Despite some unpredictable weather courtesy of El Niño, winter is finally here! One of the best ways, in my opinion, to get through this cold and dark time of the year is to get out on the slopes. Whether you're a skier or a snowboarder, though, there are definitely some dos and don'ts of the hill that will help you have an awesome day.
1. Keep your Gear in the Clear
One of the most challenging things about skiing and boarding is all of the gear that it requires. The boots, the goggles, the mitts, the helmets -- they take up a TON of space and can be a bit unruly. Because of this it is very important to keep it tidy and organized when you arrive at the hill.
When you're getting ready, take up only the space you need, don't spread your gear out all over the place. Make sure that you are also very careful as you transport your gear from cars to clubhouses and lockers not to get too close to people you are passing or objects (e.g. cars) that you could easily injure with your sharply tuned edges.
This also applies when you are heading in for a break and taking off your equipment. Do not throw your gear any old place, line it up tidily on the racks in an open space, and if you do knock down someone else's equipment -- please put it back where you found it.
2. Ski and Board in Control
Once you finally have your gear on and are ready to head out, remember that no matter how many Warren Miller movies you have seen that you just ski and board to your skill level and be sure to travel at speeds that will not put others at risk. There is nothing worse than having a gorgeous run cut off by a rude skier who is bombing down the hill with no regard for others. Please don't be that person!
3. Be Courteous on the Tows
Skiing and boarding are an interesting combination of going very fast down the hill, then going back up very slowly. However, even though you have been velocitized going down the hill, please take a deep breath at the bottom and wait your turn in line.
A few other important tips include: merge carefully if there are particularly large groups, never stand on other people's skis or snowboard, and be polite while you are chatting with others in the line as skiing is an all-ages sport.
4. Don't be a Louse in the Lodge
A huge part of a day on the mountain is taking breaks inside the lodge. While inside the lodge, be aware that you are wearing great big boots, have an awkward swagger and (hopefully) a helmet that might make you a bit of a hazard. That means you have to slow down and give everyone lots of room as you pass them, particularly if they are carrying a hot beverage.
If you are sitting at a table, the same gear rules apply -- don't spread out all over the place as seats inside are usually in high demand. Also, if there are very limited seats and you happen to have a few extra, do offer or invite others to join you if they can't find a spot -- the community feel when you ski and snowboard is one of the nicest parts!
5. Après the Right Way
A close second to a blue bird day for me is a great après. Après in the ski and boarding world refers to the cocktail parties that tend to follow a great day on the hill. If you are going to après, remember that you are visiting a friend's home. Hostess gift rules still apply (i.e. please bring one) and remember to bring a pair of slippers or indoor shoes -- there's no way you can wear your boots inside! Second and most importantly, make sure you have a safe ride home -- cocktails and cars do not mix.
Whatever the snow is like near you this year, I hope you're inspired to head out to hill and get in some fresh tracks or at least to head over for an après!
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