're going to get tired, hurt and frustrated on the hill, especially if you're new to the sport. If you're with a group, avoid being the whiner and holding everyone back because you're tired or can't keep up. See if there's another person who wants to hang back and go a bit slower, but if not quietly retire to an easier run, the bunny hill or the ski lodge and wait for everyone to finish their fun.
Be Nice To Noobs/Help Out Your Fellow Skier
Skiing and snowboarding can be incredibly overwhelming newbies, especially when they yard sale and their stuff goes flying all over the hill. If possible to do so safely, help them out by picking up and returning their stuff. Even offering to help them back on their feet is a gracious thing to do. Chances are you've needed this help in the past or will want it in the future, so be kind to your hill-mates.
Après-Ski Like A Pro
Be really good at après-ski. If you get there before your group, don't hog a huge table. Buy a drink for those yet to arrive - text your friends still on the hill and ask if they would like a drink waiting for them when they get done. If you have to drive, don't get wasted. Smile and laugh a lot. Talk to the tourists. Be friendly and have fun.
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